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In defence of the UK



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British parliament


By DR UPUL WIJAYAWARDHANA


Having read Mrs. Goolbai Gunasekara’s very interesting article "The UK, the US and SL (The Island, 14 July), I hasten to jump to defend the UK, even though both Sri Lanka and UK suffer from the same problem: "Inept politician syndrome". It indeed is surprising how the problems of the two countries mirror. Whilst the UK is mired in the problem of Brexit, created entirely by politicians, Sri Lanka seems to be facing endless problems, largely created by politicians who do not seem to possess even an ounce of patriotism. Agitation seems to be the order of the day than reflection and guarded response. Instead of disregarding the actor-turned-minister, who shoots off insults to all and sundry, his latest being against Buddhist monks, so much of time is wasted on criticizing him. Perhaps, he loves the limelight and the treatment for it, is complete disregard; except from his political bosses whose duty is to rein him in. But they are totally incompetent and impotent, not taking any action even when he made the very serious accusation, that most of his parliamentary colleagues are drug users, and did not name them in spite of threatening to do so. Is this the party discipline of Yahapalanaya?


Maybe because the sap for involvement in associations dried up, by overtaxing with involvement in every medical association in Sri Lanka during my working life of 23 years, one decision I made on arrival in UK was not to join any association. I broke this promise to myself once only; to support the UK branch of Rahula College OBA, a tiny association. I simply could not forget the enormous contribution that great school in Matara and its inspirational teachers made, to make me who I am today. Therefore, I shall refrain from commenting on the major portion of Goolbai’s piece, which is devoted to the workings of the SL-UK Society, except to say that I agree for it to perform properly, Brits living in Sri Lanka must be involved too.


Maybe, Brits living in Sri Lanka are disenchanted. We have a government that totally disregards the contributions of Sri-Lanka-loving-Brits. Take for instance, Lord Naseby; the time and effort he spends to defend our honour is a thorn in the flesh of our US worshipping politicos. In spite of all the solid evidence he has accumulated through sheer perseverance, our politicos are sponsoring resolutions against us and continuing to support those absurd resolutions, at the dictates of the US and remnants of terrorist outfits. It will not be surprising, if the demand for votes is so great, Yahapalanaya concluding that, as far as Easter bombings are concerned, no Muslim politico was involved, no outside organization was involved, but simply that Sinhala intolerance led to the suicide of Muslim youth, who were prepared to sacrifice their lives to highlight injustices! Nothing is beyond them!


I have to disagree with Goolbai on her statement: "Britain, on the other hand, is no longer a world power. She has no muscles to flex. She has degenerated into a second-rung state, as I remember reading some time ago." Maybe, she read words of wisdom on the internet.


Britain, though relatively a small country, is still the world’s fifth largest economy; all four ahead being countries with larger populations. The largest economy USA has a population of 328 million, the next China 1.4 billion, Japan 127 million and Germany 82 million. The population of UK is just under 67 million. True, it is no longer the world-power but it still is one of the most powerful nations on earth. The US is now following the same trends of the UK after the WW2, and soon will be replaced by China. That is the nature of things.


It is because of this realization that Donald Trump has inaugurated the ‘America First’ bandwagon, which is very likely to roll into another term, however crude and rude he is. A recent spat between the US and the UK resulted in the resignation of the UK ambassador to the USA. Political commentators are on the overdrive to apportion blame; on Trump for his injudicious response (What else can you expect from Trump?) and on Boris Johnson, who is the favourite to be the next Prime Minister, for not supporting the ambassador whereas his opponent, Jeremy Hunt extended his full support.


The problem is not the ambassador reporting back frankly to the Foreign Office or Trump twittering insults when the comments were published; it is the leak of this confidential information to the press that is the root cause of the problem, but there is very little talk of this. Maybe, it is because there is a drive to promote Jeremy Hunt over Boris, who is a clown but an extremely intelligent one. The leaks are from the memos to the Foreign Office and who is the Foreign Secretary: Jeremy Hunt!


If these sinister forces to stop Boris do not succeed, we are in for the modern version of the Punch and Judy show: Donald and Boris show! Free entertainment, just as in Sri Lanka, where a self-appointed ‘First Lady’ is making pledges on behalf of her husband, even before he has the ‘Ali’ nomination. Poor Sajith! This third thunderbolt, after the blessings of Maithri and launch by Mangala, may finish his presidential ambitions.


Goolbai, quite rightly, refers to the disgraceful behaviour of David Cameron during CHOGM. He opted to go to Jaffna, as a terrorist rump donated cash to the Conservative Party, rather than wait for the inauguration ceremony, insulting Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, whose message as the head of the Commonwealth, was being delivered by Prince Charles. I vividly remember the face of Cameron, as he came out after the one-to-one meeting with Mahinda. The BBC reporter quipped "Something must have happened inside: our PM does not look happy". No doubt, whatsoever, Mahinda must have given him a good telling-off. Hats-off to Mahinda! He makes us proud by not subjugating to the powerful.


The Commonwealth of Nations is a voluntary association of 53 sovereign states. Nearly all of them are former British colonies or dependencies of those colonies. Interestingly, Mozambique, a former colony of Portugal, decided to join the Commonwealth and there are many other countries interested in joining. It certainly will be much more powerful when Britain leaves European Union and concentrates on developing closer ties with member states.


Brexit was the result of a referendum which David Cameron launched to quell the rifts in his party. He was so sure of the result to remain in EU, as the public were bombarded with propaganda from the Bank of England which prophesized economic disaster if the country voted for Brexit, he did not have a plan for Brexit. What did he do? Resign, in spite of solemn promises to carry out the will of the people, during the campaign! At least, he resigned but our lot, they will remain with some excuse and continue muddling. Theresa May took over and she too muddled and had to go. We are waiting for Boris to deliver us from Europe!


Brits want to leave the EU because it is not the EU they joined. What they joined was a common market but now it is aiming to be a political union with German domination supported by the French. Unelected bureaucrats are running the show with a ‘puppet’ parliament that sits in two sites, one to satisfy the French. President Macron is dreaming of an EU armed force and a cynic may say that Angela Merkel is trying to do politically what Hitler failed militarily!


Brexit is delayed because though the majority of voters want to be out, the majority of MPs want to be in! They consider themselves to be superior and have done everything possible to delay Brexit. Interestingly, though most Labour constituencies voted to leave, Labour has just decided that it wants to remain! Politicians are the same wherever they are; the difference is only in the degree!


Hope Boris, if elected PM, would be able to deliver Brexit so that there would be a stronger Commonwealth, and through it too, betters relations with our neighbour and relation, India.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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