Red Herrings and South African LOLitics

SA has competently proved in the past 3 or 4 weeks how their modus works.

They push political buttons (the favourite is the race card) to get the whole country up in arms; and while everyone is raging about the buttons, something happens quietly in the background that they are trying divert people’s attention away from.

Red herrings.

Wikipedia’s take (our trusty, most accurate online pedia):

“….The idiomatic sense of “red herring” has, until very recently,[2] been thought to originate from a supposed technique of training young scent hounds.[2] There are variations of the story, but according to one version, the pungent red herring would be dragged along a trail until a puppy learned to follow the scent.[4] Later, when the dog was being trained to follow the faint odour of a fox or a badger, the trainer would drag a red herring (whose strong scent confuses the animal) perpendicular to the animal’s trail to confuse the dog.[5] The dog would eventually learn to follow the original scent rather than the stronger scent. An alternate etymology points to escaping convicts who would use the pungent fish to throw off hounds in pursuit.[6]

In reality, the technique was probably never used to train hounds[7] or help desperate criminals. The idiom probably originates from an article published 14 February 1807 by radical journalist William Cobbett in his polemical Political Register.[2][8] In a critique of the English press, which had mistakenly reported Napoleon’s defeat, Cobbett recounted that he had once used a red herring to deflect hounds in pursuit of a hare, adding “It was a mere transitory effect of the political red-herring; for, on the Saturday, the scent became as cold as a stone.”[2] As British etymologist Michael Quinion says, “This story, and [Cobbett’s] extended repetition of it in 1833, was enough to get the figurative sense of red herring into the minds of his readers, unfortunately also with the false idea that it came from some real practice of huntsmen.”[2]

Although Cobbett most famously proposed it, he was not the first to consider red herring for scenting hounds, an earlier reference to this hunting practice occurs in the pamphlet “Nashe’s Lenten Stuffe” published in 1599 by the Elizabethan writer Thomas Nashe, in which he says “Next, to draw on hounds to a scent, to a red herring skin there is nothing comparable.”[9] The Oxford English Dictionary makes no connection with Nashe’s quote and the figurative meaning of red herring, only in the sense of a hunting practice.[1].



  • First Red Herring:  Malema and his court battle

What was actually happening:  While “celebrity news” blocked up the ether with Malema, Sanral tried to force their corrupt scheme of urban tolling onto residents of Pretoria and Joburg, forcing many people living in one city and working in another (this is just how this polytropolis works) into a position where they’d have had crippling expenses merely for getting to work.  Threats were issued to motorists; there were even cases of people being “tolled” hair-raising amounts off their bank accounts the second they activated their e-tag (in one case, before it was even in the car).

We calculated that if there are 1 million daily road users on the N1 (as the newspapers estimated), even just the sale of e-tags would yield R50 million (let’s do that again, R 50,000,000). How many RDP houses could that build? Alternatively, how many schools could it equip?  How many… forget it, because it all goes into some international pocket who put forth that unconstitutional “loan” of R18 billion (let’s have that again: R18,000,000,000 – how many houses, schools, etc…) (honestly: In an era where a computer costs ~R2000, how is R18 billion justified for a few overhead constructs of metal, some scanning beams and a computer system?)

Unconstitutional because we never voted for that!  We were never asked; it was imposed…


  • Second Red Herring:  Jessica (and Tshidi):

Alright, maybe Jessica really felt that way.  And maybe Tshidi really did too.  Do I believe it?

They are young, hot-headed. At least Tshidi is.  Jessica?  She knew what she was doing, she got her overnight fame. Perhaps someone even paid her to tweet that?  How about the ANC?

Because isn’t it so convenient that right in the shadow of that racial comments war, Sanral’s boss up and walked out?  He left the country… doubtlessly with many $million stashed in his pockets… and the ANC allowed him to walk away, clearly he’s a “good guy”. Cutting his losses when he realized he couldn’t win this schlenter.  I thought there was a law that when you’re involved in a court case, you’re not allowed to leave the country until it is all finalized??


  • Red Herring 3:  Zuma and his porno/satirical pic

In the light of this I need to wonder, what are they hiding this time?

Once again, an emotive (and distasteful) issue splashed all over the local news. What are they planning in the background?  Is it the uncanny efficiency with which Pretoria’s streets are being renamed?  (btw has anyone informed Google of this?)  Or is it something else, deeper, more sinister…

closer to the pocketbook?







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