sri express

Politics appears to be a 'dirty game' throughout the world. In Sri Lanka, it has stooped to gutter level with corruption spearheading like a contagious disease. Many Sri Lankan politicians entered the political arena, in the past, out of sheer patriotism and the yearning to work for the people. Besides, many of them were icons of wealthy families, who died after spending all their fortunes in trying to serve the country.

Contrary to such candid representatives, most present-day Parliamentarian tends to display a certain amount of vulgarity, where his 'commission' seems to take priority over any development project or a contract.

The people's 'representatives' clad in immaculate white attire seem to arrive at the Diyawannawa camp, 'purely to enjoy the subsidized, sumptuous 'Parliamentary canteen meal' (as widely known, no offence intended). Others are seen falling asleep in their chairs while debates are in progress. Some do not bother to attend, even after receiving a payment of Rs.100, 000 as a special allowance. How could responsible MPs attempt to run away with the ceremonial mace inside Parliament, and a bunch of MPs getting involved in fisticuffs as in a street fight? Such unruly behaviour inside the august assembly, akin to a gang of incorrigible schoolchildren, only creates negative responses from the public.

Preferential system

 Undoubtedly, the cause for such degeneration, in turning Parliament sessions into a comedy of errors today, has to be the existing preferential system of voting that every Dick, Tom and Harry could get elected to Parliament with the power of money. It is unpardonable when some of the Ministers are absolutely clueless, and do not know their onions, when it comes to question time. In such circumstances they become baffled and go round the mulberry bush, or keep blaming their predecessors or turn the question into a joke. Do Yahapalana administrators take the intelligent voters to be utter nincompoops? Such activities have debased Sri Lanka into a laughing stock among the international community, after enjoying the so-called 70 years of democracy. The guilty and corrupt politicians, in real democracies, are dealt with sternly. At the end of the day, either they are written off their positions or sent home. In Sri Lanka, such situations are turned into a new game of political Ping-Pong, and Parliamentarians keep on blaming each other, and mark time for five years, to qualify for a pension for the rest of their lives!

Difference

 The difference between Sri Lankan politics and that of Britain is that the British always concentrate on maintaining a high standard in public office. Occasionally, of course, as in any other scenario, there are instances where a member of the British Parliament might be caught with his pants down by being ignominious, at which point the politician always makes it a point to resign from office with dignity.

In this regard, Westerners in public life set an example by commuting in public transport and even riding bicycles to office. So, the thought process between the British and Sri Lankan politician seems to be evidently different, for, the British are a deemed species, whereas our elected lot seems to think they descend from heaven! This is clearly demonstrated by the Netherland's Prime Minister recently riding a bicycle to the Royal Palace. Former British Premier David Cameron rode a bicycle at times to attend Parliamentary sessions at Westminster. He was also spotted travelling in the London underground trains mingling with commuters. Prince Charles often enjoys a bicycle ride, not that he cannot afford the best of limousines. The writer has witnessed Ken Livingstone, the former Mayor of London, travelling (standing) in the London underground tube train, while no one paid any heed. But, it is only our politicians, who are unable to commute in public transport except in deluxe limousines (with escorted back-up vehicles and an army of hell's angels, and breaking all the possible motor traffic laws). It is pretty amasing that when these guys are in London and the High Commission vehicles are not at their disposal, how their limbs begin to function perfectly well, and are able to travel by public transport too.

In my mind, it is nothing but a divine curse on the country itself, that current politicians in Sri Lanka have become selfish, blind to reality, self-centered and power hungry; their only aim being to recover, by hook or by crook, what they had spent on pervious elections! With the new proposed system of local elections, (if that ever takes place!) and spreading into Provincial and finally to General and Presidential elections, the harassed public's fervent hope would be to resurrect the old system with new & young, caring and intelligent parliamentarians, who would be able to feel the pulse of the nation.

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