Recent politics

Our Dear Leader Jacob Zuma survived another vote of no confidence at the ANC NEC this weekend, despite the conveniently timed release of several (or more) emails detailing how his chums in the Gupta family are essentially pulling the strings that make the country work.

And yet, the important guys in the top echelons of his party still voted to keep him. And you realise that when they do that in a democratic environment (which is what the ANC NEC supposedly is) then the problem is with the party, not the president.

But let’s watch as those dissenters all fall dutifully in line again after this thinly-veiled threat:

Meanwhile, the ex-leader of the official opposition and Lord High Empress of the Western Cape, with this HUGE open goal to aim at, is fighting with her boss about whether she can stay on for another term, given the alleged damage that she is causing to the party.

A local mayor wasted time praying for rain last Thursday.

How could you have missed that Donald Trump has been being Donald Trump internationally this week?

And in the UK, Labour comedy duo Abbott and Corbstello refuse to condemn terrorist acts from the 1980s, blame UK foreign policy for the Manchester attack, went to a “poignant” ceremony honouring terrorists from the 1970s and tell us that “the terrorists will not prevail” while… er… planning to radically alter UK foreign policy because of terrorism.

Thus – with a language warning in hand – please see this cartoon which illustrates the approach that many people will be taking towards the subject of politics today (and for the foreseeable future).

Really. Life would be so much more pleasant if we didn’t have to worry about these people who have been elected to serve us and whose salaries our taxes pay.

Yes, let’s change the rules this time…

…just for the sake of it.

Incoming all over your Facebook (if you have UK contacts on there, at least) – this:

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And that’s because there’s been a change in the leadership of the governing party, and the leader of the governing party also holds the post of Prime Minister, thus there has been/will be, any time real soon just now, a change in Prime Minister.

People whose favoured party isn’t the governing party aren’t very happy about this because… well, because they’re just not very happy. Much like they weren’t happy about the result of the EU referendum vote, which didn’t go the way they wanted it to, or the result of last year’s general election, which they lost, they’re wanting to move the goalposts.

The online petition is simply a 21st Century version of the lynch mob. [link]

Simply, they’re calling for the rules to be changed because the current outcome doesn’t suit them.

And is there precedent for this sort of thing?
Well yes, there is. After all, Gordon Brown (2007), John Major (1990), James Callaghan (1976), Alec Douglas-Home (1963), Harold MacMillan (1957), Anthony Eden (1955), Winston Churchill (1940), Neville Chamberlain (1937), Stanley Baldwin (1923), David Lloyd George (1916), Herbert Asquith (1908), Henry Campbell-Bannerman (1905) and Arthur Balfour (1902) were all appointed without a general election.

But those 13 names count for nothing now, because (possibly without the exception of Gordon Brown), there were no online petitions when they took the job. And there was no issue with Gordon Brown getting the job because firstly, the people who opposed him weren’t the sort to whine about everything just because it doesn’t fit their agenda, and secondly, it was just nice to get rid of Tony Blair.

And when Gordon Brown followed the example of Balfour, Asquith et al. and said that he wasn’t calling a general election, he made Labour’s bed. They were quite happy to lie in it back then, shame the mattress seems to have got a bit lumpy all of a sudden now, hey?

Please understand that I’m not saying that nothing must ever change. That’s not a very flexible, constructive or progressive way of handling things. But there has to be a better reason for changing things than “I just don’t like it”.

That said, I’m looking forward to taking exactly that approach with football games in the upcoming season. Each time Sheffield United lose (it’s ok, I’m old enough now to realise that it will happen), I’ll start an online petition to get the rules on winning changed. I sense promotion in our near future; that is until one of the other teams complains about the promotion rules and launches an online petition.

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But we’re supposed to be grown up now. We’re supposed to understand that not everything will go the way we want it to, and that we need to be able to deal with difficulties that life throws at us.
We can’t keep whinging and whining like spoilt tween brats, just because we don’t always get our own way.

Or can you?

Conspiracy Theories

I’ve gone off John Oliver a bit of late. If he’s trying to be a comedian, then we’re all good. But if he wants to be taken seriously as a political commentator – something that he seems to want to achieve – then he needs to be a little more consistent in telling us what we should be thinking.

But that’s another story for another post.

Happily for the purposes of your blog reading experience today, this clip is all about the funnies:

The more you trawl the internet (and I actually finished reading the whole thing a few months back now, so I’m a bit of an expert), the more outlandish the conspiracy theories you find, and – perhaps more worryingly – the more people you find supporting them.

This the day after April Fools, the only day where people actually read the mainstream media with any degree of cynicism…

Honestly, wake up, sheeple!

Team with dreadful record still has much support

For many, this weekend was the final straw. Yet another disastrous performance – letting the country down when we were all so full of hope – was just too much. There’s been repeated harsh (and entirely justified) public criticism – “useless” and “losers” just a couple of the words bandied around – but it merely seems to fall on deaf ears.

bf

It wasn’t the first time, either. It sometimes seems like we’re lurching from one poor performance, riddled with errors and incompetence, to the next.
For some, the problem is obvious: they choose to blame the man in charge, but I don’t think it’s necessarily that cut and dried. In my mind, the performance of the whole lot of them has been repeatedly calamitous. Fairly regularly, it’s actually been embarrassing for the country. You’d be excused for thinking that maybe they’re simply not up to the job in hand, and yet they’re highly paid and highly respected. How can this be?

It’s all so different to those glory days back in the mid-90’s. Back then – yes, perhaps under better management – things were so much better and the achievements were clearly there for all to see. Since then, however, while there have been occasional moments of triumph, it’s mainly been a steady downhill and 2014 shows no signs of bucking that trend. It’s actually rather sad.

And yet, there remains a huge level of support for these guys. Perhaps it’s because the population feels there’s no other team that is worthy of their support, or perhaps it’s habit, because they’ve just never supported anyone else.

But yes, the ANC will still win the elections again this year.
Incredible.

Nearly there

I was just going through my usual Sunday morning routine of curing inoperable brain tumours in little children by clicking Facebook LIKE buttons, when suddenly, there was incoming communication from @JacquesR:

Three years after launching it, this Cape Party petition for Western Cape independence is 4/10 of the way there: http://www.mypetition.co.za/index.php?page=sign_petition&petition_id=135

And he’s right.

Western Cape to become an independent state.

Why is it listed under “Crime”? The Cape Party are just a bit rubbish, they’re not criminals.

The other thing I can’t understand is how such a significant attempt to install an independent government in the Cape has slipped under the radar for so long. I think we’ve all had the feeling that too many political organisations rely solely on the ballot box and the democratic process.
But, as we know, that simply didn’t work for the Cape Party as they only managed to scrape 0.09% of the local vote.

It’s a tall order to govern any country effectively when fewer than 1 in 1000 people are supporting you. In fact, as the ANC have showed us, it’s apparently pretty tough to govern any country effectively full stop.

As far as I am aware, the ANC has yet to resort to online petitions. Given their efficacy (the petitions, not the ANC), one has to wonder why. After all, recently, several petitions on Change.org have been attributed the reversal of a United Airlines Dog Policy. And if clicking a checkbox means that your spaniel can fly across the States, then I’m obviously all for it.

In fact, many people believe that online petitions are the worst examples of “slacktivism”, like dancing on a beach, wearing a certain colour of clothing or sticking a red plastic rhino horn on the front of your car. That is, it’s an all too easy way to make yourself feel that you are doing something, when actually, you are having no effect whatsoever. It’s merely a panacea for your conscience, not for the problem you are supposedly highlighting.

To me, it speaks volumes that the Cape Party’s online petition  is floundering at 40% completion after three years of trying. So even when all people have to do to express their support is to click a link , they don’t.

Someone once said: “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results”. The fact that the Cape Party continue to push for Cape independence and expect people to agree with them simply proves that they are all quite, quite mad.