Notes from underground

يارب يسوع المسيح ابن اللّه الحيّ إرحمني أنا الخاطئ

Who should I vote for?

In theory our proportional representation voting system should give one lots of choice. There are lots of parties to choose from, and if any of them get 0,25% of the votes they get representatives in parliament. Unlike a constituency system, there are no unopposed or safe seats, where you have no vote or a wasted vote. Every vote counts.

But I still find it difficult to decide.

What I do when following news of elections in other countries is to take one of those quizzes that you find on various web sites, where the quiz is designed to match your expressed values to the policies of one of the parties or candidates. For example, in the 2012 US Presidential election, I did one of those quiz thingies, and at the end it told me that if I had a vote in that election I should cast it for Jill Stein.

Jill who?

I’d never heard of her.

But you can read about it in American elections: rhetoric and reality.

But I couldn’t find any similar quizzes in South Africa, until I came across this one, sponsored by City Press.

Play: Who deserves my vote.

It’s pretty clunky and unsophisticated compared with the overseas ones — instead of matching your expressed values with the manifestoes of the parties and statements by the candidates, they just give you chunks of the manifestoes themselves, and ask you to pick the ones you like the most.

Well, I tried it.

At least it might give me a clue about which parties I should look at more closely before decided which one to vote for.

The answer? All of them. Well, nearly all of them.

Parties I should vote for in 2014

Parties I should vote for in 2014

That’s not much help, is it? The percentages in the graphics also seem to be a bit inconsistent, though the trend is clear enough.

But of course policy manifestoes are not the only criterion. There are other co0nsiderations, like their historical record, how much you trust their leaders, and so on.

Vote14aI’ll cross Cope off the list for a start. They seem to have spent most of their energy since the last election in internal party squabbles with various leaders taking each other to court. If they can’t manage their own party properly, there’s little hope that they will be able to manage the country.

Then there’s the ANC. But they seem to be living on past glory. Yes, they had a good story to tell — 15-20 years ago. But the recent past looms larger, and three things stand out: Marikana, E-tolls, and Nkandla. And that procession of very expensive cars in ANC colours doesn’t help; too much bling, angling for the IziKhotane vote, perhaps? Thanks, but no thanks.

The FF+? They seem too much like a retreaded version of Andries Treurnicht’s old Conservative Party to me, still standing for sectional interests, and even many of those who might in the past have identified with those sectional interests seem to prefer to throw their lot into a wider South Africanism.

Vote14aEFF. The wrong party at the wrong time. If Cosatu had broken from the tripartite alliance and started a Labour Party, I’d be interested. But the EFF looks a bit too much like fat cats selling snake oil to the poor. The sight of Julius Malema leading a march from Joburg to Pretoria from the back of a bakkie seems to sum things up. They say some good things, and some incredibly silly things that they don’t seem to have thought through. But I might, just might, consider voting for them at provincial level. That wouldn’t help Juju get into parliament, but I suspect that they might have some good people on their provincial lists.

Then there’s the DA, the Democratic Alliance. They have several stories to tell, one good, the others middling to bad. They’ve been telling us that they fought apartheid. Well some of their ancestors did, and some of their ancestors introduced apartheid, so those seem to cancel each other out. I’m also suspicious of political parties that promise jobs. The ANC used to do that too. Politicians who promise jobs usually end up giving jobs to pals. And after the Democratic Party’s “fight back” campaign in 1999, to attract those of the white right who were gatvol after five years of democracy, which enabled them to absorb the rump of the National Party which had fought against democracy for 40 years and more.. well, that isn’t easy to forget. But, like the EFF, I might, just might, consider voting for them at the provincial level.

Vote14aThat leaves Agang.

Which has the biggest chunk of the teething ring, the only one that got more than the other parties. I was pretty sure I would vote for them until Mamphela Ramphele shot herself in the foot by toenadering with the DA. But even though she’s blotted her copybook, what’s the alternative? I still think she could make a useful contribution in parliament.

So the City Press quiz, plus thinking aloud, as it were, in this blog post, is all part of the process of trying to make up my mind about where to put my cross come Wednesday. I’ve more or less decided where I won’t put it.

 Update

Just found another “choose your party” site (hat-tip to Ryan Peter), which is a bit mor sophisticated than the City Press one — I don’t know if it is more accurate. It had a different set of recommendations:

Vote14cI’m even less sure about those than I am about the City Press ones.

I thought the UCDP was Mangope’s party, and I have a kind of built-in distrust of former “homeland” leaders, especially those who opted for “independence”. But maybe I’m missinformed about that.

I’ve never heard of the People’s Alliance before, and I hope it isn’t the sushi king party!

I know of the ACDP, but would not vote for it for reasons explained in the comments below. I’m also pro-life, and so would prefer to vote for a party that is against both capital punishment and abortion.

Well, now you can try both these tools to help you decide which party to vote for!

 

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4 thoughts on “Who should I vote for?

  1. I’m thinking of pulling a name out of a hat on Wednesday morning!

    I had the impression that Cope were in a somewhat better state than they had been – at any rate, they’ve been quite active around here. I’ve also wondered about the UDM, mainly because Ronnie Kasrils had mentioned them fairly positively – do you have any views on them? I had been pretty sure I would vote Agang, but have been put off them because of a) the DA merger thing (although it’s too their credit that they forced Ramphele to back down), b) their posting a quote from Ayn Rand on FB (I mean, how can I vote for a party that does that?), and c) their very vocal and also intolerant of other views promotion of a LGBT ideology (and it’s the intolerance and ideology that I have a problem with, not the rights of all people). I also wonder about voting for the DA provincially, although I don’t like the idea…

    So, a hat it will be. The only question is which parties will go into the hat. Certainly not the FF+ or the ACDP!

    • Thanks very much for the comment, which will help me to decide.

      The UDM didn’t come up at all in my responses to the City Press quiz, so obviously the things in their manifesto didn’t appeal to me. But even if they had, one reason that I’ve never considered voting for them in the past was that Bantu Holomisa staged a coup. Even if it was in a Mickey Mouse state like Transkei, a coup suggests a degree of contempt for democracy.

      I didn’t know the things about the DA that you mentioned. I suppose the Ayn Rand thing is to be expected, but it’s rather like the ACDP — whenever I thought about considering them, they would send me a bunch of loony-right propaganda from a bloke called Ed Cain. He ran a sort of Christian equivalent of the Citizen, called Signposts, funded by the Department of Information of Connie Mulder fame. I class quotes from Ayn Rand in the same category. Do you remember which one they used?

  2. Here’s the Rand quote which Agang (not DA) posted on FB on 9 February. It’s not the quote itself that is so offensive, but rather the fact that they are quoting her which makes me wonder if they read her and how much influence she has on their thinking…

    “Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the vision unborrowed, and the response they received — hatred. The great creators — the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors — stood alone against the men of their time. Every great new thought was opposed. Every great new invention was denounced. The first motor was considered foolish. The airplane was considered impossible. The power loom was considered vicious. Anesthesia was considered sinful. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered and they paid. But they won.” – Ayn Rand

    And I could never vote for the ACDP for the reasons you mention – as well as their pro-Zionist stance.

    • After doing the second quiz, apparently run by eNCA, I had to look up some of the parties they recommended, and I think their recommendations are wildly inaccurate.

      I discovered that the People’s Alliance is not the Sushi King’s party, but another “Christian” party even more wildly pro-Zionist than the ACDP. Perhaps they should have included a few questions on foreign policy in their quiz.

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