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Analysis of and commentary on South African politics from a liberal perspective. Winner: Best Political Blog 2012.

Tag: Competition

On diversity


SERIES: The Thing About is a weekly Business Day column designed to discuss democratic ideas, ideals, values and principles from a liberal perspective. At the social cohesion summit, President Jacob Zuma told the audience, “we have to build one national identity out of multiple identities”. It was a thought typical of nationalistic thinking, which routinely fails to understand diversity and its importance.

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Politics and innovation


FEATURE: Innovation is one of those words frequently used but less frequently thought through. In politics in particular, it is used almost exclusively with regards to policy. That is good and necessary, but what about political parties themselves, and the ideologies they espouse? Why is innovation an important principle in a democracy? Why should it be promoted and protected, and what are its benefits? In the short paper below I look at the idea and why it is important.

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Secrecy: the drug you slowly become addicted to


ARTICLE: The Protection of State Information Bill, perhaps now better known as ‘the secrecy bill’, has put transparency front and centre in our public discourse. I have, in the article below, tried to explain in abstract why the principle of transparency is important to a democracy and, at the other end of the spectrum, why secrecy is a danger to it. Of the many reasons, perhaps the most subtle is secrecy’s insidious effect. Once given a foothold, it gradually tightens its grip, until, before you know it, it has squeezed the very life out of a democratic order.

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The nature of good leadership


ARTICLE: What is the nature of good leadership? That is a question that has elicited a thousand answers. In the article below, I look at a few of the requisite traits. In particular, the central importance of a vision and its relationship to sacrifice: that a good leader understands, in order to progress from one state of affairs to another, they must be willing to sake something on that transition and that you can tell a great deal about a leader by the extent to which they are willing to do this.

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On loss


SERIES: The Thing About is a weekly Business Day column designed to discuss democratic ideas, ideals, values and principles from a liberal perspective. Loss is as much a part of democratic life as victory but a far harder outcome to accept. And many resist it, long after it is no longer negotiable. Not accepting it is, of course, one thing but to try change the rules in order to negate it, far more problematic behaviour.

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