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“Stop This Circus”, Says The Clown Of The Circus

Jun 26, 2010 2:50:30 PM - thesundayleader.lk

Ranil Wickremesinghe

By H. L. D. Mahindapala

Shot to pieces by the multi-barreled fire targeting him from left, right and centre, Ranil Wickremesinghe has written a lengthy rigmarole in the Sunday Times (20/6/2010) titled, “Stop this circus: Fight the Rajapaksa dictatorship”. .

In the main, the “guest column” written under his name – obviously he has to do it all by himself probably because he can’t even find a worthy name to defend him these days — is a devious attempt to deflect attention from his one-man rule to the non-issue of raising a non-existent UNP army to “fight the Rajapaksa dictatorship”. This confirms that he is blind as ever even to the grim realities cutting the ground under his feet: the UNPers are ganging up not to fight “the Rajapaksa dictatorship”, as he calls it, but to fight the Wickremesinghe dictatorship. He thinks that by diverting the focus away from him he can survive another day. His column reveals more the bankruptcy of a desperate loser than a leader with a vision to save his own skin, let alone the UNP or the nation.

The crisis in the UNP has reached a climax because Wickremesinghe is resisting the grass root movement gathering momentum  within the rank and file to democratize the party by reforming the rules to let the “elective principle” govern the election of a new leadership. If Wickremesinghe is for “the elective principle” – he says he is for it in his column — then he should step down and ask his members to elect a leader of their choice. Why is he so afraid of “the elective principle”? Simple: he doesn’t have a ghost of a chance of surviving beyond tomorrow if he accepts “the elective principle”. He knows that right now the UNPers are focused only on overthrowing his dictatorship. This is what has prompted him to write something in his own defence to avoid facing an election.

Unable to face the rising challenge he is trying to divert attention to “the Mahinda Rajapaksa dictatorship” – a “dictatorship” (?) elected by the people unlike his position in the UNP which is yet to be opened up for election. At least “the Mahinda Rajapakse dictatorship” won a popular mandate from the people only the other day. But when did Wickremesinghe last get a mandate from his members? He has been sitting the leadership chair there for the last sixteen years by craftily changing the rules of the UNP constitution for him to remain in power until Barney Raymond packs him inside a coffin.

Does his tinkering with the UNP constitution give him any legitimacy to rule the party? Isn’t the periodic renewal of a mandate from his constituency a fundamental democratic principle to claim any legitimacy for ruling a democratic party? He is the last person who can point a finger at “the Rajapakse dictatorship” because he has no legitimacy to sit on the UNP throne. So his battle cry to overthrow “the Rajapaksa dictatorship” is a red herring which is not going to take him anywhere except into a deepening crisis which will drag the UNP into total oblivion.

The UNP has reached a critical stage as never before. In the past dissenters who opposed him left the party allowing him to rule the roost. This time he is facing a formidable opponent, Sajith Premadasa, who is determined to take him on and challenge his failed leadership. If by any chance Wickremesinghe manages to fend off the challenge this time then the UNP is in for a period of instability because the battle lines are drawn clearly on ideological and political grounds. Wickremesinghe, as usual, will try to play one against the other and plant stories in the media and among his inner circle from .Royal against Sajith.

But Sajith is now a seasoned leader who has waited patiently on the side lines watching “the circus” led by Wickremesinghe going nowhere, not even beyond Cambridge Place. Sajith, however, has proved his mettle in Hambantota – the heartland of the Rajapakses. Which UNPer has notched up such a record to their credit? His victory in Hambantota testifies not only to his organizing skills but also to his ability to win the hearts and minds of the people at the grass root level. What the UNP needs right now is a leader with organizing skills to win the hearts and minds of the people – something which Wickremesinghe can never achieve. So, looking at the current plight of the UNP from every angle, there is no rationale for the UNPers to hang on to a born loser when they have a born winner in their ranks.

Let alone leading a party, the plain fact is that he cannot even think straight to argue his own case. Of course, everyone knows that he not a straight guy. Take for instance the way he argues his case in his column in the Sunday Times. It certainly does not make him look like a lawyer who had passed out from a reputable law college. It looks more as if he has passed out from Batalanda school of law. A pettifogging proctor of the days gone by could have argued the case better. For instance, he says, after admitting that he is for “the elective principle”, that this principle is unacceptable because in an indeterminate election result the courts can intervene to appoint a leader.

If this is his defence against “the elective principle” then he should be sacked forthwith by the UNP for his crass stupidity. Doesn’t he know that all elections are subject to legal challenges? Even in the case of outright political victories anyone has the right to challenge it in courts and get a verdict that runs counter to declared results.

Court records reveal of numerous cases where election results have been challenged and the judges have ordered re-elections or nominated the losers as winners. A good example is that of the Supreme Court of America which finally decided the outcome of the George Bush’s last presidential election? So Wickremesinghe’s argument that elections can lead to legal challenges where the courts and can decide on who should be the leader, reflects his own insecurity and incapacity to think straight. How can he lead a party when he can’t argue his own case?

In presenting his own defence to save his skin he has revealed that he can hardly lift himself out of the dustbin into which he has fallen due to no fault of others. He is merely repeating the same old mantras without presenting an alternative vision to take the UNP in new and promising directions. As usual, his first and last formula is to appoint a committee.

It’s laughable when he says: “The next step should be to take the issues at stake to the people — both directly and through the media. This will enable them to obtain feedback about the mood of the country which in turn would help us to shape our policies. I have already asked the UNP’s Parliamentary Affairs Committee to set about this task”,  (Emphasis mine).

Throughout his lazy and incompetent career he has operated on the mistaken belief that if he passes the buck to a committee it will (1) absolve him from blame and (2) solve the problem on its own without him even reading the committee report. Imagine appointing a committee to find the moods of the country? When he appoints a committee to find out what the country thinks he is in reality confessing that he still does not know what the country thinks for him to shape his policies. This explains why the party has gone back in time to the pre-historic days of the Jurassic Park.

Consider also his confession of the UNP’s failure to organize at grassroot level. He says: “The UNP has neglected its organisational capacity at grassroots and the potential to mobilise support as has been evident at provincial council elections and then at the general elections. “ It is common knowledge that it is the CEO or any organization that is held responsible for the success or failure of its performance. So if the “organizational capacity” of the UNP has been neglected who is responsible? Since he does not mention that he has appointed a committee for maintaining “organizational capacity” he alone should be held responsible for it.

As for his “organizational capacity”, his own confession reveals it all. He says: “The leader is elected by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of 2000 members. Currently, about 800 members have still to be appointed by the relevant organizations to the NEC.”. What kind of an organizer is he when he has not yet appointed 800 members to the NEC? How does he propose to run the NEC wit only 1,200 members? No wonder the UNP is in such chaos. But Wickremesinghe being Wickremesinghe he tries to pass the buck to the PR system.

This confirms clearly that Wickremesinghe has no answers to his own problems. How can he blame the PR system when it was conceived and implemented by the UNP as the best guarantee to remain in power?  Wasn’t it introduced by the UNP, as a part of the UNP strategy, for the long-term survival of the UNP? This is like the incompetent dancer blaming the floor for his failure to perform. Besides, if Mahinda Rajapakse broke through the UNP’s PR fortress and won a near two-thirds majority, which was inconceivable at the time it was introduced because of the solid electoral base of the UNP, why did the UNP lose its almost impregnable bases in the north and the south?

His headline is spot on: the UNP circus must stop and it must begin with the Chief Clown in the party.
As a last resort, having no valid reason to explain the losses, he is now blaming the system. To add to his misery he makes a shocking statement: “Another challenge facing the UNP is the need to enhance the Sinhala vote, especially in the rural areas and devise an approach to woo the Buddhist voter.”  From day one, I have been telling him that Bush, Jacques Chirac and John Howard, key figures of the International Democratic Union (IDU), have no votes in Sri Lanka. It is a Christian centre-right institution of the West pushing their agenda through the likes of Wickremesinghe and Ravi Karunanayake. Would he listen?

Rubbing shoulders with these neo-colonialists is far greater than being with the people at the grass root level. He feels that his greatest achievement is being the President of the Asian Branch of IDU. In his own cunning way he has co-opted Ravi Karunanayake, a Catholic, to be his side-kick at the IDU to impress them of the Christian credentials. Consequently, he is more focused on playing up to this Christian-oriented alien mob abroad than to the Sinhala-Buddhists at home. How can he win the votes of the Sinhala-Buddhist when he is aligned to the fundamentals of foreign Christian forces?

His alignment to IDU is one of the primary causes for him to adopt anti-national policies, including the denigration of the Security Forces. He has to report back to IDU and tell them that he is a good boy acting in their best interests. If he takes a positive line in favour of the nation he gets a negative reaction from the IDU which is anti-Sri Lanka. This explains the mystery behind Wickremesinghe ‘s anti-national policies.

The UNP cannot afford to be another branch of the IDU. It must decide whether it is going to serve the interests of the people at home or Wickremesinghe’s masters abroad. Either Wickremesinghe must give up the IDU or the UNP must give up Wickremesinghe. If he thinks that he has greater leverage in the West by being a partner in the IDU he has to think of countries like Greece which are in dire trouble, despite their direct connections with the leaders of the IDU. In fact, the IDU, which has its headquarters in Norway, will make use of the connection to put the screws on Wickremesinghe like the way they pushed him to sign the Ceasefire Agreement.

He is also startled by the new trend “of large-scale voter boycott and apathy at national elections. “ He adds: “This is a new and startling trend that we have to deal with at future elections.” By and large political commentators agreed that he was the main cause “of large-scale voter boycott and apathy at national elections.” To begin he was as inspiring as dish water going down the drain.  He adopted the new technique of engaging his audience at public meetings with rhetorical questions to evoke responses. It was more like a born-again evangelical preacher talking to the converted to raise automatic “Alleluias” to boost the ego of the preacher than praising the cause of the Good Lord. But he was happy and carried away with his cheap trick while the crowd went home and stayed at home when the time came for voting because they knew that he was going to lose whether they voted or not.
Last but not the least, he has foreshadowed what is to come. All this reform talk is mere hogwash.

According to him the committee he has appointed “has already come to an agreement on maintaining the tradition of uncontested election of officials and it is formulating a mechanism to arrive at a consensus for this.”  So far as he is concerned  the UNP is there to endorse  him as the unelected leader of the party. And continue forever and ever. Goodbye “the elective principle”! Farewell mandate from the members!. Go to hell any democratic principles of election!. His committee is very busy now “formulating a mechanism to arrive at a consensus” to keep him in power forever and a day.

How much time has the UNPers? Not much by the look of things. Obviously, the machinations of Wickremesinghe make the UNPers a threatened species on their way to extinction. The time is ripe for them to strike if they are bent on carving out a future. Wickremesinghe’s article is in reality a clear sign of his weakness.

He is using the Sunday Times to boost his claims to tighten his grip on the party some more and remain in power forever and day. If the UNPers fall for this trap this time then they too have no one else to blame except themselves. His headline is spot on: the UNP circus must stop and it must begin with the Chief Clown in the party.

As a last resort, having no valid reason to explain the losses, he is now blaming the system. To add to his misery he makes a shocking statement: “Another challenge facing the UNP is the need to enhance the Sinhala vote, especially in the rural areas and devise an approach to woo the Buddhist voter.”  From day one, I have been telling him that Bush, Jacques Chirac and John Howard, key figures of the International Democratic Union (IDU), have no votes in Sri Lanka.

It is a Christian centre-right institution of the West pushing their agenda through the likes of Wickremesinghe and Ravi Karunanayake. Would he listen?

Rubbing shoulders with these neo-colonialists is far greater than being with the people at the grass root level. He feels that his greatest achievement is being the President of the Asian Branch of IDU. In his own cunning way he has co-opted Ravi Karunanayake, a Catholic, to be his side-kick at the IDU to impress them of the Christian credentials. Consequently, he is more focused on playing up to this Christian-oriented alien mob abroad than to the Sinhala-Buddhists at home. How can he win the votes of the Sinhala-Buddhist when he is aligned to the fundamentals of foreign Christian forces?

His alignment to IDU is one of the primary causes for him to adopt anti-national policies, including the denigration of the Security Forces. He has to report back to IDU and tell them that he is a good boy acting in their best interests. If he takes a positive line in favour of the nation he gets a negative reaction from the IDU which is anti-Sri Lanka. This explains the mystery behind Wickremesinghe ‘s anti-national policies.

The UNP cannot afford to be another branch of the IDU. It must decide whether it is going to serve the interests of the people at home or Wickremesinghe’s masters abroad. Either Wickremesinghe must give up the IDU or the UNP must give up Wickremesinghe. If he thinks that he has greater leverage in the West by being a partner in the IDU he has to think of countries like Greece which are in dire trouble, despite their direct connections with the leaders of the IDU. In fact, the IDU, which has its headquarters in Norway, will make use of the connection to put the screws on Wickremesinghe like the way they pushed him to sign the Ceasefire Agreement.

He is also startled by the new trend “of large-scale voter boycott and apathy at national elections. “ He adds: “This is a new and startling trend that we have to deal with at future elections.” By and large political commentators agreed that he was the main cause “of large-scale voter boycott and apathy at national elections.” To begin he was as inspiring as dish water going down the drain.

He adopted the new technique of engaging his audience at public meetings with rhetorical questions to evoke responses. It was more like a born-again evangelical preacher talking to the converted to raise automatic “Alleluias” to boost the ego of the preacher than praising the cause of the Good Lord. But he was happy and carried away with his cheap trick while the crowd went home and stayed at home when the time came for voting because they knew that he was going to lose whether they voted or not.
Last but not the least, he has foreshadowed what is to come. All this reform talk is mere hogwash.

According to him the committee he has appointed “has already come to an agreement on maintaining the tradition of uncontested election of officials and it is formulating a mechanism to arrive at a consensus for this.”  So far as he is concerned  the UNP is there to endorse  him as the unelected leader of the party. And continue forever and ever. Goodbye “the elective principle”! Farewell mandate from the members!. Go to hell any democratic principles of election!. His committee is very busy now “formulating a mechanism to arrive at a consensus” to keep him in power forever and a day.

How much time has the UNPers? Not much by the look of things. Obviously, the machinations of Wickremesinghe make the UNPers a threatened species on their way to extinction. The time is ripe for them to strike if they are bent on carving out a future. Wickremesinghe’s article is in reality a clear sign of his weakness. He is using the Sunday Times to boost his claims to tighten his grip on the party some more and remain in power forever and day. If the UNPers fall for this trap this time then they too have no one else to blame except themselves.