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Mike's Minute: This is what leadership should be about

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 4 Jul 2024, 9:42am
Photo / Getty
Photo / Getty

Mike's Minute: This is what leadership should be about

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 4 Jul 2024, 9:42am

The uplifting story of the week for me is the 30% drop in parents taking kids out of school for holidays. 

It's a single metric and it's one travel agency, albeit a big one, so it's hardly scientific and about to be published in the Lancet. But it's an insight into what might be happening and, even if it is remotely accurate, it’s a sign of several things. 

Firstly, the power and necessity of Government. 

Think about it - all David Seymour said was get your kids to school, harden up, we will start keeping data and we will hold schools and you to account. 

Like magic, a problem, if not solved, was starting to get addressed. 

A Government is leadership and leadership in many, many areas is clearly needed.

Which is a depressing thought for a person like me. I like to believe in self-determination and self-starting. More 'you' and less Government. 

But in a collective sense, we are only as strong as the weakest link and in social experiment terms what we have seen in recent years in all sorts of areas is if you let the discipline and the leadership slip, all social hell breaks loose. 

The presence of police works, as we heard the cop say this week. It's based on the British system, which is over 100 years old. Presence and visibility works and that's not hard to figure out. 

The testing in schools they announced yesterday will have the same effect. 

If you offer excuses, if you can't be bothered, if you let the guidelines slip there are those who revel in being ordinary, if not hopeless. 

You could, and I do, argue that schools should have driven the absenteeism solution themselves. But they didn’t. 

But when they were told to, it works. What a surprise. 

What about cellphones in schools. Was it the calamitous mess they predicted? No. Why haven't you heard even a peep? Because it works and all it needed was a bit of discipline and a bit of leadership. 

These are the small battles where the tangible outworkings provide hope. 

A lot of people wondered, and wondered very loudly, whether the state of the country was so bad it might take years to fix, if it was even possible to fix it at all. 

Well these examples this week I think are a good guide that we might actually be seeing some fruits of some labour. 

Keep it simple, work hard and expect more. You'll be amazed. 

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