Why Leaders are Supposed to Adhere to Rules

Posted on January 20, 2023

I was listening to a Radio phone-in on BBC 5 Live earlier. I only caught about 20 minutes of it but it revolved around Rishi Sunak not wearing a seatbelt whilst trying to look like a normal person (not easy).

The impulsive conclusion to come to is, “who cares?” Then a copper came on the radio and went ahead with explaining, why, in his opinion, there is more to it than that. Now, I am not one who is particularly comfortable around coppers (I have my reasons) but once this guy got talking, he started making sense.

The Policeman

He explained that any nation is defined by its weakest link. He meant stupid or corrupt people (the lowest common denominator). Basically, if people are not very clever, or bent, they will happily use abuse of the law by a leader as an excuse for being brain dead or bent. “The Prime Minister doesn’t wear a seatbelt, why should I?” Or perhaps, “Nadhim Zahawi allegedly avoids tax, so will I”.

The copper was basically of the opinion that if the people who make the rules think they can flaunt them, we are heading into chaotic territory. He also alluded to the lock down piss ups and how it becomes difficult to control the stupid when people in power think they are above the rules they are creating. It’s not the length of a Downing Street piss up that matters. It’s not even the detail. It the fact it happened that undermines morality.

Bent by Example

Lack of example became cripplingly apparent during lockdown. The government were handing out PPE contracts to their mates through a fast-track programme and a failed Test & Trace contract so bent, it beggared belief. The public notice these things. The worst amongst us exploit them.

So, when furlough money and bounce back loans became available, who was setting the example to use these bail-outs responsibility? Boris Johnson, that’s who. A PM who can’t resist a freebie, a banquet, or a leg over, was in charge of a system put together (in understandable panic) that was ripe for abuse. And boy oh boy, did it get abused.

An Authoritative Leader

Would the abuse of the furlough and loans system happened if a serious PM was in charge? Well, if an authoritative PM (of any political party) had looked down the barrel of the camera and said, “Believe me, if this system of rescue packages is abused, you will be pursued, and you will go to prison for fraud”, things may well have been different. We might not be writing off billions of fraudulent claims whilst public sector workers beg for more money. As an exercise, compare our COVID wastage to that of serious countries.

That’s why it does count what our leaders do. Whether it is not wearing a seatbelt, not telling the truth about lockdown parties, or sending money offshore to avoid capital gains tax, of course it matters. A leader or leaders have to abide by the law of the land, or face the consequences if they don’t. It’s the first rule of leadership. A site director of a construction firm doesn’t get on the scaffold without a hard hat on.

Not Fit For Office

It’s not decent, intelligent people that need to be controlled. It is the stupid and the corrupt. If the people in power can’t administer enough sense to be able to do that, they should not be in high office. They can’t break laws, take bungs and avoid tax, then expect a nation to respond to moral obligations in a crisis.

That’s why billions of public funds have simply disappeared into thin air.

1 Reply to "Why Leaders are Supposed to Adhere to Rules"

  • Ann Hollstein
    March 6, 2023 (11:26 am)

    I wish more people understood this principle. I’m personally trying to educate the village about shutting gates.

Got something to say?

Some html is OK

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.