James Selfe stepping down as DA Federal Council Chair

James Selfe is stepping down as the DA’s Federal Council Chair after 19 years in the position, according to ENCA.

He will instead be serving as the head of the party’s governance unit.

According to News 24 the decision comes following the DA’s poor performance in the last election, actually shrinking their share of the vote to 20.8%.

The party achieved 22.23% of the vote in the prior elections. Mmusi Maimane claimed responsibility for the decline in a federal council meeting.

The party will be reviewing its structures and policies ahead of 2021.

My Take

Darkmatter2525 is an atheist YouTuber who created a fairly good sci-fi series, despite its somewhat janky animation, called “Power Corrupts“.

The series bases itself around the idea that reality is in fact a simulation designed as a test for God, to see how suitable he would be for a leadership position.

I’m not going to spoil it much further than that for anybody who is interested, but this series had one particular episode which really struck me when I saw it – it was about the role of the devil in Christian mythology.

In the series, God’s father, Joshua, is a terrible person and one of the lessons he teaches his son is that if you’re in charge – it helps to have an underling to take the blame for unpopular decisions.

The example presented is firing someone – the underling gets the hate, and Joshua pretends to sympathise with the person he ordered to be fired.

Of course, in the story God takes this lesson and this is why the devil is allowed to exist within that simulation – to be the fall guy (actually girl in this case) for God’s bad decisions. The idea being it is good to have someone else to play the devil.

The thing that struck me here is I’ve seen people use that dynamic in real life, where the person in charge really is calling the shots and using middle management as human shields for the criticism that comes from those shots.

There is a tape recording of Donald Trump doing this with regards to Omarosa Manigault Newman’s firing for example.

Another example is in the gaming industry – there is no shortage of horror stories about what a complete psychopath Jeronimo Barrera, the former vice president of product development at Rockstar, was.

He was there for two decades before resigning in 2018, and his bad behaviour was no secret to anybody. His bosses knew about it, but he was kept in place to be the devil, and thus take some measure of some responsibility off the shoulders of Sam and Dan Houser, the founders of Rockstar.

The fact that Barrera was awful sort of helped in that regard, but it wasn’t really necessary.

And it is the role I think Selfe has had to play during Mmusi Maimane tenure as the DA leader. Selfe has been painted as the leader of a shadowy cabal which is making Maimane’s decisions, so whenever one of those decisions is unpopular, well Selfe gets the flack.

The thing is though, at the end of the day Maimane is the boss, he’s the DA leader.

Selfe was essentially playing Maimane’s devil. Whether he will continue that role in his new position, I don’t know, but I don’t blame Selfe for the DA’s decline.

The blame for that really needs to go to the one at the top.


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