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Don’t take me to your leader…

What is a leader? Is anyone in charge? If they are, does it make a blind bit of difference? Colin Montgomery chews it over


As my tippy tappy digits start pecking these keys, like some mindless poultrified appendages, I can hear the faint sound of circus music. The odd clownish klaxon. The smell of greasepaint even – or the rank stench of ambition? The roar of the idiocracy gathered for the ritual tricks, games and bagatelles. The Tories are picking a leader again, for the gazillionth time.

To be honest, ‘picking a leader’ is generous, it’s more a case of deciding which deluded, poisonous, self-interested upstart gets the keys to the dressing-up box. As being anointed by the pub bores and golf club racists of the shires is really less an endorsement of your leadership qualities – more official confirmation that you are not fit to run a coffee morning tombola. Or a bath.

I hear cries of: “You hate the Tories, Montgomery!” That much is true. Yet, there is a potent truth that lurks beneath that opening salvo – all feathers and claws as it was.

Yes, something is starting to emerge from the swamp our world has turned into. It’s as though the Kool Aid has really gone downhill in the last few years. As though we’re becoming immune to it. The rope trick don’t work no more.

And things are distinctly ropey to say the least. For, the hard reality is, all of the matchbox Machiavellian machinations taking place by Old Man Thames – likely to be well over by the time this diatribe hits the press – are no more than deciding which knot to use for the gallows. It doesn’t matter if the rosette changes colour, the idea that anyone could fundamentally influence the direction of global travel is clearly absurd.

The structural architecture of decline is set. The gulf between rich and poor is widening – a process seen by some as a positive - evidence of some Darwinian masterplan playing out as intended. On that note, avail yourself of a Google search what exiting fool, Boris, had to say about natural selection in his ‘cornflake packet’ rant a few years ago. And then think on how this chump rose to become cream of the crop.

Many will harrumph at the nihilism of all this, examine the palimpsest of the last few decades and get a box of hankies ready, or a sick bucket. Global terrorism’s poster boy moment at the Twin Towers? Gung-ho binary militarism that fed the snake. The financial crash? Some cosmetic tinkering at BAU (not so much Business As Usual as Bankers All Unscathed), and irrefutable evidence the world is burning?

I’m no eco-warrior, but when chunks of ice the size of Belgium are shearing off and the weather report is more erratic than the unpredictable prog jazz of the real Weather Report we are in a pickle. Returning to the original theme, the car is on fire and there’s no driver at the wheel - with apologies to God Speed You Black Emperor

The ultimate folly in the face of such an onslaught is to entertain the idea that some great man or woman – the famed ‘leader’ of the title above - will emerge to make the pain go away. To wrench us back on the road, put the fire out, drive us down to The Winchester where the Shaun of the Dead crew went for a few beers while that whole zombie thing blew over.

There is no leader. There is no control. There is no plan. But there is I believe… hope. Ready for the volte-face?

Despite the majority of this screed being as bleak as a wet weekend in Ardrossan, I think there is a possible way forward. One that doesn’t involve going on Amazon and snapping up William Rees Mogg’s eschatological tomes - they are a decent guide to the malicious bare-knuckle capitalist motivations of this mendacious cartoon toff incidentally; check out The Sovereign Individual in particular. Yes, I do see a wee glimmer of blue over our metaphorical Ailsa Craig.

And it is this: the sooner we reject the idea of leadership and take the lead ourselves – as part of a growing collective movement to act in the face of all the self-inflicted adversity that grows ever more ominous, I think things could change.

At the very least, we could stop the dam from breaching entirely. Not a revolution, but the simple weight of collective will to reject the filthy ending that is being typed out, with each new day that passes.

It’s either that, or we keeping looking to someone else to take the lead. And, as we’ve seen in the utter nonsense that passes for our politics on this septic isle, there are no leaders. Not real ones.

In that respect, with a nod to the poultrified tappings of the first paragraph, we’d be better trusting a real chicken to peck out decisions by chance. For, as a species, we are already playing chicken with our futures.

Time to start giving a cluck. ■

We’d be better trusting a real chicken to peck out decisions by chance, because we are playing chicken with our futures



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