The weird world of politics: The last laugh

2013-06-16 14:00

The last laugh

When DA leader Tony Leon stepped down as party leader in May 2007, pundits said frosty relations between the DA and the ANC would thaw.

But Leon must be having the last laugh, especially with the latest turn of political events.

He couldn’t resist making a quip about party leader Helen Zille, who has been at the receiving end of “dirty” politics in Western Cape: “It (the relationship) seems to be worse than at any time.

People spoke about the Cold War between Thabo Mbeki and me, but we certainly didn’t throw excrement at one another.”

Fame and misfortune

A journalistic ecosystem of camper vans, cameras and junk food lunches developed in front of the Pretoria hospital where former president Nelson Mandela was admitted last weekend as hacks awaited news about the icon’s health.

But most of the time, it was a matter of no news and a lot of wait.

Opportunistic passers-by – and even patients – tried to grab some airtime by offering themselves for interviews to TV journos.

One such a patient, who came in for an appointment, found that his 15 minutes of fame in front of the cameras turned into a missed appointment as police mistook him for a journalist and refused him entry to the hospital.

MPs are revolting

Democracy involves voters surrendering a lot of hard work and pleasure, it seems.

Last year, the deputy president famously said ANC leaders would drink the party’s centenary bubbly on behalf of the crowds in the stands.

But National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu on Wednesday went a step further.

Silencing some plebs in the public gallery, he said they were not allowed to participate in the deliberations of the House. “(Parliamentary) members will applaud on your behalf,” said Sisulu. Clearly inspired by this, Cope leader Terror Lekota then urged MPs to revolt against ministers “on behalf of the people”. Amandla indeed.

A highbrow plot?

Those detractors of the neoliberal conspiracy that is the National Development Plan got some fresh ammunition this week when Planning Minister Trevor Manuel addressed the National Assembly on his plan.

He quoted from the poem He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven by WB Yeats, which was also a favourite of former president Thabo Mbeki, who was disliked by some of the same unionists now dissing Trevor.

Tony Leon also quoted the same poem to Mbeki at his inauguration. Anyone for some conspiracy theories?

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