In our still conflicted society, what does ‘leadership’ really mean?

All I can say is get yourself a copy of the Irish News today, and read Newton Emerson. I won’t try to parse or quote or paraphrase his arguments (since I cannot link directly to the piece online), but they raise the issue of what political leadership really means.

Is it issuing a press release condemning attacks on the other side?

Or looking for robust common standards that allow individuals in broader society to pursue their own political, cultural and economic goals in peace?


  • michael-mcivor

    Read that today in the Irish News-

    Apparently Newton Emerson can’t see no difference between a Sinn Fein commemoration for IRA members who died fighting in a war years ago and RIR homecoming parades for those who are still killing and being killed in different parts of the world-

    Sinn Fein now see’s Peace as the only way forward whilst a lot of unionists/loyalists still support the brit army still getting beat in wars-the brit army is to stupid to learn-but why cant most Unionists/Loyalists leave war-mongers behind- why can a Reporter/ commentator not see the difference-why so blind Newton-

  • Unfortunately there seems to be more behindship than there is leadership. For example, the DUP wholeheartedly support the OO even when they mess up terribly. Tails, dogs, wagging…

  • aquifer

    Eoghan Harris (some hackles are rising and that is fine) used to emphasise the need to ‘act with good authority’, being honest, prepared to criticise your own side for doing bad stuff,or to take flak for not toeing a party line, to take risks for the right reasons, or to cross boundaries.

    Criticising ‘themmuns’ is much easier and there are plenty at it.

    The hollow clickety clack of sectarian ping-pong.

  • Gopher

    You are going to get poor leadership because each party has such a limited political gene pool. Each potential leader has to have too narrow a belief system to progress. Each leader therefore starts intellectually and emotionally challenged and it takes strong character to break out of those constraints. Hopefully NI21 will improve things with a broader base, they have impressed me by shutting up and staying out of petty skirmishes no point fighting battles ad exhausting yourself before you have to.

  • BluesJazz

    It’s the economy, at least on the mainland.

    Someday, soon. the sun will set on our public sector paradise. Not just the civil service 12 hour week jobs at over 40k a year and the DLA fraud comfort blanket that constitutes much of our ‘economy’. But the NHS/PSNI/Local Government easy lifestyle.

    The new ‘finance minister’ Simon Hamilton hinted at this yesterday, as did his many predecessors. But what happens to ‘leadership’ when the real government bring in real cuts to the subsidy, and it’s gonna happen.

  • Alias

    The place to find people with leadership skills is in business. They’re everywhere in that domain. In an ideal world they’d also be interested in politics…

    The ‘shared future’ thing doesn’t need leaders anyway. It’s one of those things can has to evolve. It’s not a vision or an ideology so it can’t inspire people. It would happen on its own if the ‘leaders’ didn’t have their own tribal agendas.

  • Rory Carr

    Anyone who has ever watched Prime Minister’s Question Time at Westminster will surely applaud Sinn Féin’s wise decision to avoid being drawn into that raucous bear-pit lest their elected members also become infected with the very disease of mote-spotting which Newton Emerson so rightly condemns.

  • Mick Fealty

    So the PR route is fine for you then Rory?

  • Rory Carr

    Certainly not, Mick, nor have I so implied.

    Neither am I so impressed with Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s thoughts on ” the infinite immensity of the sea,” the contemplation of which is just as likely to inspire a man to build a secure shelter on dry land as to build a boat to venture thereupon.

  • son of sam

    I note that Barry Mc Elduff on Twitter describes Newton as “a sarcastic ,sneering,condescending Unionist “.Must have struck a raw nerve there,Newton!

  • @McIvor,

    -“the brit army is to stupid to learn-”

    Before you accuse anyone else of being “to stupid” [sic], you should learn the difference between to and too, some might think that maybe the person making the accusation is too stupid.

  • michael-mcivor


    Glad that you agree with my comment except for a missing o-

  • Zig70

    I don’t really like the Irish news, it misses the point for me which the i didn’t in delivering interesting stories. Nor do I hold much affection for Newton. He hasn’t always worried too much about facts v stories. More waffle than thrust. I made the effort of getting the Irish news and thankfully didn’t pay for it but I’m missing the leadership angle. Are you projecting on a fool, Mick?