The Freedom Front Plus launched it’s campaign for the 2014 election last week. The launch focussed on the “new” direction that the FF+ will be taking going forward. This minor shift in their approach can only be described as a breath of fresh air for conservative politics in South Africa. You can read about the launch here: http://www.politicsweb.co.za/politicsweb/view/politicsweb/en/page71654?oid=401838&sn=Detail&pid=71616
One of the major issues that we have had with conservative politics in SA, is it’s exclusivity. The FF+ is the exclusive Afrikaner party, the IFP is the exclusive Zulu party, and the ACDP and UCDP are exclusive Christian parties. Through this exclusivity, all the conservative parties have been losing votes. It’s not necessarily that voters do not agree with the exclusive values, but they believe that victory can only be obtained through unity, and thus start voting for the DA (which is a misconception, as described in my previous post). Now here is where the new direction of the FF+ comes in. Here are parts of their launch speech: “… will also fight for other minorities to obtain it …“, and also “There is a place for every one of us in this country. The FF Plus’ reworded mission does not only want to motivate the Afrikaners, but also other minority groups.“. And herein lies the crux of what excites me about the “new” FF+ mission: it is inclusive. The FF+ commits itself to fight not only for one “nation”, but for all “nations” in South Africa to have it’s full right to existence. Resulting in “a nation of happy nations“.
Now as always, there are liberals who try to play down what conservatives are doing, or are trying to do. Gareth van Onselen (self proclaimed liberal) wrote an aritcle in Business day live, stating basically that the reworded mission statement is just a new layer of paint on an old car that is the FF+. So nothing will change. I respectfully disagree with Mr. Onselen, and I believe he selectively read the article that he referenced, because he somehow missed this part in the article: “Equally loud applause for a strong delegation of Khoi and San leaders and their supporters was simultaneously an indication of the hand which the supporters of the FF Plus had extended to other minority groups in South Africa, which share a common goal of bringing about a new dispensation in South Africa.” – OK, in case you missed it, I will emphasize: “a strong delegation of Khoi and San leaders and their supporters”. Here we have “the white Afrikaner party” cheering on a delegation of Khoi and San leaders and their supporters. This is fascinating stuff, it shows openness, it shows real commitment to change. The FF+, through fighting their battle for Afrikaners, have (intentionally or unintentionally) become the main voice for the Khoi-San people in South Africa. The “white” party is fighting for the rights of the “coloureds”.
So in spite of what the liberal media wants everyone to believe, the conservatives in South Africa are not just old dudes sitting in churches, discussing “the youth of today”. The conservative South African is willing to adapt, and work with others to accomplish their mutual goals.
Will this be enough to save the FF+? Will they stop decreasing in votes, as they have done since 1994? Can change internally change the external perspective of the “Afrikaner Party”? I will not put a verdict on it yet… it is obviously a massive battle for them to change voter’s perspectives. What I will say is this: Well done FF+ for taking a step in the right direction. May this be the first of many.