5 December, 2022

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A Churlish Churchill, A Godawful Grusha

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.

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Latest comments

  • 15
    0

    In Ranil wanting a parliamentary select committee to ascertain what caused the mess. Like he set up a committee of UNP lawyers to try to sidestep the Bond Scam.
    It is said that if you need to delay anything, then set up a committee – trying to digest an issue in a collective stomach. Finally no result.
    How many Task Forces and High powered Committees did Gota set up – all to produce or settle nothing.

  • 16
    1

    In the Ranil-Rajapaksa school of economics, the benchmark for country success is Elites filling hotels for Sunday brunch using credit cards linked to offshore accounts that came about through the hard work of the suffering-Lankan-masses.

  • 17
    3

    An accurate description of the situation!


    Ranil looks smug and pathetic at the same time.

    A feat no other Lankan can pull off.

    • 15
      1

      nimal fernando

      Food Aid worth Rs 2 Billion from Stalin Chief Minister of India has already delivered to G L Peieris yester day. This is only a part of the aid what he promised couple of weeks ago. He also promised more.

      Almost all papers thanked India (although it was a gift from our friend Sinhala Speaking Demela Soman’s distant cousin Stalin) except Island.

      In addition our own public racists are quite.

      • 15
        1

        Native,

        It’s a gradual process to wean people off racism …….. I’m encouraged by the young in Galle Face ……. their attitude towards all communities.

        “Sinhalese-Buddhism” as a political weapon won’t be the same after this calamity. It’s been shown/exposed for what it is.

        If I could punch that bugger Muruththettuwa of Nrahenpita temple or whatever the crap he is. These buggers do nothing but avoid a honest day’s work ……. and spread hatred to live in luxury ….. Buddha has nothing to do with it!

        • 6
          1

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        • 7
          1

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        • 7
          1

          Nimal and Native, my guess is we ain’t seen the worse yet. Coming months to years will be very difficult leading to more unrest, political instability, street protests and possible violence. Upto now,, NOT one meaningful step towards recovery is taken. Instead we have business as usual, More of expenditure, abuse and waste byways of appointing ministries. It will be hard to receive any funding even from IMF with such BS. Country can’t sustain on donations and temporary relief measures for long.

          • 6
            1

            Hope I’m wrong on this but it seems inevitable to me. According to today’s news FOUR ministry spokes person are nominated, for what ??? One is not enough to lie ???

          • 6
            0

            chiv

            The country has to refocus its efforts on development, progress, building a secular compassionate society, giving importance to knowledge economy. Agriculture should be modernised, believing indusialisation has a critical role to play, …. The island is stuck in early 1970s, thanks to our old Mao and Siri Mao loyalists.

            Above all people should be persuaded to give up the idea that this country belongs to majoritarian Sinhala/Buddhists (a new silly identity imposed on Sinhala and Buddhists.) and a strong president could spring miracles by subjugating others.

            Its time people did some good work to strip all powers from politicians, armed forces, ……. functionaries, pseudo intellectuals, Sangha, …… policemen, …. put some sense of honesty and duty on all state employees especially the members of the legal fraternity.

            Gnana Akka should be sent to either China or Hindia where she has a huge market. She could bring in some foreign currency. Sumanadasa Abeygunawardena another potential candidate for export.

            If she is successful lets find a way to export Mao’s b***s carriers, Dayan, Udaya, Weerawansa, Chana Jeyasumana, … too followed by Malcolm Ranjith, Ananda (nimal’s favourite), Bengamuwe Nalaka, Medagoda Abeytissa, Ampitiye Sumanarathana, Athuraliye Rathana, Bellanwila Wimalaratana, Gnanasara, Elle Gunawansa, Ittakande Saddhatissa, Omalpe Sobitha, …..

            • 5
              0

              Native, I agree. We have the resources and talent but never had visionary leaders. For starters there are few areas we can easily develop in collaboration with just a few reputed international institutes 1) Education 2) Health care 3) Tourism 4) IT , All of which helps developing our own sectors, keep talent within country, bring outsiders who can further help with development , provide knowledge, advancement, bring in foreign exchange and international foot fall. These services also sync with each other. For example, one of my relative in U.K few years ago , came all the way to India to get a surgery done, because she had to wait for at least a year or more in U.K.In her case , all it took was conviction (a lot) and believing. It was easy for her, because I was here. Otherwise every thing else, was same as if she had in U.K. Her family is happy and satisfied with the services they received.

              • 4
                0

                I believe automobile companies like TATA and pharmaceuticals will be happy to start a plant providing employment to locals, as they already do in other countries, mutually benefiting both, following international guidelines so that no party is exploited.

                • 3
                  0

                  chiv

                  “I believe automobile companies like TATA and pharmaceuticals will be happy to start a plant providing employment to locals, ….. “

                  How would you put a lid on those who decry

                  Sinhala/Buddhist saffronistas,
                  Trade unionists,
                  Smart patriots
                  Mao’s b***s carriers,

                  ….

        • 5
          0

          This is the reason why I sont respect Kahakadayas today. They have become the easy type of brokers in Rajapakshe made srilanka.
          .
          There are also teachers that still worship medamulana ballige puthas yet today. .
          .
          Serpentine ques are no good signs but whole lot of these men were shamelessly supported Gota.
          .
          As I then added Punnakku should be made their staple.
          .
          And dont underestimate the manner sakkili media the way how they twisted the propaganda in favour of Rajapakshism/ Wathura Alwis and Delete Jayaweera would have been hung in a civilised country/ thirisannu dominated society ruined my motherland😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎

  • 10
    1

    We are all looking forward to pass the 21st Amendment to the constitution in order to clip the powers of the President NGR. If Ranil W can do it within the next few days, we all will be walking in the RIGHT direction. Ranil.W should rely on the SJB, TNA and any other uncorrupted Parliamentarians in the cabinet. Will He (RW) plan for an early election for a new PM? He should make sure that strict conditions are placed on who can contest the Parliamentary Election
    2022

  • 5
    7

    “SJB, TNA and any other uncorrupted Parliamentarians”
    Oh dear!

    • 11
      4

      Does your exasperation means there are none. Why don’t you name politicians who you think are not corrupt, so to help with discussion.

      • 3
        1

        Thanks, chiv.
        .
        We’re in this hole because of many Rajapaksa faults. However, things wouldn’t have got anything as bad as they are if Gota had had some experience in politics; his brash hubris would have got wiped off.
        .
        It is for this reason that for the time being we have to tolerate Ranil.
        .
        But it’s not them we must choose to lead us in the log term. People like Harsha de Silva, Shannikayan Rasamanikkam, Imtiaz Bakeer Markar, even Sumanthiran. No, not the entire Parliamentary Representation of any of these largish parties.
        .
        However, you know, I think, whom I would plumb for: The three current NPP members of Parliament are excellent. We have to find out more about others whom we could vote for in our areas. In the Badulla District the man who’s been in Parliament before is Samantha Vidyaratne. I’m unimpressed with him. He seems a harsh man, driven by envy.
        .
        We’ve got to keep sharing views like this.
        .
        Panini Edirisinhe of Bandarawela
        .

        • 3
          0

          Sinhala Man, the way things are, only hope we now are left with, is to have an early election soon after constitutional amendment is decided. ( I hear Basil is actively trying to block). People need to push RW to get a set date at the earliest, hoping many of the good people will be elected and the bad ones discarded. A coalition should be formed without any Rajapaksas and their cronies (inadvertently that includes SLPP , many of independent and SLFP). But this looks like a long shot for now. There is no significant recovery is expected in the mean time and with Rajapaksas around it’s just ain’t happening. So consider the cost of having elections as our last investment.

  • 3
    1

    It is waste of time comparing Churchill to Ranil at this crucial hour. The situation in Sri Lanka and in the United Kingdom is quite different. What is required is how to rectify financial situation of Sri Lanka. It is an accepted fact that Rajapaksas have been instrumental for Sri Lanka’s bankruptcy because of poor economic planning. Finally India has come to the rescue of Sri Lanka. But on looking at the trend, it appears that the Indian rupee will swallow the Sri Lankan rupee. It seems that the Indian rupee will be used from now on. This is also a symbol of Sri Lanka being a part of India. It should come as no surprise that with the passage time, part of India in Sri Lanka became a state and the other part an independent territory in the Indian Union. The diplomacy of Nirmala Sitharaman and Jai Shankar is on the right track.

  • 3
    0

    Comparing RW with Churchill ???. Get real. It’s not even close to comparing a successful new kid in the block to a retired veteran holding a few unbroken records. The best I could think is my oldest geriatric patient who is still alive, saved by the medical system after having few terminal illness / different kind of malignancies.

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