During the UK’s 2020 lockdown we were allowed out once a day for exercise. I took it upon myself to take at least one photo, even though I was usually treading familiar ground. It was a great way to keep the little grey cells ticking over before returning to a 1.5 bedroom flat.
I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.
They all stacked up on my phone, forming a record of what was running through my head at the time. Some became quite useful, as I took to measuring my calendar by the meal I’d had for dinner.
By 15th May 2020 I’d finished a report analysing the ebb and flow of Nissan’s fortunes. It needed a photograph for the cover, so I detoured past my local Nissan dealership. This was the time when we were “permitted” a single walk outdoors each day for exercise, and a photo of a new LEAF would be the perfect accompaniment.
Weeks had passed since people last visited the forecourt. The cars were covered in the dust and dirt of neglect.
While I was doing my best within the rules, those who govern were out in the sun, enjoying a glass of wine and laughing and joking. Whether this was a business meeting, or a post meeting social engagement, is lost in the mists of time. Either way, it irks that while my wife and I were “doing our bit”, those who urged us to do so were busy breaking their own rules.
For me it was just another day. For 350 people it was the day they died as victims of the pandemic. It was the day over 1,400 people were in intensive care struggling with the effects of Covid-19, and another 2,800 tested positive.
Individuals lapse. They make mistakes or exercise poor judgment. It’s to be expected, and perhaps we can be a little forgiving of them.
Were this a one-off where the participants said they made a mistake and apologised for it, I think we’d have been more forgiving. That it seems to be a part of a culture where there’s “one rule for them, another for us”, makes it unforgivable. Worse that the obfuscation, denials and linguistic slight-of-hands piled on thick and fast.
A lesson is here for those in leadership positions. When we make a mistake, own it. Apologise clearly and quickly. Explain how you’re going to set things right. Deliver on your promise.
Sadly, a lesson the UK Government seems incapable of learning.