Britain – make it a dictator!
In this most difficult time for my country, leaving the European Union, the worst thing that can happen is to have the ruling party absolutely useless, with no scrutinised policy, or indeed any worthwhile idea with which to proceed, and an opposition so hopelessly divided, and equally inept, that there simply isn’t an opposition of which to speak.
So I wish, quite fervently, for a dictator to rule the roost for a while. Yes, he or she must be, for the most part, a benevolent kind of soul, and also someone who will not abuse his or her power. Someone with a track-record of modernisation, and, believe it or not, someone who does not want to leave behind a legacy, a culture, of dictatorship – so I know just the person for the job.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of modern Turkey. He took over the ruins of a collapsing empire, and within a couple of decades, he gave women the vote, (40 years before Switzerland, and 15 years before France and Italy), separated religion from culture by secularising the country, and adopted a Western-based criminal code. As John F. Kennedy said: “There is no doubt that the revolutions he has carried out in his country shows how the trust of a nation brings success. There is no other example like this.” Indeed, he ruled by not breaking hearts, but rather by winning them.
So, the perfect chap to steer Britain through one of its biggest political crisis. How would he do it? First of all, he would bring to task all those who used misinformation to sway the British voter in the 2016 referendum. And make no mistake, there was cheating. Vote Leave broke electoral law. So throw all those responsible into prison and keep them there. Who’s going to miss pathetic Boris and his evil lying henchmen and women? Let them all rot.
Atatürk would then let the British people have their say on Brexit, but making it quite clear what the real facts are about staying and leaving. He had this remarkable gift for getting the country behind him, without resorting to foul and treacherous means. He once said “The peasant is the true master and ruler of nations, for they are the real producer.”
And then what would he do? He would make sure there was a healthy, functioning set of opposition parties, so that true democracy would prevail after his dictatorship was at an end. What a bloke.
He certainly wasn’t perfect, but if only Britain had his type of dictatorship at this moment, maybe the country would not be the broken, disjointed, divisive, and frankly, deeply unpleasant place it can be today.
Boris, my country needs you again
I might be having a good time speculating what world leader, past or present, should rule my country but I’ve got my answer ready: Boris Yeltsin.
He was a very brave man and a visionary paving the way for his country into the future, breaking up with the things that destroyed it in the recent past.
You have to be a made-of-steel man to go against the Soviet system in the end of 80s when nobody expected it to break up any time soon. Yet, in 1989, when he was removed from all his party positions, he then went for the Moscow local election winning it with a landslide, something like 90 per cent of voters saying ‘Yes’. His campaign had no, or only negative, coverage in the state-owned media but he’s got something more: true popular support. It was then he became a true alternative to Mikhail Gorbachev who at this time obviously became an obstacle for progress being undecided which side to take.
In August 1991 Boris Yeltsin was brave enough to get on a tank and read out his statement declaring the coup leaders illegal. He could have been dead by the end of that day. Yet he chose to get on the tank. It was time when the country got a new leader, fearless and strong. Knowing to where he wanted to lead the country.
He was smart enough, unlike the current Russian president, to understand that the only thing that pushes any country forward is freedom: freedom of speech and freedom of economic activity that unleash people’s energy and creativity. He also knew that the best thing to do with the Soviet past and its imperial glory was to get rid of it asap, not to worship it. He was making his mistakes but he was looking over the distant horizon.
Yeltsin was brave enough to stand under the pressure of the press or any opposition. Unlike the current Russian president, again, who can’t stand any criticism and weak enough to face true political
opponents instead of putting them in jail or simply killing them. He knew that you can’t build a new democratic country if you don’t follow its democratic rules yourself. Unlike Putin (his biggest mistake), I don’t remember Yeltsin lying to his people. It takes having some balls to behave like that. He was stubbornly pulling his country forward despite having very low oil prices, strong (and free) opposition and his own health problems.
The Russia of 1999 with its fast-growing economy and a developing political system was a totally different story compared to the Russia of 1991: food shortages, a paralyzed bankrupt state with desperation in the air.
Now I feel like the country is once again going towards a dead-end: yes, we have food now on the shelves, unlike 1991, but we’re degrading both mentally and economically trying to get back into the Soviet past. We need somebody who is not surrounded by his corrupted friends, who knows what should be the Russia of tomorrow, doesn’t have useless nostalgia about the Soviet past and is brave enough to stick to his agenda, no matter what.
I know this man. This man’s name is Boris Yeltsin.
This is so hard!
When Roger suggested this I thought “This will be fun and easy!” and I jumped at the idea. Oh how foolish. I hope you appreciate how truly difficult this is.
At first I was thinking that the US has had several great Presidents over time and I could choose one amongst those. But consider this: if you plopped Lincoln back behind the Resolute Desk, what would happen? Seriously, the phone would ring and he may try to run away – “What the hell is that?!” Would he look for people inside the TV? No, the learning curve would be too steep, we must have someone from the post-war period.
That only leaves two: Reagan & Kennedy. Now, we don’t really know how Kennedy would be judged if he had served a full two terms. He was off to a good start but… Come to think of it, Obama was also off to a good start but the right wing of the Republican (conservative) party wanted no part of it; even if that meant harm to America. So no Democrat (liberal party) because after Trump, the nation is too badly damaged and I don’t think the far right could deal with it. Notice I don’t care if Kennedy would do a good job, I truly don’t think a real, serious liberal could function: he would fail through no fault of his own.
So that leaves Reagan. Now I’m old enough to remember Reagan and I liked him. I’m from the other party and the opposite end of the political spectrum. But I liked Reagan and I’ll tell you why: no matter what the subject was I could tell you what he thought. He had a belief system and core principles.
During his last two years, I became aware that his mind was slipping. He sometimes appeared unsure, lost. I had the impression that his advisors helped him function.
The far right has moved so far right that I’m sure they would hate Reagan today. He was a union guy and thought workers should have dignity. Yes, he believed in smaller government but you must remember that was smaller by nineteen-seventies standards. In other words, a social safety net much bigger than today’s. Tax rates on the One Percent were not just higher, but dramatically higher under Reagan.
I suppose, I should give Ronnie a pass too.
Oh crap, now what… Sergey will not have these problems. You think Ivan the Terrible would run from some dumbass phone? Hell no, he would smite the damn thing with his sword.
I always liked that word: smite. Maybe I’ll look up what it means someday.
Oh wait, I gotta write this thing. Which world leader, past or present, would you like to have running your country today?
Maybe Google has my answer: I searched “greatest modern leader”. Check this out:
In other words, these people are leaving indelible marks on society, and they are sure to be remembered for centuries to come.
- Barack Obama. …
- Bill Gates. …
- Sir Richard Branson. …
- Oprah Winfrey. …
- Larry Page and Sergey Brin. …
- Jeff Bezos. …
- Mohammed Nasheed. …
- Sonia Sotomayor.
Hmmm, I would have put Musk on there. It’s an interesting list because it’s mostly Internet guys (Musk is also an Internet guy). Look, you can’t have have Obama & Sotomayor because the far right would freak and, I’m serious, blood would be spilled.
I don’t want an Internet guy, it turns out they are mostly money-grabbing butt heads. As a group, Internet CEOs seem to be utterly amoral.
That leaves Branson, Nasheed, & Winfrey.
I’m going with Oprah. No, the far right will not freak because their wives will snap that butt. Those guys know who really runs the house.
Oprah is moral and smart, American women adore her, and she is an outsider. I have watched several of her shows over the years and I like how her mind works.
For example: that thing with Ivan the Terrible smiting the phone; Oprah would explain to him how when she was a child, all the other children had phones. She was phone-less, isolated and ridiculed. Ivan would be so moved that a single tear would roll down his cheek, then, he would lop her head off.