Heroes and Villains during the Covid-19 crisis
None of us know how we would react in a crisis – whether we would totally crumble under the pressure or, whether our inner-Churchillian resilience would come to the fore. It’s been fascinating to watch world leaders as they navigate their way around the crisis.
To be fair, the COVID-19 pandemic is the stuff disaster movies are made of, and while all national governments will scenario plan for various circumstances, the reality is often different to the theoretical. In a constantly evolving situation, where decisions made now will impact individual families and state economies for years to come – effective leadership and communication is vital.
There he was riding high and basking in his post-election glory with the press celebrating the impact of the 'Boris bounce' on the economy. Now Boris’s ball has not only lost its bounce, it’s been ripped apart by a huge Alsatian. The communication handling of the virus has been soundly slammed and even his defenders are finding it difficult to justify some of the confusing messages. Presumably these are the same communication specialists that were partly responsible for the Tories election landslide – and so there will no doubt be a lot to learn on what went wrong when we eventually get an Inquiry.
However, there is some consolation. At least our leader is not Donald Trump. Trump has never been renowned for his communication prowess and so his gaffs during the coronavirus should come as no surprise to anyone. Nevertheless, there can’t be any of us who have not watched incredulously at some of his words – from suggesting that having more positive coronavirus cases than anyone else is a badge of honour - to implying ingesting a disinfectant might kill the virus.
The heroes - or perhaps we should say heroines?
There have been numerous articles written that the strongest leaders during this crisis have been women – and, in our Woke, politically correct world, I could not possible endorse such blatant sexism. (Fingers crossed here sisters!)
From Germany to Denmark and from Taiwan to Sint Maarten the females have largely done good. The heroine of the hour though, has to be Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s Prime Minister.
Her communication skills have been outstanding and nobody could doubt the clarity of her message and strategy. She told her citizens they would go hard and go early and ‘we will do everything to protect you. I’m asking you all to do all you can to protect all of us.’ Interestingly, she used Facebook Live videos as her favourite communication platform rather than the combative press conference formula favoured by Johnson and Trump. Not only has Ardern’s policy resulted in minimal deaths but her government’s popularity and trust is higher than 80%
Are you listening Boris?