“I don’t know what to say. Just look at what we can do when we come together, THIS is England in 2020”
Community at the heart of altruistic leadership
If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we are nothing without the communities that surround us. From communities adapting quickly to lockdown, providing aid to sheltering neighbours to teams of scientists working together to fight back against the virus, none of has been achieved in the fight against coronavirus has been achieved alone.
In early June the footballer Marcus Rashford launched a campaign to ensure the provision of free school meals in England would continue throughout the summer holidays. Having relied upon free school meals and foodbanks as a child Rashford wrote to the government to argue that food poverty is as deadly a pandemic as the one we are all facing right now. Rashford called for the government to extend the free school meals scheme over the summer to protect as many children as possible from going hungry. With the help of over 160 thousand retweets, and the support of many high profile figures the government was forced into a U-turn and Rashford’s campaign was successful.
Crucially, every element of Rashford’s campaign was centred on community, and coming together to protect the most vulnerable members of our society. Strikingly, he argued "Political affiliations aside, can we not all agree that no child should be going to be hungry?" It should go without saying that hunger should be a political pawn, but in the face of party politics things that should be sacrosanct all too often come up for debate. Marcus Rashford urged a coming together that transcended ideological differences to do what is morally right, and ultimately, he won.
Ethical and moral leadership should always be rooted in community and the amplification of the voices of the marginalised. Society will never reach crucial common goals such as the illumination of hunger, or the end of climate change if leaders don't step up and take responsibility for their communities. No selfish leader can ever achieve more than personal success, which in the context of a global population of over 7billion is arguably insignificant. True leadership arises from a desire for the common good.