At what point in a crisis does a leader have to make the decision to resign?

I can still remember with some vividly the Falklands War of 1982. I was in my very early twenties when it happened. I recall the shock, the chaos, the emerging pride in the armed forces as a task force was assembled with incredible speed, and then the tension of the next few months until the war was over and then a feeling that the United Kingdom had become great again. What I also remember very clearly is the resignation of the Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington, which happened within days of the invasion of the Falkland Islands by Argentina. I have been reflecting on this swift, very high profile, resignation over the past few days, particularly in light of recent, best described as, chaotic issues in the inability of large sections of the country to deliver basic services.

Whether it be the airports, the Passport Office, DVLC, the airlines, the NHS, this has highlighted an interesting leadership situation. In a way this has led to the growing sense of public frustration and is ammunition for the mainstream media and social media commentators to create and maintain a feverish state of angst (the over use today of the word ‘crisis’) and calling for those responsible to be held to account. When is it therefore appropriate for a leader to resign in a ‘crisis’?

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