Guardian editorial thinks Helen Clark is inappropriate to lead the UN

This must be devastating for Helen Clark to read, in what is probably her favourite media organisation, one that she usually gets a  free reign in opining on whatever she feels like, has published an editorial suggesting that she is inappropriate to succeed Ban Ki Moon as UN General Secretary.

The United Nations confronts war, famine, disease, climate change and much else, but perhaps the greatest and most persistent challenge the organisation has faced is the tendency of its member states to deny it the leadership its work requires. The issue is back, as it is every decade, with the selection of a new secretary general to take over in 2016.

The UN enshrined the idea of harnessing the talents of a group of men and women from around the world, accountable to governments but working exclusively for the global good. It has only sometimes, and quite by accident, been fulfilled. When there is sufficient leadership to give life to it, the arts of peace flourish and the global discourse is enriched. When there is not, a price is paid in blood.

Fair, noble aspirations…if somewhat motherhood and apple pie in their outlook.

The editorial then disses the British candidate before setting upon Helen Clark.

The field of those seeking to be the next secretary general is widely felt to be underwhelming. Helen Clark, the head of the UN Development Programme, gave an example of how a UN official should not behave when, before the current secretary general was even halfway through his term, she began to discuss, in these pages, her interest in succeeding him. It is time for something more serious. A small search committee should be established, led by Kofi Annan, with representatives of the permanent members of the security council, other regions, and a professional headhunter, and it should work through most of next year. The idea that candidates should be limited to one region is unfounded and can be dispensed with. The council should recommend more than one candidate to the general assembly, which should make an appointment for a single term of seven years.

Ouch, rather dismissive, and bound to set off the left…except this is the Guardian editorial…oh my how will they spin that?

Hiring the corrupt Kofi Annan as a headhunter is surely a joke suggestion.

It is also time for “We the peoples”, as the UN charter begins, to claim a veto on mediocrity. The new campaign “1 for 7 billion” allows people to lend their support in a moment. “Everything will be all right,” said Dag Hammarskjöld, “when people, just people, stop thinking of the United Nations as a weird Picasso abstraction and see it as a drawing they made themselves.” A century after absolute sovereignty was so thoroughly discredited, nationalists everywhere are full of passionate intensity, while those who see nationalism as a force for harm often give the impression of lacking all conviction. But nationalists are yesterday’s men. It is just that too much international cooperation has been too technocratic, too deracinated, tending to provoke reaction not partnership. Instead, the aim should be humane, pluralist, global advance. A UN secretary general worthy of the office is the place to start.

When you look at Helen Clark’s achievements when PM of New Zealand then mediocre is probably a good description.

I challenge reader to suggest just one thing she achieved in her tim in office that os worthy of note…and before anyone suggest civil unions…she failed on that. She lacked the courage to push it further to full marriage something we ended up with in any case just a few short years later.

She is the ultimate technocrat, and again I challenge anyone to tell me one thing she has done since heading up the UNDP that is a legacy one can be proud of.

I admire Helen Clark’s political skill, I admire her toughness and I admire her ability to quell the factions inside of Labour.

But I do not admire her politics, her mediocrity and her blandness when it came to policy. She is unsuited to the role.

 

– The Guardian


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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