There has been a furor in the UK over the past few days, due to the actions of Government Minister Dominic Cummings. This is not a political site, however the debate that has ensued is essentially about integrity. So that is what I would like to explore today.
When I started my blog, I promised to write with transparency and integrity. But what does integrity look like? And why is it important? Let’s look at the definition first of all. There are two aspects to it:
- the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.”a gentleman of complete integrity”
2. a state of being whole and undivided. “upholding territorial integrity and national sovereignty”
I think the debate over the behaviour of the Prime minister’s chief aide highlights the issue of integrity for us all. And I promised to be transparent so I will give a personal example.
Today I realised I had made a mistake. I wasn’t sure whether to write the full details, but having asked my lovely goddaughter and her mum, I think there is a bit of humour in this, so I am going to share the gory details. So here goes.
My mum came to me this morning and told me that I had several birthday messages on Facebook. And it isn’t my birthday. I felt very guilty and dishonest. However, my motivation for putting a fake birthday was to avoid my personal details being stolen, as I have been told this has happened. So I put a FB birthday. And I made a mistake in doing this. So then I wrote and apologised to my FB friends. And I have learnt a valuable lesson here. If you make a public mistake then admit it. That in my opinion is integrity. I also believe that in public office there is tremendous accountability. And that too is integrity; trying to cover our tracks is what integrity is not.
Today, it is reported in the press that Douglas Ross, who served as a junior minister in the Scotland office and the MP for Moray, in relation to the events surrounding Mr Cummings over the weekend, stated that these: “mean I can no longer serve as a member of this government”. I admire Mr Ross for showing integrity and standing down.
Here we have two different approaches to a situation. One person maintaining their position and defending their actions and another making a stand for what they believe is right. I think it is interesting to consider these two actions in the face of a specific situation.
My personal opinion is that integrity once questioned or lost is very hard to recover. I admire people who have got it wrong and admitted their mistakes, because that is in my opinion being human. And today, as on many other days, I am one of those people.
There is an excellent quote in the bible:
Matthew 7:3 3“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother‘s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
This reminds us to take heed of our own behaviour, rather than pointing the finger at others. And another good saying is ‘he who has never made a mistake has never made anything’.
Today’s recipe of hope is to think about integrity. What does it look like to you? And if you have made a mistake that has caused upset to others, then perhaps now is the time to put it right. It may mean losing face, however I think people respect those who have done wrong and made a public apology. And if your integrity is looking good and you are strong on moral principles, consider how you can influence others to follow your example.
May we all live lives of integrity X