It isn’t, are you?

Left-leaning UK Facebook is knee deep in election propaganda at the moment. A lot of it centres around the assertion that Theresa May “is evil”: a convenient strawman argument, distracting us neatly from the fact that in the real world, Jeremy Corbyn’s policies are laughably pie-in-the-sky, laughably costed and seemingly aimed at making the UK a complete no-go zone for business.

But how do we not know this already? We read the papers, don’t we? Why haven’t they told us about Theresa’s nastiness?

Well, as further posts tell us “The Media Is Biased!”. The fact that people need telling this sort of thing is rather worrying, but still…
I’m not denying that the The Media Is Biased!. Of course it is. But that Media Bias! swings both ways – something that all the The Media Is Biased! posts seem to forget to tell us.

So, now that we’re a global community, and you might find yourself reading a UK newspaper website from overseas, let me just quickly fill you in on what to look out for with a quick guide to the usual suspects.

The Sun: Owned by Rupert Murdoch, right-of-centre.
The Mirror: Left-of-centre tabloid.
The Times: Another Murdoch paper, ex-broadsheet.
The Telegraph: aka The Torygraph. Pro-Conservative broadsheet.
Daily Mail, Daily Express: Right of right, gentile fascism. Horrendous.
The Guardian: Left-wing, liberal, ‘intellectual’ paper.

But then there’s one more, quite popular newspaper called The Independent. It used to be a part of the Dead Tree Press, before going online only from last year. And, because of its name, and its infamous motto:

…you can probably already guess at its lack of political affiliation.

But be careful, because this, as the quote goes, is “the biggest misnomer since Pussy Galore”. With each of those other papers, you get to make your own mind up, there’s no hint of which way they’re going to try and sway you. And of course, you should never believe everything you read anyway.
But please, when it comes to The Independent, don’t let your critical standards slip, just because of the title.

On voting

When the UK PM called a general election recently, I spotted this line on Facebook:

Please god let the “great” British public stay in bed and let the rest of us make a sensible decision.

…which, you know, is a bit demeaning to a lot of people who might not happen to share the same point of view as you do.

The individual in question voted Labour in the last election (they lost) and voted to remain in the EU in the recent referendum (that side also lost). Since then, that person’s timeline has been a cascade of anti-Conservative (they won) and anti-Brexit (also a winner) stories and articles.

And that’s fine. Each to their own.

Really, my only problem comes when “Remainers” protest about the steps that the Government have taken towards the UK leaving the EU. Yes, the referendum was a close run thing, and there are probably lessons that we could learn from that when running future referendums, but it still finished 52-48. That means that a majority of people voted to leave the EU, and thus, the Government should be taking steps to do so. That’s what referendums are for. That’s how they work.

Look, I’m sorry for you that there weren’t enough people sharing your point of view to swing the vote in the way that you wanted. Democracy can be a real bummer when more people vote the other way.

But then imagine, if you will, that the Remain vote had won 52-48 (or whatever). If more people had voted to keep the UK in the EU. Imagine then that the UK Government had ignored that majority and gone ahead with Brexit anyway.

Pandemonium! And rightly so!

Having asked the question and got the answer, how could the powers that be drive their fat political steam roller over the wishes of the British people?

And yet that’s exactly what you’re demanding must happen, simply because the result didn’t go your way. Simply because “the ‘great’ British public” chose to wake up that day and spoke their mind.

No. It’s entirely reasonable that the Government do what the majority of the public demand. Whether you like the decision or the Government or not.

But I find this idea that your side holds some sort of intellectual or moral high ground over the other simply because the viewpoints don’t agree is rather pompous and actually counterproductive. Some people argue that it’s one factor as to why Trump won the US election.

But to be honest, for me, it’s less about the collective effect of these sorts of protest (which has been negligible anyway) and more about me finding out a bit more about people I know on Facebook. And that’s no bad thing either.

Never a dull moment

Just another week in the mad world of South African news.

Triggering just another ANC media release. Except, this one includes this line:

The ANC will leave it to psychoanalysts and scholars of art to debate Mabulu’s narcissistic obsession with the phallus and human genitalia in general.

No matter how crazy you think Western politics has become recently, they are still some distance from matching this sort of banter.

Protest

Bit of a weird one, this. Weird because I’m writing something about a very fluid situation and I’m writing it four days ago*. So it might not make any sense by the time you read it. Hell, it might not make any sense by the time I’ve written it. I’m struggling already and we’re only 50-odd words in.

Today is supposed to be a day of national protest in South Africa. Well, as I’m writing this (four days ago), it is. It’s also a normal day of work (except it obviously won’t be) and right now no-one seems to know what to expect, save maybe for the Presidency and chums ignoring whatever protests do occur.

The thing is, South Africa is such a diverse and divided nation that any coherent mass protest action is terribly difficult to organise. While individual political parties and organisations can raise their own demos, no-one has really managed to successfully mobilise across all racial, political and social classes. And that’s why JZ and friends have happily got away with it all so far. It’s also why things need to change if today’s action is to have any effect.

Look, there’s enough support for the protest, but it’s completely fragmented. Already, as I am writing this (four days ago, remember) people – supposedly on the ‘same side’ – are questioning the basis for people’s anger, arguing and fighting about the legitimacy of some protesters with superb logic like: “if you didn’t protest against (a) then you can’t protest against (b)”. Because obviously there are rules for being allowed to express your viewpoint on any given subject.

It’s a phat, public mess and Zuma must be loving every minute of it.

Obviously, people need to look past their individual grievances and try to find common ground if this is to have any chance of working. And I do recognise that that is much easier to say than to do.

I believe that there are many reasons for getting rid of this rotten, corrupt regime. Whatever yours is, today is a day – even more than any other – when you need to recognise and respect that others may have their own reasons too.

 

* All will become clear on this bit tomorrow. 

Er, Julius…

As Julius Malema heads to the Constitutional Court to ask them to impeach Jacob Zuma, and tells us:

 

We rack our brains to try and remember who the “They” that did the choosing actually were… [link]

 

Or:

The words there of one… er… Julius Malema.

 

Ja. Things change, fair enough. And it’s all very well trying to remove the President now.
Equally, it’s all very well to say that it was a mistake for the ANC to promote and elect him in the first place.

But to pretend that you weren’t involved… No, Julius. That stinks.