The UK is currently in the midst of an election campaign between underwhelming political leaders. The problems the winners will face are substantial yet insignificant compared to the challenges of war and corruption confronting the recently selected Ukrainian government. But in one respect Ukraine could be the trendsetter for Britain to follow.
Because here is the thing - many of the Ukrainian government’s senior figures are foreign. Finance Minister Natalie Jeresko is of Ukrainian descent but was born and raised in the USA. The Economy Minister, Aivaras Abromavicius, is a Lithuanian and the biggest contingent of overseas recruits is Georgian. These include the Health Minister, Alexander Kivitashvili, the Deputy Prosecutor and two Deputy Interior Ministers.
Importing talent makes sense in terms of the Ukrainian government’s objectives. The foreign-born heads of the main money ministries are less in hock than native politicians to the powerful, economy-wrecking financial interests in the capital. And the Georgians now working in Kiev played major roles in transforming their country from a corrupt, dilapidated backwater into a progressive shining light in Eastern Europe.
So how should the UK copy Ukraine’s example?
Well, in a week when much of the football gossp has been about the soon to be ex-Borussia Dortmund coach, Jürgen Klopp, coming to the Premier League, how about following the fashion for German expertise and making a big money move for Europe’s dominant politician, Angela Merkel? Or perhaps in view of the paltry domestic options available, we should take the Manchester City approach of waiting for Pep Guardiola and hang on a year until the really big one is available….
Arguably, Barack Obama has underachieved as President of the United States. But this can mostly be blamed on his being stymied by the dysfunctional American political system. Obama offers a combination of youth, charisma and experience in the hottest seat of all. Better still, he will be at loose end from 2016. So, let Ed Miliband keep the Downing Street chair warm for a year as caretaker whilst the Labour Party sorts out a deal with Barack’s agent.
There is no shortage of candidates for other key roles either. We are often told how successful Poland’s plumbers have been in replacing our own, so why not do the same thing with one of the elite? The bold and dashing former Polish Defence and Foreign Minister, Radek Sikorski is an anglophile who knows Britain well after living here throughout the 1980s. He also has extensive knowledge and experience of standing up to the Russians and would make a perfect Minister of Defence.
Then there are numerous Scandinavians who are ready to play on a bigger stage than their small domestic political competition allows. Step forward the globally renowned Carl Bildt of Sweden as Foreign Secretary – just the man to revive our ailing Foreign Office.
More maverick options are available too. Greece’s financial troubles might make them open to offers for their daring Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, another who knows the UK well from his time as a university lecturer here. In both style and policy, Varoufakis is the antithesis of George Osbourne and would delight the anti-austerity crowd.
The Ferguson and Shankly-esque talent from the smaller nations of Britain should not be neglected either. Nicola Sturgeon would like to be considered a foreigner and a sizeable proportion of Northern England would vote SNP if it could, so let’s get her involved too.
This idea might seem outlandish but our political leaders have been telling us for years that globalisation is inevitable. So why not apply it to them as well as the “ordinary working people” by recruiting an international team of all talents to revive our moribund politics?
If nothing else, it might at least save us from another foreign born (New York) politician ultimately getting his hands on the keys to 10 Downing Street – our very own Blond Berlusconi, Boris Johnson.