Tag Archives: Politics

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today…

27 Apr

This is what the Hub, Tory Boy and I were doing today in 1994, one of the best days of our lives: 

Not eating biscuits: queuing.

Not eating biscuits: queuing.

The first day of polling in the first Free & Fair South African election.

We were living in Alberton in the Transvaal at the time.  We got up early to be at the polling station for seven, when it opened.  We didn’t want to be stuck in queues all day long.  The government had declared a national holiday so that everyone could vote, and it seemed like everyone intended to.

We were first in the queue, but only just.  Not that it did us any good: we were still first in the queue come four o’clock in the afternoon.  There were no ballot papers at the polling station.  The election officials popped out periodically to tell us that they were on the way – in a helicopter now – would be here any minute.  None ever showed up, except on auction sites in the last few years.

In spite of this, and in spite of the news of bombs going off at the airport, the mood of the crowd was, well, joyous.  There was a lot of singing and a lot of braaing (barbecuing): those who came later and knew about the long wait brought their skottels (a portable gas barbecue) and fold-up deck chairs.  The Hub went home to make us some sandwiches and drinks, but I wish we had braaied instead.

Whole families turned out to vote.  We had four-year old Tory Boy with us.  I have another photo of him, sitting glumly on the kerb, unaware that he was participating in a truly momentous event in South African history.  He’s grateful now, of course.

We chatted to everyone around us.  There was a tearful old man who had never believed that he would ever get the chance to cast his vote.  There were Afrikaaners, resigned to the inevitable and taking it gracefully; and many who welcomed it.  I suppose those with strong opposition to the change were at home, planning protests.  People of every race, tribe, ethnicity, colour and political persuasion stood in that queue and waited with great patience for the ballot papers that never arrived.

There were no murmurings or angry voices, but there were a lot of rumours about what was happening in the rest of the country.  We were in a capsule, a moment in time when we were all in this together, all looking toward a happy and prosperous future; each believing that things would be better, fairer, and right.  We were in the mood to party, not fight.

No ballots came.

Because of our tired little boy, we wondered if we should go home and come back next day – the election was intended to be held over two days, but lasted three because of the issue of having nothing on which to cast your vote – but then we heard there was a magical polling station a few miles on which did have ballot papers, and even enough to go round.  We thought it was worth trying because we really did want to cast our vote on a day that would go down in history.  We wanted Tory Boy to be able to say that he was there. 

I don’t remember where either polling station was, except that the first was in a suburb and the other in a huge, unkempt field.  At the second, we joined a slightly smaller queue that we could see was moving, though it didn’t have the atmosphere of the first.    It took three hours but we got inside at last. 

The most bizarre moment of the day for me was when I went into the booth and there was a scruffy little stub of a pencil.  It didn’t seem fitting to cast a vote that would help change the political landscape of a nation, with a tatty bit of lead.  To this day, I’m not certain that I wasn’t expecting quills or expensive fountain pens. 

In the PWV area (Pretoria-Witwatersrand-Vereeniging) we had a choice of thirteen parties.  As brave as the National Party had been, I couldn’t vote for the architects of Apartheid.  I couldn’t vote for the ANC bunch of terrorists either, no matter how just their cause.  I didn’t think the KISS lot (Keep It Straight and Simple) was taking the whole thing seriously enough; and the Women’s Rights Peace Party was missing the point.  I voted for the Democratic Party.  Helen Suzman was a lone white protest voice in the wilderness of the Apartheid government for many years, so I voted for her party, which I felt had moral conviction.  As the vote was by proportional representation, I helped them to their seven seats.

I discovered a wonderful quote from Helen Suzman, via Wikipedia:

She was once accused by a minister of asking questions in parliament that embarrassed South Africa, to which she replied: “It is not my questions that embarrass South Africa; it is your answers.”

Our tiny piece of history made, we took our exhausted child home, probably collecting a takeaway on the way.  Once he had eaten I put him straight to bed.  We followed soon after.  History is important but it’s the mundane that keeps us going.

Relatives living further out told us they hadn’t bothered to vote on the first day when they saw the queues; they left it to the next day and walked straight in and out.  It seemed most people wanted to vote on the first polling day.  I guess we were not the only people conscious of history on that glorious day.

Joke 925

4 Oct

This joke is from Viv’s Jock and was originally British in nature; but I thought, given the current situation, my American readers might appreciate it more.

English: President Barack Obama speaks to a jo...

English: President Barack Obama speaks to a joint session of Congress regarding health care reform (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

*

If you took all the politicians and bureaucrats and laid them end to end down Pennsylvania Avenue…

…it might be a damned good idea.

***

It reminds me of that old quote attributed variously to Bette Davis and Dorothy Parker:

If all the girls at that party were laid end to end, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.

 

Joke 904

13 Sep
1st politician

1st politician (Photo credit: molito66)

A bus filled with politicians was driving down a country road, when the bus ran off the road and crashed into a tree in an old farmer’s field. The old farmer went over to investigate.

A few days later, the local sheriff came out looking for the missing politicos, saw the crashed bus, and asked the farmer where all the politicians had gone.

The farmer said, “I buried ‘em all…out back.”

The sheriff asked, “Were they ALL dead?”

The old farmer replied, “Well, some of them said they weren’t, but you know how them politicians lie.”

*

From ebaumsworld.com

Today, I Am Ashamed To Be British

10 Apr

Zapiro

From The Mail & Guardian, South Africa

By now, everyone knows that Margaret Thatcher died on Monday.  It has been headline news everywhere.

The BBC managed a Freudian typo – accidentally, I hope:  

Margaret Thatcher dies after a strike.

I wonder if the British reaction has been headline news around the world?  I hope not.

In Britain, many mourn; many…rejoice.  Champagne was sprayed; happy chants thought up; in Glasgow, people who are too young to remember her time in office threw a street party to celebrate.  It was not the only ‘death party’.   Signs appeared saying, Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead!  Facebookers – people I know – spewed vitriol.  

While I don’t deny that her policies caused hurt to many, I have been appalled and saddened at the awfulness of the public reaction in some quarters.  The weltschmerz I feel is compounded with shame.  Margaret Thatcher wasn’t a mass-murderer, a torturer, a genocidal maniac who kept heads in the refrigerator.  She was a strong woman, convinced she was right, and unafraid to act on her beliefs.  She was our first and, so far, only, female Prime Minister; for three terms.  No small achievement.  She was respected and sometimes feared on the world stage.

But all of that happened more than twenty years ago.  When she died, she was just a frail old lady.

former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatche...

former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in October 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is wrong with a country in which people can show such scant respect for the dead?  In which it is okay to dance on the grave of a pensioner?

All politics aside, today, I am ashamed to be British.

 

Joke 651

3 Jan
Politics Balloons

Politics Balloons (Photo credit: Newfrontiers)

  • Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.  HL Mencken [Journalist and satirist]
  • In democracy everyone has the right to be represented, even the jerks.  Chris Patten [Former UK MP and Governor of Hong-Kong]
  • Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the National Debt.   Herbert Hoover [President USA 1929-1933]
  • You’ll notice that Nancy Reagan never drinks water when Ronnie speaks.  Robin Williams [Comedian and actor]
  • A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls.  George W Bush [President USA]
  • Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country.  Marion Barry [Mayor of Washington DC]
  • I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.   Will Rogers [Comedian, social commentator, vaudeville actor]
  • The House of Commons is the longest running farce in the West End.  Cyril Smith [Former UK MP]

From Will & Guy.

Joke 565

9 Oct

 

Thanks to Schmidley’s Scribbling for letting me lift this from her blog.

politicians

Political Aphorisms from Cousin Ellen

  • The problem with political jokes is they get elected. ~Henry Cate, VII
  • We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office ~Aesop
  • If we got one-tenth of what was promised to us in these State of the Union speeches, there wouldn’t be any inducement to go to heaven. ~Will Rogers
  • Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river. ~Nikita Khrushchev
  • When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I’m beginning to believe it. ~Clarence Darrow
  • Why pay money to have your family tree traced; go into politics and your opponents will do it for you. ~Author unknown
  • Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel. ~John Quinton
  • Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other. ~Oscar Ameringer
  • I offer my opponents a bargain: if they will stop telling lies about us, I will stop telling the truth about them. ~Adlai Stevenson, campaign speech, 1952
  • A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country. ~Tex Guinan
  • I have come to the conclusion that politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians. ~Charles de Gaulle
  • Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks. ~Doug Larson
  • There ought to be one day — just one — when there is open season on senators. ~Will Rogers

 

Be Suggestive

14 Sep

My oldest, Tory Boy, is, in law, if not in the eyes of his mother, a man.  He therefore needs a new name on this blog, because he’s no longer a boy, though he is still a Tory. 

I’m looking for suggestions.

To help you along, here’s a few facts:

  • he has his future planned: degree/military/real world/politics
  • he’s a boy man

That’s it, really.  He never tells me anything so you know as much about him as I do.

Any ideas?

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