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Posts Tagged ‘groundviews’

This is the first election after the so-called “war” so I was expecting it to be with a bit of real action. Apart from some loser jokes mainly from the opposition and a little thuggery mainly from the government, nothing really happened.

Government

Hopefully, some useless and inefficient hangers-on in the government will have to go in order to pave the way for the newcomers, which is a good thing. If Duminda Silva’s performance in provincial council election was anything to go by, I don’t have high hopes on the so-called intellect of the “common public” to vote for right candidates. On the other hand, DS was not fighting against any bigshot then, so one only has to wait and see.

And the interesting question remains who actually sponsored the campaign of Wimal Weeravansa. I think he should be in parliament, probably with a comfortable preferential vote, but clearly someone big was helping him and no one helps anyone that way without any benefit in return.

Basically, Rajapakse family was having their way, and they deserve it in part and the other part could have been prevented if the opposition was what it should be: a better alternative.

Thunen Deka

With more than twenty bonus seats, government should be in a strong position than what’s shown from the vote percentage, probably enough to 2/3 majority. I’m not comfortable about absolute power for _any_ government, and 2/3 can cut either way. On the other hand, with the pulling-by-the-legs policies of the opposition, it would be impossible for a weak government to implement any necessary but unpopular policies such as cutting down free handouts and strong control or limitations on government expenditure and useless jobs. A recent example of this is UNP and JVP trying to oust the government in budget debate while the war was going on. JVP only got cold feet (partly due to Wimal) just because they realized that the coup would not be successful anyway.  Had they have the majority necessary, there would not have been any sudden bout of patriotism that we saw at the last moment.

Also, a powerless government could be vulnerable for minorities taking advantage of the situation under the thin veil of equality. For instance, as sittingnut says here, government should take care of the bloated representation of NE population, a reason why the terrorists didn’t want any census in the areas. Similarly, it should prevent the opposition from attempts at destabilizing the government, exploiting either Sinhala or Tamil or Muslim racial lines for petty gains.

Media, NGOs and Cat’s Paws

An example for the latter is the hoax about the presidential speech which claimed that Mahinda threatened the tamils for hooting at his speech. The scene was so ugly and even the card-carrying Dollar NGO groundviews had to pretend some balanced view. Of course peace-pimp Sunanda Deshapriya showed his usual idiocy by claiming that Demala is a”derogatory term” on the fact that Tamils don’t call themselves “Demala”. I wonder whether they use “Sinhalaya” in tamil to refer to Sinhalese or whatever they use (Singalam or whatever) is also a “derogatory term” because Sinhalese don’t use it for themselves.

The JVP

Whats more interesting is that JVP has shed their nationalist pretense and had gone to a stand that shows that they won’t care about what they do for petty political gain. Their handling of the presidential speech showed that even racial hatred is OK. It also seems, especially from the line of Inter University Student’s Federation, that they are pandering to minority votes, like they tried to do in late nineties sleeping with the likes of Wickramabahu, just before Sihala Urumaya started. The recent line of the IUSF looks very much like a classic “muttiya daala balanava” case of a sinhala idiom. Probably they have admitted losing to the competition at being a radical Sinhala Nationalist parties, but their new stand isn’t clearly due to any policy change per se. It took them only weeks to ditch Wickramabahu and align with Sinhala Nationalism, and it seems now that they have gone back to minority “issues” equally as quickly. This isn’t policy. This is opportunism. And a dangerous one too, because the way they behaved (for instance, their stand on the TNA which I have addressed before) shows that they don’t care about even aligning with terrorists or terrorist supporters who still keep the same terrorist policies, as long as it gives them some temporary political edge. In early 2000, it was the UNP that had this policy, but they are increasingly showing reluctance to jump into that bandwagon now. The terrorist-peacenic-western-NGO flame is carried today by the JVP, not by the UNP.

Gen. and Mrs Fonseka

Of course, the UNPers, and the liberal “intellectual”s who saw the coming of the General as a rays of sunlight in a pitch black night, were quick to forget/disclaim Fonseka. Some even claimed that they wouldn’t have bothered less whether Fonseka won or not. Today, “The General” seems to be out of the equation for many who considered him as their National Leader just few months ago. All the nice things the UNP said about the General was forgotten with the simple idea that the elephant symbol can secure them more votes!

I think the JVP has no special love towards him either: JVP doesn’t accept him as their leader, and his policies are not theirs. Other than hating Mahinda, there’s very little the JVP and Fonseka have in common. Even General Fonseka’s letters and Madame Fonseka’s press talks seem to be dictated by the JVP. I think their clear plan is to get the sympathy votes, but have their best try to have JVPers elected by these votes. A good “jilmart”, if they can manage it.

The UNP

The only way that UNP could regain their old stature is definitely a change at the core of the party, a change that is both structural and political, rather than changing a few faces, installing yet more powerless offices or nonfunctional committees. As I have said before, I think the people who consistently vote for UNP is partly to blame for the mess they are in. As shown from the Fonseka  fiasco, both the outwardly UNPers and the closet UNPers pretending to be liberal/leftist intellectuals approve of anything UNP does, however opportunistic, as long as it gives them a semblance of hope in bringing the UNP to power. Listening to them (those who wield power in the UNP is more vulnerable to these kind of media/internet/newspaper BS compared to those in UPFA) the UNP leaders might be getting the idea that they are doing the right thing. It’s only when their collective behinds thump the ground that they suddenly start criticizing the “leader” and suddenly remember “ranil has to go”. Ravi Karunayake’s votes, for instance, will show how many of the UNP is still in this kind, regardless of what they think of the “leader”. As a minister only memorable thing Ravi K did was to ruin Sathosa and sell its assets cheap and having his henchmen/women at important places (and bringing in UB40!). Only thing he is talented at is coups, but a lot of UNPers seem to like him.

In that way, Ranil is also a symptom as much as the cause of the problem of UNP. As long as the UNP thinks that their way to power is exploits at any cost, they deserve to be in the pathetic mess they are in right now.

Future

I think what matters most is the future of the country – solid development in economy, living conditions, law and order, fundamental rights and freedom. Admittedly, some of these start to work when others are available. For instance, while law and order is important, in an undeveloped country without many opportunities for honest growth, there will be less law and order and more corruption.

The Rajapakse-led UPFA government has proven their ability in some of these areas, and their record on some other areas is not so good. Still, I think they deserve a chance after war, and it’s up to the people to make sure that crooks don’t get elected to the parliament.

Development is a given unless there is a major mess up somewhere. But clearly, that pace of development is not enough, given this opportunity and relative stability of the government. Hopefully, Rajapakse and his new cabinet won’t sit on their win, but do something useful for the long-term future of the country. That would need brains as well as the willpower. Not the kind of self-proclaimed brains of rotting, lethargic UNP and the supporting liberal hypocrites, but more practical, patriotic and energetic brains.

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