Guernsey gets a taste of Marmite

WHAT makes a good leader?

We might all think we know the answer to that question but it’s unlikely there would be agreement when it comes to real-world examples.

Donald Trump is a case in point. Many people dislike him and believe him unfit for office but, against all the odds, and despite numerous scandals emerging during his election campaign, he managed to garner sufficient supporters to be elected President of the United States, making him one of the most powerful people in the world.

And it would be foolish to rule out him winning a second term.

Similarly, in the UK, Boris Johnson, the firm favourite to replace Theresa May as Prime Minister, seems to attract admiration and antipathy in equal(ish) measure.

As with Trump, negative media coverage seems to have done little to dissuade his supporters and he will almost certainly be ensconced in No. 10 within weeks.

Closer to home, the recent critical report about Deputy Mary Lowe has revealed Guernsey’s Mother of the House to be another Marmite character – people either love her or loathe her.

Her detractors believe she is a bully and demand that she resign as president of Home Affairs, while her defenders see her as a firm, no-nonsense leader in the vein of Margaret Thatcher and dismiss anyone upset by her management style as a snowflake.

It is, of course, impossible to please everyone, but the problem with such Marmite politicians is that they sow seeds of discord, in this case among senior civil servants, politicians and ordinary islanders.

The EU referendum three years ago not only revealed how divided Britain had become; it exacerbated those divisions. Now the rifts within the House of Commons have paralysed it, with few willing to compromise their position in the pursuit of a workable Brexit.

It seems unlikely that Boris will manage to inspire the unity needed to solve that impasse. Just as it seems unlikely that Deputy Lowe can now inspire the confidence required to deal with the strategic issues at Home Affairs.

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