Peter Hain visits

Those who fear the consequences of international coverage of the current labour unrest and action in the Western Cape will be depressed to hear that Peter Hain is here, with a BBC film crew in tow.Hain is, of course, the figure most publicly associated with the British part in the international sporting and goods boycott of apartheid South Africa. (He grew up in this country, in a family deeply opposed to apartheid; more recently he has been notably involved in centre-left, mostly centre, governmental politics in his own country.)

This is all I know. I am not aware if he and the BBC are here specifically to cover the strikes and protests, but they are most certainly paying attention to them. Possibly it is all part of a campaign to promote his recently-published autobiographical book, Outside in.

Myself, though – I would guess that WOSA is a little alarmed to have further murmurs of anything to do with a resumed boycott of South African wine, which is the sort of thinking that automatically follows on the invocation of the Hain name. They’ll be wondering where the cameras have been nosing about (looking at workers’ housing conditions, perhaps?).

And they’ll be hoping that Sunday’s rally of farmworkers and their allies in Ashton is the prelude to a peaceful week, whether or not the strike is resumed, and spreads. We all hope that.

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