I was taken aback when a stranger asked me at a recent book launch which party she should vote for in the national elections. Most consider this a deeply personal decision that you should make with your head, heart and conscience, not on anybody else’s recommendation. Having subsequently laboured through the election manifestos of the main parties, it’s become clear to me that not only should you never ask someone else who to vote for, you should never, ever ask the parties themselves. Just as in online dating, where the choice is to swipe left or right, when it comes to choosing who to vote for it’s perilous to judge a party by its own brag sheet. First, there’s the problem that election manifestos are, by their nature, uncosted shopping lists. In this respect the EFF takes the cake for promising free education, a free computer tablet and state jobs for all graduates. It would also give R1m to every black person who enrols to do a PhD (not graduates with one) and add 80,000 public ...

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