www.inside-politics.org

Analysis of and commentary on South African politics from a liberal perspective.

Category: Political Analysts

How personal bias corrupts ‘expert’ opinion


FEATURE: The Erasmus Commission was set up by the former ANC Premier of the Western Cape, Ebrahim Rasool, to probe the allegation that the DA-led coalition in the City of Cape Town – and Cape Town Mayor and DA leader Helen Zille in particular – had improperly used public funds to spy on their political opponents, despite the City having initiated an independent investigation into the matter, which cleared the administration and the DA of any wrongdoing. It was, after the City of Cape Town took it to court, found to be unlawful, as the DA had argued all along. Not so Pierre de Vos, however, despite being a ‘legal expert’ almost everything he said about the commission was wrong. The reason: a particular bias he holds for politicians, Helen Zille and the DA, which rendered his ability properly to analyse what was happening null and void. Here a 2008 article showing how.

Read the rest of this entry »

The logical errors of Pierre de Vos


FEATURE: When personal bias fuels analysis, as opposed to facts and evidence, inevitably one falls prey to logical error – because reason does not support your position, you are forced to rely on illogical claims. In the article below, written in 2008, I look at some of the logical mistakes made in an argument put forward by Pierre de Vos, about Helen’s Zille’s opposition to the establishment of the Erasmus Commission. Ultimately, the Commission was found to be unlawful by the courts but, at the time, de Vos was convinced the Democratic Alliance was hiding something. The result was a rather messy argument.

Read the rest of this entry »

The cheap moralising of Eusebius McKaiser


FEATURE: Political analyst Eusebius McKaiser has written an article, based on a recent lecture he gave, in which he argues that ‘spineless’ liberals retreat because they are scared of black intimidation. The way he makes his point, however, is deeply disingenuous. Indeed, he manipulates his text (changing the original point he made in his talk) to do so. In the process, he makes no sense and ‘lo and behold’, as he would say, contradicts himself. Read on to see how.

Read the rest of this entry »

Journalism 101: 1st Check facts; 2nd Write opinion


FEATURE: Chris Gibbons has written for the Daily Maverick an article which revolves around a central premise that is completely wrong. Thus, the whole article is wrong; likewise, all the conclusions he draws from it are wrongheaded. It’s a good example of poor journalism, not merely because the facts are all over the place, but because it relies so heavily on clichéd ideas that, given a moments consideration, are revealed to be flawed. Here is my response.

Read the rest of this entry »

Understanding a vote-winning brand


FEATURE: In the article below the DA’s Gwen Ngwenya looks at the DA’s brand and its condition. She argues that, in order to understand it, one must do two things: first, look at the evidence (as opposed to mere opinion or speculation) and, second, how it is driven by strong leadership. On both these counts, she argues, the DA’s brand – a diverse party that delivers – is not just strong, but getting stronger.

Read the rest of this entry »

How political correctness makes for bad analysis


FEATURE: There is a tendency in South African political analysis to explain away problematic behaviour or positioning by being optimistic about it. That is, to suggest it is not a problem and that it needed be cause for serious concern because everything is going to be alright. That, however, leads to poor analysis. In the piece below I look at a piece by Eusebius McKaiser that illustrates this kind of thinking and how it lends itself to misunderstanding the politics of the ANC.

Read the rest of this entry »

On critics and criticism


ARTICLE: Related to (and in many places overlapping with) this article, the piece below appeared in Rapport this past Sunday. Again, it is on criticism and critics, but it does have something aditional to say about pessimism and how it relates to critical comment. From those interested in the Afrikaans version, it can be found here.

Read the rest of this entry »

Who critiques the critics?


FEATURE: This is a piece appeared on Politicsweb a few days ago. It focuses on the work of Pierre de Vos, a regular critic of the DA’s style and tone, and asks the question: What of his style and tone? Does his own tone measure up to the standard he sets for others?

Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: