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A Churlish Churchill, A Godawful Grusha

May 22, 2022 10:36:23 AM - colombotelegraph.com

By Sarath de Alwis

Sarath de Alwis

On assuming office Ranil Wickremesinghe compared himself to Winston Churchill – modern history’s most celebrated ‘Unexpected Hero’.

Although unexpected, Ranil is on his sixth rescue mission. Defining the inevitable pitfalls ahead of him, he compared his immediate responsibility to that of ‘Grusha’s the courageous maid in the Brechtian play ‘Caucasian Chalk Circle’ who manages to escape with the orphaned infant Michael across a broken rope bridge.

In the Churchillian comparison he distorts history. In the theatrical analogy he ridicules the profound humanism that playwright Bertolt Brecht conveys through the selfless innocence of the kitchen maid ‘Grusha’. Such is the deceit of versatile politicians.

Should we waste time dissecting Ranil’s embroidered historical and theatrical explanations while he pretends to be seriously engaged in the audacious mission of rescuing the nation from indescribable misery.

Yes. This is precisely the time to call Ranil Wickremesinghe’s bluff. Politics must be made into the pursuit of achievable goals and not an excursion into a delusional world of rhetoric.

Ranil tells us that we need a new political culture. He still retains Vajira Abeywardena as the chairman of his party- the UNP. “It has been established at an official inquiry that the former director general of CIABOC Dilrukshi Dias Wickremasinghe was trapped in to ‘taking a phone call from Mr.Senadhipathi while at a dinner with former Minister Vajira Abeywardena.

Mr Abeywardena had thrust his phone to Ms Wickramasinghe stating that it was Mr. Nissanka Senadipathi on the line and that he wanted to speak to her. Their conversation was related to a question of legal procurement.

The tribunal has stated that the facts presented to it are indicative that Mr. Senadipathi had set a trap and had been waiting in readiness to record any telephone conversation with her to be made use of by him when it was necessary for his purposes.

“It is interesting that neither Vajira Abeywardena’s statement had been recorded nor his telephone had been examined by the experts at the preliminary investigation,” the tribunal has observed

Ranil Wickremesinghe does not walk the talk. He confuses moral posturing with moral clarity.

The bizarre process of assembling the cabinet, demonstrates that unlike Churchill this man is not in command.

His survival in parliament is dependent on Basil Rajapaksa’s patronage network known as the ‘Pohottu Party’ or the Podujana Party.

Churchill lost no time in coopting Clement Atlee the Leader of the opposition in to his five-member war cabinet. In his first address after assuming office, he promised the people Blood Sweat and Toil and a relentless fight until victory. Can we seriously expect the people to respond to Ranil Wickremesinghe’s pleas for austerity in hard times?

In Brecht’s play, when Grusha arrives at the broken rope bridge, a few merchants are trying to repair the rope bridge to make it safe. Grusha has no time to negotiate safe passage.

Grusha doesn’t bother to form a committee with the skeptical merchants. She simply tells them that she has no time to waste. She gets across the broken rope bridge. She triumphantly mocks the ‘ironshirts’ at the other end who realize that they cannot catch her.

Ranil Wickremesinghe has not crossed the broken rope bridge. It is wildly swaying. Basil Rajapaksa’s iron shirts are pirouetting on the fragile and half broken rope bridge.

Now Ranil wants a parliamentary select committee to ascertain what caused mess. It is not rocket science. The immediate mess is the result of crooked bookkeeping by charlatans hired by the ruling clan. The larger picture is available in any standard economics textbook.

An economy cannot continue to consume and invest more than it produces and imports. If there is an imbalance between the country’s exports and imports the disparity can be resolved only by implicit or explicit transfers that reduce the purchasing power of some sector of the economy by that much required to bring the two back into some degree of balance. Economics is not mathematics that ignores human behavior. Somebody will always feel the pinch more than the rest. President Gotabayas Viyathmaga pundits decided that the oligarchic class should not feel the pinch.

They were convinced that the ordinary people conditioned to feel the pinch will be more comfortable with the pinch in this land like no other, which incidentally is the only land in the world that takes a holiday on a full moon day.

We need a new political culture that can discern the comic from the cosmic. Ranil is not the man for it.

Ranil’s call for a new political culture is a load of bovine poop. He is a Churlish Churchill and a God-awful Grusha. Winners and losers are decided by history. Basil Rajapaksa will decide if Ranil is hero or clown.

The post A Churlish Churchill, A Godawful Grusha appeared first on Colombo Telegraph.