20 November 2014

Name-calling is a fun game

There are governments and each of them has an Opposition.  There are strong governments and weak ones. Likewise, the Opposition is sometimes strong and sometimes weak.  Very weak.  Regardless of relative strengths, it can safely be said that they need each other.  They need each other not for the text-book reason of critique being a necessary part of streamlining things for the common good of all.  They need each other to yell at because if you are not good at what you the next best thing is to criticize someone else.  It happens everywhere.  

Parliament is not immune to this phenomenon.  They yell at each other in Parliament and outside it they yell about each other. 

Politicians and political parties are voted in and out of office.  You are in Government today and tomorrow you are in the Opposition and vice versa.  Today you are stating and defending policy and tomorrow you are criticizing it.  Part of the game. 

Two things don’t change, though.  The names.  There is ‘Government’ and there is ‘Opposition’.  In a parallel universe these two met up for chat over coffee at a restaurant called ‘Presidential Election’.  Now unlike people, these entities are serious.  Unlike their human counterparts they are not given to spewing invective at one another in the House and later giggling over something that was said or comparing notes over investments in the share market. 

‘I have something serious to tell you,’ Government told Opposition.

‘We are always serious, so that doesn’t surprise me.  And while we are at it, I have some serious stuff to share too!’ Opposition responded. 

‘You are misnamed!’ Government laid the cards on the table.

‘You are a pot and I am a kettle,’ the Opposition, surprisingly, hadn’t lost any of its humor despite gloomy times. 

‘You are an insult to your name,’  Government sneered.

‘Ditto.  But since you brought it up, why don’t you lay it out as thick as you can?’

‘Look, we have our guys all set up to contest.  Your people are still fighting with each other and can’t come up with a name.’

‘All in good time. As for your guy, we know how he arranged his eligibility.’

‘All in the game, didn’t you know?  People are not in this business for the people but for themselves.  High time you figured that out.’

‘Ok, I will concede that, but just you wait, when we do come up with a name your guy will start shivering!’

‘When?  Did you say “when”?  Maybe you should add an “if” to that. A big “if”!’

‘You want “ifs”?  Here’s some.  IF there was a level playing field, IF there was no intimidation, IF there was no provision to orchestrate crossovers, IF there was media freedom, IF there was no tinkering with the Constitution….I can give you many, dude!’

Here’s some “ifs” for you.  IF you stopped blaming me and took a good look at yourself in the mirror…IF you asked who made the constitution…IF you find where the person who made crossover possible is now and with who he is talking most..IF you stopped complaining about the media and started doing something that would be newsworthy…yes, that IF-list is also long!’

‘You can’t govern.  You don’t know the meaning of transparency.  You don’t know the meaning of accountability.  You are misnamed,’ Opposition chose to attack from a different angle. 

‘I know how to do things.  There’s a constitution that some of your pals gave me.  I am just using it.’

‘Abusing it, you mean?’

‘No, using it.  You better read it.  And once you’ve done that you could look at the Constitution of the UNP.  Then you’ll understand that it’s less a problem with me than with yourself.’

‘We will worry about our problems, thank you very much.’

‘Yes, you have a lot of worrying to do, don’t you?  After all, it all depends on what Mr RW says in the end.  You can put any number of names into the hat but he can pick himself or if he feels he can’t win he can pick someone he knows will lose.  Like he did with Sarath Fonseka in 2010.’

‘We will surprise you!’ 

‘I can’t wait to be surprised.  It’s been a boring tenure for me because you are so predictable.  I remember a time when you were far more innovative.  I can’t figure out what happened to you.  Maybe you’ve become lazy.’

‘Well you’ve used bucks and threats to pin me down.  You think that’s fair?’

‘Not the first time I’ve done that.  But you always fought back.  You turned things around.  Maybe it’s the RW effect that’s dragging you down.’

‘Closing time,’ the proprietor of the restaurant interrupted them.

‘This is not over!’ Opposition shot a dark glance at Government.

‘Of course it is not.  Give it your best shot.  I need some serious competition. Right now, you are a push-over.   Yeah, that’s a good name for you: Pushover’


‘Now, now gentlemen, take your fight elsewhere!’ the proprietor said as he closed up.