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

Tag: History

The selective moral outrage of Trevor Manuel


TrevorManuelFEATURE: Trevor Manuel has made a point over the last two years of openly criticising the ANC and the ANC government on a range of different issues. Each time his outspoken ‘honesty’ has been met with much praise and acclaim. But it is selective moral outrage on Manuel’s part and, if he really is interested in setting himself apart from the ANC, then he has much explaining to do – starting with his years of complicit silence as Thabo Mbeki damaged the foundations of our democracy.

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Mamphela Ramphele and the triumph of narcissism over strategy


MamphelaRampeleFEATURE: Mamphela Ramphele is due to make a significant announcement on Monday. All indications are she will announce, at least, the framework for a new political party; no doubt with her at the helm. If she does, it will represent the triumph of ego over sound political analysis and, as a result, the indulgence of narcissism above South Africa’s best interests. That, and a failure to learn from history. Here is why.

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On statistics


SERIES: Because they are far more objective in nature, statistics have a certain kind of power. That is, they allow those not entirely familiar with a situation to comment on it with authority, even insightfully. Little wonder, then, nationalists don’t like statistics and try to control and manipulate them. Ultimately, however, its a losing battle. Here’s why.

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The ANC and the history of Mao’s infamous quote


SERIES: My article yesterday, on Jeremy Cronin and his amoral hypocrisy, seems to have elicited some significant interest in this subject. It surely is a curious fact that socialism and those who advocate it enjoy next to no moral scrutiny for the blood-soaked history they represent. Indeed, they seemingly operate in an entirely ahistorial environment. So much so, they routinely evoke socialist rhetoric with no appreciation for what it represents. Mao’s ‘let a thousand flowers bloom’ quote is a great example. Here follows an article from the archives, which looks at the way this quote is misused by the alliance. Cronin accused ‘pseudo liberals’ of ‘historical illetracy’, time to take a look in the mirror I say.

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Tolls back then and why this time it’s different; or is it?


FEATURE: History, they say, repeats itself. The current and widespread discontent concering the introduction of eTolling in Gauteng might seem without precedent in the new South Africa but cast your gaze a little further back into the past and you will see the issue has raised its head before. Things then, as now, were much the same: a nationalist government, failing infrastructure and an incapable state. The plan failed back then but we can surely learn a lesson or two from it. Or can we? Charles van Onselen relates the story and asks the questions we should be thinking about today.

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