24 October, 2020

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Which Way TNA?

By Isai Priya

Isai Priya

Isai Priya

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA-UK) has sent its “heartfelt congratulations” to prime minister David Cameron, following the Tories’ victory in Britain’s general election on 7 May. Tamil Solidarity considers this to be a major error of judgment, a big mistake, and believes it raises serious questions about whose side the TNA leadership is on.

The letter from the TNA-UK states: “We are pleased that now you are in a position of strength in order to complete your programmes that were initiated during the last five years.”

Well, over the last five years, the Tories – alongside their Liberal Democrat coalition partners – carried out more than £35 billion of cuts in public services – health, education, housing, etc. – which is more than any government since the second world war. The vicious cuts have hit the poorest, most vulnerable people the hardest. Last year, more than 100,000 children went hungry because of benefit cuts. Around 1.5 million children live in households that cannot afford to heat their homes adequately. Around 3.5 million children live in poverty.

Is the TNA-UK really “pleased” about that? Does it not realise that the vast majority of the 300,000 Tamil people in Britain live in the poorer areas of the big cities, and rely on these essential services?

Tamil Solidarity would also challenge the idea that Cameron’s government is “in a position of strength”. It is true, of course, that the Tories have won a majority. In reality, however, only 24% of the electorate actually voted for the Tories. And the protests on 8 May, in London, Bristol, Cardiff and other towns and cities, show just how quickly resistance and opposition to this government will grow.

Ignoring this, the TNA-UK wishes Cameron “all the best” in his attempt to “fulfil all of your pledges and undertakings given to the people according to the manifesto of your party”.

That manifesto includes further attacks on the rights of the trade unions, which organise six million workers throughout Britain. Many of them have given their solidarity to the struggle for Tamil rights, and have added their voice to the call for a genuinely independent war crimes investigation in Sri Lanka. Cameron pledges to scrap the Human Rights Act and curb the right to protest. Will Cameron be able to deliver Human Rights in Sri Lanka when he is attacking the human rights of the living in Britain?

The Tory manifesto pledges to cut another £12 billion from vital public services, and to hit another million more people with the bedroom tax. The Tories’ poverty plan is set to go into overdrive, with increased use of zero-hours contracts, rent rises, and unaffordable housing. All of these will affect most of the 300,000 Tamils, alongside millions of other people, living in Britain.

The big question for the TNA-UK is: when these savage attacks rain down on our community, what will it do? Will it be part of the rising resistance to these cut-backs? Will it fight for our rights here in Britain? Or will it continue to stand on the sidelines and cheer on the Tories?

It seems from the letter the TNA-UK sent to David Cameron, that its support for the party of the rich and powerful 1% is because the prime minister visited Jaffna during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in November 2014, and that the British governments supported the UNHRC resolutions calling for an investigation into the war.

However, as Tamil Solidarity pointed out at the time, government leaders can make symbolic gestures, even criticism, against authoritarian regimes on an international stage – it makes them look good (and, Cameron knows, it plays well to tens of thousands of potential Tamil voters). The real test, though, is what they do in practice. And the Con-Dem coalition government continued to deal with Rajapaksa’s regime: in economic projects, military intelligence and arms sales, etc. The UNHRC says it wants an investigation. But where is it? When will it happen? Nothing has really been done.

The final error of judgment in the TNA-UK’s letter is when it says: “Finally, we wish to appeal to you and your government to continue your support to the Tamil nation of Sri Lanka for eliminating their oppressive conditions and to lead a life under a democratic political setup.”
When has the Conservative Party ever supported the Tamil nation? It’s a one-word answer: never.

It is just as mistaken to believe that the Tories stand for the ending of oppression. All their policies in Britain – cut-backs, privatisation, attacking local authority accountability – lead to economic and social exclusion, and a greater concentration of power in the hands of the 1%. Their attacks on trade union rights and the right to protest are designed to limit people’s power to resist. The policies they pursue at home are extended to foreign policy – they form part of one and the same overall strategy.

To believe otherwise is very dangerous, above all, to those who stand in solidarity with all those fighting against oppression and for their rights, wherever they are in the world.

So, which way TNA? Is it going to turn its back on us, and ally itself with the elite 1%? Or is it going to help build the support of working-class communities and young people, and stand with us to fight for all our rights? The TNA-UK must choose whose side it’s on.

*The write is Tamil Solidarity Trade Union Organiser and a local activist.

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Latest comments

  • 5
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    Hmm, I thought LTTE and terrorist diaspora publicized once that IsaiPriya was dead; then how come we have her writing to CT. Any explanations?

    • 2
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      Isai Priya

      RE: Which Way TNA?

      Can you please get TNA to shed their DOUBLE STANDARDS Way of LTTE? Sinhala also have their DOUBLE STANDARDS.

      Amarasiri is referring to the Double Standard way the LTTe treated the Tamil speaking Muslims?
      The War Was Over 6 years ago, and still TNA is not cooperating in getting these Tamil Speaking Northern Muslim settled in their original Villages.

      Can you ask TNA about their DOUBLE STANDARDS? You DO KNOW About Sinhala DOUBLE STANDARDS.

      Why DOUBLE STANDARDS? Because they are MUSLIMS? Also ask why is that there is All this delay in settling the Expelled Muslims 6 years after the war Ended in the original home villages, and why is that they had to bring families froim Haambabtota into Wilpattu? Because Yala was cleared for the Mattala Airport?

      Forgotten People – The Evicted and Displaced North Muslims of Sri Lanka (English)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JV60McNQ9o

      Published on Jun 1, 2013 The Evicted and Displaced North Muslims of Sri Lanka. The expulsion of the Muslims and other nations from the Northern province was an act of ethnic cleansing carried out by the Tamil militant Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) organization in October 1990. In order to achieve their goal of creating a mono ethnic Tamil state in the North Sri Lanka, the LTTE forcibly expelled the 72,000 strong Muslim population from the Northern Province.

  • 3
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    Isai Priya the “Tamil Solidarity Trade Union Organiser and a local activist.”

    You are a loser.

    Red Ted lost because he leaned too far to the left

    Majority of the Tamils in the UK and overseas are more right of centre than left of centre

    your comment
    “Is the TNA-UK really “pleased” about that? Does it not realise that the vast majority of the 300,000 Tamil people in Britain live in the poorer areas of the big cities, and rely on these essential services?”

    is hilarious

    its a shmae you r name is Isai Priya
    The Isai Priya will be turning in her grave

  • 3
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    Madam Isai Piriya,Don’t mix up UK politics with Tamil politics in Srilanka. You must be new to politics but you should learn lot before coming into public domain.

    • 5
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      Isai Priya

      You have got the wrong side of the stick. The TNA correctly congratulated the leader who was elected by the people of the UK with absolute majority. It’s not right for you to criticise the TNA for upholding the basic democratic principle.

      Labour committed suicide by keeping an unelectable leader! Opinion polls again and again indicated the Ed Milliband was going to lose. Why didn’t the labour listen to the opinion of the people? You should direct your anger at the Labour Party.

  • 2
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    Isai Priya

    RE: Which Way TNA?

    “The Tamil National Alliance (TNA-UK) has sent its “heartfelt congratulations” to prime minister David Cameron, following the Tories’ victory in Britain’s general election on 7 May. Tamil Solidarity considers this to be a major error of judgment, a big mistake, and believes it raises serious questions about whose side the TNA leadership is on.”

    The Tamils still have a major conflict between the Moootals ad the Tamils with Common sense.

    REAd: SNP & TNA Have Shared Trajectories by Prof. Kumar David

    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/snp-tna-have-shared-trajectories/

    Most of the answers are there.

    Beware of Tamil Mootals. They are like your fellow Para-brethren Modayas, in the Land of native Veddah Aethho.

  • 5
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    Isai Priya , believing that she is analyzing the Tamils politics, analyzing the British politics. What Socioeconomic Strata Tamils are in Britain is not the prime concern for TNA- (whether it is UK branch or North East Head office), at least for this moment. TNA bound to work with the leadership elected by the British people. There is nothing wrong or mistake in TNA expressing the willingness to work with PM David Cameron. As a British citizen, Isai Priya can touch the British Politics in her essay. She may connect it with Tamils’ home politics. But she cannot tie it to Tamils’ politics, on Behalf of TNA. As a political party in Eelam, TNA has to refrain from advising any British citizens, which includes Isai Piriya and other British Tamils, how to vote in British election. As a British citizen, it is Isai Piria’s option what issues to raise in the election and how to vote. The matters on this essay may be good for Tamils to read before the election. Once the Tory party is elected, there is nothing really good advising TNA.

    Isai Piriya cannot argue that TNA should stay away from Tory Government and/or praising or commending of what good they did for Tamils. When TNA attempts to start a communication with the new British Government, it is only customary to tell what friendly relation existed between the newly elected government and the Tamils in the Eelam. Worldwide, the Tamils, because of their strata of the migrated countries, tend to vote for more accommodating liberal parties. Further we know the term “liberal parties” is only relative. People say the American Democratic Party more conservative than the Canadian Conservative party. So the British Conservative Party’s leader’s Jaffna visit is a big deal for Tamils. Thus, if Labor Party government had come to power it would have been a path to TNA to seek corporation to work in Tamils problems is not an argument here. First, as the mainland’s elected representatives, TNA should stay from antagonize neither Labor nor Tory.

    At CHOGM time, Labor Leader Miliband and we the Diaspora Tamils unanimously pleaded David Cameron not to visit Lanka as it would recognize the war criminal, the Old King, as the true Lanka Leader. Our main concern was it would further complicate the International Investigation of this monster. ICC investigation, the last resort for which now Tamils have been pushed, is the one can bring any change for Tamils and Sinhalese in Lankave. Especially for Tamil, after UNP and SLFP government had used the Pact writing to slow down the Tamils for 65 years, and even the Indo – Lanka Pact failed to break the back of the Sinhala Intellectuals’ trick, only International Involvement is the one can bring a change to Tamils. So, now, as the Lanakave is remaining as an anti-Tamil, but democracy, ICC investigation is the opening door for them to walk into Lanka. So when David Cameron was visiting Lanake, he promised to internationalize the Tamils problem. He honored the promise by visiting the Jaffna refugees’ camps and made them to come into to the International Media. This is really in contrast to PM Modi’s visit and lighting the house with well-dressed with a borrowed sari woman and Ranil Mahatha’s visit to the Six Star Hotel built on the stolen Tamil refugees’ land. As long as PM Cameron open position is that the war crimes must be investigated TNA should device mechanisms to use it.

    TNA’s position, right after the war, is settlement and rehabilitation of the refuges. They did know that it will not work but they were scared to white vans to talk beyond that. After Manmohan Singh publicly accepted that Lanka will never ever listen to India, TNA was able to draw some strength from India and talk about International Investigation. That was, of cause, a glucose supplied to TNA by Tamil Nadu. But after that and the during the election time, because of Secretary Kerry’s pressure, now TNA is again slipping from the International Investigation. It is said Sumanthiran consented to give up on that to build a strong New Royal Sinhala Intellectuals government in Colombo. Secretary Kerry has bit the bait the Sinhala Intellectuals have been put for 65 years, like those who started with Tamils Tamils’ problems and be bought with the cup of coffee like Rajiv, GG, Ananatha Sangari, Kathigamar, Robert Blake, Ban-ki Moon…and so forth. So this is bound to last until Secretary Kerry apologize in the Congress that the America has been cheated by Lankave again. This has nothing to do with Tory part’s internal policies on the cut back of the freebies for low income people.

    The current resolution in the UN is from America. But it is Sec.Kerry who took the “U” turn to stop the investigation and hand over the accused list to Lankave and with it the witness list too. There the witnesses too have been cheated by the international promise of secrecy and witness protection. I do not know if there is legal option available for the witnesses for stopping the OHCHR commission from handing over the criminal list to Lankave and force Lankave to prepare its own one based on the witnesses willing to appear in the Lankave investigations. So for the safety of the witness, wait and watch the September report would be advisable, rather than prematurely pushing the half hearten UN and make it to hand over the war criminals list to Lankave. Pushing the TNA further on this is not going to help if the International governments like Britain is not supporting to International Investigation. TNA may turn around and start to ask for Internal Investigation or may return back to its frightened days’ policy of no investigation at all. David Cameron supports International Investigation. So TNA’s friendship with him is not doing any damage to Tamils, at this time.

  • 4
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    This young writer is correct in her assessment of the British Tories. She has to also look at what the Tamil leaders (and indeed the Sinhalese leaders) have done in regard to helping the poor in Sri Lanka.
    The TNA today largely consists of the descendants Ponnambalam Ramanathans and Arunachalams, Ponnambalams etc of the 1920s. In effect, the land-owning Colombo Lawyers who ruled the Tamils since the middle of the 19th century are still ruling the Tamils — there has been NO CHANGE in the click in power where a small elite oligarchy ran the North as their private property.

    These people were right-wing orthodoxies who even sought to enshrine the caste system in the constitution. You cannot expect social justice from them (The genuine Tamil social conscience died with the failed “Jaffna boycott of the 1930s, just after the granting of Universal franchise that was opposed by the grand parents of the present TNA leadership).

    The Left politics of Karalasingham and Shanmugathasan and others made no in roads in a society where the high-caste land-owning leaders tightly control every thing. Almost all journalists, writers, and university entrants are also from the privileged class (caste). So there is no one to report about the exploitation that exists within the community.

    Even though the Left parties of the early days stood for “parity of status” for Sinhala and Tamil, the Tamil Congress and the ITAK never wished to have anything much to do with the socialists, and always got into coalitions with the UNP.
    They followed extremely right-wing pro-UNP policies, even when it was the UNP that opposed even the Banda-Chelva pact. Mind you, a large part of the ITAK was also opposed to the Banda-Chelva pact, and Mr. V. Navaratnama and others organized a massive demonstration against it and demanded the abrogation of the B-C pact.

    So the TNA is at one with the Conservatives in their social thinking, The TNA and the British conservatives are both class-based political parties catering to similar interest groups, while we can safely say that the British Conservative party is a little bit more progressive than the TNA in worrying about the ordinary poor people.

    • 0
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      Kautilya,

      I know very little of Tamils in the UK. Maybe you know more about them than about Jaffna Tamils?

      “The TNA today largely consists of the descendants Ponnambalam Ramanathans and Arunachalams, Ponnambalams etc of the 1920s. In effect, the land-owning Colombo Lawyers who ruled the Tamils since the middle of the 19th century are still ruling the Tamils — there has been NO CHANGE in the click in power where a small elite oligarchy ran the North as their private property.”

      Most of the TNA is likely to be Vellalah but not all unlike before. There are many who are non Vellalah but very few who are outcaste.

      “Almost all journalists, writers, and university entrants are also from the privileged class (caste). So there is no one to report about the exploitation that exists within the community.”

      I believe that most who enter Jaffna University are non Vellalah but not from so called outcastes. Many academics, for instance, former VCs and deans are non Vellalah. Some of the Tamil writers here on CT are non Vellalah. At least one provincial minister apparently is non Vellalah. I don’t point my finger and provide names because I want to be polite.

      Maybe we should make it easy and start carrying a badge with a letter showing our caste? My badge has a “V” and I own land. Most of the other “Vs” I studied with have left a long time ago.

      I wrote a lot about this earlier and don’t want to repeat things.

    • 0
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      You had the power to change the clique in power, if you so desired, but it seems you were happy to elect the descendants of the Ponnambalams, Arunachalams and Ramanathans despite their limitations that you stress. The ‘Sinhala’ politicians are no less limited in their attractiveness to the ordinary voter. Yet they get the vote.

  • 2
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    TNA-UK ? ugh . newer parasites ?

    Cheers

    Abhaya

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      Hey Abhaya ,

      How is your p.hD going ? need any help for writing your Thesis ?

      Cheers Mate !

      • 6
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        His Dissertation is on Backing idiots back tothe stage regardless of the huge damage made by them.
        This idiot Abhaya is just a basic degree holder from Pera. No way he has qualifications to go for a PhD.

        • 1
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          You may be right.
          From what he adds to this valuable forum is based on only hearsays. So how can ever be qualified to write a disseration ?
          He is irreparably manipulated by the blatant lies sowed by Rajapakses since the LTTE terror is no longer there. He would do anything for Rajapakshe clans – may also be possible that the guy is blood related to Rajanos. Anyways, shame to have thi skind of kind to stay on the mode even after the bugger is rejected by the educated folks of the country. Rome, Italy – God saves us the srilankens

      • 1
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        My thesis is going swimmingly . I am postulating about the Sri Lankans who have their head up their behind like your self . I am finding a lot of research subjects . I am grateful to CT for getting together a collection of frustrated idiots together . such as you and sapun and msMaralathoni .

        Cheers

        Abhaya

        • 2
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          bla bla blAbhaya

          “I am postulating about the Sri Lankans who have their head up their behind like your self.”

          It is going to be your autobiography then?

          Congratulation.

          • 0
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            No it is titled Veddhas with [Edited out] .

            Cheers

            Abhaya

        • 0
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          Abhaya ,

          i can offer my services as your supervisor to ease your frustration or you can get your long term family friend Nalin desilva as your supervisor to aggravate your incurable disease , which one you prefer?

    • 3
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      who talks about the parasites of your kind ? That would do anything to bring MR back to the stage ? You the like ilk are a curse not only to lanken folks but also to all right respecting folks of the earth.

  • 0
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    isn’t it simple? TNA is reacting in its country context. you are talking about UK’s general population’s economy which currently is way better than average Sri Lankan’s economy. you have a better designed, protected and working democratic systems than TNA has to fight for your rights. TNA’s is in the stage of fighting for the right to exist. your talk is about the next level. while TNA is not the best Tamils deserve, they are what they have now. so help them or whoever fights for it to achieve the fundamental rights first. you should not expect a hand with your trouble from a weaker person. and TNA is NOT a UK party.

  • 0
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    “The Tamil National Alliance (TNA-UK) has sent its “heartfelt congratulations” to prime minister David Cameron, following the Tories’ victory in Britain’s general election on 7 May.”

    Sorry, this a narrow minded statement.

    In any decent, cultured context, its normal for anyone to congratulate whoever wins an election.

    It was not a war, it was a democratic election where the decent well culture people has to congratulate each other. What is wrong in it?

    Please stop your narrow minded thinking.

    “Tamil Solidarity considers this to be a major error of judgment, a big mistake, and believes it raises serious questions about whose side the TNA leadership is on.”

    Tamil Solidarity? Let us be frank, who are these people? Are you referring to Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, Ananthy Sasitharan and their unpopular elements?

    Their political work is in Montessori level.

    They knew no politics and they are not matured enough to do the politics of Eelam Tamils who badly need of experience, efficient and well educated people. Not half qualified and half educated!

  • 2
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    Mot of the 300,000 Tamils live in poor areas, says this young lass who has done well to be a Union Activist in East London.

    One Diaspora dude bragged here that the Tamil Diaspora in the UK pumps 20 Billion Sterling Pounds to the British Economy every year..

    Our own lovely FM boasted that he can get the Diaspora with the Pounds to fill in for the Chinese Renminbi, which his dear leader has banned.

    After reading this lassie’s piece, I wonder whether our FM was referring to the Pounds around Diasporians’ girth..

    Surely these 300,000 cant be among that Diaspora.. right..

    May be that dude was talking about the GFT lead by Mr Suren Surendran. who are now totally affiliated with the UNP London.

    Obviously voting for Labour is not even an option, even if both Millibands stood together as joint Leaders.

    It is exciting to see the UNP in power in future Eelaam and Tories now back again in London to drive the next phase, which is plan implementation.

    But the only hitch is the UNP PM is still un elected.

    Coincidentally. GTF in London sucked up to the Toffee Nosed Tories , while our Vellalas in Cinnamon and Wellala Gardens backed the UNP.

    Are the GFT all Vellalas?…

  • 0
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    The write is Tamil Solidarity Trade Union Organiser and a local activist.

    Where does this based?

    You must be ashamed to talk about a congratulatory letter to David Cameron.

    Even anyone just come out of the bush will not write in this manner.

    Anyway, good try.

  • 0
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    If one looks at the history of TNA, TULF,ITAK and TC one can see the reactionry nature of the Tamil leadership in Sri Lanka.

    SL Tamil leaders from the Arunachalam brothers, GG Ponnambalam, Selvanayagam, Amirthalingam and now Sampanthan have always been on the side of rightists and conservatives. In Sri Lanka, they always aligned with the rightist UNP and never with the centre-left SLFP.

    Therefore it was natural for TNA-UK to follow the history of their leaders in Sri Lanka to congratulate David Cameron and the Conservative Party for their election victory in UK.

    Isai Priya, you listed the cuts to public spending made by the former Cameron’s coalition government that affected the low income groups.

    Here in Sri Lanka TNA know nothing or care nothing about the poor Tamils or Sinhalese. There is no history of any TNA MPs contributing to any debate in the Sri Lankan Parliament on Sri Lankan economic issues.

    I agree with you that th UK Parliamentary system of electing MPs on ‘first past the post’is most irrational and the election results would not represent the true will of the people. Unfortunately they are trying to re-introduce this stupid system in Sri Lanka. This will deny the minor parties and minority communities their rightful representation in Parliament. In my view,the best voting system is what you find in Australia.

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