Leaders like Zuma may be doomed. But they fight every inch of the way | Martin Kettle

From the ANC to Theresa May, there is something humanly compelling in the hand-to-hand combat of political survival

Political outcomes, even ones that may seem inevitable or even historically preordained, are always less clear in advance than they are in retrospect. Coleridge compares the problem to sailing on the ocean at night. Others invoke the fog of politics, likening it to the fog of war. Not to understand that politicians fear the unknown is not to understand politics. It’s why MPs mostly hate general elections. It’s why would-be leaders often bottle a contest they should win. It’s why those who have power try so hard to hold on to it, and why resignations are almost always messy and acrimonious.

The mechanics and tactics of Zuma’s attempt to negotiate a face- and cash-saving deal are electrifying

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