Lies, pathetic lies, and confessions | Daily News

Lies, pathetic lies, and confessions

The SJB MP who said that the President planned and carried out the Easter Sunday attacks, has made a five-hour statement to the CID and confessed he had no such evidence, and that he made the statement by way of a joke.

Some joke. With this kind of humour, the man could set the country alight and claim that he set out to provide some light entertainment.

This, though, has become the political culture of the day. Where is the accountability for this type of cynical, calculated slander?

There are 9/11 conspiracy theories, but there are no Democrats who say that President George. W. Bush planned the attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York. There aren’t any Indian MPs who say that the Indian soldiers killed on the border with China, were in fact killed by PM Modi. No New Zealand Opposition MP says that the Christchurch mosque attacks were carried under the direction of Premier Jacinda Ardern.

Dirty tricks

But yet, there are no calls for this SJB MP to resign. No political dirty tricks department of any country — no known democracy — has resorted to this level of concocted slander. But in Sri Lanka the UNP has been doing this for ages.

There was calculated slander against former Ministers such as T.B. Illangaratne about Swiss villas he bought, etc., when the latter was so above board and unassuming that he is known to have never possessed even a vehicle of his own. But our political culture has deteriorated. Take a look at what happens in Parliament. MPs constantly speak to the sound of deafening jeers. This has become standard practice.

There have been jousts in other Parliaments too, but there has never been a situation in which MPs in any country — from Pakistan, to Denmark, to Japan, to India — have to speak over the constant din of jeers and boos.

When the Danish PM announced in the Danish Parliament that there was a camel named Ali that was given freedom along with four circus elephants who were bought from a circus by the Danish Government, she said there was unanimous support for the move, including from a Danish far-right party. At the end of the speech, she took a jab at the immigrant-skeptic Danish People’s Party about the camel being named Ali. This party had wanted all Muslim immigrants sent back — but the Danish PM couldn’t stop giggling when she said even this party supported the purchase of the camel Ali.

This sent the entire Parliament — all its Members including from the radical People’s Party— into peals of laughter.

The above anecdote may be scoffed at as a trivial out of context example, but the context is that a Parliament can be civil and convivial, even when there is mention of extremely divisive issues.

Scourge of extremism

How our political culture deteriorated into a point where Parliament is a paradise for screaming hoodlums 24/7 is worthy of a special investigation. But this has become our reality.

Canadian MP Ramesh Sangha was booted from the Liberal caucus after making “baseless and dangerous accusations against a number of his caucus colleagues,” stated a press release from Chief Government Whip Mark Holland, in January this year.

“As soon as the Chief Government Whip was made aware of these accusations, he consulted with the Prime Minister, and the necessary steps were taken. As of this afternoon, Sangha has been removed from the Liberal caucus,” read the release, issued in January. He had been spreading conspiracy theories about opposition MPs supporting Sikh extremism.

It is doubtless comparably a far more extreme situation to have a local SJB MP accusing President Gotabaya Rajapaksa of having ‘masterminded’ the heinous Easter Sunday attack. Here is the President of the country being accused baselessly of the most heinous type of terrorism.

But yet, we do not have the virtuous — not even the so-called very good Christian Eran Wickremeratne — asking that the MP be reprimanded. But the MP himself has recanted the statement, and said that he made it without any knowledge of any attack of the sort he alleged. But the MP’s garrulous lawyer goes around saying that the tape that clearly has the MP accusing the President “could have been doctored.”

Not stopping at that, he has the audacity to claim that the MP being quizzed by the CID was a part of a plan by the Government “to muzzle opposition MPs.” How did it come to this ? It was S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike who they said, first got ‘undesirables’ into Parliament. The late premier Kotelawala is said to have boxed the ears of one of these new Members who addressed him with feigned familiarity as “John”. But today’s Parliament has become a gathering place for low lives and loudmouths.

The people replace one set of garrulous Parliamentarians with another at each election. It is in this context that the people look at the dysfunctional Provincial Councils and say a thankful prayer about having being spared that indignity. The sole raison d’être for the existence of the PCs became the breeding of a class of the most egregious political hoodlums. The PC sessions were mostly brawls, and that’s hardly an exaggeration. The videos are there to prove it.

The Sri Lankan people have done nothing to deserve this. The commentators who should be subjecting cynical conspiracy theorists such as the aforementioned SJB MP to severe criticism, spend their time instead spreading Doomsday theories and holding the Government responsible. If you read Victor Ivan, Sri Lanka is hell on a daily basis, and the President is Satan presiding over this inferno. When MPs such as Abeysinghe confess to lies about “Gotabaya Rajapaksa” masterminding the Easter Sunday attacks, those such as Ivan react by trying to take down the President even harder.

The former Liberal Party leader the late Chanaka Amaratunga had this quaint idea that only the land owning elite should be legally allowed in Parliament. No committed democrat would agree, but such a policy would have at the very least kept the riff-raff away from Legislature, perhaps.

But MPs such as the aforementioned involved in the caper that landed him in the CID, are enabled by the others such as Harsha de Silva, who though he is no landowner as the late Chanaka Amaratunga would have liked, behaves as if he is one. The man has a useless doctorate, or so we are told, but that too is brandished to show that he is an economist, when he is some irrelevant statistician.

Minimum numbers

The Opposition is beyond redemption, and the people have curtailed these types of people by reducing their numbers in Parliament to the barest minimum. Kudos to the voters for that — but they cannot possibly keep the entire Opposition out of Parliament for the simple reason that there should be something in Parliament called the Opposition.

The JVP which acts as if it is the keeper of Parliament — a party with no representation to speak of — is often the worst offender in this regard and has a bunch of MPs who at least in spirit stand with those who concoct tales such as the SJB MP involved in the “Gotabaya” mastermind caper that ended up with him whimpering like a wounded puppy, confessing his sins to the CID.

Such low-lives should be kept out of Parliament. Even when these types are booted out of Parliament at elections, they are replaced in Opposition ranks particularly, with worse riff-raff, because the main Opposition party doesn’t seem to have any membership to speak of other than regular con artistes and riff-raff. Even the late lamented and lamentably garrulous Ranasinghe Premadasa from Jinthupitiya would have blushed, had he been around these days.