Simon Lincoln Reader, a popular columnist for BizNews, is one of those individuals that people either love or hate. Finding someone whose feelings about Reader fall between these extremes is as unlikely as Reader developing a filter. At the fifth BizNews Conference in March, the London-based technology investor returned to South Africa to sit down with BizNews founder Alec Hogg for a frank fireside chat. Any first-time conference delegates who, on the eve of Day 1 of keynote presentations, were under the impression that they were attending a mild-mannered event found out that this was profoundly untrue during the first five minutes of Reader’s appearance on stage. It’s just as well, considering the brilliant but loaded BNC#5 presentations that followed his delightfully disruptive perspectives. The host of topics explored, ranging from wokeness to the Russia-Ukraine war, and, in particular, Reader’s unique delivery of his opinions, was, if anything, a fantastic testament to the South African sense of humour – and the apparent failure to rob a true Saffa thereof. – Nadya Swart
See timestamped topics below:
- 00:00 Simon Lincoln Reader on his name
- 00:44 On his relationship and experience working with Jeff Patterson, South African entrepreneurial genius and co-founder of Fourex
- 04:20 On his time as a columnist writing for Business Day
- 05:23 On the importance of satire
- 07:35 His observations about what many South Africans are terribly confused yet hopeful about in respect of the upcoming 2024 National Elections
- 09:56 His perspective on where South Africa is going considering the dysfunctional coalitions and ANC running the country
- 11:11 On his idea to get Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson to speak to the leaders of SA’s opposition parties, to their loathing of each other, and to their admiration and fears
- 14:13 Alec Hogg on CNN anchor Richard Quest and his view on what would be required for SA’s coalitions to work
- 15:21 Reader on the reason he likes unusual, alternative thinking
- 16:57 On the merits and drawbacks of hiring individuals with PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economics) qualifications to work in the business or government sectors
- 17:34 On the political, cultural and social state of Britain
- 20:12 On culture wars and the permeation of woke culture in the West
- 21:40 On the erosion of social norms brought about by the woke movement
- 22:24 On the conversations with Dr Aseem Malhotra and Professor Tim Noakes during their drive to the BizNews Conference at Champagne Sports Resort in the Drakensberg with
- 24:33 Alec Hogg on Prof. Noakes and the gruelling trial and hardship he suffered due to his radical shift from promoting carbohydrates to being a fierce advocate of the high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet
- 26:09 Alec Hogg and Reader on the complexity of the media landscape today, the severity of public comments on social media platforms like Twitter, and why the majority continue engaging on Twitter regardless
- 29:13 Reader on the delusion of benefit
- 29:46 On the relevance of SA’s grey-listing and how, despite the extensive corruption in London, SA gets fingered for its corruption
- 32:40 On corruption in SA as perceived by those living in the UK
- 34:10 On his experience living next door to the Guptas and whether he thinks they’ll ever go to jail
- 36:00 On calling COVID the coof
- 37:11 On Hunter Biden’s laptop
- 40:58 On Vladimir Putin, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and the ongoing war in Ukraine
- 42:52 On Boris Johnson intervening in Russia-Ukraine peace talks between Putin and Zelenskyy
- 44:00 On the Russia-Ukraine war being a “forever war”
Excerpts from Alec Hogg’s BNC#5 fireside chat with Simon Lincoln Reader
Simon Lincoln Reader on the permeation of woke culture in the West
You shouldn’t take woke seriously in the way that you shouldn’t drink water from the toilet. Okay? Because it’s not a serious thing. It’s a distraction. These things are dangerous, but they are ultimately distractions. And you’ve got a law, and you’ve got prescripts which uphold proper conduct. But woke is very good at disguising something else, which we’re all guilty of doing, and that is [that] for the last four or five decades, we’ve been entertaining a culture of upwardly failing politicians and unelected institutions. And that’s what woke is hiding. So woke absorbs all our energy because we see something – you know, some blue-haired maniac is running around identifying as a donkey and all of this – and it gets into the headlines, onto Twitter, and everyone’s going, “Ah!” And that’s what we attack. It’s gone proper mainstream.
Read more: Simon Lincoln Reader on Biden, Boris’ hair, wokeness, politics and his relation to Margaret Thatcher – no-holds-barred
Woke claims to dismantle systems. It doesn’t. It protects a class issue at the back. And the guys that we should be paying more attention to, the things that we really should be dismantling, are getting away with absolute murder. Case in point, Boris Johnson. He’s a failed prime minister; he’s a pathological liar. He forced his girlfriends into abortions. He had children out of wedlock. He is the most untrustworthy person in the Western Hemisphere, okay? He’s about to be appointed secretary general of NATO. Nice work.
On Vladimir Putin, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and the ongoing war in Ukraine
Okay, so I don’t have a dog in this, and I really sympathise with the Ukrainians because [of] that active, unprovoked aggression by Vladimir Putin. You know, when I said I was left, I still am in the sense of anti-war. I loathe it. I loathe Tony Blair. I hate it. I wasn’t in London in 2003, but if I had been, I would have been on that Million Man March against an illegal invasion of Iraq. I despise war. You can have two simultaneous thoughts, and the one is that Vladimir Putin is a psychopath and a horrible man, and he might be, this invasion is inhumane and so on.
Read more: BNC#5: COVID: the collapse of scientific integrity after decades of pharmaceutical collusion and public health system failures – Dr Aseem Malhotra
But on the other side, you also have to see that Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s patron was also Hunter Biden’s patron. That there are things here that are uncomfortable. Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s election mandate when he was elected – those are countries that had had a very turbulent time – he was elected on a very clear 71% mandate, which is peace. You’ve got to make peace with the oke next door. You’ve got to try and do it. And this puts everyone, most importantly, innocent Ukrainians, in the thick of it.
Isaac Herzog, the Israeli president, said two months ago that Vladimir Putin was ready to agree to peace terms as early as March. Now! Last year. Okes were [going to] sit down. And who scuppered it? Boris Johnson. Boris Johnson intervened and said that there would be no talks whatsoever. This won’t happen.
On Boris Johnson intervening in peace talks between Putin and Zelenskyy and what it means for the escalation of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine
[Boris Johnson] is a useful idiot for a bigger coalition. He is the Americans’ guy inside [the Russia-Ukraine war]. And the Americans probably said to him, “Interfere immediately. We don’t want to see this happening.” But look, I’m not a conspiracy [theorist]. This is what Isaac Herzog said, and I could show you.
Read more: BNC#5: SA’s wannabe dictator Gayton McKenzie rants about Zille, illegals, death penalty – and more
It’s scary [that Boris Johnson will be the head of NATO]. It was scary when he was prime minister of Britain. It was scary when he was appointed the MP of his constituency. This guy’s a maniac.
[The conflict between Russia and Ukraine] is a “forever war”. We’ve got a new one.
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