Political hysteria

It’s election time in the UK, and I’m really glad I’m not there.

If the hysteria and hypocrisy on social media is anything to go by (and to be fair, it’s probably not), it must be an absolute crapfest over there at the moment.

Taking a step back 6000 miles… away from the situation, it’s always interesting to me what the combination of acute politics, access to the internet and a glass or two of wine can bring out in people. In an age when we are trying desperately hard to educate our kids as to the dangers of poor social media etiquette, people – parents! – really don’t seem to think before they share and post stuff online.

Take this hilarious meme, for example. Yes, yes, I see what they’re trying to say here, and of course they’re entitled to their political opinions, but in stating one particular party in the slightly altered heading (did you even notice?), for me, they’re implying that any other party’s propaganda is fine.

That definition of propaganda for you:

information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view.

So if one party is lying, that’s [emoji poo], but for anyone else, it’s fine?
Ok then.

It’s another good example of the hypocrisy that is conveniently overlooked when shouting about these things. Because if you think that Labour or the Lib Dems (other parties are available) are going to deliver on their election promises, you really haven’t been concentrating on any election ever.
And yet the people posting this sort of crap are (mostly) well-educated, professional individuals who wouldn’t dream of saying something so clearly illogical in any other area of their life.

There’s some major sociological study just waiting for a suitable PhD candidate right here. (It’s probably already been done, to be honest.)

I’ve said it about sport:

…it’s fine to be irrational, as long as you know you’re being irrational. Sport brings out the irrational side in a lot of people…

The trouble is, much like sport, politics encourages this weird kind of behaviour as well. And, much like sport, it’s exacerbated by social media.

Take a look at your friends’ posts online now. And if you don’t see this phenomenon, you’ve either chosen good friends (well done) or you’re deep inside the echo chamber with them (oh dear).

Dead cat

You either love him or you hate him: the current marmite of UK politics is PM-contender Boris Johnson. But this isn’t supposed to be the preamble to a post which will divide my readership, it’s merely a means to share this quote he made in 2013, and which is back in the news:

When you are in trouble, diversionary tactics can be a useful way of escaping immediate censure. In politics is almost routine, because all you need is a suitably foolish audience (and god knows that the voting public are pretty much that).

Recent (just before the general election) local case in point:

JOHANNESBURG – The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) has weighed in on Tuesday afternoon’s altercation between eNCA journalist Samkele Maseko and African National Congress (ANC) deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte.

The ANC’s integrity committee is set to look at the processes around candidate lists.

Duarte revealed this in a post-NEC meeting briefing earlier on Tuesday.

The move follows reports that the ANC’s candidate lists have been tampered with.

Serious stuff. This is basically who gets to sit in Parliament for the next 5 years if the ANC get enough votes (which they were obviously always going to). And it seems like the process may have been interfered with?

Not good.

Remember this line?

Let us suppose you are losing an argument. The facts are overwhelmingly against you, and the more people focus on the reality, the worse it is for you and your case.

Jessie remembered.

What happened next was that poison dwarf Duarte flung a dead cat onto the table – and the eager reporters present were… well… perfectly outraged, alarmed, disgusted.

But the rest of the briefing on what the ANC’s top decision-making body had discussed was overshadowed by Duarte’s public altercation with a journalist.

During a briefing with reporters at Luthuli House, Duarte described Maseko as arrogant, saying he thought of himself as “lord of the media” instead of the mere journalist that he is.

And the newspapers were full of that instead of whether or not the candidate lists of the ruling party had been compromised.

Thing is, anyone with half a brain will see directly through your flimsy tactic and completely ignore it, so Duarte was clever with her perceived “attack” on Maseko: playing for a defensive, emotional response from his colleagues present. And getting it. Because was the ANC candidate list unduly influenced from within the party? Well, we’ll never know, because the rest of the briefing (and consequently the rest of the reports about the briefing) was only about what Jessie said to Samkele.

Canny woman. Clever move. Brilliant politics.

Boris would be very proud.

Busy Thursday

Yesterday may have been a public holiday, but I had so many tasks stacked up for today that I need another one. Now.

So, not much from me here today, except some brief thoughts:

1. The election turned out every bit as disastrously as everyone expected: the government was elected. Again. This always seems to happen.

2. My family managed a total of three vaccinations between us today. We’re all still alive. And will continue to be.

3. And this after I donated blood and my feet felt like I was wearing lead diving boots. Note to self: eat and drink more before chucking a pint their way next time.

4. I have #ProjectOrange work to do so I must go now. I know that only one person reading will know what #ProjectOrange is, and it’s him that needs the work from me. I’ll explain to the rest of you in good time.

5. That football, hey? Brian summed it up very nicely here and here.

Until tomorrow, then?

Voting Day

Great News!

It’s Election Day in South Africa, and although we all know who the winners are going to be, a quick perusal of the manifestos and promises of each and every party contesting today’s election clearly shows that whichever one gets in, the citizens of this fine land are going to be living in Utopia for the next five years.

Bring it, baby!

Crime, poverty, unemployment, corruption and laughable foreign policy, which have all been the bane of our collective lives for the past 2½ decades will be swept away. The appalling track record of service delivery (or rather “non-delivery”, lol) will be a thing of the past. I’ve checked what we’ve been promised by the new government and I can tell you that the future is looking pretty bright. If we have any electricity.

Woohoo!

Please be aware that this time around, the majority of the population will not be voting for Jacob Zuma’s ANC. Oh no, they’ll be voting for Cyril Ramaphosa’s ANC.
This is the novel, clean, corruption-free version, with only half of JZ’s cronies in the hotseats. And a leader who saw nothing dodgy going on during his four years as Deputy President (despite… well, see the link above). And who has prosecuted and jailed about exactly zero of those implicated in State Capture and corruption since his promotion to President 15 months ago. And who seems regularly amazed at what a crappy state the country is in.

It’s new. Shiny. A fresh start. Mmmm.

I can’t wait. The next five years are going to be absolutely amazing.