“…how many of our leaders could be described as inspirational?”

I’m off for a long weekend of domestic and musical bliss (though I am taking the radio with me to listen to the Ulster Final at 4pm this Sunday)… But I cannot go without this sharing usefully uplifting quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry via Paul McFadden’s blog post concerning the qualities of leadership:

“The way to get people to build a ship is not to teach them carpentry, assign them tasks and give them schedules to meet; but to inspire them to long for the infinite immensity of the sea.”

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  • cynic2

    They all inspire me to emigrate

  • FuturePhysicist

    Good dreaming in some eyes makes for bad engineering, more lives on the Titanic would have been saved listening to Harland and Wolff rather than White Star Lines, who reduced the number of lifeboats and spread the lie that the boat or indeed any boat was unsinkable all for romantic imagery in public. The latter years of Antoine, a person who seems unlikely to have done any manual labour in his life unfortunately show what you get when style is put before substance.

  • brian2013

    John Hume was an inspirational leader. Ian Paisley Snr inspired loyalty and hatred in equal measure.
    The current leaders inspire me to spoil my ballot paper.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thank you FuturePhysicist, true that those who only dream tend to avoid the boring hard graft of real management. But we ARE ruled by dreamers, its just that their dreams involve the endless vistas of personal prestige and wealth that being in the public eye brings them. Not to mention the patronage opportunities where you can with luck “network” yourself into important positions after the electorate has sussed you out and votes for someone else, as in the case of our lame duck first minister. Such blatant narcissism is seldom inspirational, at least for anyone who has such outmoded concepts as “the common good” and “public service” in mind.

    But I’m told that a democracy always gets the leaders they deserve, and after the last couple of weeks……

  • Red Lion

    Basil McCrea of NI21’s response to the trouble at Woodvale/Ardoyne is inspiring.

  • JH

    I’m impressed by how even the so-called ‘PUL’ (other peoples’ acronym, not mine) members of my close family have come to think highly of Martin McGuinness. That definitely shows something.

    I’ve a certain amount of reverence for the generation and the personalities that went to great sacrifice to provide people like me with the opportunities we enjoy today. Eamonn McCann, Bernadette Devlin, Ivan Cooper etc. They stood for something when it was unpopular, controversial, even dangerous to do so. I guess the only one that can really take the title of inspirational leader though is John Hume. No praise would ever really be enough.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    I have a lot of hope in Basil and John.

    I doubt if the there’ll be anyone to fill David Ervine’s shoes for a long time though. If ever.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Someone who should really be remembered as an inspirational leader is Cyril Toman who did all the real groundwork on which much of the People’s Democracy was built over 1967/8 well before Mick Farrell came back from Scotland, and before anyone this side of the country had even heard of Eamonn McCann!


    Cyril’s witty ironies probably went too far over many of the ideologists heads for his own good most of the time, but for any who relished the absurdities of those terrible early years of the troubles, he is much missed at the present day when his humour might just illuminate some of darker spots of the present. Like so many others past and present, Cyril is in exile in Australia today.

  • Strange, Seann, I was a member of the Peoples Democracy in my final year at Queens and it probably contributed to me getting a 2:1 rather than First Class (I neglected my lab project and didn’t complete it.) Toman was an out and out Trotskyist even to the extent of grooming his facial hair and most members thought him to be boring with his extreme devotion to Marxist theories. Michael Farrell was much more inspirational in his speeches and he endeared himself to most. That was in 1968/9 rather than 67/68 so i don’t know what happened previously. I shunned most political groupings in my first three years since I thought they were all too extreme and exclusionary. The name People’s Democracy was part of a larger debate and wasn’t adopted until about November 1968. The original student protests against William Craig’s arbitrary and sectarian instructions to the RUC were supported by most political groupings initially, including the Young Unionists. They left when the movement took a “leftish” turn.