29 January 2015

A confused Parliament calls for dissolution

Parliament is made of members representing various parties elected by the people.  People come, people go.  Some stay for years like the present Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.  Others are here today gone tomorrow or else one this side now and later on that, courtesy one Chief Justice called Sarath N Silva. Parliament is made of voices but parliament has no voice, except in a parallel universe.  Here's that voice, heard and recorded for the first time.

My father who once gave shelter to representatives and was later made to cover wheeler dealers knows all this.  In his time when people moved they were prompted by a thing called conscience.  Even when they did crossed party lines they didn’t stop representing the people who voted for them. 

It’s all different now.  People are not as patient as they were before.   If you ask them they’ll say ‘the opposition has an important role to play in a democracy,’ but they all act as though ‘The Opposition’ is a cesspit they’ve been dumped in.  They crawl out and are duly embraced by ‘The Government’ without any thought to the gooey stuff staining the well starched national dress of the embracer. 

I don’t know.  I am over 35 years old and I thought I had seen it all.  I saw Ronnie De Mel.  He gave ‘jump’ an entirely new meaning.  Today Ronnie is old hat.  He’s been bested.  Today it’s quite a blur.  People move so fast that it is hard to keep track of who is who, who is where, and where for how long. 

Still, there was one thing clear.  After the jump, embrace, cheer and jeer, when the Speaker restores order there are two sides.  Government and Opposition.  But look what’s happened now! 

The Leader of the Opposition belongs to the largest parliamentary group.  The Prime Minister is from a party that has less than half the number of MPs the Opposition boasts of.  The President appoints/selects both Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition.   Then there’s another group made of single-member reps from various parties who don’t want the Leader of the Opposition even as they embrace the program that the newly elected President got a mandate from the people to implement.  The Speaker is the brother of the recently dethroned President who is almost saying he is thrilled that his brother lost.  Mind you, the dethroners’ clarion call was to oust not just the President  but his entire family. 
Everyone supports the President and his program, either as individuals or as members of political parties that have endorsed the key elements of his election manifesto.  Everyone believes he/she is part of the Government, even the Leader of the Opposition. 

I am tired.  I can’t figure it out.  I overheard someone saying that TV debates have become dead boring because everyone agrees with everyone else.  Ironically it is called වාද  පිටිය (vaada pitiya, translatable as debating ground).  No sharp exchanges.  No point and counterpoint.  No debate. 

In any other situation (e.g. a group of friends on a camping trip or a team of archaeologists delving into early human settlements) this would be ideal.  The problem here is that we are not talking of a group of saints.  There are crooks, wheeler dealers, those accused of plunder, arson and even murder, and barefaced liars.  If these people are in AGREEMENT and they happen to be representing the people of this country, I can only come to one conclusion.  I am obsolete.  

So I say DISSOLVE ME.  No, not in the traditional way of turning MPs into former MPs overnight, I am saying ‘burn me up, let me sink into the Diyavanna Oya, I don’t care how you do it, but put me out of this misery.