DA does put liberal ideas into practice

IT is of great interest to me to speculate about the motive seeds for Gareth van Onselen’s diatribe against the alleged departure of the DA from pure liberal principles or ideology, in theory or practice (“DA denies its liberal root”, January 6).

As a former activist in the original Liberal Party of Peter Brown and Alan Paton, detained without trial after Sharpeville, I decided after prolonged contemplation to join the Progressive Party in the 1970s. I did this when I was sure, from the second Molteno Commission report, that the franchise and constitutional proposals of the two parties, eventually, coincided.

In the following years of party evolution and in particular the role of the Democratic Party in the negotiations for the liberal constitution adopted in 1996, I became more and more satisfied with the liberal credentials of the evolving structures, and never more so than witnessing the DA in power in the Western Cape, observing and propagating liberal principles and policy in a consistent fashion. To my mind and to a host of others, every vestige of liberal aspirations and plans for a constitutional democracy, conceived in the Verwoerd era, by proscribed Liberals has been brought, thankfully, to implementation or fruition.

Nelson Mandela was as cherished by Helen Suzman and her colleagues through the 27 years of his incarceration – see Robin Renwick’s recent monograph on the issue – so that in his presidency he became the embodiment of the liberal pacific vision, which makes the idea of his image in DA usage entirely appropriate. In this context I submit that Van Onselen is misdirected in his thesis or perhaps, not entirely disinterested.

-Colin Fraser Lang, Knysna

4 thoughts on “DA does put liberal ideas into practice

  • January 15, 2015 at 9:32 am

    I am not in favour of paying people in alcohol, but I do not see the point of the DA’s control of alcohol sales. While i do believe in government intervention, this is not one of the areas which I feel that it is needed, their current policy is the start of a nanny state.

    Since you feel the need to attack people, and not policy, I ask you this; why did Zille go off on a rant against atheists?

    Her belief that atheists are more likely to kill people than religious people is bizarre, and unfounded.

    • January 15, 2015 at 11:53 am

      I think you should ask Zille that question.
      I comment on the alcohol as you relate this to being liberal.Colin Fraser wrote about the DA being liberal in their policies and you relate that to alcohol. But simply put society needs to have rules and regulations so that we can’t all do just as we like. There again why can’t you buy your booze on a Saturday. Some people in life need to be managed.

  • January 14, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    What is liberal about closing bottle stores early, and entirely on Sundays? Why place restrictions on personal possession of wine?

    The DA has some great policies, but their approach to alcohol control is anything but liberal.

    • January 14, 2015 at 4:55 pm

      good thing you typed your comment, otherwise we would see how you’re hand was shaking!!!I suppose you are in favor of the dop system?


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