Monday, April 20, 2009

Pieter Mulder (FF+) on voting abroad



Above is an interview I conducted with Dr. Pieter Mulder, the leader of the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) in Trafalgar Square, London. Here South Africans living in the United Kingdom were casting their votes in the 2009 National Elections. Mulder and his party played a significant role in agitating for the revision of the Electoral Act on the grounds that the legislation was unconstitutional (the original law prevented a broad category of citizens living abroad from voting). I don't support the FF+, but I was very grateful to them - and the many others - who organised around this issue and agitated for the change.

Although the FF+ tends to draw its support from mostly Afrikaans white conservatives, consider what the white right looked like in the early nineties and how different the FF+ is from the Nationalist and Conservative Parties of yesteryear. We all bemoan the proliferation of opposition parties under our Proportional Representation (PR) system, but one of its benefits is that it enabled a wide range of interests to gain representation. This increased the legitimacy of parliamentary democracy for those citizens who may have felt excluded by a first-past-the-post system where they wouldn't have stood a chance in hell of gaining a seat in parliament.

So the next time you find yourself chuckling at the lilly-white election posters of the FF+ remember the moderating effect that fifteen years of democracy have had on the party and its supporters and how it is far better, in the words of Linden Johnson, to have them inside the tent pissing out rather than outside the tent pissing in.

3 comments:

  1. nice interview with Mulder! and you are absolutely right that they should be inside the tent... Someone also once said 'keep your friends close, and your enemies closer'...

    i love it when the seafood lorry goes past! and then the 'green' bus - nice touches of London...

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  2. Enemies?
    The Freedom Front itself - under the leadership of Constand Viljoen - had a massive moderating effect during the first fully democratic election, nullifying the impact of far right wing parties like the AWB and Boeremag.

    Like the length of the interview.

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  3. I forget where the '+' in the FF+ came from. That is true about Viljoen, as he had a lot of sway in a critical period.

    Yes, the short interviews are better. Don't need to go on forever. The skill is in picking the right questions.

    'Enemies' is the original wording, but ja, maybe I could have paraphrased LBJ instead of quoting!

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