Editor’s blog: Machismo has had its day

The annual release of the photos of Vladimir Putin on his hols never cease to amaze. Here in the West we find the shots of the old KGB brute, topless and astride his throbbing stallion – with his gently sagging, late middle-aged moobs bobbing up and down – little short of hilarious.

Hilarious until you remember that the KGB thug with the Napoleon complex is held in such high esteem by the average Russian. This is highly effective PR. He is the tough guy who brooks no nonsense and if you get on the wrong side of him – whether you’re a political opponent or a Siberian bear – he’ll sort you out with his bare hands (though just where his backward policies have got his country is dealt with in this month’s MT).

Putin’s remain the sort of images of leadership that meet with strong approval all over the world. By contrast, our leader Gordon Brown is spending his holiday not strangling the wildlife and white-water rafting through Siberia but doing a spot of voluntary work in the East Fife area. OK, so it’s faintly risible in its piety, and Gordon is said to be more than a little shaky in his dealings with the opposite sex. But think how the averagely intelligent and enlightened Italian feels about their political leadership at the moment.

It’s hard to imagine what sort of dalliance involving the opposite sex Berlusconi could possibly indulge in to drag his character any lower. If he got caught in the back of a Fiat Punto with Dame Edna, a hamster and a vial of crystal meth, the average Italian would probably merely shrug and accept it. You could write a book – and several have – about the trouble women have being taken seriously in Italy.

Outside Europe, other kinds of ‘strong leadership’ include giving women who dare to wear trousers in public a damn good whipping (Sudan) and shooting those young females who dare to protest without a veil against the regime in Iran. How apt – and how disastrous – that the militia felt it necessary to eradicate someone so young and so beautiful as Neda Soltani for stepping out of line. They couldn’t control her, tame her and have their way with her so they killed her.

The point is, I suppose, that strutting machismo, has had its time for us in the liberal West – whether in politics, public life or business. But trying to find the new way of doing things is awkward and long drawn-out. We just have to endure Harman’s sometimes wrong-headed sermonising along the way.


In today’s bulletin:

Lloyds sinks to massive loss as it writes off 73m per day
Betfair worth backing as revenues soar again
Editor’s blog: Machismo has had its day
Could the recession cause two decades of income loss?
Seven ways to… Manage interns better

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    Appparently strutting machismo is still rife in today’s boardrooms though according to a report out today. See http://bit.ly/x2Uef . Maybe rather than going all sermonising and Harmanesque, full-on Putinesque may be the way to go for women! You never know!