Crossroads between Parliament and Entitlement | Sunday Observer

Crossroads between Parliament and Entitlement

It’s perhaps not the time to wonder what the Independence Square types are doing these days. What with an important election around the corner, that may be an idle pursuit.

But, there are the types who on occasion get to Independence Square and ‘protest’ against ‘corruption’ and the usurpation of democracy and what have you.

Are they perplexed and conflicted now? A Royal College old boy is acting as if he is a remake of Mahinda Rajapaksa, whom the Independence Square democracy types love to hate. Last time they thought elections were being held too early, they went to Independence Square and squatted at the premises for days.

This time they were about to do the same and protest that elections were being held too early, but the Supreme Court announced the elections were not being held too early at all, and opined, get on with it, have them and be done with it.

So the Independence Square types bit the bullet. But the subject of this article is not what those types think.

It’s the country’s predisposition to elect Parliaments that don’t have members with the proper aptitude to be lawmakers, and to be part of the Executive Cabinet of Ministers.

Now, that’s a serious subject. But, people will always have parliamentarians who don’t represent the idea of inscrutability etc. That’s almost a fact of life.

It’s not Parliament that mostly matters. It’s the leadership that’s of vital import. It’s why people consider someone who imitates somebody else a person they’d rather not have any faith in.


Sajith Premadasa is starting his campaign as a study in mimicry. He wanted to pretend that people came in droves to meet him, after he lost the election last November.

People came in vast unstoppable hordes when Mahinda Rajapaksa was defeated in 2015.

He had to address the milling throng every hour or so from above the parapet at his country home in Tangalle, because the people wouldn’t leave and he had to appeal to them and say that they have to keep their faith, and there will be a way.

Why did people do that when the then President wasn’t the winner? Nobody feats anyone other than a winning politician in this country. Chandrika Kumaratunga famously said there was nobody to stir a spoon of sugar into her cup of tea the morning after she relinquished the Presidency.

But Mahinda Rajapaksa had earned those stripes, and that’s why things were different. He was identified with winning the un-winnable war. The Sinhalese people weren’t just grateful; they saw themselves in him.

How can Premadasa mimic that? Doesn’t he understand that he cannot begin to live in somebody else’s skin?

This is a gigantic fail — this inability to be his own man. Imitation is also the sincerest form of flattery. So Premadasa may be in fact working for the Podujana Peramuna, unbeknownst to him.

There is a major qualitative gap between a leader who leads and another who imitates the one who leads.

This is why it’s a bit cranky for people to ask for ‘educated’ people to be returned at the polls as their representatives. There are a lot of educated goofballs out there, to be sure, and some even went to Royal College.

Talk show television is full of them. There are MPs asking that the voters choose wisely, but the MPs who say this on television with predictable regularity are themselves often the most cringeworthy specimens.

They have either shown their voters that they have no principles, whatsoever, or have done nothing noteworthy except being ridiculous in the way they made promises and tried to ingratiate with their voter base.


Some of these MPs are educated, or shall we say, appallingly educated. They profess to have earned doctorates in their name.

These pseudo intelligentsia have done more probably to damage the credibility of the institution of Parliament than the village political professionals, no matter how dubious or humble the beginnings of some among the latter.


Politicians who display a modicum of loyalty, or integrity by way of loyalty were preferred by the people even when they voted for their representatives in 2015.

Nobody can pronounce from on-high on whom the people should vote for, and that is what all the pundits and PR men who ever wanted to elect the most ideal men and women to legislatures around the world, have learnt at their cost.

People want those whom they can trust to be their voice, and not those who say that they have enough learning to make a difference — and who can blame the people?

The Independence Square types on the other hand, will go ahead and vote for those folk who wanted the last Parliament in perpetuity. People went to Court to retain that parliament!

Think about that! It was the parliament of the most number of brigands, the bond scam footnote crowd, the losing jokers pulled by their ears and brought into the Chamber through the national list and yet the socially conscious NGO boys and holier than thou lawyers wanted that particular parliament in perpetuity.

Having done that, they and their supporters of the candle-lighter variety at Independence Square have the gall before an election to ask for a better quality of representation in the next parliament.

They said it was the late Mr. Bandaranaike who brought the lumpen into Parliament, among them village yokels and thugs. But not a word is said about the white collar toughs such as GG Ponnambalam who asked for 50-50 representation for his people who had been elevated to a Supra class by the British.

By his act inspired by a cavalier sense of entitlement, the late GGP put innocent Tamils in the line of fire because there would be natural majority-community antipathy towards a minority that was just 10 per cent of the population at that time, demanding 50 per cent representation.

It should be clear that being educated is not the quality people seek in their representatives, it’s trust, and integrity — and at best, relatability.

Coming back to 2020 and the run-up to this election, yours truly was present at some of the Independence Square protests too, not the so called democracy protests of 2018, but at least some of the other so called protests of conscience. This writer was there to observe, and acquire a first-hand knowledge of this protesting species, and the protesters mistook this intention for active participation.

That was amusing. Most of them didn’t know what they were protesting about, and were there because somebody had brought them over.

At the drop of a hat they were blaming the Rajapaksas when the real reason they had assembled at the Square was supposedly, corruption concerning the bond scam.

They were not worried about the bond scam per se, but only about the fallout when it was learnt that some parliamentarians received favours from the scammers.

In other words they were horrified that the corrupt MPs had shattered the ‘Omertà’ of the capitalist ruling class UNP (now UNP plus SJB). Omertà is a mafia code of silence about criminal activity; the Independence Square candlelight squad were worried that their MPs couldn’t keep the lid on their otherwise regulation corruption.

But the mass of people were not taken in by the ‘democracy protests’ of the Independence Square squad. They threw out the democracy squad’s favourite democracy-minded government, so called.

This proves the disconnect between the Independence Square squad and the salt of this country’s earth who don’t think on the basis of clan or class, but on the basis of country.

They have a great contrast before them when they decide whom to elect, and that’s the one thing that will tell on their minds when they sanitise their hands and mark that ballot paper on August 5. They didn’t see anyone in Government hold a press conference and laugh about Covid-19 the way the UNP-SJB set laughed after the horrendous Easter attacks. They saw serious resolve and statesmanship in the face of the pandemic, as opposed to comedy and general abandonment of the masses. The Independence Square protest set will squirm, but this is true democracy — the democracy that respects, but doesn’t suppress elections.