Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist


When I was a kid at school we had no less a person than Field Marshall Montgomery come and give us a talk on "Leadership". I forget what he said. All I remember is the man himself- or rather a snapshot of the man himself- very small, very neat, wearing a blazer and pencil-thin moustache- the epitome of a whole class of funny little old military men left over from the two World Wars- the likes of whom no longer exist- except this wasn't just any funny little old military man- this was Field Marshall Montgomery and he was A Great Leader.

We were imitating his weird clipped delivery for weeks- months- afterwards.

Leadership is an elusive thing. Indefinable. I doubt it can be taught (which is why I don't remember anything Monty said.) Some people have it, some don't. A lot of the people who have it are the most frightful rogues; some of them are ridiculous. It's a charisma. It can't be faked. If you come across someone who has it you have two options; you either fall into line or turn on your heel and walk away sharpish. Unless of course you have the gift yourself- in which case you fight.

(As Monty did with Churchill)

Hitler had it, I don't think Stalin did. It's not a necessary pre-requisite for winning and holding power; it just makes things easier. If you have it people will follow you no questions asked, if you don't you have to argue or scare them into submission.

John XXIII had it, John Paul II had it, Francis has it. Poor Pope Benedict didn't/doesn't.

Bill Clinton has it, Hillary doesn't.

Donald Trump has it.

Mrs Thatcher had it, Mrs May doesn't.

Boris Johnson has it- which is why it's unlikely we've heard the last of him....
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