It’s easy to satirise the kind of journalism that led to the now famous October 20 “Cry, the beloved country” cover story of the Economist magazine.
There are two stories in the edition, a short “leader” article and the main story. This is the intro of the main story:
“It has made progress since becoming a full democracy in 1994. But a failure of leadership means that in many ways, South Africa is now going backwards.”
The magazine then lists a hodgepodge of new and old problems and economic indicators, including unemployment, inequality and education.
It’s an easy kind of journalism: make up your mind about the story and then find the facts to fit.
Apply this approach to the UK:
“It has made progress since it stopped being an imperialist exploiter in the 1960s. But a failure of leadership means that in many ways, Britain is now going backwards. Unemployment, economy at zero growth or worse, increasing xenophobia, youth riots, a troubled coalition government running an unpopular austerity, house prices that make home ownership impossible for new entrants, an ageing population that puts a strain on the fiscus etc, spell bad news for the green and pleasant isle.”
This is not to diminish our problems. They are real and need fixing.
One that the Economist devotes some space to is the failure of education to give many ordinary people hope of breaking out of poverty. This is more than sad, it is enraging.
Yet many of the problems cited, such as inequality, will take more than “leadership”, whatever that implies, to solve. At least some of those who chortled with glee in South Africa at the renowned international magazine having a go at the ANC are unlikely to want to make the sacrifices that greater equality demands.
Solving inequality through massive, quick redistribution of wealth would arguably level down rather than up, so that those who could not flee would be left equally poor. It is a problem faced by other countries, such as Brazil.