Golding and true leadership

Jamaica Gleaner
Tuesday, October 8, 2002


IN YOUR editorial of October 2, 2002 you attempted to boost the credibility of Bruce Golding and gloss over his inherent weakness for leadership by quoting, in trivial context, Winston Churchill.

"And as Mr. Golding dusts off his desk at JLP headquarters and dons his campaign gear, he must be thinking of Churchill's observation: "Politics are almost as exciting as war, and quite as dangerous. In war you can only be killed once, but in politics, many times."

Indeed, Sir, "cowards die many times before their deaths, the valiant never taste of death but once."

Politics is a game of cowardice where strategies are determined by self-interests. So is it really surprising that he would return to the JLP?

My assessment of Golding as a leader is that he likes to blow the bugle for his platoon to charge but never waits around to help with casualties.

In the context of leadership, let me quote Bertrand Russell:

"The power impulse has two forms: explicit, in leaders; implicit in their followers. When men willingly follow a leader, they do so with a view to acquisition of power by the group which he commands, and they feel that his triumphs are theirs."

"Leadership is relative .....Most people feel that politics is difficult, and that they had better follow a leader -- they feel this instinctively and unconsciously, as dogs do with their masters. If this were not the case, collective political action would scarcely be possible."

Many Jamaicans berate Edward Seaga for exercising explicit power as a leader, but he does not seem to expect, a-la-Bruce, their applause before facing a challenge.

Now that Golding has returned to the JLP after seven years of not making it on his own, his cheer leaders must hope that any implicit power he might enjoy by piggy-backing on Seaga's leadership will embolden him to stay and fight when faced again with his next challenge within the party.

Many of the letters and comments published since Monday have been rationalising Golding's change of heart as the way of the chameleons of Jamaican politics. Could one not argue that Golding proves the case that any politician can be bought if his price is right?

I am etc.,