Leaders need to unite


I am struggling to imagine if there will ever be another election victory which unites all sides, with almost everybody erupting in unbridled joy behind one extraordinary individual.

The last time this happened was the inauguration of President Nelson Mandela in 1994. He had history, morality and justice on his side - no doubt God too. What a moment it was for the world when that prisoner became the President.

Why is it that leaders let us all down? Are our expectations simply too high? Most probably when we have witnessed such a breathtaking example of how saintly our species can be. President Obama has certainly scaled many mountains but, as he himself recently declared, America is more divided now than when he was elected eight years ago. Trump and Clinton now represent this divide and one thing we will all agree on is the unlikeliness of either unifying the Unites States.

Here in the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron promised a referendum on Scottish independence and another on the European Union and he has delivered both but the nation is also more divided. Even in my field - sustainability, people who agree on fundamental challenges such as climate change are now divided on whether staying in Europe will be more helpful to solving such challenges. One of the greenest MPs, Zac Goldsmith, is voting for the UK to leave the EU.

Surely we can only solve global challenges together? Taking any big step that divides rather than unites will thwart our efforts to do so. In becoming less united day by day, we become less effective and less likely to win. As the old adage goes, "You have to be in it to win it".

Perhaps we need to re-assess what exactly are we trying to win?

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