25 July, 2024


Saying One Party Is No Good Does Not Imply An Assertion That An Alternative Is Good – Reply To Rajiva Wijesinha

By Shyamon Jayasinghe

Shyamon Jayasinghe

“I agree, however, with Rajiva Wijesinha on one point here, namely when he charges Ranil Wickremasinghe of showing backing  to Arjuna Mahendran as Governor of the Central Bank, ….despite obvious misdemeanours. Ranil does have a weakness of supporting old Royalist classmates etc and turning a blind eye at their misdemeanours.” That is his bad kamma and he will pay for that.

Flawed Logic

Rajiva Wijesinha says I bear an “intellectual pretence.” Being curious to know what an ‘intellectual’ is like, I looked at the Cambridge English Dictionary in my possession. It says, “relating to your ability to think and understand things, especially complicated ideas.” I don’t think this is a special gift that persons like Rajiva possess. Most of us readers have that. It is just that some cloud their intellect with emotions and prejudices that distort their perspective in making judgments about men and matters. Pardon me, Rajiva has a serious problem here as is evident in his response piece to my article that appears in the Colombo Telegraph.

For one, he is illogical in his reasoning. The very central theme of his criticism of my referenced article represents flawed logic. This is because he believes that my repudiation  of the SLFP’s record implies I am an “apologist for the UNP,” one of that  party’s competitors.

Hang Up

I haven’t said any of that sort. Rajiva has a hang-up in this whole political business, namely that he possesses an old family grouse with Ranil Wickremasinghe. This prejudice has clouded his reasoning faculty. Unless he is mindful of this limitation he is unlikely to be productive in his political thinking.

Rajiv’s most recent row with the Prime Minister is over his role as State Minister in the newly-formed Unity Government. Everyone in Sri Lanka knows that the portfolio of ‘State Minister,’ is humbug. It has been a strategic device to keep MPs happy by giving the latter the title to impress their networks and the accompanying perks like STF security, official luxury cars and so forth. For decades, our politicians have been kept content by this trick. Our political leaders don’t bother hat this is being done at the expense of taxpayers. The typical Sri Lankan craves for ‘thaththvaya,” and that greed must be satiated.

However, Rajiv aWijesinghe apparently couldn’t grasp that subtle situation and he went on to pretend to be a fully-fledged minister and kept overriding his Cabinet Minister by giving officials various policy lines to work on, monitoring their work and so on. What Rajiva should have done was to sit pretty with the title and go about like a peacock displaying its colours.

Rajiva’s action annoyed his Minister and a bit of a dispute occurs. He went up to the Prime Minister and complained. Ranil Wickremasinghe, in his usual low PR-style, asked his cousin to go and read a book titled,”The power of the Impossible.” This vexed Rajiva and he threw away his portfolio unnecessarily. In his article Rajiva claims to have done a “good job.” That is an assessment, again, that should have been left for others to make. However, Rajiva, even being a genuine ‘intellectual,’ unlike me, cannot realise that.

I Am No Party Man

So off he goes to keep criticising the UNP component of this government headed by Mainripala Sirisena. He is so sensitive about it that he has jumped to the conclusion in my case, namely that by my criticising the SLFP I am showing up as a UNP man.

I am no Party’s man. I can assure readers that.Any support I give to any Party or political leader is only conditional upon that entity doing what is expected of it to do. The simple reason is that one has to make such conditional decisions at some time or another in political life. On the other hand, if one gives unconditional backing, then one is a confirmed party man and an ‘apologist,’ for that party.

Divided Country

Nor have I been ‘pitiful,’ as Rajiva avers. I stand by my position, which has been presented with hard evidence and not emotion, that the SLFP has been damaging the country in serious ways and that it should dissolve itself instead of continuing to pretend and fool the herd.

I had stated just three areas of national damage by that party. The first is that it has divided our country unmistakably on racial lines beginning from the days of its origin. Rajiva says that the UNP had itself been doing that under JR Jayewardene. If he bothers to read my article he will see that I have admitted that. My point was that SWRD and his SLFP had changed our nation’s settings so much that even a party like the UNP, which had been all along avowedly for ‘national unity,’  had to follow some elements of the new default settings at some time or another. The practical fact is that the UNP also comprises of Sri Lankan politicians. The latter-Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim- have felt impelled often to drift into communal politics. It had been the SLFP that changed the settings of a country where all communities had been living like brothers. I want to remind Rajiva about the “Sri,” car number plate issue. SWRD trampled on sensitive areas like that to become a hero among the Sinhala unthinking herd.

SWRD, the Bandaranaike family and the SLFP ever since those days, became a ‘sacred cow.’ The party is now based on that public sentiment of sanctity. The rank and file have even forgotten that a Buddhist monk had assassinated their founding  leader-and that that horrible crime had been done while SWRD was genuflecting to worship the monk! That action should be etched in memory forever among our people as being symbolic of the cruelty that could be unleashed by religion of any kind.

English Language Dethroned

My second point is that SWRD and the party  changed the settings, again, to dethrone English in the island. I have given ample evidence for that proposition. Yet, Rajiva makes allegations about Ranil also having done that. Ranil has his faults but one thing  that strikes anyone transparently is that Ranil Wickremesinghe is a political leader who has always kept national unity foremost in mind ever since the days he was minister of Education. He is never communal and he has never wanted to bring down the common link of communication among our different people.

What people like Rajiva Wijesinha should realise is that once the default settings in political-social consciousness are changed it has been a hard job to push the arms of the clock back to the right settings.


My third point was that the SLFP brought down a socialism that simply ruined capital investment by the private sector. “Capitalism,’ became and still is, a dirty word. The state take-over of every bloody enterprise this time changed the settings regarding economics and implanted in the minds of the herd a false economic consciousness. That is crucial historical fact but Rajiv doesn’t meet that point at all.

Instead, he shifts to make an accusation about the UNP from another ground thereby, once again, not positioning argument to meet my proposition. Rajiva asserts:“Jayasinghe criticizes Jayewardene for entrenching socialism by renaming us the Democratic Socialism republic, but fails to assess why he instead extended cronyism also to the private sector, with his daughter in law for instance and his Secretary’s son getting lucrative contracts.”

Oh my God, what has renaming the country as “democratic socialism,” got to do with the charge of cronyism? Cronysim happens everywhere in politics and is unavoidable able. It becomes a problem only when it reaches dysfunctional a level.

I agree, however, with Rajiva Wijesinha on one point here, namely when he charges Ranil Wickremasinghe of showing backing to “Arjuna Mahendran as Governor of the Central Bank, ….despite obvious misdemeanours.” Ranil does have a weakness of supporting old Royalist classmates etc and turning a blind eye at their misdemeanours. This has been established by the recent Commission findings. That is his bad kamma. He will pay for that.


I respect Rajiva Wijesinha as a good and civilised human being-well educated. He is the total opposite of another political analyst who exudes revenge and prejudice every time he writes on Sri Lankan politics. On the other hand, I believe Rajiva should give up politics as he isn’t competent there. As far as politics is concerned, he has reached his level of incompetence.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 11

    I agree with Shyamon. I have been growing increasingly discontent with the government. However the reason I support RW is as follows.
    If we take the political ground realities into consideration (and assuming that none of the leaders of the major political forces will retire anytime soon), the only leaders who have a chance of forming a government at the next general elections are MR and co, MS and the SLFP, RW and the UNP or (and this option will be almost impossible to realize) AKD and the JVP.
    We all know about MR and co.
    MS although stands against corruption and talks big is incapable of even maintaining party discipline. He has no real knowledge of economic policy as I see it. His SLFP party members also act like imbeciles.
    Sure, AKD and the JVP act like crusaders but even the UNP seemed like saints when they were in the opposition. if the JVP is voted into power and their economic policies are implemented, we will slide back into the 70’s. We need smart regulation backing a free market economy, not outright marxism or socialism.
    This is where the UNP comes in, they are the only party composed of moderates and possesses a sizeable group of young, intelligent, decent MP’s (mind you, I am not saying all the UNP mp’s are decent).

    • 4

      You claim UNP has a “sizable” group of moderate, young, intelligent decent MPs? Umm…. in which country or which alternate reality is this? Can’t be the UNP in Sri Lanka. Harsha De Silva and Ranjan Ramanayake are two who refused expensive perks entitled to them (so kudos to them), but what is this “Sizable” group you are taking about? I’d like to know because, I’d happily join this mythical group. And are you kidding me? UNP is run by a fellow who literally held the leader of the opposition post for nearly 30 years as well as the title of leader of the party since 1994. In any civilized country leaders know when to gracefully step-down allowing younger generation of politicians to take charge and especially when their respective parties lose elections. RW will happily appoint his Royalist buddies to major positions in his party (*cough* Ravi K *cough*). RW is literally the Robert Mugabe for opposition parties. A dictator who think he owns the party and has done so, successfully for the past 30+ years. You think it is healthy for a nations democracy for one joker to control a major political party for over 30 years? And what happen Harin Fernando? His Badulla vote count was literally the start of MRs demise! Oh yeah, once RW became PM again in 2015 Harin Fernando is sidelined and now nowhere to be seen. Some of these Green-blooded UNP supporters also know as “Green-Goblins” just never change.

      • 3

        I agree with what you say regarding RW but as I see it, the UNP is still the best option we have.
        Here is a list of names. Harsha, Ranjan, Harin, wasantha senanayake, harshana rajakaruna, akila viraj kariyawasam, sajith p, ajith perera, buddhika pathirana, s.m. marrikar, eran w (not that young but a decent guy), hirunika (although mired in scandal), Ashu marasingha. There are plenty of other backbenchers too who I can’t recall.

        • 1

          Hirunuka? That was a joke right? She has been at best useless and at worst a dangerous kidnapper. The rest of your list contains decent characters but they are also useless as long as the RW and the old horses remain. SM Marrika was very vocal within the UNP for a long time regarding the Meethotamulla garbage dump. He made multiple appeals but RW and gang didn’t give two sh!ts about it and instead pass buck. In the end Marrika had to take the blame for the seniors’ neglegance. After Jan 8 2015, I expected Harsha De Silva to be Finance minister. He actually has a PhD in Economics. But nooooooooooo! It was that filth Ravi K that was appointed. So whats the point?

          • 0

            Ravi know demaneed and got the finance portfolio.

          • 2

            What you say is very true regarding Hirunika. I was contemplating adding her not to the list. I only did so because there were no other viable female candidates who were young.

            I don’t think you understand, I completely agree with you regarding RW. But imagine the political instability that would come about if he were impeached?

            In addition to that, we have to agree that of the 4 possible party leaders (MR, MS, RW and AKD), RW is the best option we have. The reasons I oppose the other 3 are mentioned in my comment above.

            I agree that this government has been inefficient and slow but we have to give them some credit for restoring democracy. In addition to that, our long term economic perspective looks good. Both the IMF and the World Bank state that our economy is on the right track. Sure people say many things about those organizations but these organizations have been put into place for a reason. They have failed in some cases but the majority of their initiatives have been successful globally.

            Anyway, we have to wait until 2019/20 for the next national election to come to decide on real change so let us see the situation and what options are available then.

            The reason the economy feels this bad is because the government has prioritized long term growth over a providing a short term patch up which would cause more problems in the future. That along with opposition by the slfp on many economic reforms. I just hope that the initiatives implemented provide fruit before any political change can happen that causes us to regress, both democratically and economically.

            M. Basnayake

  • 5

    No party suits Sri Lanka except JVP. No party is honest except JVP. 70 UNP and SLFP have been fooling the public. Now is the time for a change.
    Why not people say enough is enough .
    Vote JVP and teach a lesson for UNP and SLFP

  • 3

    We are in the pathetic situation in having to choose between two groups which are hardly distinguishable.
    Rajiva seems to dislike a person in one group. This in no way is sufficient grounds to imply that the other group are composed of angels.

    • 2

      As long as Buddhist Fundamentalism controls who should govern the nation, the pathetic situation remains stable. The corruption, scams, coups, bribe, murders, abductions, unlawful activities are some of the prime characteristics that were built up step by step since 1948 and this bond scam is a drop in the ocean. We all are aware how the former regime particularly the Presidents family openly without any fear robbed the nation. Now we talk about JVP but why we didn’t elect them when the Rajapakse family robbed the nation. JVP itself is a racist organisation. The fundamental issue is Buddhist Fundamentalism! Who will challenge this Fundamentalism?

      • 2

        Ajith are you a clueless christian or what? Where the heck did you get this Buddhist fundamnetalist bit and governance? What is Buddhist funadamentalism ……… I have seen creative writing but this is all some crap that exists in ajiths brain. Kindly explain what you are writing so that readers can understand.

        • 0

          I am a buddhist that is why my brain always concentrate on Buddhist Fundamentalists like you liers. Ask your partner who might be able to tell you about Buddhist Fundamentalism in Sri Lanka and Myanmar. Creative??

        • 0


          What is Buddhist funadamentalism ……… I have seen creative writing but this is all some crap that exists in ajiths brain. Kindly explain what you are writing so that readers can understand.”

          It is not Buddhist fundamentalism but Sinhala/Buddhist fascism.

          If you really want to know about Buddhist fundamentalism please contact Vishal Arora is a New Delhi-based journalist. His articles on politics, culture, religion, foreign affairs and human rights have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, and many other outlets.

        • 0

          thrishu. Ajith is right.The Buddhist priesthood had been a bane in this country. I have followed what they did since 1954 at Ananda.To me the JVP uprising in 1971 was their indirect creation. No need to talk about the LTTE.The road in front of the Maligawa is closed.Prof Illapperuma reports on the damage done to the heath of the people and students around the Kandy lake.Who was the cause – Asgiriya, did any good B/ Priest object this closure. NO.

          It is high time that somebody tells these people off.

          Please tell us any good that a Buddhist Priest had done during the past 40 years opther than enjoying the “bribes” – viz cars, grants etc.

    • 0

      There is an option when choices are absurd: SPOIL THE BALLOT PAPER

  • 3

    Sir I agree with you, this so called intellectual may be better a version of Genius DJ but as politicians all of them are happy to be in cesspool , it really do not matter how intellectual you are when you are in the business of political prostitution.

  • 6

    Shaymon simply brilliant reply. If Rajiva has a personal issue with RW that should be sorted out within the family. Not in the mariyakade market.

  • 6

    In this shindig UNP vs. SLFP …………

    Neither political party is faultless …………….but if the SLFP was not there the country today would be a long way in to accepting the “modern-world.” ……………Perhaps we would have realized the potential we had – and was expected of us – at the time of gaining independence.

    For all its faults the UNP is a progressive party, trying to lead the country into the modern-world. Even Ranil, the imbecile he is, is trying out something to modernise the country. One may have personal issues with the guy but even his biggest detractors have to give him that. ………. While the SLFP is a backward-looking, stay-in-the-same-place reactionary party ……….based on some cockamamie mausoleum-fied qualities the dead SWRD is supposed to have had.

    Can anyone please name a few progressive things the SLFP has done? …………I am looking for positive deeds/actions ……….. stay away – if you can – from the faults of both parties which we are all well aware of.

  • 4

    “SWRD, the Bandaranaike family and the SLFP ever since those days, became a ‘sacred cow.’ The party is now based on that public sentiment of sanctity”

    A majority of Lankans are duped by mausoleum-ism …………. power/popularity derived by paying homage to a deified long dead person who is supposed to have had mythical goodness/love for the country/people ……….

    This is a malady affecting backward societies ………….. General Perón used to cart around the embalmed corpse of his first wife. …… Once General Perón kicked the bucket his second wife used to cart around his corpse. ……….If one thought that we Lankans had a monopoly on …….. a penchant for the macabre.

    That’s why the Rajapkses build a mausoleum to the unremarkable parents (it’s not the parent’s fault; it’s the children who want to wring some value out of it) …………… to deify them and give them mythical qualities they never had, and if the parents are aware of what the offspring are up to, out of modesty, probably wouldn’t want to have………….. That’s the Rajapakse broods’ tilt ……….. to reach parity with the mausoleum-fied Bandaranayakes.

    Thank God that only mausoleums are forced on us Lankans ………….and not corpses ………….. dunno about ya, but the ghoulish looks of the dead give me the willies ……….

    Of all the places one could have been born …………. why Sri Lanka? ……… That’s the first question to my maker if I ever run into him.

  • 2

    A coherent analysis by SJ and what SJ has said about the SLFP and Bandaranayake cannot be disputed. SL is in this sad situation today because of the divisive and communalistic policies introduced by SWRD. Dying at the hand of a Buddhist monk is poetic justice. Re our looney professor Rajiva definitely the guy has reached his level of incompetence not now but years ago. The professor has no clue about politics or management from what I can see and this guy RW , the self proclaimed intellectual DJ and the cross over expert GLP are looney nutcases who think that the people in SL are fools and can be conned and persuaded to believe hogwash written by them little realising that these jokers are all in cloud nine drifting into space and lost in the vacuum of reality. Keep continuing writing SJ as we enjoy your incisive analysis which makes you an intellectual with no pretence.

  • 0

    “The Commission report refers to the allegation against former Finance Minister Mr Ravi Karunanayake regarding the payment of rent for the penthouse apartment belongs to the Aloysius Family and their Walter and Rowe Company and stated that Mr Karunanayake was responsible for that and recommended that the government should take necessary action against Mr. Ravi Karunanayake under the section of bribery and corruption and further legal action under the penal codes for giving false evidence at the Commission.”

  • 2

    Did you write to these columns when the MR regime was in power? Do you think it is right for you to live overseas so comfortably and pontificate? What the ***k is wrong with your mentality? what are your credentials? what did you do for a living?

  • 1

    I think article is unfair. Sri lankan politicians are crooked thieves. Ranil the Gentleman who likes to show off has shown it very well. He is a MAfia Boss or in understandable words he is a ALIBABa. HE di dnot steal instead he instructed his mafiosos members and stayed quiet. There are some politicians who want to identify themselves ad “PROFESSIONALS” which means they are butchers in a slaughter house. they know where to cut in order to get the maximum.
    IT is BS to say that UNP is better than SLFP. those days, UNP was capitalist and SLFp was socialist. that is true. with respect to ethnic politics, how about CBK who boast about SLFP as her father’s party even acknowledged her father did wrong by talking about Sinhala Only acct which did not materialize. CBK wants to destroy the Sinhala dominance in Sri lanka. On the other hand, Ranil talks the same language. that is true.
    Ranil is trying to be an expert in everything. If Ranil does not like others going ahead with their english, that may be something Rajiva Wijesinghe observed personally. But, in our eyes, Ranil some some mental deficiency in which he tries to be expert in every thing. HE is OK as he covers up every thing and does not feel shame even when it is caught.
    I think, instead of professional politicians, apprentices like Rajiva Wijesingha would be good politicians as they will trying their best to do something and not cheating the public.
    Just take TRUMP, PM of France, are all new comers.
    Sri lanka is not lucky to havr trained and experienced people like Putin, duterte or Fidel Castro. Because the experienced people that sri lanka have are experienced only inside the parliament are they are mostly con men/con women or those so called Professional politicians.

  • 3

    I like this article by SJ.
    The SLFP has been the ruin of our country. Left to the UNP, the country would have modernized fast. The liberalising of the economy in 1977 was a great step. In Sirima days we could take only five Sterling Pounds overseas. We had rice ques and everyone had to go to cooperatives wit the bag!
    Keep writing SJ

  • 1

    The two major parties have governed SL between themselves in the last 70 years. Whether one is better than the other is debatable as they espouse two different ideologies. SL has had a few Leaders during this time and I can ascribe in a few words what comes to my mind about each one of them. As to if any of them has been a ‘Statesman’ is debatable. Probably not?
    1) DS – father of the Nation and 1st PM after Independence
    2) SWRD – Sinhala only Act
    3) Dudley S – Pure Gentleman and 1st PM to serve the full term in Office
    4) Sirima – Republican Constitution and Nationalisation
    5) JR – Current Constitution, Open Market Economy and Mahaweli Acceleration Project
    6) Premadasa – Gam Udawa Program, Janasaviya and Textile Industry
    7) Chandrika – Expelled the UNP Government
    8) Mahinda R – End of the War during his tenure and Architect of the current decadent Society
    9) Maithripala S – Common Candidate and (so called) Yahapalanaya Governance

    In my opinion, the bane for progress in SL has been the two party politics. The current Unity Government (the 1st was in 2007, but it did not last very long) is the need of the hour to put aside differences and do something tangible for the good of the Nation. No one party can introduce legislation that is harmful to the Nation as the other Party will not support it. So there are bound to be more checks and balances. At present, no other alternative is desirable as most Politicians are corrupt.

  • 0

    Katey pittu on Bond theft. Difference is the Horas in the UNP are sophisticated, very well attired Royalists, English speaking cunning thieves who know to use a fork and knife, and like fine champagne, unlike those crude and sarong wearing johnnies from Medamulane who eat rice and kurakkan with their fingers.

    So because they are Royalists and are PM’s best friends the Elite Colombo Club and Cinnamon Grand crowd do not treat them unkindly. People tried to defend Ravi K even though he had a long history even from Hayleys days. HONESTY IS SUCH A LONELY WORD

    So in SL it is “Apey Hora and Ungey Hora” battle that goes on no? Our thieves shit dont stink only the others do.

    RW by insisting on keeping Arjuna Mahendran, lost credibility. One does not need to be a rocket scientist to figure out their scheming. Only crude sarong wearing kurakkan eaters are horas for the Colombo Haamu radala circles who are more comfortable reading Shakespeare than WA DeSilva or Martin Wickremesinghe. These are sophisticated tie-coat wearing English speaking gentleman who just stole from the poor from EPF! Sirisena better take action fast.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 5 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.