30 September, 2020

Blog

Why The UNP May Already Be Doomed

By Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

As my father Mervyn de Silva wrote retrospectively about the UNP in 1956 and prophetically in the run-up to 1970: “Where a class abdicates its moral right to leadership, it is already doomed and must surely die.” (Ceylon Observer Magazine edition, May 1967)

Today in 2018, the UNP under Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has lost the moral right to lead. No less a personage than President Sirisena, the head of state and government, and leader of the official SLFP, the coalition partner of the UNP, has given several devastating reasons why.

Coming on the heels of the bond scam revelations which was the first massive loss of legitimacy by the UNP leadership in government, the President’s whistleblowing leads inexorably to the conclusion that it would be unethical, immoral and unforgivably stupid to cast a single vote for the UNP. The Daily Mirror headlined the page one lead story as follows: “President says State revenue given to private firms on political links during past 3 years”. The story goes on to say:

“…President Maithripala Sirisena said yesterday the government incurred a major loss of revenue during the past three years because it had been channeled to private companies on political connections.

“Amid this unscrupulous trading practice, tea of inferior quality was imported to Sri Lanka for value addition before being re-exported as tea of Sri Lankan origin. It has brought Sri Lanka’s tea trade into disrepute. In addition to tea, even pepper, dry arecanuts called karunka and pineapples were imported to be re-exported in this same manner,” he said.

The President said there was a huge price difference between the actual cost and the retail prices of various items sold in the local market and that he had raised this matter on more than 100 occasions in the Cabinet though little or nothing happened.

…The President said though this government was elected to eliminate corruption, the ‘General Treasury’ was plundered barely two months after it assumed office and asked how he could remain passive…in the face of such massive frauds…” (Daily Mirror Feb 27th 2018, pp. 1 & 2)

The UNP Establishment has just raised the stakes. It is proclaiming from every platform that if it wins the upcoming local government election it will form a UNP government perhaps with TNA and SLMC participation, launch its own Presidential candidate next year and that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will definitely be that candidate. The PM and front-line ideologues Mangala Samaraweera and Eran Wickremaratne are declaring the policies that will be adopted after Feb 10th, and all those policies involve a qualitative leap in neoliberal globalization or more simply, foreignization.

On the other side of the barricades is the amalgam of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (the SLFP’s populist wing) and the parliamentary Joint Opposition (JO). It is the fastest growing political movement I have seen in this country in my lifetime, surpassing even the growth rate of the Sri Lanka Mahajana Party (SLMP) led by Vijaya Kumaratunga in the 1980s and the DUNF of Lalith Athulathmudali and Gamini Dissanaike in the early 1990s. It operates on the grid superbly built from bottom up by Basil Rajapaksa for his brother Mahinda.

The populist opposition movement seems to have erupted out of the earth itself, with massive crowds enthusiastically participating, vocally interacting and urging on Mahinda Rajapaksa to defeat the government. Mahinda himself departs from his script and responds spontaneously to the promptings and suggestions of the massive crowds. In my political memory (which goes back to 1964 and includes seeing Madam Bandaranaike address the Senate) the country has never witnessed such a powerful comeback by a political leader. 

Interestingly and uniquely, this political phenomenon is commonly referred to by its symbol: ‘Pohottuwa’. This means it has seized the public imagination. A populist anti-Establishment movement of a nationalist character, it has the advantage of being led by a mainstream national leader, Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is making a comeback just as Churchill, de Gaulle, Indira Gandhi and Vladimir Putin did. None of those leaders headed a populist movement, but classic Third World comebacks have been of nationalist or patriotic leaders heading populist movements, be they radical or umbrella movements containing right, left and moderate-centrist camps. The classic comebacks have been Latin American: Argentina’s Juan Peron, the paradigmatic populist, and Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega, heading the Sandinista Front.

The strident public threat of Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, Champika Ranawaka and Rajitha Senaratne that Mahinda Rajapaksa and/or Gotabhaya’s civic rights are likely to be removed in accordance with the (alleged) recommendation of PRECIFAC will not only be counterproductively polarizing, it simply cannot hold. Mahinda is vastly more popular and stronger than Madam Bandaranaike was when her civic rights were removed (1980), while today’s UNP government is vastly less popular than its predecessor of 1977. The economy in 1980 was growing at 8%.

With low growth, and a Presidential election inescapable next year, hawkishness will blow-back at the Provincial Council elections of 2018, and at all subsequent elections. An invulnerable Mahinda proxy candidate (Chamal, Dinesh?) can sweep the Presidential election next year on the promise of restoring MR’s civic rights in 24 hours –rather like the slogan of ‘Sinhala Only in 24 hours’, which did the trick in 1956.

As the Parliamentary election follows, not precedes, the Presidential election, Mahinda will have his civic rights back in time to run for Prime Ministerial office in 2020. The anti-UNP backlash after the eclipse of Neoliberal Democracy in 2019-2020 won’t be pretty– remember 1970 and its aftermath. So the UNP shouldn’t even think about it.

By February 11th this year the electoral outcome would have shocked the UNP and the country’s pro-UNP, pro-Western elite. This has happened more than once before. In a two-part think-piece entitled “1956: The Cultural Revolution That Shook the Left” and “The Left Awakens from Romance to Reality”, in the Ceylon Observer Magazine Edition, May 16th & 23rd, 1967, Mervyn de Silva, aged 37 at the time, retrospectively reflected on 1956, prospectively shed light on the anti-UNP Opposition front that crystalized at Bogambara, Kandy, in 1968 and prophetically signaled the fall of the rightwing government in 1970 (three years after his essay’s publication). The present Prime Minister’s parents, the most influential bosses in Lake House at the time, scoffed at his warnings, marginalizing and persecuting Mervyn for his critical insight:

“The singular characteristic of a genuine mass movement is not only that it becomes the physical expression of the mass mind in action but that the popular will continuously impresses itself on the leadership, pushing and patterning it to the often inarticulate though feverish needs of the masses…

…In the course of one century, this English-educated class was totally alienated from the people, uprooted from the soil. This apartness deepened the cleavage to a point where a Disraeli might have said there were two nations. The gap between the one percent (or what Mr. Mettananda was to call ‘the microscopic minority’) and the rest was never bridged even with Independence.

It was a class therefore destined for a rude shock…Meanwhile the masses lay dormant; watching, waiting, resentful. By 1956 the equation was complete, the issues, the new class, the leader, the political alignments, the socioeconomic forces which would jet-propel the masses into action. In 1956 they moved: they moved with such a terrific momentum that it shattered the Right (temporarily) and shocked the Left. For both it was a traumatic experience.” (Mervyn de Silva, Ceylon Observer Magazine, May 1967)

In Sri Lanka, History moves in cycles. The present PM’s parents were the ideologues-cum-strategists of the insensitive, myopically arrogant rightwing elite that was ousted by the nationalist-populist ‘Silent Revolution’ of 1956. Today, the Second ‘Silent Revolution’ against the UNP-driven government is led by five sons of two iconic patriarchs of 1956, DA Rajapaksa and Philip Gunawardena: Mahinda, Basil, Chamal, Gota and Dinesh. History is about to repeat itself. My father may well be proven right yet again.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 17
    3

    this dayan is a shameless lackey

    • 15
      2

      ‘The dogs with the loudest bark are the ones that are most afraid.’

      Dayan, I am not sure if you genuinely believe the things that you state or if you write what you write knowing how ridiculous and misleading they are. I am not sure which is worse.

      I have been reading your articles over the past few years on CT and the deterioration of your mental state is increasingly apparent.

      The half truths and misguiding statements in your articles prove you are nothing but a vile, bitter, pathetic old man.

      Retire and find peace.

    • 10
      2

      nadarajah:
      No he is just a parasite looking for a host.

    • 8
      2

      Dayan,
      I think Dayan is demented or surrounded by ghosts.

    • 4
      0

      A very good article if it came from any other source.

      This man has long lost his ability to stick with reason and analytical thinking. He is rabidly one sided. Therefore he cannot be taken seriously at all. In fact just to spite him, some may even change their minds and vote for the UNP.

      Dayan Jayatilleke (who starts with a quote from his father) is a shamelessly partisan eccentric now gone beyond that realm possibly into madness.

  • 14
    1

    When will this tawdry sycophant and lickspittle lackey learn that whenever he makes a prediction, it backfires on him spectacularly?

    Remember his prediction following his effusive description of the famous Nugegoda meeting a few years ago?

  • 10
    2

    Dayan

    Please take a break.

    Hope it is a long break.

    Jagath

  • 3
    0

    oh Dayan for god’s sake.!!!!!
    [Edited out]

  • 11
    1

    CT, we are compelled to boycott your web portal if you keep publishing this stupid, idiotic self proclaimed, ‘Jarapassa’ boot licker, (Con) doctor’s comments in the future. To be totally honest, if I see his face on a piece, I switch pages straight away.

    • 8
      1

      anonymous

      Please note Dayan provides us with plenty of entertainment by being a prolific typist. Don’t stop him and deprive us free fun. In fact we should demand more of the same from him.

    • 4
      1

      I do the same. At times I respond to the posts but will not wast my time reading the crap that he writes.

    • 2
      0

      anonymous – I concur, but what can you expect from a guy who has not taken his prescribed medications!

  • 0
    4

    I like to add the TNA demand that Dr Ranil presents his Partition Bill soon after the Feb Election.
    And Sampathar’s latest demand , that the Partition must be exactly in line with the
    “OSLO Pact “which Dr Ranil signed with Mr Pirahaparan..
    Mr Sampathar further demands that the great majority of the inhabitant population who are Sinhala rural poor back Dr Ranil at the Council Election, so Dr Ranil and Mangala Samaraweera can fulfill their agreement with Sampathar and the Diaspora.
    Our great majority must seriously think about these demands and take them on board along with the threat to the Civil Life of the Leader who rescued the Nation from Mr Sampathar’s Boys, aka LTTE Tigers.

    • 2
      0

      KASmaalam Kalu Albert K A Sumanasekere

      “And Sampathar’s latest demand , that the Partition must be exactly in line with the
      “OSLO Pact “which Dr Ranil signed with Mr Pirahaparan..”

      Were you in Jaffna today carrying Dr Mahinda Rajapaksa (LLD + PhD X 3) ‘s b***s? What did he ask of the Jaffna stupid Tamils? Did he beg votes for his kurakkan party? Namal’s child minder GL was tapping to the drum beat, must have been in a cool mood. Now it looks like you could rent a Tamil crowd to fill the hall.

      Did the police conveniently find any un-exploded explosives in the vicinity of the hall?
      Did he visit the place where Ven Meegahajandure Gnanaratana was cremated about a month ago and promise to liberate the area and build a huge stupa/Buddha statue/Chaitya on that spot?

    • 2
      0

      KASmaalam Kalu Albert K A Sumanasekere

      {“OSLO Pact “which Dr Ranil signed with Mr Pirahaparan.. }

      If I could jog your memory Oslo pact was negotiated by Namal’s current child minder G L Peiris. If it was a betrayal then blame G L. However later when he jumped ship he was awarded with many top portfolios. I don’t think you had any objection at that time.

  • 3
    4

    Nixon tried his best to cover up Watergate scandal. If it is not for the journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein Nixon would have managed to do that. Ranil is behaving the same way Nixon did. I hope at the end Ranil will have to face the same fate like Nixon.

    • 1
      1

      Eagle Blind Eye

      Tricky Dicky also unilaterally pulled his troops from Vietnam.

  • 5
    0

    Dayan usually attribute our ills to MS/RW but this time it is only RW. There is some truth here but not the whole truth.
    Dayan buggers it all by suggesting that the MR crew is better.
    Dayan’s Pancha Saviours of SL are MR, Basil, Chamal, Gota & Dinesh. You have forgotten Namal.

  • 2
    0

    Dr. DJ, ha..ha..ha… what more can we expect from you?

  • 7
    0

    CT, we are from the beginning until date a great fan and admirer of you but after reading this utter rubbish of this two legged buffalo of an idiot, I’d feel terrible about your duplicity. All knew, well and clearly, CT was one of the Champions who brought Freedom to the people from the murderous MR’s torchurous terror regime, and now, oh what a pitty, promoting that outfit with this stinking rubbish and it wants to come back again to murder and loot the people. Oh God, no way man. Our math is the same for this as for the last Presidential and general elections. The opposition is fractured, UNP has it’s block votes and ally’s as well. The minorities- Tamil, Muslims, Christians etc had it enough of MR and gang, and never ever would vote for them, they all knew well about the killings and destructions caused to them. When the majority’s votes get divides into two parts which party gets the minorities votes wins, hence UNP would get large numbers of councils with hands
    down. Dayan’s dream of getting into high flying positions and perks with his pay masters would be shattered for good for he is promoting the evils and discards.

  • 7
    0

    Dayan,
    Does your Pay Masters, MaRa, GoTa, Basil, Chamal, and Namal have any moral rights to lead any party or movement in Sri Lanka. MaRa, popularly known as Tsunami Hora has stolen the last penny from the poorest of the poor who were devastated by Tsunai. So what moral rights he has to do anything. Batalanda Ranil and Maru Sira are protecting him and his cohorts from law. Does GoTa, your so called hero has any moral rights to live in Sri Lanka. He killed over 50,000 Sinhala and Tamil civilians. I don’t want to waste my time talking about moral rights of Basil Rajapuksa, Chamal, Namal, et el.

  • 0
    0

    Some one has asked PTL owner whether now he is a Trillionaire, if so how many Trillions ? He has said, that is how others say, but, I am concerned that my house in Bullers road also may go. Anyway, he was waiting to to propose that Road be named “Ranil wickramsinghe Mavatha”

  • 0
    0

    DJ: I heard the newst MOU” between UNPatriotic party and the TNA is that TNA is always willing to stay with the UNP govt in return there number of seats will not be cut down. Because, both the TNA and JVP got about the same percentage of votes. Yet, TNA has 16 MOS while JVP has only 5 or 6 MPs. there won’t be ORumitta nadu. Instead, all 16 MPs got to stay. One LTTE – MP Mavai SenthaiRaja (I suppose HIm0., now he is not pro-LTTE and he wants national List Post.

  • 0
    0

    I heard, the Lease of Sabitha building for now three years and paying hugh rents and the electricity bills which amounts to millions per months by Duminda dissanayake is work of Ranil wicramasinghe. Duminda Dissanayake had gone to anuradhapura and had asked not to cultivate and grow paddy as there is a glut of production and that was Ranil wickramsinghe’s advice, I heard. How ever, since 1994 Ranil has carried out the same policy. Now agriculture is doomed, Rice, coconut, onion and chillies are imported foods, ranils wanted to extend his economic vision to Minor Exports crops (except Tea) too. That is why the govt gave permission to bring low quality Tea, Pepper (Indian pepper is very low quality) , cinnamon (Sri lanka has the best quality since ancient times) and reexported as Sri lankan products.
    The way things go, they may destroy even the rubber production. Remember they wanted to grow ribber in the north and leased lands in Horana for tyre Manufacturing plant. I heard only the day Ranil visited heavy machinery were working to remove trees. Otherwise, the land is abandoned.

  • 0
    0

    Not only UNP even Ranil is doomed now I heard, Because Ranil is not allowed to sleep on the same bed or something.

    • 0
      0

      Softy,

      Even if I send it to Thero De Silva, when he think of Old Royal Brother Prince, he still cannot sleep. He doesn’t even believe the Old Brother Prince in not in Lanakwe, at this time. But would you like some Ambien or Lunesta? Believe me, you really can rest with those stuffs, man!

      ok?

      LG election campaign is part time or full time?

  • 0
    0

    I heard RAVI the LIAR is also depressed. He had said some one “think you had a job and you get interdicted, how do you feel.

  • 0
    0

    RAVI the LI
    AR has accepted indirectly that He is a liar Every time. He has said that what the PM or the PResident say during the election times should not be taken seriously which means,they lie to the voters. I like to know whether the President Approves it. We all Know who bond Scam Ranil is.

  • 1
    0

    Thero killed himself & Old Crook recently. They say in Tamil “Thavalaium Noolalum Than Vayal Kedum”(Frog and the toad, show out them to enemy with their own mouth) Because of it Thero is no longer associating Old Crook with New Crooks, but just attacking Ranil.

    That was because, he has been unattainably boosting the connection between the Old and the New King and how they would get together & sideline Ranil after Feb, 11th. But the real one was flimsy and tender bud-ial only existed. To counter this, Ranil said that PRECIFAC has recommended removing the Civic Right of Old Crook. Old Crook declared he would not go to sleep in that occasion. Probably Old Crook though other would fall asleep. While UNP and Slap on this brawl, New Crook said that if all 96 SLFP members come to him, he will form the government. It is here we observed some special phenomena out of these, on the New Crook’s side. There was clear evidences that New Crook was travelling on two boats, 1)UNP and 2) Old Crooks. Public had come to know that. UNP Middle benchers picked it and said if any deal made with Old Crook, New Crook is falling in the river after Feb 11th. That was it, terrified New Crook stooge said he was only joking and asked “who would align with the Old Crook criminals?”. And he released a measured amount of information that Old Crook’s regime has been tapping all their ministers’ telephone conversations. (Probably New Crook fearing that some of his Health Ministry heroic record might be still with Old Crook.) But this this was a great disappointment for Old Crook who had by this time agreed to join New Crook and make his number 96 and become Prime Minister.
    Thero, the Winter Frog is damaging the Old Crook’s prospects by croaking non stopping.

  • 4
    0

    Electoral map of Srilanka has irrevocably changed. That is 70+20+7+3 Sinhalese Tamil Muslim and Christians respectively. Even if the coconut goes upto Rs.200.00 traditional UNPers will not abandon the party. That is 35% of the electorate. As long as Rajapakses practice communal politics they will not get the 20% Tamil + 7% Muslim vote. .2015 Presidential vote MR got less than 10% in the Eastern Province. Whereas Tamils will not forget what MR and the clan did to them for a minimum of 50 years Muslims will not forget Beruwela and Aluthgama incidents for a minimum of 10 years. Come next Presidential vote the candidate who has the backing of the minorities will enter the race with 25% of the vote in the pocket. It will not be a Rajapakse. If the Presidential election is held today UNP backed candidate will have to get only 20% of the Sinhalese vote to win.

    • 2
      0

      Yes and it will be RW. Simple maths. You are right. MR will not even get 8% of Muslim or Tamil votes on Feb 10th. The biggest outcome is the SLFP destroyed forever. Sira and is Haal hora thugs are panicking because they are coming a distant 3rd. UNP will be first and SLPP a distant second. TNA and Racist parties will get the minority votes. JVP will increase their voter percentage by 5% but MR or GR can never become President. That is good because all Sri Lankan votes matter and the President represents all Sri Lankans. Obama never got more than 40% of the White votes. But he got well over 95% of the Negro vote in the states he won. The southern christian baptist racist confederate states went against OBama by massive margins. Over 70% of the Whites voted AGAINST Obama in most of the Confederate White Majority states. Virginia went to Obama because of Indians and Chinese immigrants in the DC corridor.

  • 1
    0

    This is the day dream of Dayan J.

  • 0
    0

    On FEB 10th

    UNP 1st
    SLPP 2nd
    Sirisena 3rd or 4th
    Racial segregationist Tamils gain
    Dravida Tamil Muslims gain
    JVP increases their share by at least 5%

  • 2
    0

    The SLFP is doomed DJ. UNP will win the Presidency in 2020. UNP will win the Local Government elections simply because the SLFP is split. If the SLFP was united, it would be unbeatable in the Sinhala areas. Except now that it is broken. So end of story for SLFP. You are wrong. Mark my word. Write about this on Feb 11th night.

  • 1
    0

    The SLFP is doomed.

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 0
    1

    Dayan,

    All this because you were cold shouldered when you stared hanging around Ranil’s office at Cambridge Terrace in 1994/95

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.