Monday, May 18, 2009

Democratic Leadership - the integral intention challenge

Is the challenge about compliance with the so called rules or maybe moving beyond - entering into a spirit of behaviours which works with the values of truth; honesty; trust and integrity?

These last two weeks have to say the least been interesting in the political life in the UK. Last week saw the 10th anniversary of Wales' devolution and the creation of the National Assembly for Wales - and this week the revelations about UK MP's expenses and the crisis of confidence that is emerging in UK parliament---issues of trust, integrity and truth being at the heart of the matter.

My father, a miner - who crawled on his hands and knees at that time to dig coal to feed his family, ensuring that I was the first in our family to have access to a university education and that others could follow would be turning in his grave now at the integrity and state of political leadership.

Being Welsh, I am passionate about rugby :-) as well as our little nation's potential for its emergence in the world. I wonder what the gifts of poetry, music, artistry and the celtic roots may contribute to us finding an identity in this emerging global village. Also 10 years into devolution - I have been having conversations about the role of leadership in this emergence and exploring the power of imagination in enabling the transformation of this very proud and humble nation. . .perhaps how we might invest and work collectively to support the next generation and address the legacies of poverty and health deprivation left in our valleys by the enactment of the industrial myths.

And then last week - I attended the inaugural Nehru lecture here in Cardiff organised by the Wales India Centre. I learned about and was inspired by the original intentions behind the establishment of the Indian constitution - 60 years old this year. The presentation by Lord Bhikhu Parekh touched on the importance of:

* the universal franchise, the vote becoming available to all at the same time
* embracing plurality and multiculturalism
* holding dissent and difference in perspective
* the importance of giving everyone a hope; a sense of dignity
* bringing the marginalised into mainstream and respecting difference
* working with the challenges of defining an identity and learning to embrace equality

The talk also made me think about scale and size - India employs the equivalent of the population of Wales in its electoral industry process alone!

So am wondering more about size, scale and impact and indeed as per Schumacher's writings 'Small is Beautiful' - whether we might act collectively here to create a sustainable future - especially since this week sees the launch of the 'One Wales - One Planet' strategy at the international book festival at Hay on Wye. Perhaps how we need to ground and act very locally - if we are ever to impact globally. .

My other reflections from the India experience are that democracy is one thing and the outcome is another -- over 600 million people in India live on below 2 dollars a day - so I am wondering about the challenges for a newly created government and its constitutional framework.

Wales - 10 years in - and I am questioning . . .? Perhaps this latest political crisis is indeed an opportunity to seize our day and wake up to the fact that we are co-creators in this society of ours. We are creating or destroying the community and sense of belonging - what are we choosing and therefore enacting? What is our intention? How are we integrating that into how we behave and how we live our lives on a daily basis?

Who is responsible? Stewardship and 'heriting' - mmm?

One of my best memories when I was a liitle girl was of being with my dad in his garden. He grew lots of vegetables to sustain us, but his passion was for his dahlia garden - I remember feeling I am so tiny these flowers are huge - he took much pride in his blooms :-)xxx

And as the world gets smaller through our technological capability - we can reach and touch many more now. I wonder what would happen if we were able to embrace these realities and challenges on our own doorsteps and beyond. Maybe to explore taking up our own personal leadership roles in our families and communities? And if this really is a global village - how might we embrace and learn with our neighbours with a spirit of love and compassion.

What might be our contribution and constructive action? Who are we as citizen leaders of our new world?

Learning as I travel. . with love Christine

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