What PM can learn from two other privileged kids

In Political governance on 12/12/2014 at 4:58 am

Here are what two leaders can teach our PM:who like him they came from privileged backgrounds. In fact they came from even more privileged backgrounds of wealth, where their fathers were very indulgent, at least a lot more than LKY.

One is the ruler of Dubai: For a man who does not need to go through that laborious indignity of seeking election or re-election, he is a brilliant “retail politician”. He posed for photos, shook hands with all and sundry, and deployed a warmth and easy charm that many a western politician could only dream of.

But then he didn’t get a double first at Cambridge. He too went to Cambridge but spent most of his time at the race track. He now owns the leading racing stable in the world.

Despite being a hereditary ruler, and  a serious player in racing, the sport of kings, he has the common touch, which our PM lacks.

The common, or popular, touch is very important as is shown by India’s PM. He can enthuse the people to vote for him and his party. The common touch is also important when it comes to getting people to forget inconvenient facts. Boris Johnson is the mayor of London. He is a Tory mayor in a city whose voters tend to the left. He is also a rogue (he has a record of fibbing and philandering) and buffon. And he comes from a rich family. But because he has the common touch (takes MRT when here), the voters in London adore him. He might even become PM.

The other is the PM of the UK. His grandfather was a director of HSBC while his maternal grandfather was a director of Chartered Bank (now StanChart). His father and grandfather were the senior partners in a leading City firm of stockbrokers. He went to Eton and Oxford (As did Boris Johnson).

But he knows what matters and how to say it.

“LEADERSHIP,” declared David Cameron, in announcing a series of proposals to curb immigration on November 28th, “means dealing with the frustrations” that millions of Britons to feel on this issue. “Not turning a deaf ear to it,” Economist few months back

Taz about right. Leadership is not about the application of Hard Truths and being vaguely dismissively about our concerns about their application to our daily lives, while asking for “blank cheques” despite not doing the right things by us.

And leadership is also about admitting screw-ups and correcting them. This extract appeared two yrs ago

Cameron, speaking on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show, said it took courage for an administration to admit it was “ploughing into the brick wall” and change course on unpopular policies.

[Earlier in the week the chancellor had tom perform three u-turns in a row]

Cameron said, “… Nobody thinks this government lacks resolve, strength and grit.”

“It has all of those things and it also has the courage to say, ‘Look, if we’ve got something wrong, let’s change it; let’s not keep ploughing into the brick wall.'”

He added: “There have been difficulties in the budget and we’ve had to make some changes.

“When you’ve got something wrong, there are two things you can do in government: you can plough on regardless, or you can say, ‘No, we’re going to listen, we’re going to change it, we’re going to get it right.’ And that’s what we’ve done and I think that’s the right thing to do.”

(Emphasis mine)

A final tot. “The British prime minister has four distinct jobs: running the government, leading his party in parliament, leading the national party and being a constituency Member of Parliament,” wrote Sir John Major in his memoirs.

In his recent speech to the party cadres, PM seems to have forgotten that we too would know what he said by way of the constructive, nation-building media. What works for an audience of pigs cadres, doesn’t necessarily work for a audience of sheep voters, 40% of which are not happy with him or the PAP.

But most probably, he tot the sheep S’poreans would respond to the same message as the pigs cadres in a similar way (enthusiastically) because he knew that the media would report the speech.

And he wants “blank cheques”? How to give them to him? When he doesn’t understand that the PAP and the people are not one? Oh I forgot, it’s a Hard Truth that the PAP and S’poreans are one.




  1. That two privilege kids probably had a more normal childhood without bodyguards as barrier to normal interactions with other kids. Our PM was going right-left-right while the rest of his band was left-right-left and nobody bothered to correct him except us bunch of kids who were shouting “Botak kayu”, to have his bodyguards come after us from across the school field.

  2. Well, his kayu days are still very much with him. Like the occasion when inspecting a German guard of honour during a visit to Germany, our sissy PM walked on oblivious to the fact that his escort, German Chancellor Angela Mekel, had stopped and turned to salute her country’s flag as was their country’s protocol! An aide had to fetch him back! That was a prized video clip. I wonder if it is somewhere in the Youtube. I would not rule out the possibility that Lee’s followers must have BOUGHT it off the TV station that owns it to prevent even more Singaporeans from watching it.

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