The ANC government continues to ride roughshod over the interests of the country without consequence. All their opponents in politics, in business, in churches, in civil society, wail and weep without noticeable effect. Ramaphosa and his minions are masters of realpolitik - how to prevail over all opposition, how to pull the levers of influence, how to whisper veiled threats in the right ears.
In the immortal words of Pik Botha, appeals to justice, to fairness, to common sense are “like duck’s water off their backs”. Impassioned rhetoric counts for nothing. The ANC knows how this game is played, through influence, threats, and, if necessary, mayhem. The only way to compete is to bring a gun to their knife fight. To threaten quietly but to carry a big stick. To adjust their perception of the consequences of resistance.
The fact that the honourable opposition considers such tactics abhorrent and beneath their dignity is like music to the ANC ears. The opposition is almost always right, dead right, and just as dead as if they were wrong. Justice is nice, honour is good, but victory is its own reward.
So how do the forces of opposition in this benighted land proceed? I have laid out an 8 step procedure to follow when dealing with an unscrupulous enemy, which I have called the Tao of Trevor, with a nod to the likes of Sun Tzu. It can be followed whenever the rule of law is no longer adequate, and the consequences of failure are disastrous..
The Tao of Trevor
8 Rules for accomplishing your objective
List the principles you will not compromise. Return to this list constantly.
For any new project, explicitly state your primary objective in writing, in one sentence. This is mostly for your own benefit. Then explain your objective to a 10 year old.
Choose your battlefield. Under what jurisdiction will this battle be fought. The constitution? The court of public opinion? International law? Commercial law? No law?
Your intentions are meaningless. They butter no parsnips.Only the actual consequences of your objective count in the real world.
Identify the obstacles to your objective.
Identify which obstacles are within your control, and which are not.
Decide if your objective is feasible despite the obstacles you cannot control. Be brutal. Admit that you don’t know what you don’t know. Only proceed if you have a clear advantage.
Identify who has skin in this game, who are the active players. Disregard the rest.
Rank the players in terms of their influence on your objective.
Research how you can persuade these players to support your objective, willingly or unwillingly.
Don't bother with prayers, or appeals to reason or kindness, don't try to assemble a majority. Identify the obstacles to your intentions and adjust their perception of the consequences of opposing you. This is how the real world works and you misunderstand it at your peril.
Favour simplicity. Make no assumptions. Check everything. But don’t be fooled into believing that rational decisions can be made with quantitative measures alone, when in fact the things you can’t measure are often the most consequential.