Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Via the good 'ol boys at Commentary: a piece by one 'Strawdog' at Live Journal about why you shouldn't vote for the Independent Democrats. For those too lazy to follow the link I've copied the main points below.

1. It is a cult of personality party with no depth. Essentially, it's Patricia de Lille and a fax machine.

2. Patricia de Lille has a worse Parliamentary attendance record than Winnie Mandela. So much for her supposed "integrity."

3. Her track record for inconsistency and idiocy makes John Kerry look steadfast (I can provide examples if anyone is interested), which is hardly surprising when you consider that...

4. She is an ex-member of the PAC - South Africa's party of reason - and jumped ship when she was by-passed for leadership. This all smacks greatly of Kortbroek-style political opportunism. Need I remind anyone what the PAC stands for? Perhaps De Lille's views have changed after a road to Damascus experience, but that's certainly not a chance I will take with my vote.

5. Her policies are airy-fairy, populist, and impractical. I read the ID's manifesto and I understand they're against crime, poverty, abuse of women and children and so on, but it's not clear what they plan to do about it. I can understand why her stance on women and children has such resonance for women in particular, but the fact is that the DA's policies also address that issue even though they haven't made it a centrepiece of their campaign.

6. A strong DA/IFP alliance is the best chance of rallying together an opposition that will control the Western Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal, and have a significant enough voice to be heard in Parliament. (The fact that the DA's MPs occasionally attend Parliament is a bonus).


Having had a look through the party's policies, I can attest to No 5. The ID's present a hodge-podge of ideas culled from the ANC and the DA without offering anything new or startling. Of more interest is that on major issues eg the economy, they don't even go as far as describing specific policy actions. Rather splendidly they commit themselves to, 'integrating the unemployed into sustainable and dignified work to create a virtuous growth cycle that draws on improved demand and consumption, which in turn will stimulate employment.' But, apart from a vaguely worded pledge to implement a public works programme, they offer no real clue as to how this will be achieved.

This problem is apparent throughout the various policy documents that they've issued. Lots of high minded rhetoric and very little substance. Of course the reason for this is because the party is essentially a vehicle for Patricia de Lille, as Strawdog points out. You vote for the ID's because you think parliament will be better for her presence. Personally, I hope that de Lille gets into parliament, she was very effective in attacking the ANC, particularly over the arms issue, but I hope she doesn't get any more than the bare minimum of necessary votes. They would, assuredly, be wasted votes.

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