Notes from underground

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Archive for the tag “conservatism”

Agang lets us explain South African politics to Brits

The arrival of Agang on the South African scene at last lets us explain South African politics to Brits in terms they can understand.

  • The ANC is like the British Labour Party, having the support of Cosatu, one of the biggest trade union groupings.
  • The DA is like the British Conservative Party, and attracts the votes of conservative-minded voters in South Africa.
  • Agang is like the British Liberal Party, and appeals to liberals, though, unlike the British Liberal Party, it hasn’t sold out to the Tories yet.
  • Inkatha is like the Scottish National Party, and Bantu Holomisa’s lot (I forget their name) are like the Weslsh equivalent.
  • The Freedom Front is like the UK Independence Party.
  • That leaves the ACDP and the PAC which are rather difficult to explain in UK terms. Perhaps you could say that the PAC is also like the UKIP, except that it would like to be in Africa just as much as the UKIP doesn’t want to be in Europe.

I hope that makes everything clear.

Whenever I see Agang written I do a double take, because I tend to read it as “aging”.

Mamphela Ramphele

Mamphela Ramphele

But that’s OK, as it serves to remind aging liberals like me that we have something to vote for in the 2014 election, if we live that long.

Last year I was rooting for Mamphela Ramphele for president, and though she’s unlikely to be president in 2014, I think her voice needs to be heard in parliament.

Oh, I forgot Julius Malema.

Well, Julius Malema reminds me of Tielman Roos in a lot of ways. Appealing to the workers and playing the race card, for example.

You haven’t heard of Tielman Roos? Well, don’t worry — in 80 years’ time probably no one will have heard of Julius Malema either.


Will the real maverick please stand up

American political terminology is sometimes lost in translation, and perhaps sometimes lost even in American English.

New York City News Service: Mavericks Lost in Translation:

Both Senator McCain and Governor Palin also routinely describe themselves as mavericks – a term said to have originated from 19th Century Texas statesman Samuel Augustus Maverick, who refused to brand his cattle.

Katz defined maverick as “a quintessentially made-in-America word for someone who often goes his own way.”

But John McCain and Sarah Palin still seem, to most observers, to be branded Republican, unlike Colin Powell, the true maverick, who felt free to follow a different herd. And after being forced to destroy his own reputation by lying publicly for the party cause, who can blame him?

Colin Powell – The Real Republican Maverick : Clips & Comment:

What did Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell do when Dick Cheney and George Tenet fed him bad information and sent him to the United Nations a la Adlai Stevenson? He waited an appropriate amount of time because he’s a gentleman, he packed up Dick Armitage, and left the Administration that stabbed him in the back and left him out there hanging. Now that was Mavericky. Not relying on the broken down Republican Party, Powell took his own counsel this weekend and endorsed Barack Obama for president.

Someone in the alt.usage.english newsgroup remarked that terms like “maverick” and “renegade” seemed to have favourable connotations in the USA, at least among some sections of the population, whereas in other parts of the world they were viewed more negatively, with their implications of disloyalty.

It also casts more doubt on the research findings of Jonathan Haidt, who said that conservatives placed more value on loyalty as a moral value than liberals do (see Notes from underground: The moral high ground — or is it?), because it seems that in the US it is people who like to portray themselves as conservative who have a positive view of terms like “maverick” and “renegade”, where the former means someone with no particular loyalty, and the latter means a turncoat — someone who is positively disloyal.

Conservatives are little pink liberalists

I just caught on Sky News the Conservative shadow Home Secretary in Britain, David Davis MP, denouncing the Labour government’s plans for detention without trial.

When B.J. Vorster, the South African Minister of Justice, introduced 90-day detention in 1963, he dismissed those who objected as “little pink liberalists”. Gordon Brown, like his predecessor Tony Blair, wanted 90-day detention, and they seem to be coming to resemble Vorster more and more.

So it seems that in Britain, if you want a liberal government, vote Tory.

Almost thou persuadest me to be a conservative

When Tories begin talking like this, I’m almost tempted to think that a Conservative government in Britain might be a good thing.

We urgently need a new foreign policy. Get out of Iraq. Talk to Iran. Chase hearts and minds as well as insurgents in Afghanistan. And start ‘dancing with wolves’. Above all, cut the umbilical cord with George Bush, and have a British foreign policy again.

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