Servant hearted leaders

While he may have jumped before he was pushed it was refreshing to hear Humza Yousaf’s speech as he stepped down as First Minister of Scotland. Firstly, he admitted that he had made a mistake and secondly, he said he wasn’t willing to trade his values or principles simply to stay in power. He also told his political opponents he bore them no ill will and wished them well.

It’s not often that political leaders step down with such grace. I’m reminded of Willie Whitelaw who stepped down as British Foreign Secretary in 1982 over his failure to foresee the invasion of the Falkland Islands and General Eisenhower who wrote a press release on 6th June 1944 in which he took sole responsibility for the failure of the D-Day landings. (Obviously it was never sent but he wrote it just in case).

I’m also reminded of the example of Jesus. St Paul said of him that he ‘did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant*’. To have such an attitude when called to high office is not natural given the tendency of our ego to seek self-promotion. But if it was good enough for the Son of God…

(*Philippians 2:6)

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