Friday, April 25, 2008

Pros & Cons of Floor Crossing

Believe it or not, the ACDP did benefit a little from floor crossing. We were of course very outspoken against floor crossing, both because we were substantially affected by it and because we believed it was intrinsically harmful to the process of democracy.

I won't dwell on why floor crossing is wrong, suffice to say that candidates should generally be true to the party and stance they conveyed to their voters who put them in their position at the time of election. Floor crossing in South Africa was driven into overdrive in South Africa by the prospect of better salaries, offerings of senior positions in rival parties, and undoubtedly by a prevailing drought of morality.

The ACDP lost several councillors and MP's to rival parties. A brief Google search will haul up the names and I have no intention of disparaging them here. I will say what needs to be said: the kind of people who stayed with the party were the servants, the stalwarts, the ones in for the long haul. There was a very simple reason why the good candidates could not cross floors: they couldn't preach ACDP values one moment and then in the next moment switch allegiance to a party that betrayed those values. It would have been sacrilege.

In effect, floor crossing was a process of pruning for the party, and what we were left with were a set of branches and buds that could be relied upon to bear good fruit.

Needless to say, we were amply pleased with the end of floor crossing. For two reasons. Firstly, we won't be losing seats (and their attached funding) that we worked so hard for. Secondly, we are in a better position to discipline candidates who have drifted out of line, where before we had to treat them with kid gloves in case they packed up and left.

What would a DA government look like?

It's a fascinating experience to talk shop with voters who vote DA because they believe the party shares their values. South Africans have a variety of reasons to vote DA of course. Some do generally share the DA's actual values. Others reason that they need to keep the opposition together, while others just prefer to have whites in power.

In the area where I grew up, a rural agricultural area that has been rife with farm murders and attacks, there is a fairly strong DA presence and the ACDP has not had much success. It fascinates us because the area is strongly Christian and would in theory share most of the ACDP's values. It's both amusing and disturbing then to ask why they continue to support the DA.

"Well, they will bring the death penalty back." Uh, no they won't. The DA don't support the death penalty because they are a left-wing liberal party, a stance that traditionally doesn't support it. They just know that they will lose massive chunks of vote if they take up that stance, so they hide behind their "free vote" position. Firstly, that kind of "policy" gives no assurance to voters. Secondly, being a left-wing party, the majority of DA politicians are likely to vote against the death penalty anyway.

This position was classicly illustrated in the issue of gay marriage. The ACDP raised a bill to have marriage formally declared as the union of a man and woman, similar to what has been done in several US states. The DA has previously professed some level of concern against gay marriage, but went on record to say the ACDP step was "too drastic". What on earth? You're either for or against it, make up your mind.

The truth is that to some extent the DA tries to be all things to all men. Traditionally there is battle to some extent in homogenous cultures between the conservatives and the liberals. The DA is trying to win the vote of both white conservatives and white liberals, hence the confusing messages. In truth, they are liberals and openly acknowledge it, and it's not hard to see where this country would head were the DA to get into power. Picture a liberal American or British government and you know ... pro-abortion, anti-death penalty, pro-gay, pro-prisoners rather than pro-victims, increased taxation, increased government control, anti-church, pro-state-controlled economy, anti-free market. Frankly, not much different to the ANC.

It begs the question - if you are supporting the DA, do you really know what they stand for?

Friday, April 11, 2008

More DA Propaganda...

I was fascinated when a DA newsletter was dropped off at our workplace yesterday, and while the other office workers passed it off as political propaganda, I was eager to check out what the opposition was doing.

Two things fascinated and amused me. Firstly, the back the pamphlet quotes South Africa as the 20th richest country in the world. That surprised me, and I wondered on what basis it was measured. So I checked out the rankings in terms of GDP. I was indeed surprised to find that we're ranked either 30th or 27th, depending on whose figures you use, but I'm not quite sure where the DA media engine gets its figures. (See

The other thing that amused me is no real failure on their part, just a coincidence. On Saturday afternoon, I was walking to the supermarket and noticed some newly planted trees, except they were planted a metre away from a high security fence. I realised that once the trees were full grown they caused a security threat - just climb the tree and jump over the fence. Then I pick up this brochure yesterday, and a DA councillor is proudly showing off his work in planting the very trees I was concerned about!

Frankly, the work the DA are doing in helping the community is commendable, and mirrors some of what the ACDP is doing. My grievance with the DA does not come down to their ability to get down and do some work, but rather with the very ethical and moral framework that their party is built around. If the DA were to come into power, we would see a string of bills flying through parliament to erode the moral fabric of our society ... spreading the scourge of abortion, gambling, pornography and eroding the importance of the family, of parents, of churches and of moral absolutes. The DA are decidedly left-aligned, and when you come down to the nitty-gritty, are not that different from the ANC.

DISCLAIMER: This blog serves as a commentary and the views presented are not necessary the official views of the ACDP. For official statements and contact details, visit: