I was as amused, as much as Mrs Hogday was infuriated, as we listened last night to the politicians and generals ducking and diving from the questions about whether Gaddafi (or Gaffa`, as I expect the Sun to dub him anytime soon, if they haven't already) is a legitimate target. It reminded me of the questions I would occasionally be asked to field on behalf of my old force, whenever there had been the fatal shooting of someone in an armed police operation. Thankfully, my old force hadn't experienced one of these, albeit they had shot someone during my tenure (he survived) but of course every day that passes when there isn't a fatal shooting by a police force is a day nearer the one they will eventually get. The questions from the press were as searching (quite rightly) as they were blunt (a few were just plain crass) and my ACPO group seemed very keen and eager to pass them on to me to answer as, `you're the chap who is in charge of such matters, you understand, don't you, Mr Hogday`? But I'm not going to trip out my answers here.
What I have noticed over the years, is the interesting take on leadership and control that `the Colonel` has incrementally developed into his own doctrine. He says that he is not in command and control and he is not `the leader`, but that the power is very much in the hands of the people through the various `peoples committees` that he has established. He sees his personality as his greatest strength and has indeed developed the `great leader, great man` mannerisms. He referred to Obama as `my son` in a recent diatribe. How stately and worldly wise of him to broadcast that fatherly self-image. His long speeches on state TV will occasionally show his eyes glazing over and staring into the great beyond to give his people the idea of his honorable intentions.
This has similarities elsewhere, where the `symbolic` leader was, similarly, not swamped with the burden of decision making or of administration. Elswhere, that same symbolic leader was not burdened with the task of appointing other leaders within his developing organisation, but said that the most appropriate person for the job would rise up to that position by his own achievements, winning the respect of the people by demonstrating his value and, ultimately, his strength to beat others into submission to secure his position - how very Darwinian was this `survival of the fittest` doctrine. The symbolic head of state would simply arbitrate and give direction as to the desired state and direction of the nation.
Recently `the colonel` has been heard saying, to those of his people who want change, `there will be no mercy shown`. In that other time and place, the words, "Close your hearts to pity. Act brutally" were the clarion call. And at the end, when it all unravelled, when all was eventually lost, the symbolic leader looked to `his people` and decided that they obviously just weren't worthy of him and were unfit for his leadership. He turned on his own people and wreaked a hideous revenge enshrined in what was known as "The Nero Order" or, as it appeared at the time, "Nero Befehl". He didn't hang around very long after that.