Go to contents

THE DONG-A ILBO Logo

The fall of British PM May stresses the leadership upon national disaster

The fall of British PM May stresses the leadership upon national disaster

Posted June. 19, 2017 07:12,   

Updated June. 19, 2017 07:39

한국어

The huge fire of 24-story Grenfell Tower that killed at least 58 people came to another crisis of U.K. politics. Protesters angered at careless reaction of the ruling Conservative Party and Prime Minister May began asking for her to resign and hardliners of her party turned their back by demanding her to hold the responsibility for the defeat in general election. May now faces with uncertain future. If a no-confidence motion is passed in the Parliament, May, who was once expected to successfully complete "soft Brexit (the U.K.’s withdrawal from the EU)," must resign.

The Grenfell Tower fire was a man-made disaster that might take place in less developed countries. Grenfell Tower residents, who are mostly immigrants and small income earners, claimed that there were no sprinklers or fire alarms working. No one expected that such horrific incident could happen in the U.K., one of the most developed countries. The British government promised to fully disclose the investigation after the disaster but failed to identify the cause of fire or the loss of lives. Also, the government did not provide any information about the people missing as well as housings for survivors. Unlike Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, and London Mayor Sadiq Khan, the prime minister did not try to meet the survivors and gave a lame excuse by saying that it was a terrible incident when a TV show host asked the government responsibility. 


The British people criticized that the tight fiscal policy, cutting back on welfare spending, and safety ignorance of the Conservative Party caused the fire. However, the prime minister only met firefighters at the scene. Although she belatedly visited a church, temporal shelter of the survivors, she had to leave soon as the protesters strongly criticized her. May appears to be bold and fabulous but definitely shows lack of leadership when it comes to responding to national crisis and disaster.

The London fire inevitably reminds us of former President Park Geun-hye relating to her reactions to the Sewol ferry disaster in 2014. She was incompetent and refused to communicate with others. Also, the former president was reluctant to meet the victims’ families and did not shed tears when she visited the group memorial alter. She was blamed by shifting the responsibility of the Sewol ferry disaster to Yoo Byung-eun and his family as the British prime minister did now. The London disaster stresses the importance of leadership and qualification of a nation’s leader when handling a disaster.