I came back from what turned out to be a slightly longer summer break than I’d intended feeling genial. Genial is an old fashioned sort of pork pie, pint and pickles word – genial is not about being pleased with oneself but it’s having that feeling of viewing life in a calm, tolerant and good-natured way.
Even the news about the economy was better and the long term forecasters, genially in praise of population growth, suggest that going as things are we’ll be the no. 2 economy in Europe soon and even possibly overtake Germany by the middle of the century.
So what’s not to smile about?
Quite a lot apparently if you are a member of the far right anti-Europe Tory brigade, the Tea Party in America or the Golden Dawn in Greece (notice how I’ve willy-nilly thrown together these unhappy bed fellows into the grumpy sleeping bag.)
This right wing crowd are characterised by extreme bad manners, a refusal to play by the rules and a strong sense of self-righteousness. Most of all they won’t take no or even yes for an answer – they all have to have the last word. So you might say they are behaving in quite a childish way.
This makes me speculate that Mr Cool - Barack Obama – who is calmly saying “no” at present, probably wishes he lived in Greece because what he’d do then is lock the Tea Party up, ban them and pretend they didn’t exist.
Is he lacking in leadership? Well he isn’t a Thatcher or a Churchill or a George Bush for sure. But all of them were actually pretty unpopular from time to time in their day.
It’s been argued that the absence of leadership – so widely lamented – is partly due to a failure of “followship”. We, the electorate, have become unherdable cats or horses (if you prefer) who, when it comes the crunch, won’t drink.
And modern media adds to the trouble because wrong and right both demand and get equal billing, so it’s really difficult to keep focused on principle and stay calmly on the track you promised.
Especially as Armageddon beckons.
And finally Luke Johnson – who created Pizza Express and writes insightfully on management has lambasted the far from genial Lord Sugar and the crowd on Dragon’s Den. Their behaviour is inhibiting a new generation of entrepreneurs because witnessing the witless and greedy being torn to shreds by the cruel and rude is not what they want from their lives.
It seems to me a bit of geniality all round might not go amiss. I’m not going to align with the band War’s song “why can’t we be friends?” but it really seems endless playground confrontation is becoming tiresome and unproductive.