Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Who Killed Apartheid?

Who Killed Apartheid?

As a follow up to the post on Mandela, my friend Mike Levine shared this fascinating interview with me on Facebook.  It raises some interesting questions.  I have no doubt in my own mind that with the end of the Cold War the external and internal pressure on South Africa to democratise would have become irresistible, so that by the mid-90s, white minority rule would have been a thing of the past in any case.

The big question is what kind of South Africa would have replaced it?  As Howard Barrell asserts, the ANC's armed struggle gave them the moral and political authority to dominate the New South Africa and its creation, and put in place a constitutional and political system based on human and democratic rights that should stand as an inspiration to the rest of the world, as imperfect as it may be.

The big question, I suppose, is in the absence of that, would we have got the same South Africa, or something more closely resembling Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, or worse still, Idi Amin's Uganda?

Mandela And His Legacy

NB: The videos embedded in this blogpost may not play on mobile devices.

The death of Nelson Mandela prompted an outpouring of tributes from around the world, and raised some interesting questions about his legacy and those of the conservative governments of the 1980s.  It has been been particularly interesting for me to observe the US media struggling with how to deal with Mandela's life history and worldview, and ultimately choosing to portray him as a Gandhi-like figure, for whom peaceful change was the goal, which is to completely misinterpret Mandela and his Long Walk to Freedom.  (As a side-note, Henry Kissinger once opined in conversations with the Chinese in 1971/2 that Gandhi's non-violence was a tactical not a philosophical decision, based on the nature of his opponent: the British).  Mandela's genius was to be able to react and change tactics as the circumstances allowed and dictated.

Monday, 9 December 2013

BPP: Business Priority Profits

Alex Aldridge over at Legal Cheek brought to my attention BPP's announcement that they were offering a "career guarantee" to new Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) students, giving them the opportunity to take the Legal Practice Course (the route to becoming a solicitor) for free if within 12 months of completing the BPTC at BPP they have not obtained pupillage (the apprenticeship necessary for becoming a barrister) and take up the offer within that period.