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Where are all the Statesmen/Great leaders?

(115 Posts)
nanna8 Wed 17-Feb-21 00:45:27

I can’t think of any just now in either the UK or Australia or the USA come to that. Where are the sort of people we used to look up to and respect as wise and effective leaders? Perhaps it is because with social media we see different sides of their personalities but I don’t think so. Perhaps they are not sufficiently rewarded for their leadership ? In the good old days, for want of a better phrase, we had leaders like Bob Hawke, Whitlam, Keating in Australia . All flawed in their way but definitely leaders and worthy of respect. Even the likes of Thatcher, whom I didn’t like one little bit, was a leader. Churchill, perhaps, certainly had leadership qualities.

Jumblygran Wed 17-Feb-21 01:21:50

Barack Obama is statesmanlike, his personality comes across as wise and effective. These people are rare and I don’t think it necessarily means they do a better job of running a country.
What they can do is inspire us in times of difficulty.
Jacinda Arden is one who can do this, we have been blessed to have her as Prime Minister in these days (I an in NZ)
She exudes confidence and kindness. Kindness is perhaps not something which some of the leaders you mentioned Nanna8 had or have in abundance but I think that it balances out some of the less desirable characteristics leaders can have such as arrogance. Leaders have to make difficult and often unpopular decisions so if these are tempered with kindness it must be a good thing.
To my point of not necessarily doing a good job of running the country the Labour government here was voted in on promises to reduce inequality, look after the poor and build much needed housing all of which have proved much more difficult than they thought.
So I guess what I am saying is that an inspirational leader may not necessarily be the person to get things done on a day to day basis.

Ro60 Wed 17-Feb-21 01:32:11

Agree with you both.
I'm actually a Theresa May fan (she says with surprise) & please, don't beat me. 😨 As I see it she was a problem to the bullies around her & not scandalous enough for the media.

Calendargirl Wed 17-Feb-21 06:54:27

I would like to have seen how Margaret Thatcher handled the pandemic, if she had been PM at this time.

I think she would have been very hands-on in the press briefings, do not think she would have delegated them to others. And very clear and concise in her pronouncements.

Her scientific background would have stood her in good stead, I imagine.

Esspee Wed 17-Feb-21 07:07:26

I so agree with Jumblygran. Barack Obama stands out by miles even though the crazy American system meant he was unable to achieve everything he wanted to. He, and his lovely family served with dignity. A true statesman.
Today Arden is the only prime minister who seems to hit the right note every single time. She perhaps does not have the gravitas yet (age will sort that) but what a leader!

nanna8 Wed 17-Feb-21 07:25:13

Barack Obama was good, I agree but where are the good contemporary ones? I doubt Biden will be, somehow. Isn’t there anyone at all in the UK? I don’t know of any. Scott Morrison isn’t a bad PM but he is not what I would call a great leader. As for the Labour opposition in Australia, well least said soonest mended. Appalling lot just negative, nothing positive about them at all. I used to be a Labour voter,too.

Kim19 Wed 17-Feb-21 07:26:36

I'm so glad to have this aired. I've been wondering about this a lot recently. In this particular time of our need I have waited for a Phoenix. So far nothing. Each time I hear it suggested that Boris should step down I search for someone to replace him and each time I come up blank. I usually have someone I gently admire lurking somewhere in my shadows. At the moment I can't see a single glimmer of light of any person of any party or persuasion. Worrying. I recently had to quell myself from raining on the parade of all the adulation of our wonderful success with the vaccine and it's distribution so far. Yes, I'm indeed quietly relieved (and a grateful recipient to boot) but I'm more overwhelmed inside by the shame of our death rate and the considerable inadequate decisions along the way. I totally see that it's easy to be wise after the event and these are unprecedented circumstances but some of the inadequacies have been - and still are - seen to be shocking. Such a parcel of incompetencies seems to beggar belief to me and I'm no big thinker.

Riverwalk Wed 17-Feb-21 07:32:33

Angela Merkel stands head and shoulders above most other leaders - think she's standing down this year.

janeainsworth Wed 17-Feb-21 07:53:00

I was going to say Angela Merkel too Riverwalk.
I hope Kamala Harris will have an opportunity to demonstrate statesmanship in the future.

Kim19 Wed 17-Feb-21 08:14:00

Have to confess to being narrow in my field of vision here. I was only thinking of UK. Sad really. Certainly admire Mrs Merkel and the NZ lady is worthy of admiration currently.

Kandinsky Wed 17-Feb-21 08:42:00

Not sure Barack Obama was any better than most gone before him. He gave rise to the success of Donald Trump so not sure what to make of that really.
Maybe I just didn’t get the god like worship people gave him. ( still give him ) I found it almost patronising, as if extra praise was given just because he was black. Would people be throwing themselves at his feet if he’d been white? I don’t know. I suppose the Kennedy’s were hero worshipped back in the day.
But back to the point.

I totally agree op.
Who have labour got?
I’d honestly struggle to name 3 people in the labour government - none of them particularly brilliant. Even their leader is weak.
The Tories still have quite a few big names, but the days of personalities like Thatcher seem to be over.
I couldn’t tell you who was leader of the lib dens ( are they even still going? )

Honestly - Nigel Farage is probably one of our biggest names on the world stage. Everyone in Europe certainly knows him, grin

growstuff Wed 17-Feb-21 08:42:08

You beat me to it janeainsworth. Merkel isn't universally popular in Germany, but she leaves people in no doubt when she speaks. She's another scientist, which I guess helps. She's retiring this year and I think she has very big boots to fill.

Kim19 Wed 17-Feb-21 08:46:27

Think the leader of the LDs is ??? Davey.

Kim19 Wed 17-Feb-21 08:47:02

Ed even!

AmberSpyglass Wed 17-Feb-21 08:56:06

Corbyn was a leader. He’d have managed the pandemic a hell of a lot better than Boris, frankly. Nicola Sturgeon has been impressive as well.

Sarnia Wed 17-Feb-21 08:59:13

Angela Merkel and Jacinda Ardern immediately spring to mind to me. Neither of them from the UK, US or Australia as nanna8 mentioned but powerful women leading their countries, nonetheless. In the US there are some women with potential coming through the ranks of politics. Kamala Harris, already Vice-President and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar are ones to watch. Sadly, I don't see anyone exciting in our political parties.

Grandmabatty Wed 17-Feb-21 09:09:39

I'm not a nationalist before there's a pile on, but Nicola sturgeon has been a leader in Scotland and has been impressive. She is naturally cautious which has stood her and Scotland in good stead. There have been decisions I haven't agreed with but there is no doubt in my mind that she is leading the country.

WW010 Wed 17-Feb-21 09:19:23

Agree that close to home Nicola Sturgeon has been head and shoulders above the rest. Agree also though with OP. I can’t see any real statesman around. Merkel is very good but giving it up. Ardern has been an inspiration. AOC and Harris are both strong contenders. .... Now, I look back at my words and notice something- they are all female!!! There’s a thing. I didn’t see that until I typed it 🤔

Alegrias1 Wed 17-Feb-21 10:53:58

Jacinda Ardern demonstrates how great leaders can be kind and compassionate and don't always have to be always shouting how great they are. She is a great team builder and seems to be good at getting everybody on side.

I have high hopes for Kamala Harris. I'm glad some of you mentioned Nicola Sturgeon too. All these women being mentioned - perhaps the world is coming round to the fact that you don't have to show "masculine" qualities to be a great leader.

Very interesting thread nanna8, thank you for starting it.

NellG Wed 17-Feb-21 11:24:33

Ro60 I agree, she was the last 'proper' politician in the Tories.

Personally hoping the Kier Starmer is a slow burner and will come into his own.

I also thought Emily Thornberry had a lot of potential.

The current cabinet remind me of the Bash St Kids from the Beano! Raab is definitely Plug...

In an ideal world Jacinda Ardern would agree to being cloned and everyone would have one wink

janeainsworth Wed 17-Feb-21 13:58:16

I think we have to remember that the population of New Zealand is just over half that of Greater London and that New Zealand is a small, isolated country.
I applaud Jacinda Arden’s leadership and handling of the pandemic, but I’m not sure she has the experience & record to be considered a statesman on the world stage in the same way that Angela Merkel can.

suziewoozie Wed 17-Feb-21 14:48:11

I think the OP makes a pertinent point about the influence of social media. I think maybe some of the great leaders of the past were nowhere near as great as we thought but did not have to contend with the exposure they would get today. Not only was there no social media but the main stream media was much more compliant. In some ways it could be argued that we expect too much from leaders today and the ones that are perhaps seen as more successful as leaders (JA AM NS BO) all seem to share more wholesome private lives. I think they also seem to exude integrity - whether we agree with them politically or not they they seem to ‘hang together’ with their beliefs and ideals and act on the basis of a set of genuinely held standards. Although of a different era now, I would put MT firmly in this category as well. Great leaders imo have dignity, a sense of quiet self worth and give you confidence that the decisions they make are based on what they genuinely think is best and not just popular. A really interesting thread - thank you OP

Namsnanny Wed 17-Feb-21 14:55:45

Surely it depends on what you know about the person in question, and where you stand in your beliefs?

A 'Statesmans like' leader who achieves nothing is what?

A flawed politician who leaves a legacy of achievement gained by 'non' statesman means?

A complicated mix of both, in other words a human being?

Take your pick I suppose.

It's all academic anyway, because the future will dictate who is looked back on with pride and who isnt.

vegansrock Wed 17-Feb-21 15:04:05

Although not everyone agrees with her, Angela Merkel commands respect even from her opponents, she has been a stable pair of hands. Germany has become one of the wealthiest countries in the world under her leadership, and has retained a strong manufacturing base which Thatcher got rid of in the U.K.

suziewoozie Wed 17-Feb-21 15:24:19

There’s also the issue of time and place. I think Churchill was exactly the right person during the war but not for peacetime reconstruction.