Spain victorious as Aragones departs

June 30, 2008

Spain won the European Nations cup gloriously. Much credit goes to the departing manager Luis Aragones. But the media had reasons for downplaying the role played by the controversial coach

Victory for the national football team is accompanied by praise for the ‘genius’ of the winning manager. But when Spain won the European Nations Cup in June 2008, there were few accolades for the manager Luis Aragones. This, despite the victory being the first by Spain after forty four years without a major trophy, and despite the clear evidence of the tactical and strategic insights of the veteran manager known as the wise one.

Why?

Maybe because Aragones has a reputation. An earlier controversy [in 2004] saw him branded as a racist, after training ground exchanges were overheard by journalists.

Transmitted around the world, his comments were interpreted as racist, at best revealing a flippant insensitivity towards racial issues. He denies such an interpretation. His subsequence defence revealed that his attitude to such matters were of the casually insensitive type.

As the BBC reported it

The row over Aragones intensified ..as he attempted to justify his comment [about Henry, earlier in the season]. He told Spanish newspaper El Mundo:
“Reyes is ethnically a gypsy. I have got a lot of gypsy and black friends ..
All I did was to motivate the gypsy by telling him he was better than the black..
I consider myself a citizen of the world, I don’t care about their skin colour. I feel I have been the victim of a lynching..
I didn’t use the term ‘black’ with any racist meaning.”

Remember Big Ron?

In that respect the decline in reputation of English coach and TV pundit Ron Atkinson comes to mind. Atkinson was a journeyman player, later an ebullient and outspoken coach. His media career came to an abrupt end after remarks off camera a few months before those of Aragones were transmitted world-wide, and regarded as racially offensive and unacceptable.

A question mark now hangs over his future after he resigned from ITV Sport following a racist comment made “off-air” in the wake of Chelsea’s defeat to Monaco on Tuesday.
The 65-year-old former Manchester United and Aston Villa manager has attracted attention in the past for his often clumsy on-air comments and eccentric turn-of-phrase.

Like Aragones, Atkinson denied accusations of being a racist, pointing to an exemplary record of advancing the careers of black players.

In England, debate over the latest Atkinson blunder raged in pubs and papers. For some, it was an example of what is now called political correctness run mad. And just a bit of banter. For others, it confirmed worries about casual and ‘institutionalized’ racism in football, but also as evidence for a wider cultural issue.

An established Spanish custom

The Aragones business might be dismissed as an example of an established Spanish custom. Which is itself arguably a racially offensive bit of stereotyping. Or a harmless metaphor. Depending on your point of view.

The context of racism in football in Spain at the time added to the sensitivity of the Aragones issue. It remains a hot issue today.

Aragones and leadership

Over the next few days, expect to read descriptions of Aragones as a charismatic but personally flawed leader. But that’s a more grown-up version than struggling to divide leaders up into good and bad in their professional roles, and heros or villains ethically.

Acknowledgement

The image is of a robot and not a bit like Luis Aragones.


Selectors agree with Boycott and appoint Pietersen England captain.

June 28, 2008

When the England Cricket Selectors were considering a one-day captain to replace Michael Vaughan, pundit Geoffrey Boycott tipped Kevin Pietersen. Eventually, the selectors saw it Boycott’s way

At the time of Geoffrey’s recommendation, a Leaders we deserve post was unkind about Boycott’s choice. Boycott’s judgment, and even his motivation for backing Pietersen were disparaged.

Boycott was a brilliant opening bat, and now is a trenchant and insightful commentator. He was also arguably the worse cricket captain of England in modern times. What can we make of his judgement in this case?

The England selectors did not see it Boycott’s way. Most TMC pundits agreed. They all went for Paul Collingwood.

In the original post, there was a pinch of Jungian psychology, and the dour Boycott was accused of backing his shadow-self, the flamboyant Pietersen. Collingwood was seen as the safe pair of hands.

Collingwood has had a rather unsuccessful captaincy. His stock declined further this week after accusations of playing against the spirit of cricket. This coincided with a ban for failing to achieve the overs rate, both charges arising at a critical stage of the one day series against New Zealand.

The Selectors turn to Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen promised to captain England according to his “gut instincts” in the final one-dayer against New Zealand at Lord’s
Pietersen, who will deputize for the banned Paul Collingwood, admitted he had “zilch” experience of the role
“I think I’ll be a similar captain to the kind of person I am – I’ll be calm, pretty chilled and let my gut instincts and feelings guide me.”

It’s a very old leadership question. Do the circumstances favour flair over reliability? For Boycott it was flair. We now have a chance to see whether that view will be justified.


Robert Mugabe and the Anatomy of Tyranny

June 27, 2008


Tyranny has a pattern of leadership that has been chronicled since ancient times. Tyrants exercise control by increasingly repressive methods, assisted by their close associates who become reluctantly or willingly complicit in their often criminal acts. Does theorising have any relevance to Zimbabwe’s situation today?

Jeff Schubert has made a study of tyrants. His powerful critique of the tyrant has been discussed in earlier posts in Leaders We Deserve. He believes that the tyrants may differ in context, but in other respects are aspects of a common pattern of repressive behaviours, be they on battle fields or board rooms.

He considers Mugabe a prime example of a tyrant. Commenting for Leaders We Deserve he noted:

Tyranny is not only associated with “criminal acts”.. even those tyrants and lieutenants who do engage in criminal acts, do not necessarily see it that way – they often think that they are doing good, and that some brutality is thus justified …perceptions change over time – Mugabe was once broadly seen is a much more positive light. Time in power almost totally obliterates the ability to see any difference between one’s own interests and the interests of the country

BBC’s political editor John Simpson has continued his high profile career as foreign journalist in a series of clandestine reports from within Zimbabwe. Simpson has largely let the facts speak for themselves.

Simpson’s report on the elections [June 2008] is stark.

It has been done with great brutality, but Robert Mugabe has achieved an extraordinary turnaround here.. Back in March, when the first round of voting took place, he was humiliated by being beaten into second place in the presidential race, and by losing the parliamentary election outright. Now he’s the sole effective candidate in Friday’s presidential run-off, and he cannot fail to win with an overwhelming majority.

His opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai, has been completely outmanoeuvred. The outside world, which mostly sympathises with him, can do nothing whatever to help him

Outmanoeuvred?

Simpson does not explain the moves which outflanked the MDC, only suggesting that Mr Tsvangirai had blundered in choosing to seek refuge in a European Embassy (the Dutch Embassy) rather than an African one. His report is one capturing his frustration.

Schubert:

The tyrant who has a long life is very skilful. The Overview of my book has some nice quotes on this – on Stalin etc — but I particularly like this one from Albert Speer which also highlights the role of caution in the success of the long-lived tyrant : “To the imagination of the outsider Hitler was a keen, quick, brutally governing dictator. It is difficult to believe that in reality he edged along hesitantly, almost fearfully. But that was the case.”

The dark side

The dark side of leadership has been an important if uncomfortable neck of the woods for theorists some while. Transformational theorists wrestled with the realization that a Hitler seemed to be manifesting many of the characteristics of the idealized transformational leader.

I am of the view that the idealization of leaders is a process which is well-explained by a socio-psychological treatment. By that I mean exploring the behaviours of the leader drawing on clinical models, particularly those exploring dysfunctional (psychotic) patterns. The behaviours are likely to impact on an organization. If we are talking about political and military leaders the impact may be on army, an orchestra a state or an entire continent. If we are talking cultural groups the impact of the dysfunctional leader may eventually weaken or destroy a media network, an orchestra, or a football team.

It should of course be added that there have been notorious examples of leaders who would be widely considered tyrannical, who had extremely negative effects on a wide range of people, but whose armies, orchestras, or organizations survived and even flourished beyond their tenures.

Mad, bad, dangerous?

According to Schubert

..the tendency is always the same … power becomes a narcotic … The people who .. allow themselves to be dominated [do so] because of the [personal] advantages… The basic result is always the same ..in individual businesses, business associations, sporting clubs, institutions and government bodies of all kinds’.

Schubert is not concerned with older questions of whether the tyrants are mad, bad, or simply dangerous. He argues simply that tyrants dominate, and there is always a cadre who become sucked into compliance, becoming part of an apparatus of repression, and a social system of the oppressed.

While the tyrant may become the primary symbol of the oppression, we may expect to find henchmen whose loyalty is in part because the fall of the tyrant will also signify their own downfalls.

The bigger picture

Simple isn’t it? On one side the tyrant and cronies. The country in economic ruin, and with an AIDs epidemic that has been driven out of the main story. The oppressed people, displaced, and brutalized.

Many suggestions: military intervention. More sanctions. More direct denunciation of Mugabe from South Africa, from China, from anywhere. Nelson Mandela on the eve of his ninetieth birthday to reclaim moral leadership.

Update: Within hours of this post being prepared, Nelson Mandela administered a magnificent and brief comment on ‘the tragic lack of leadership’ currently, in South Africa’s neighbour Zimbabwe. The elections under Zimbabwe go ahead in bizarre and repressive circumstances.

To be continued …


Did Gordon Brown’s Problems Start with Europe?

June 25, 2008


The Irish No vote to the proposed European Treaty has thrown the the EEC’s plans into disarray. Ought we to assume that the decision to avoid a referendum in the UK was one of the earliest and most persistent of factors which has damaged Gordon Brown and his Government?

I am wary of arguments that are based on identifying an episode or event which ‘caused’ subsequent changes. ‘For the sake of a nail, the shoe was lost’, runs the nursery rhyme. The implied logic is that of the catastrophe theorist who knows of the mathematical possibility that a flap of a butterfly’s wing can influence the specific path of a Tsunami, half a world away.

That’s why I am cautious in claiming that Gordon Brown’s subsequent misfortunes stemmed from a decision to avoid a referendum on the new Treaty for Europe. Maybe the decision produced a catastrophic change in fortune, ending the honeymoon period, and the so-called Brown Bounce. On the other hand, maybe it didn’t.

The Case for Catastrophe theory

The rise and fall of Gordon Brown’s fortunes seem to follow the pattern of Catastrophe theory. The theory associated with Rene Thom demonstrates how in highly turbulent conditions, unpredictabilities are resolved as a system ‘flips over’ into a more predictable and radically different state. The collapse of a fire-damaged building, the floodwaters that breach a river’s banks, even the apparently calm exterior of a student who wreaks mayhem on an unsuspecting campus are all examples that seem to fit the pattern.

There is much that seems borrowed from catastrophe theory in the newer metaphor of a tipping point.

The basis of both Catastrophe theory and Tipping Point theory is that complex systems may change their conditions in complex and unpredictable ‘non-linear’ ways. Graphs go haywire. As Yates put it ‘The centre cannot hold’.

According to such models, it may be that today’s unpopularity of Gordon Brown reflects a flip-over, after an initial period of pseudo-equilibrium. Subsequent financial and economic woes merely helped demonstrate the new conditions in the system.

The Government will have to find some way to work its way out and upwards in public esteem. This may be through another rare tipping point (Margaret Thatcher may have experienced such a point through the Falklands war, many years ago). Or there may be a gradual readjustment as some of the current anger directed at the Government subsides over the next year or so.

The Case against Catastrophe Theory

The popular understanding of Catastrophe theory is based on one of the more simple versions that has been examined. More complex versions do not easily become represented as having the famous cusp of uncertainty.

There is every likelihood that the political conditions impacting on a Party’s popularity (as an output variable) will require one of the more complex sets of constraints for its modelling.

I hope some more mathematically-skilled colleague will provide a more informed analysis than I am capable of.

My suspicions are more by analogy with the processes of change encountered in processes of change and innovation. The popular theory is that uncertainties (and creativity) occur in a ‘fuzzy front end’ after which the system is plannable and predictable. The chaos subsides into calm. The conventional wisdom of Catastrophe theory is that Systems flip over shift from instability to stability.

Some voices have warned against the dangers of any received wisdom. Systems theorist Ilfryn Price describes this as The Conventional Wisdom of the Dominant Group (acronym Cowdung).

A second line of thought offers an alternative perspective on change has been attributed to the behavioural theorist Karl Weick. Weick argues that social change is essentially a matter of the meaning attributed to that change.

From this Weickian perspective, Gordon Brown seeks to influence the electorate by offering a coherent ‘vision’ or ‘big idea’. If the leader fails, it is because the electorate makes a different sense of the leader’s vision.

Sense-making theory is not opposed to catastrophe theory. Indeed, Weick has provided striking examples of how sense-making breaks down under conditions of crisis.

The Mann Gulch disaster is one of the best known of his studies.

However, the processes turn out to require a highly improbable combination of triggering circumstances which contribute to a shift or breakdown in sense-making. The space shuttle did not fail only because of a faulty O-ring. And Gordon Brown (on these arguments) is not in trouble as a direct consequence of a bad initial decision over the European Treaty.

What Do You Think?

One of the few undisputed bits of evidence in the tale of Gordon’s rise and fall, is that he scored highly in popular polls when he became Prime Minister, but the popularity seemed to change quickly.

The switch seemed consistent with the mechanism of a tipping point or a catastrophic systems failure. Alternatively, this is the way we make sense of a complex political process, and may not reflect a radical and irreversible disruption in public perceptions.

What was it that Harold Wilson said about a week in politics?


Have ‘Woolies’ been Bullies? The Case of Trevor Bish-Jones

June 21, 2008

Trevor Bish-Jones departs Woolworths with a smile. Is there a lesson here about the life-cycle of a Charismatic leader?

This week, Woolworths confirmed details of the departure of its Chief Executive Officer Trevor Bish-Jones. The corporate web-page provided the news at the end of an interim statement

“We have also announced this morning [18th June, 2008] that Trevor Bish Jones will be standing down as Chief Executive of Woolworths Group plc. Trevor will stay in place for the next three months as we start the search, both internally and externally, for a new Chief Executive .. We have strong operational management running each of our businesses and this, combined with Trevor’s commitment to stay while we find a successor, will ensure continuity for the Group. The Board would like to thank Trevor for the significant contribution he has made to the business over the past six and a half years.”

Six and a half years ago

Chairman Gerald Corbett reported on Trevor Bish-Jones’ appointment as follows

This financial year our priorities have been to stabilize the business post the de-merger, tackle the significant overstocking problem, reduce debt and take action on loss makers to give us a sound base for recovery in the year ahead. We are on target to achieve our stock and debt targets, albeit at a cost to this year’s profits .. I am delighted to announce the appointment of Trevor Bish-Jones. He is a highly experienced retailer with a successful record of managing large national retail chains in highly competitive markets. The performance of the Mainchain shows how much work there is to do to re-invigorate its position in the eyes of the consumer and improve retail disciplines.

We expect to see considerable further progress next year. We have a strong brand; major market positions; a national high street presence and sales of over £2.5 billion. We are continuing to strengthen our management at all levels and look forward to next year with confidence.

Neelam Verjee of the Times captured the new leader’s background:

Mr Bish-Jones never intended to end up in retailing. He studied at Varndene Grammar School in Brighton, before training as a pharmacist at the Portsmouth School of Pharmacy. His first job was as a research chemist studying oil shale in Colorado, Denver, with Tosco, a US company. He returned to Britain in 1983 to finish studying and joined Boots in its pharmacy division ..He spent the next 11 years at the health and beauty chain, first as a store manager before making the jump to buyer. He joined Dixons Group in 1994, at its PC World division, and went on to work for The Link and Currys, before taking the top job at Woolworths.

His hobbies include fast cars, especially Porsches, and motorcycles (he owns a Ducati), football (he supports Brighton and Hove Albion), spending time with family and friends and going to the pub. Mr Bish-Jones, 46, also likes horse riding and golf. He is married with two daughters.

Time passes

This week, the Financial Times noted that

Dealt a difficult hand from the outset with onerous leases and an outdated business model, Mr Bish-Jones had some success in improving the wholesale side of the business, which distributes CDs and DVDs to other retailers ..[But] the Woolworths stores have proven an uncrackable conundrum ever since they were spun out of the Kingfisher conglomerate, and he leaves with the shares close to an all-time low. [under 10p, 19th June 2008]

The demerger referred to took place in 2001, before Bish-Jones joined the company.

The Times this week updated its earlier story

Resplendent in a three-piece pinstripe suit, Trevor Bish-Jones gave a great impression of a man without a care in the world, at Woolworths’ annual meeting yesterday ..Sitting in the middle of the board of directors, the outgoing chief executive leant back and let his chairman do the talking. Mr Bish-Jones could contemplate what job offers he may consider and how to enjoy the rest of the summer.

One of the most likeable men in retailing, Mr Bish-Jones is also one of the most hardworking. In a career spanning 27 years he has never taken more than two weeks off at a time and is keen to spend a bit more time with his wife and two daughters.

The picture emerging from these reports is that of a charismatic leader, able to win hearts without necessarily winning the battle of the financial numbers. Which may indicate something about charismatics …[But see the list of hobbies above, for those fascinating discrepancies sometimes revealed in secondary data sources.]

Was Trevor a Scapegoat?

But was Bish-Jones a scapegoat, as the Telegraph asked?

Richard North, Woolworths’ chairman since last June and himself the subject of a sudden sacking by his chairman when he ran InterContinental Hotels in 2004, said that it was time for someone new to take a “fresh look” at Woolworths …Mr Bish-Jones will remain for three months while Zygos, the head-hunter, searches for a replacement, [adding] “Trevor has just completed a series of big things which in effect have come to a natural conclusion, so it is a natural time for change,”

The “big things” referred to were the reshaping the DVD and CD-making business, in the wake of Tesco dropping a lucrative contract in 2006, and a refinancing last year.

Some shareholders at the meeting supported the scapegoating view. Others were reported to be of the opinion that his departure was based on the rational considerations that it was time for a change, time to introduce fresh blood, etc.

It is certainly convenient for a business to arrange an amicable departure for its leader. One that implies no blame, rather a timely move forward. Such a rationale will always be less convincing as shares head south to record lows …


Ruth Noller: Creative Leader

June 17, 2008


Obituary

The Creative Education Foundation announced with deep regret the death of one its much-loved figures:

Noller, Ruth B. [Oct. 6, 1922 – June 3, 2008], Sarasota, formerly of Buffalo, N.Y. Ruth was a dedicated wife, mother, mentor and educator; a Navy veteran of World War II; and distinguished service professor emeritus, State University of New York.

According to the CPSI Hall of Fame

Dr. Noller is the State University College at Buffalo [SUCB] Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Creative Studies. She served as a Consulting Editor for The Journal of Creative Behavior. Among her numerous articles and books on creativity are Mentoring:An Annotated Bibliography, Mentoring: A Voiced Scarf, Scratching the Surface of Creative Problem Solving, and with Sid Parnes, Guide to Creative Action and Creative Action Book. Also a talented mathematician, Ruth was beloved by her SUCB students.

International Influence

Like many of her international contacts, I became aware of Ruth first though her reputation as a scholar and pioneer of Creativity Studies. The Guide to Creative Action, and Creative Action texts were precious practitioner manuals. Copies obtained at CPSI conferences in the 1970s become influences in the less developed territories for creative problem-solving around Europe, including The Manchester Business School (which was subsequently to supply two Alex Osborn visiting Professors, and another two doctorates now back at SUCB, as leaders of what is now the International Center for Creativity Studies).

Later I was to meet Ruth in person on quite a few occasions, mostly on visits to Buffalo’s creativity community.

Her numerous friends in the creativity world have been prompted to record their affection and respect. My recollection is of her providing a centre of calm and sensibility in a maelstrom of creative frenzy in which calm and sensibility were not the most common of commodities.

Ruth also emanated that other characteristic of creative individuals, tolerance of and respect for other people’s perspectives. So she was able to live alongside the new Worlders, dervishes, corporate executives, systems theorists, and assorted alternative philosophers from dancing priests to tree worshippers.

One of Ruth’s students was Scott Iaksen, who was later to become head at Buffalo State’s Center for Creativity Studies. He recalled a meeting with J.P. Guilford where he was able to converse with the great man, thank’s to Ruth’s comprehensive curriculum he was taking at the time.

Another student, Marci Segal recalls her mentor at the International Center for Studies in Creativity. Throughout their relationship Marci continued to learn key insights that guide her facilitation practices.

“A facilitator is a guide by the side rather than a sage on the stage,” Ruth said again and again. Ruth also helped Marci discover how true learning begins with curiosity, and how applied learning is supported through measurement, by affirming what went right and improving upon what went wrong. “The impossible just takes a little longer”, Ruth would smile.

An acknowledgement to Ruth captured many of the warm memories of friends and colleagues. It also included much about her illustrious career, including one piece of trivia from Chris Barlow:

… after many years, knowing she worked with Grace Hopper, one of the stalwarts of the IT revolution, I asked her about the famous story about the bug in the computer.

Many people in IT have heard the story about how in the early days before vacuum tubes computers were assemblies of electromechanical switches. Every shift test programs were run to make sure everything was working correctly. One night, the system kept generating errors until an operator examined the system and found a moth stuck in one switch. Removing it allowed the computer to operate correctly. Most are taught this is the origin of the term “bug” in the computer, although the term was used earlier by Edison and others in discussing their problems.

The last time I saw Ruth I asked if the story was true. She laughed her great laugh and said it sure was. She told of Grace finding the moth, coming out and saying “I guess I found the bug in the computer”, and she placed it in the log book and told Ruth to get the tape and tape it down. They made a note to the effect that they had found the “bug” in this computer.

In So Many Ways

In so many ways over so many years, Ruth helped so many people get at the bugs that were hindering their personal and professional development.

Truly a creative leader.

Acknowledgements

In completing this post I learned that the post mentioned had been created in honour of Ruth by Tara Coste and Alan Black. Alan’s great labours in the creativity world can be found though his blog

TR, Manchester, England, June 2008


David Davis Creates a new West Lothian Question

June 14, 2008

The proposed by-election forced by David Davis has created a new variation of the West Lothian question. If we can’t deal with the earlier dilemma, we will be unlikely to deal with this new version

The resignation of David Davis has sparked intense debate. The more so, because no one has offered a convincing argument which demonstrates how the proposed single-issue by-election is going to work. It seems to me that we have a paradox not unlike the one contained in the so-called West Lothian question.

This now is shorthand for an old argument advanced about the dangers of devolution, by the MP Tam Dalyell. He illustrated the problem in terms of his own West Lothian constituency in Scotland.

One of the better explanations can be found in an article by the BBC’s Brian Taylor, written almost exactly a decade ago.

At the core of the original debate was the right of Scottish MPs to vote on English affairs (from within Westminster), while there is no equivalent right for English MPs to vote on Non-English (Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish matters) matters where responsibilities had been devolved.

Today, the question is more commonly assumed to challenge the fact that Scottish members at Westminster would continue to vote upon English matters while MPs from England had lost the power to influence Scottish affairs which had been devolved to Edinburgh …According to Mr Dalyell and others, this would create resentment in England and overall constitutional instability. It is argued it could ultimately break the Union.

The Haltemprice and Howden question does not have quite the same euphony as does the earlier West Lothian one. But the more I think about it, the more intrigued I am about the similarities.

The puzzlement arises as we attempt to assess the way in which the democratic process is exercised within a representative democracy. The West Lothian example suggests that sometimes voting rights give an advantage to some voters over others. Under threat is the hallowed principle of one person one vote. The puzzle has baffled a large number of clever people for nearly forty years.

I don’t want to try to resolve the West Lothian thing here. (Although I suspect a good starting point would be to take a systems view, rather than apply the more usual reductive thinking applied). But that doesn’t matter for the point I want to make.

The Haltemprice and Howden Question

To link this conundrum with the current situation, we have to make a few contextual adjustments. Instead of considering representatives voting in Parliament, we now have to consider the next level ‘down’.

That is to say, we have to look at the process in a single constituency, now deciding on its next representative, under unusual circumstances.

Normally, each voter in a constituency is presumed capable of assessing which of the candidates can best represent his or her needs, in a ‘full and fair’ election. The decision in principle and in practice approximates to a vote for the party that best represents each individual casting a vote.

Now consider the Haltemprice and Howden by-election as is unfolding. The incumbent MP, David Davis resigns. The resignation statement implies that he will fight on a single issue, which is to do with a creeping erosion of civil liberties, culminating the Government’s maneuvers over the 42 day detention and related votes last week.

The New Midlothian Question

The new Midlothian question might be put as follows. How should someone vote in the by-election if they want David Davis to represent them, but also want to support the 42 Day Bill? Similarly we could ask the converse question for someone wishing to get rid of David Davis, while wanting to support the bill?

The question illustrates something tricky in decision-making for the voters of Haltemprice and Howden.

Public enthusiasm, and dead parrots

However, David Davis is on to something. There is a public mood afoot to find ways of telling our elected representatives to do something more to meet individual needs and concerns. Not just in Haltemprice and Howden, not just in The United Kingdom, but around the world. I haven’t even had time to digest the news from Ireland yesterday [June 1th 2008] where voters seem to have declared the European Treaty a dead duck.
Or do I mean a dead parrot, or turkey?

Now that’s an even bigger political dilemma.