leadership by opinion

I’m not one to buy into political debate.

Really, I’m not.

But I’m increasingly concerned about what we’re seeing in federal politics in Australia at the moment.  It appears to me, that leadership and policy-making are increasingly being shaped by opinion polls, and by doing ‘whatever it takes’ to remain in power by pandering to voters.

Perhaps its naive of me to think it, but I’d far rather have leaders who lead from their convictions, from well thought out and argued basis, than by figuring out what’s the most popular opinion to hold.

Where are the leaders who will cast their vision on asylum seekers, mining taxes, or climate change, and then convince us to follow them?    Consultation is one thing, but sometimes the ‘majority of voters’ are wrong and need to be told they (we) are wrong.

At least part (and perhaps a big part) of the issue is that today leadership is executed by ‘sound bite’.  Very few Australians get to hear or see extended presentations from those who would lead us.  Most of us catch 30 seconds on the news at night, a paragraph or two on a commercial news website (with its own axe to grind) or the distilled opinions of others in our facebook or twitter feeds.

That’s no way to engage with those who would lead our nation. But that’s all most of us are prepared to give.

Is it any wonder that our leaders lead based on the sound bites they get back, when that’s all we ‘re prepared to hear from them?

With our increasingly self-centred existence, and inability to enter in genuine dialogue on all sorts of topics, perhaps it’s no surprise our leaders have given up trying to lead us when we plainly won’t follow (that’s a topic perhaps for another day).

Maybe we’re getting exactly the kind of leadership we deserve.

PS: I know, just one or two sweeping generalisations in this post. But still, I’ll stand by my opinion. Unless I take a poll and discover its unpopular.

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