SB Dissanayake | Dilan Perera

The morning-after the 2015 general elections- must obviously have caused a monumental hangover to several former parliamentarians relegated to the political wilderness. Their dreams of making a comeback to the Assembly would have been shattered beyond belief. For the heavy-weights in particular among them the fall would certainly have been harder, going by the old adage, the bigger they are the harder they… Exactly!

But losing hope in the possibility of holding on to such heady power or regaining it would appear a terrible prospect for any politician. Still they should pragmatically accept the reality that those who live by the poll should be prepared to be pole-axed by it as well. For many of the more opportunistic among them the only hope now would be to plead for a backdoor entrance through the national list. No, I am not casting any aspersions on anyone’s deviant peccadilloes as I share this amusing cameo to tickle your fancy. I called a politician who although emerging a winner in the political fray seemed disgruntled that a surfeit of better known losers in his party were spoiling his chances of acquiring a portfolio by gaining entry through the  backdoor through the national list.

He said: “This is madness! They are all losers.  Our leaders are offering all these ‘psycho-pants’ ministries. All are gaining entry from the backside!”  Notwithstanding his inadequacy in confronting English from both the front and the rear many will tend to agree with him on the issue. Certainly, one may consider that a few wholesome and capable candidates who were defeated deserve to have been elected with larger preferential votes and many of the more unsavoury who should have suffered humiliating losses emerged crowing victorious from the rooftops.

The UPFA’s final National List astonishingly contains the names of two pathetic rejects, SB Dissanayake and Dilan Perera who were given the bum’s rush by their respective electorates.  The only reason for their backdoor appointments I can envisage is that the party in all probability imagines itself short of a brace of clowns for their impending circus. Latest reports indicate that SB is being tipped for the post of Opposition Leader. Sounds like the death knell for the party if there is any veracity to the statement. Surely, instead of scraping the bottom of the barrel for dregs, DEW Gunasekera and Prof. Tissa Vitharana, the last of the old guard leftist heavyweights, would have been the logical choices for the list instead of these two ineffectual losers. Prof. GL Peiris and Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha would certainly have been better bets to adorn the list admirably over some of the other dubious choices.

The poll also endorsed the fact that we are basically a sexist population judging by the fact that only around a dozen women, not all of them deemed desirably deserving candidates, emerging winners. Without a doubt, the best and most capably refined among them was left out in the cold. I am referring to the UNP’s Rosy Senanayake, considered by many analysts as among the few cleanest and hard-working politicians. She exuded the finesse, charisma and decency of a true statesperson. In fact, she is streets ahead when compared with all our recent male party leaders put together.  She did not deserve to be cold-shouldered by her fickle constituents, and was expected at least to be deservingly placed on the UNP National List. Positively,  a glaring case of a good girl finishing a close race only to be pipped at the preferential post by a rather valueless male whisker.

There are scores of examples of naked opportunism that have been  witnessed in the run-up and aftermath of the recent parliamentary elections which has shown up the worst and most shameless demonstrations of such behaviour.  Call it crass political opportunism where we have been observing a surplus of turncoats, traitors and political whores all belly crawling for recompense for the grimy favours rendered. One would imagine that some of our voters are mental retards or incurably shameless sycophants for casting their precious votes for downright criminal elements.  How could we expect quality governance from elected representatives when many of them are facing charges some for serious crimes including murder, kidnapping, drug trafficking, robbery and rape.  The most common legend about Parliament is that today’s MPs are the most corrupt, self-seeking and downright crooked bunch ever.  In fact, parliamentary history is stuffed with rogues and the Assembly has been soaked in corruption for much of its recent history.

No small wonder then that growing numbers of Sri Lankans are turned off by politics, a trend that in the long run could undermine our democratic institutions as we know them today. Indeed, they don’t-give-a-damn attitude is leading to a weary cynicism and increased disenchantment among voters who are uncomfortable with their obvious lack of respect for the basic rules of conduct and decency in Parliament. Clearly, across our nation there’s a growing sense of powerlessness among many citizens — not just at the central level, but also at provincial and municipal levels.

Research shows that growing numbers of Sri Lankans perceive politicians as untrustworthy and corrupt individuals who think nothing of breaking promises. The same research also indicates we are becoming increasingly disillusioned with unaccountable politicians and government institutions. Life’s short. Anything could happen. And it usually does. So there is no point in sitting around thinking about all ifs, ands and buts. Wishing for the might-have beens is totally redundant. The die is cast and there is no going back. No need to hope for theif only… if only. Because if only your grandmother had a beard or any other obvious male appendage she would have been your grandfather!