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July 29, 2008



I disagree. In terms of electoral support, the leader's job is to communicate what the government is doing to the electorate.

If you have a leader with poor communication skills and zero emotional intelligence, the public won't have confidence in what the government is doing.

Agaisnt the will of the vast majority, Tony Blair took us to war in Iraq, and people still voted for him in 2005.

Gordon Brown's problems are due to his lack of the requisite skills, rather than anything else.
I doubt Labour will win the next election with a different leader, but they may be able to avoid a worse defeat.


Chris, I agree. Labour has no principles, never has had, and the people who voted TB in in 97 and owards have finally woken up to it. The fact that Brown is ALSO incompetent and psychotic is merely a bonus for the Tories.

Rger Clague

I am tiring of looking for relief from my own problems by reading of Gordon Brown's. So I was happy to find your excellent blog looking at the bigger picture. That is how much does leadership matter. What is more, you start by looking at the evidence.

You list studies about a sport, a business and a nation.
I don't agree that your comments and conclusion that leaders do not matter is correct.


Basketball is by any measure a proper sport. It is in the Olympics and played professionally all over the world.
Even worse is to base your conclusion on a joke by a football manager quoted by ' The Special One'.
Mourinho's own joke that his excellent dentist has never had a toothache is funny but also not relevant.


You do not question the conclusion You are suggesting a mechanism by which the causal relation, new leader = lower profits, takes place.


Our leaders are also autocratic and not democratic

Leaders do make a difference if the institution can find or breed one. New Labour cannot.


You make the mistake of thinking everyone is like you. There are a number of people who are not intelligent, and may well be won over by a new leader.

I have in recent weeks met not one but two people who said that they were against Brown but for Blair. The first one I tried to win round by pointing out that their policies are exactly the same, but she said she "trusted" Blair. It hardly needs pointing out what utter shite that is, but it's a reaction that I gather is all too common.

The second I didn't bother to answer, as I've adopted the motto "no dialogue with c***s".


Pipsqueak Rubberband as the Messiah? Implausible. Still, you've got to admire the way that he proved himself a genuine member of the Forces of Progress. The FoP make it hard to adopt children? Right then, Pipsqueak adopts from the USA. Twice. Rather like Blair using a tutor from Westminster School.


Blair was able to communicate and was trusted in the beginning, then people rumbled him. So even if someone with Blair's "box office" came along it is unlikely that they would be trusted.


So Chris, I think the consensus here is
Your probably right, and it shouldn't matter, but it does.

Bob B

What of David Miliband?

He has had the truly remarkable insight that to win the next election, the Labour Party should maintain its commitment to change:

We can only reflect in awe and wonder. How shrewd it was to offer so little by way of substance or hint on the direction of change on which the Labour Party should embark.

This, surely, is the hallmark of the true political scientist. Among Robespierre's several unique contributions to political discourse was his commitment to create a virtuous society. Who among his detractors could possibly have disagreed with that elevated aim? Of course, those inclined to rumble what was going on tended to take a brief journey via the tumbrils to a predictable destination:

Mike Woodhouse

Of course, it could be that realising that a company is likely to deliver reduced profits over the next two years increases the likelihood of sudden death among CEOs...


The danish CEO study also showed significant negative effects on company performance in cases where the CEO's close family (children, spouse) died.

The effects of a mother-in-law's death? Positive.


I think the leader makes a big difference both politically and in terms of how the country is run.

On the first of those points I'd ask you whether the Conservatives would have won the 1992 election under Thatcher?

On the second, that just comes from having seen the differing approaches of Prime Ministers to the politics of policy have made a substantial difference to over a million peoples' lives for better or worse.

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