Janarala Rally at Hyde Park.....
Alright, say this SLFP (PA) Govt is corrupt, guilty of
financial mismanagement, not keeping its promises, not quite
able to control the escalation of the COL, allowing defence
mishaps to occur, etc etc.
So Some say we need to replace it with another. Agreed. Those
who are shouting hoarse that they be allowed to form a Govt.,
should themselves be free of the defects they allege against the
SLFP Govt. and not have been guilty of such defects when they
were in power. The said "AG" being the UNP (or the "National
Congress" (NC) under its current dispensation) is it then not
logical to examine the UNP/NCs record in this regard? The need
for it arises because one notices today, hour after hour, day
after day, on TV, Radio, the Press and in the many "jana
mehemuwas" the UNP/NC lambasting the Govt on this and that as if
they themselves never indulged in the self same skullduggeries!
It seems that anything the Govt does is wrong, even actions
obviously beneficial to the public (eg. The Post 10 p.m.
loudspeaker Ban. So as ‘The Island’s Editor suggested in his
clinical Editorial on 25.10.07, is there any one without sin who
can cast the first stone? And the Editor, "Daily Mirror" clearly
answers this Biblical question in his also balanced editorial of
"Both the Govt and the Opposition resort to similiar methods
to win over supporters. So it is a vain attempt by each party to
appear before the people as paragons of virtue. The pure white
garb most of our politicians are attired in has no affinity with
So led us briefly examine the UNP/NC’s conduct, and see
whether they (say Attanayake in his "white national garb" for
instance) can cast the first stone and then by pose before us as
"paragons" of virtue"!
Take Bribery and Corruption. I quote from ‘The Island’ and
the ‘D/Mirror’ which among the English papers, I consider are
more or less balanced in their views. I leave out both the
‘D/News’ and ‘Observer’ which being Govt papers are one-sided.
‘The Sunday Leader’ and ‘Morning Leader’ though supposedly part
of the so-called "Independent press" is patently a UNP/LTTE
paper, in my view.
‘The Island’ Editorial (04-10-07): "Bribery as a means of
winning elections is nothing new in this country. All Govt
leaders save President Wijetunge have either given or offered
bribes to the LTTE" (Editorial titled "A tragicomedy of
‘Daily Mirror’ Editorial (Sorry, I’ve missed the date):
Regarding the indifference by all parties to the OPA’s
"Anti-corruption Auction Plan" of 28-7-07: Both Govt &
Opposition Parties "concern about wiping out corruption is
confined to taking political advantage over their rival
parties…. The present exchange of allegations and counter
allegations reverberating in the political arena today clearly
shows that it is political capital they seek to make thro’ this
issue. These parties while in the Opposition show great concern
about burgeoning bribery and corruption. They come out with
sensational exposures of govt party corruption, posing as
paragons of virtue who will not touch corruption even with a
barge pole" (Eg. The ‘Benz’ and ‘funding the LTTE’ allegations
my interpolation) "But once installed in power they soon tread
the same path of corruption that the previous regime followed."
Defence Mishaps/Military Debacles etc.
The UNP went to town over the LTTE attack on the Anuradhapura
Airbase. Everyone agrees that there was gross negligence,
ineptness on the part of Airport Security. But is the UNP free
from similar charges? I go again to ’The Island.’
‘The Island’ Editorial of 25.10.07: "Casting the first
stone": "Attempts are being made in some quarters to lionize the
Tigers" (refers to the LTTE’s success in A’pura and the UNP/NC
gloating). ‘The Island’, having pointed out that this attack was
not that too brilliant a feat goes onto state: "What about the
debacles the LTTE suffered at Marvil Aru, Muttur, and Vakarai?
The present day UNP has suffered a string of defeats just like
the SLFP…." One notes that while the UNP gloated over the LTTE’s
feats in A’pura, it degraded the Army’s feat at Thoppigala as
mere rock capture! Pooneryn was overrun in 1990, battle tanks
removed, with Ranil as Premier!
UNP’s Call for Resignations: The UNP demanded the
resignation/dismissal of the Defence Sec and the Air Force Chief
after the A’Pura debacle.
‘The Island’ same Editorial: "Should they resign" (including
the President as C-in-C). "If so President Bush should have
resigned over the attack on the Pentagon. Churchill over the
initial failures of the British Army, President Ranaginghe
Premadasa when 600 policemen who surrendered on his orders to
the LTTE were massacred in 1990. "But none of the above, Bush,
Churchill, Wijetunge and Ranil (after Pooneryn) or Premadasa
resigned. Nor did Ranil while in Cabinet ask them to resign.
‘The Island’ again: "Worse, the military officers who were
found responsible for that military disaster by a court of
inquiry, were late promoted and then sent abroad as Ambassador
after retirement. The UNP Govt saved its face by forcing the
then Army Commander Cecil Waidyaratne to resign." Regarding the
JVP attack on Katunayake, and removal of weapons "neither
President Premadasa nor his Defence Secretary resigned." Nor did
Ranil or the UNP ask them to do so! "The present day UNP has
suffered a string of defeats. But has any head rolled in the UNP?
No! Ranil himself should have resigned long ago. Yes, his forte
is to cast stones while in a glass house and to look at the mote
in Rajapakse’s eye, ignoring the speck in his own!
There are more aspects of the UNP’s finger pointing
dishonesties to be commented on. Due to space constrains I will
refer only to two more, namely the Cost of Living, and keeping
COL: I quote the "D/Mirror" Editorial (Sorry, date not noted)
as regards ‘COL’ promises given by all parties. "Bringing down
the COL and promoting good governance… and among common pledges
held out to people… The Govt’t failure is not peculiar to the
present govt to fulfill the promise for reducing the COL is due
to a combination of reasons."
Keeping to election promises: "D/Mirror’s Editorial: SLFP,
SLFP (M) UNP agreements and proposals are like political party
manifestos containing pious intentions. COL promoting good
governance being common pledges. The disappointments, problems
arise when those elected to power fail to fulfill these
pledges." So clearly the UNP is no better in this regard.
Above is a survey of neutral press views on the "Alternative
Govt" (UNP) whose members, or the most vociferous of them, now
come out ‘in pure white garb’ "posing as paragons of virtue"
making sensational exposures, claims and other anti-corruption
declamations. Are they as the Alternative Govt" any better than
the Govt they are quick to criticize? Say, on the corruption
issue and the COPE Report. The irony is that the UNP which
thunders about it must hide its head in shame because the
corrupt deals the COPE reports on were mostly done under Ranil’s
UNP regime. Likewise, the SLFP Govt too must be ashamed for
trying to shield the alleged culprits who are now with them.
The tragedy of much of political discussions today is that
many see only one side of the picture. They regularly point to
the Govt’s misdeeds, corruption, political chicanery etc.,
forgetting or in most cases choosing to ignore that their own
political party (whichever it is) perpetrated the same
skullduggeries during their time. Seems each Govt outdoes the
other in political humbug and other frauds. That’s how I see it
and always have. Yet loyalties to a particular party blinds many
of its followers to the fact that their party, having a mote in
its own eyes, has the gall to point at the speck in the others.
To close, I might therefore pose the question is the
Alternative Govt (UNP/NC) any different than the Govt it seeks
to replace? One knows what the answer of those blindly partial
to their party will be. What do the politically honest, neutral
and those with a sense of analytic appraisal think? That is the
And to show just how politically dishonest and deliberately
non-analytic the UNP/NC people can be, here’s a recent sample
from one of its top leaders: "The Trade Minister… who had
contributed much to governance when he was a member of the UNP
had now changed his policies by joining the Mahinda Rajapakse
Govt…" Mr. Ravi Karunanayake (UNP District MP at Committee Stage
Debate). What about Mr. Mangala Samaraweera and Mr. Siripathi
Sooriarachchi, Mr. K? Have they not changed their policies since
joining you people? Is it only your crossovers who have changed
policies? What about the big policy change your own party has
made on the Ethnic Issue for purely opportunistic, vote getting
purposes; your U-turn to a Unitary structure from Federalism,
whatever euphemism (Repositioning) your party may call it.