Parliament

With Ramaphosa’s zugzwang, it’s goodbye to the new dawn

Goodbye To All That was the title of the 1929 autobiography of war-traumatised Robert Graves, the acclaimed writer and poet, which he described as his “bitter leave-taking of England”. It is a useful obituary note for the presidency of Cyril Ramaphosa. Technically, like Mark Twain’s reported death, this might seem greatly exaggerated. But only in the [...]

Cyril and Joe share a secret electoral sauce

The political fortunes of Joe Biden, who has just turned 80 and is the oldest president in the history of the US, are partly explained by comparative advantage. One of his favourite quips is: “Don’t compare me to the almighty, compare me to the alternative.” In his 2020 presidential victory and in the US midterms [...]

The empire strikes back, and it could very well be the UK’s saviour

I arrived in London on Tuesday, the day of a political revolution. Not that any observer would have noticed from the apparent autumnal normalcy of the bustling UK capital, abuzz with busy shoppers, snarled traffic and crisp weather. But it was a day of extraordinary change. Out went Liz Truss, the shortest serving and most [...]

Truss me on this one, Liz: new dawns get old fast

Newly elected (by the tiny universe of her own party members) British PM Liz Truss has surfed to power on a blue wave of Conservative support, though by a lesser margin than polls predicted, or any of her recent predecessors enjoyed. Still, a win is a win, and though she might soon founder on the [...]

State dysfunction got airborne with Ramaphosa’s DRC flight of fancy

Last weekend, the Sunday Times ran a front-page exposé by Erika Gibson on the saga of high-flying Cyril Ramaphosa. His office splurged R2.6m to hire a 320-passenger SAA Airbus A340 to transport 12 people, including the president, to a single meeting in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the report said. A day late [...]

Is SA going to hell or to heal? Well, it depends on how you look at it

Are you an optimist or a declinist? Or to use the old cliché, do you see the bottle as half full or half empty. The lens we use to view events can inform our decisions. That, at any rate, is the view of SA’s economic cheerleader, Adrian Gore, founder and head of the Discovery medical [...]

Corporate world afraid to unite against the presidential road to ruin

Fearful kakophony drowns business voice, writes Tony Leon. 'Who do I call when I want to speak to Europe?" Apparently, Henry Kissinger never uttered this great quip attributed to him, on the impossibility of receiving a coherent and unified response from the EU. But the line is useful shorthand right now, with local substitution, to [...]

South Africa: Between a snafu and a fubar

On Zuma's watch, growth has halved, the national debt has doubled and another million are unemployed THERE‘S a grim choice confronting the US electorate in November between the two most unpopular candidates in polling history. This caused Harvard history professor Niall Ferguson — one of the most erudite and eloquent people on the planet — [...]

Snapshots of greed, gestures of change, and genuine hope

Political gestures can be low-cost or ultra-expensive, harmless or dangerous, provide evidence of sunset on the old order or can morph into a false dawn. Political assassinations are at the extreme end of such symbolism. One hundred and two years ago, the murder in Sarajevo of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, famously [...]

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