27 Jul 2018
DTW Summer '18


Trust, Respect, Loyalty, Kindness - or: Manipulation, Derision, Self-Interest and Cruelty.

From the Bible to Aesop to the Lord of the Rings, these traits can define the character of a person.

We all know, “love and kindness go hand in hand”, yet fake news, spin and 'point scoring' cascade downwards from the Halls of Power.

Where accepting responsibility would be more welcome, blame placing often prevails.  Taking credit takes precedence over sharing a sense of achievement.  Opting for ruthlessness become an increasingly used strategy, to avoid the risk of being viewed as naïve or vulnerable.  

Yet, I believe an enduring desire to do good, persists in the human spirit.  This week we've watched heroic efforts to support ten stranded students and their teacher, in underground caves in Thailand that have been flooded during their rainy season. 

This week we saw this spirit reflected in the dignified way that our young footballers conducted themselves against a poorly behaved Colombian side.  

We've also seen continuing debate this week, but multi-party commitment to supporting a healthcare system that will address the needs of our complex and changing population.  

Open, even-handed, and well-intended actions are really what we all hope to see in others.  They nurture us and reaffirm our belief.  The Nobel prize winning author, Saul Bellow, put it well when he said, “there is a universal eligibility to be noble”.  

But to do so, trustworthiness is key.  

Some years ago, a young associate was contemplating 'a moral shortcut'. What I suggested is a continuing reminder to me as well. I said, “Life is full of challenges and perhaps the greatest ones are living up to the values we respect in others."

After all, if we seek out traits like "Trust, Respect, Loyalty, Kindness" in others, we must be honest with ourselves too and recognise, 'life is not about what we can get away with, it's about what we can live with - and aspire to'.


As recorded for BBC WM