“ YES, MR PRESIDENT”. of course, ‘YES MR PRESIDENT! Can President Mahinda Rajapakse be compared with Rt.Hon. Jim Hacker of England? Facts and Fiction
Posted on August 27th, 2010

By Dr M D P DISSANAYAKE.

A Legal Luminary has provided one of troublesome  political theoretical analysis in trying to compare our President with  Rt. Hon. Jim Hacker  who  was the Minister  of  fictional Department of Administrative Affairs (in the BBC series Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister), and later the  became the Satirical  British  Sitcome Prime Minister of Britain.

The principal characters in the fictional series are: Minister/Prime Minister:  Jim Hacker- JH (played by Paul Eddington), Permanent Secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby “”…”HA(played by Nigel Hawthorne), and Private Secretary Bernard Wolley “”…”BW (played by Derek Fowlds).

The Prime Minister JH was ambitious (but foolish) leader who  plans to put into  implementation and make radical changes in government.  He himself has no vision and commitment, therefore largely depend on the guidance of the Permanent and Private Secretary, both of them were cunning Civil Servants and will obstruct the Prime Minister’s plans. Every episode  ends with the line “Yes Prime Minister”, by HA after defeating the Prime Minister’s plans and claiming victory for his own plans. Is our President MR is a lame duck Leader, like  Jim Hacker?

Lets take few episodes excerpts  of “Yes Minister/Prime Minister”   ( by courtesy of bbc.com) to get a rational analysis of the  comparisons:

EPISODE “OPEN GOVERNMENT“

Jim  Hacker: “Hello, Sir Humphrey.”
Sir Humphrey: “Hello and welcome.”
Bernard Woolley: “I believe you know each other.”
Sir Humphrey: “Yes, we did cross swords when the Minister gave me a grilling over the estimates in the Public Accounts Committee.”
Jim Hacker: “I wouldn’t say that.”
Sir Humphrey: “You came up with all of the questions I hoped nobody would ask.”
Jim Hacker: “Well, opposition is about asking awkward questions.”
Sir Humphrey: “And government is about not answering them.”
Jim Hacker: “Well, you answered all mine anyway.”
Sir Humphrey: “I’m glad you thought so, Minister.”

Jim Hacker: “Who else is in this department?”
Sir Humphrey: “Well briefly, Sir, I am the Permanent Under Secretary of State, known as the Permanent Secretary. Woolley here is your Principal Private Secretary, I too have a Principal Private Secretary and he is the Principal Private Secretary to the Permanent Secretary. Directly responsible to me are 10 Deputy Secretaries, 87 Under Secretaries and 219 Assistant Secretaries. Directly responsible to the Principal Private Secretary are plain Private Secretaries, and the Prime Minister will be appointing 2 Parliamentary Under Secretaries and you will be appointing your own Parliamentary Private Secretary.”
Jim Hacker: “Do they all type”?

 

EPISODE: “THE COMPASSIONATE SOCIETY”:

Jim Hacker: “The National Health Service, Humphrey, is an advanced case of galloping bureaucracy.”
Sir Humphrey: “Ooooh, certainly not galloping. A gentle canter at the most.”

Sir Humphrey: “Minister, you said you wanted the administration figures reduced, didn’t you?”
Jim Hacker: “Yes.”
Sir Humphrey: “So we reduced the figures.”
Jim Hacker: “But only the figures, not the number of administrators.”
Sir Humphrey: “Well of course not.”
Jim Hacker: “Well that is not what I meant.”
Sir Humphrey: “Well really Minister, one is not a mind-reader, is one? You said reduce the figures, so we reduced the figures.”

EPISODE “DOING THE HONOURS“

(Talking about the abbreviations of the honours CMG, KCMG and GCMG)
Bernard Woolley: “Of course in the service, CMG stands for Call Me God. And KCMG for Kindly Call Me God.”
Jim Hacker: “What does GCMG stand for?”
Bernard Woolley: “God Calls Me God.”

EPISODE “JOBS FOR THE BOYS“

Jim Hacker: “Humphrey, is everything all right about the Solihull-project?”
Sir Humphrey: “Yes Minister, I understand that the building works are proceeding quite satisfactory.”
Jim Hacker: “No, no, that’s not what I meant. Is something going on?”
Sir Humphrey: “Building is going on, Minister.”
Jim Hacker: “No, no, Humphrey. I mean something is up, isn’t it?”
Sir Humphrey: “Yes indeed, Minister.”
Jim Hacker: “What?”
Sir Humphrey: “Well the first floor is up and second floor is almost…”
Jim Hacker: “No Humphrey, I am talking about the whole basis of the thing.”
Sir Humphrey: “Oh, I see.”
Jim Hacker: “What can you tell me about that?”
Sir Humphrey: “Ah…well, as I understand it Minister, the basis is an aggregate of gravel and cement on six feet of best builder’s…”
Jim Hacker: “Humphrey, I think you know I am talking about the finance!”

Is this the way our President is running the country?  The Legal  Luminary then criticize the MR administration on several issues, such as:  temple tress as a make believe paradise, country in rambles, Maha Rajah Thumani Billboards, extended Royal Family, cost of living, education in schools in the doldrums, lack of salary increases, education departments failure to present an intelligible question paper at the examinations, higher education prospects, bribery and corruption.

Then turning for JVP and LTTE agenda the Legal Lumanry’s attention gets closer to something very close to his heart. Non implementation of  Minority grievances as reported by Nirmala Naganathan, disapproval of Learn Lessons and Reconciliation Commission and the final comment that “Sadly, in the last two decades no commission has achieved a worthwhile result”.  We all know that some Briefless Barristers have made a fortune in the past in their appearances in these Commissions.  The President is  now  Managing the Country  without too may Commissions, as he goes around the country and meeting people face to face, to ascertain their grievances and provide solutions.  thus depriving a luxury income level to some Legal “ƒ”¹…”Advisors of yester-years”.

As far as we see the Sri Lankan Government is now run with a long term vision, structurally “Pinnacle in a  Triangle”.   At the Left of “X” axis is Basil Rajapakse, the Minister for Economic Development and Implementation” with Gotabhaya Rajapakse at the Right of “X” axis as the Defence Secretary.  At the helm, the Pinnacle is The President Mahinda Rajapakse. The two most trusted Leiutenants are in charge of the long term Economic Development attracting Local /Foreign Investments and safeguarding the  territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.  These are two worst head-aches for any Leader and the President himself is blessed with two great highly intelligent, articulate, diplomatic and honest brothers  to move forward his vision of Mahinda Chinthana. As a result of yeomen contribution and commitment by Basil and Gotabhaya, the President himself can spent more time in meeting people across the country and looking after the Projects and grievances of the masses.   This is a daily event in the calendar of the President MR.

For far too long Sri Lanka has been a third world country.  Many Sri Lankans have spent their entire life from birth to death as a citizen of a third world country, in spite of the fact that there are  abundance of untapped economic resources, highly skilled and intelligent labour market.  Today we are still lacking major infra-structural projects to enhance the Gross Domestic Productivity and Per Capita Income.   Some of the major capital projects are already work in progress, several overseas multi-national conglomerates  are currently embarking on feasibility studies for further capital expansion. Sri Lanka now needs a steady government with a strong vision and strong hand.

Singapore, one of best performing economies in the world, which faced several  global economic  downfalls, yet managed to remain competitive. Singapore may be a tiny country, but its annual economic data  compares very favourably with leading European Economies .This was mainly due to long term Leadership provided by Peoples Action Party (PAP), led by Mr Lee Kwan Yew since 1959 to date. His leadership succession planning was excellent.  To become a member of PAP is most difficult, basically you ought to be  an “Extremist” to follow leadership and collective responsibility to serve the nation.    To become a Minister of PAP , you ought to be an “Extremist, Extremist”.   To become a Prime Minister, you ought to be an “Extremist, Extremist, Extremist”. Period.

Mr Lee’s  selection of Mr Goh Chok  Tong as Second Prime Minister was the first part of implementation of  succession planning.   Then Mr Lee elevated Mr Goh to the full role of Prime Minister  and he himself became the Mentor to the new Prime Minister in his capacity as a Senior Minister.   Mr Lee then brought in his son Mr Lee Hsien Loong as the Deputy Prime Minister to under-study Mr Goh.     Mr  Lee Hsien Loong is now the Prime Minister of Singapore.   The western media criticised Mr Lee Kwan Yew over his appointment of his son as the Prime Minister.  Mr Lee Kwan Yew replied the critics with one sentence, “My son would have become the Prime Minister of Singapore on his own merits much earlier, had his father was not the Prime Minister of Singapore”. Period.

Our President Mahinda Rajapakse’s administration is very much modelled in line with Singapore hierarchy.  In the succession plan, President MR  with 12 more years in power, will be able to position Basil Rajapakse as the next President of Sri Lanka.   BR would have gained excellent experience  by that time to take Sri Lanka to the next level.    The Pendulum in the Triangle is Namal Rajapakse.

Jayawewa, Sri Lanka!

12 Responses to ““ YES, MR PRESIDENT”. of course, ‘YES MR PRESIDENT! Can President Mahinda Rajapakse be compared with Rt.Hon. Jim Hacker of England? Facts and Fiction”

  1. Nihal Fernando Says:

    THANKS a lot Dr. Dissanayake for enlightening us with the real charactors, real cases when a Legal Luminary was trying with loony episodes to outcast our President who has a great political leadership and a very bright vision with a right mission to make Sri Lanka a miracle in Asia. It is happening right now.

  2. Ian Says:

    The Legal Luminary who has enough guts to do many things also shown he has guts to point out what is wrong. Knowing Gomin Dayasri personally I know what he has done to the cause of safeguarding the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka and also to the current leadership. I know how he has said NO to many perks offered by the leaders including MR in 2005 when he was offered a plumb diplomatic post. I for one know the efforts and trouble he went through in the presidential election in 2005 and in 2010 to get MR elected. Gomin has been helping and assisting his chosen political views since 1960’s and he was a very senior person who handled Mrs. Bandaranaike’s campaigns. He like his father Hon. NQ Dias, has always had the guts to tell the ‘boss’ when he is doing a wrong thing. That I believe is the strength of the person although both of us don’t agree on many issues. Compared to him I am a podiyan and still he has the graciousness to listen and consider opposing viewpoints. He was the member of the peace delegation of MR in 2005 and managed to pin point the double games of LTTE & VP to the GOSL. He was smarter for benefits of SL than many who did that role in many previous negotiations. He appeared free to defend the soldiers of the SL Army when they were tried for the AFC massacre. He was the person who took the NE merger issue to the courts and got it de-merged. He and his junior Manoli Jinadasa organized many forums to fight off international pressure to end the war. The work done by Gomin and his dear friend SL Gunasekere WITHOUT and perks and payments but purely for on their conviction is admirable and unparalleled. He did all this risking his life to LTTE threats. I wonder the people who made comments on his article and the writers and commenters on that article can match his profile and his work towards a united country.

    The greatness of a person is not to follow blindly (yes minister type) and to have the conviction and the guts to tell anyone when things are not all that right. Knowing his closeness and friendship to the SL leaders I am sure his intentions are most genuine and he is trying his best to pin point something wrong expecting it be corrected for the betterment of the country and NO WAY is he finding fault with the leadership. He is only saying that the many that surround the leadership just pay poojas for their benefit and warning the leadership about the pitfall. This has happened in the times of Kingdoms up to now. True friends are not the ones who would say yes to anything. True friends are the ones who can tell you when you are wrong even if it means losing your friendship. Only the friends who are not parasites and not dependant on you for their existence can do this.

    This article and comments for me are yet another “Yes Minister’ efforts. Shooting the messenger seems the way to get the message out because it’s unpalatable. I salute this man Gomin who has done many things for the country and I salute him for guts and courage to call spade a spade.

  3. cassandra Says:

    A very interesting article indeed, with the excerpts from ‘Yes Minister/Prime Minister’ making for delightful reading.

    It seems to me, however, that you are way off the point with your rejoinder to Gomin Dayasiri’s article.
    As far as I can see, he was NOT in any way attempting to compare President Rajapakse with the fictional Jim Hacker. GD’s mention of the BBC TV series was incidental to his search for a good opening to his piece – and the allusion is only to the nature of that series, not to its content. So it is, that if GD had left out entirely, that first sentence -“Yes, Prime Minister was once a popular British TV comedy” – it will not have made one iota of difference to the substance of what he had to say.

    GD’s article is about aspects of the current Sri Lankan political scene, which he finds disturbing. He starts with what he calls the “servile sycophancy” of the ‘yes’ men around the President, and ends on a similar note, with the observation, “For the sake of longevity of a government it will be more prudent to say “No, Mr President” when it is the correct time to say so. Otherwise, forget the government; it is the country that will suffer”. And, in between, GD has listed many things that need attention but are being neglected, including problems with education, the burden of the cost of living, abuses by public servants and politicians, bribery and corruption and the need to protect the judiciary and its independence.

    You have referred to Lee Kwan Yew and what he achieved for Singapore and of his son’s succession as Prime Minister. I do not see that citing this example is either relevant or helpful. Anyway, you have gone on to say that in the Rajapakse “succession plan, President MR with 12 more years in power, will be able to position Basil Rajapakse as the next President of Sri Lanka. BR would have gained excellent experience by that time to take Sri Lanka to the next level. The Pendulum in the Triangle is Namal Rajapakse.”.

    Clearly, you are happy with that scenario. It is understandable of course if others may not see it the same way but instead share the concerns stated by GD in his article. They are serious issues that he has raised. And they merit serious consideration.

  4. A. Sooriarachi Says:

    I think Gomin Dayasiri is giving us a timely warning in good faith. I am grateful to President MR for liberating the country from a ruthless terrorist group that operated with help and funds from powerful foreign governments & organisations and also for the great things MR has planned for the country’s economic development. However, it is becoming a practice for MR to intervene quite frequently to ensure proper action is taken by the various ministries and departments. This is not MR’s fault but the fault of his ministers who lack the courage to take sensitive decisions without MR backing. I hope Gomin Dayasiri’s critique wil spur the various ministries to act without fear or favour not waiting for MR approval. Though all what he said may not be correct, it is a positive contribution for good governance.

  5. nilwala Says:

    It was more than a little puzzling to me as to why Mr. Dayasri chose to write an open letter giving publicity to this issue on this website as well as in some newspapers, when he has always had direct access to the President and could have told him openly about all these problems without creating a public debate about it. Maybe his complaints to the President have failed to bring on any changes??? Whatever it is, Mr. Dayasri’s motives remain a little murky, and maybe his supporters on this website’s columns can offer some answers.

  6. Raj Says:

    Thanks Dr Dissanayake for this write up. I was flabagasted when I read Gomin’s article, which was not the sort of essays he normally writes. As others have pointed out he has been an ardent supporter of MR regime in the past. I sincerely hope that this is just one occasion Gomin wanted to show some displeasure. It is OK to do that occasionally. So, let us forget it now, and look forward to seeing some more interesting stuff from the regular contributors.

  7. Raju Says:

    GD was talking some nonsense about human rights and freedoms. PLEASE. Sri Lanka has TOO MANY FREEDOMs. This is what was ridiculous and wrong in his “Yes, Mr. President” article and which I out lined in my first response.

    GD also always rattles on (in his earlier pieces) about “increasing Tamil representation in the Armed Forces” plus giving “more Tamil representation in politics” (which sounds like the Ponnabalam constant). While I am sure he is saying them in good faith or to try and avoid the branding of “racist” and thus has to entertain Tamil racism and chauvinism to appear as a moderate and not be branded a racist, (there is no greater hypocrisy than this which is face palmed into every Sinhalese) these “requirements” are ridiculous as Tamil “problems” and “grievances” are either superficial or more correctly out right FRAUDULENT.

    There has never been an issue with the Police because the police have always been representative of the areas they are situated in, made up of Tamils in Tamil areas (how these so called “Tamil areas” were achieved is another question). As for the police forces in other parts of the country and Tamils having a hard time dealing with them “due to language”, WELL TOUGH. That is the case for people who do not speak the native language of the native people and the majority the WORLD OVER and is not limited to Tamils. Amazingly enough Tamils do not have this problem in Western countries (the in fact encourage and love it when their children learn other European languages other than English).

    With regards to the Armed Forces, that has never been an issue either. The Armed Forces are a voluntary organisation; Tamils can join if they want. We cannot force them into it, yet they complain about the lack of Tamils. I am sure if we forced them to join to make the Armed Forces “more multicultural” (as they and various other groups insist) they would be the first to howl against it and naturally have another addition to the list of reasons why they are “fleeing” Sri Lanka.

    The reality is Tamils are merely playing on them being 10% of the population to spin hollow stories of “discrimination” even though they know that is not the case and they ARE collectively LYING. They are a community which has no issue in collectively engaging in deceit if it means advancing and furthering themselves -thus shedding tears for bogus Tamil problems and coming up with solutions to bogus Tamil problems solves nothing other than making the situation worse.

  8. Raju Says:

    Tamils have been engaging in deceit to get back to the British apartheid system of Governance (the pinnacle of self-advancement for Tamils) where they held all the power, were favoured and promoted under a Tamil first system (no matter how uneducated or incompetent the Tamil is he/she would be given a job/placement/university offer first ahead of a non-Tamil) and it is this that Tamils want, where those they view as inferior (Sinhalese) are put “in their place” and that is not just second to Tamils but also unquestioningly submitting to Tamils. The concept of being put on an equal platform to those they view as inferior as happened immediately after Independence (loosing their stranglehold on power and favouritism) is something they cannot stomach to this day.

    They used everything and anything to justify “agitation” to claw their way back to the British apartheid system of Tamil dominance including subjecting Sinhalese (who to this day they view as gullible and fools) to huge amounts of despicable propaganda on (top of horrific violence). The best example of this is the so called “Sinhala Only Act”.

    The harsh reality is there was no such thing called the “Sinhala Only Act”, that is Tamil propaganda being regurgitated for 50 years. In 1956 the Official Languages Act No.33 was passed which restored Sinhala to its rightful place and the decision was made on practical realities which anywhere else in the world would not be demonised or attacked but seen as realistic decision and logical choice warmly welcomed especially when 80% of the population are Sinhala speakers and Sinhalese only exist in Sri Lanka -14/15 million.

    Tamils go around calling the language act of 1956 as “Sinhala Only” since its inception because that is the nature of propaganda which is deception and Tamil culture which also thrives on deception and deceit. Tamils have touting this piece of propaganda for so long they have brainwashed Sinhalese into believing it and the reason they go around calling it “Sinhala Only” is to spread the misconception that being Tamil was banned by law, that if you spoke Tamil you were punished, that Tamils signs, billboards and other paraphernalia that littered every corner of Sri Lanka during brutal European occupation and the decades after were stripped down and banned. This was hardly the case, as what happened was that Sinhala was finally given its rightful place in the only country where you find Sinhala speakers.

    Running identical to this is their propaganda of “Sinhala Army”, they refuse to join the Armed Forces which is a purely voluntary organisation then accuse it along with everything else about Sinhalese as “racist” and “banning of Tamils”. And of course the fact Sinhalese make up 80% of the population means everything is naturally “dominated” by Sinhalese, but Tamil engage in deceit and propaganda to make it sound as though they are denied entry and debarred from jobs and institutions because they are Tamil, as though an apartheid is being run against them, which in reality is what they want to impose on Sinhalese.
    This mimics the manner in which Tamils carried out vicious and barbaric slaughters then accuse Sinhalese of being responsible and carrying them out against Tamils. This is what they did in the late 60s and 70s when they massacred with brutality Sinhalese in the North and East, snapped up pictures of the dead Sinhalese they had just culled and said they were Tamils.
    All of which reflects once more on the deceitful nature of Tamils.

  9. Raju Says:

    Furthermore the whole purpose of the Language Act was to replace English which was the official language prior to 1956 -having only been introduced 130 years earlier and only spoken by 6% of the population, completely ignoring the fact of Sinhala being spoken by a thundering majority in this country and having been the language of the island for 2,500 years which once again is only spoken in Sri Lanka, unlike Tamil. Under the Special Provisions Act of 1959 Tamil was made the administrative language of the North and East, the so called Tamil majority areas (a “majority” achieved in these two provinces through occupation and ethnic cleasings of non Tamils).

    But Tamils kept on complaining and engaging in deceit and propaganda because they needed something to complain about to justify getting more concessions, carrying out more political agitations and violence–all in line with the Malaysian born Tamil racist SJV Chelvanayagam’s “little now, more later” concept (how come no one attacks or condemns this racist despot?) that Tamils, LTTE included (as we saw with peace talks), and Tamil culture as a whole continue to engage in: always being “unsatisfied” till they squeeze out more and more, lying their way through using bogus claims of “grievances” and “discrimination” which when are addressed at the expense and denial of rights of other communities the Tamil throw down a hundred more because their claims of grievances are illegitimate from the start and claims of “discrimination” are fiction. Their complaining and claims to (illegitimate) grievances are driven by their selfish supremacist desires, hunger for power and wealth and hope of crushing Sinhalese into submission coupled with returning to British apartheid of Tamil dominance, wrapped up in deceit and manipulations that are never ending because they know spewing out lies and following a culture of deceit and violence has only worked in Sri Lanka due to the tolerance and compassion of the Sinhala Buddhists.

    Anywhere else in the world they would never engage in such activity due to the FEAR they have of the majority communities, such as the North Indians and Malays who would never allow Tamils to even dream of an “armed struggle” phase as they would be crushed in the early political agitations stages –unlike in Sri Lanka where they were allowed to practice their race hate politics and culture of deceit due to the kindness and tolerance of Sinhala Buddhists and upholding of democracy. Western countries would never allow minority/race based political parties to exist at all especially when their sole election and political platform is the violent subjugation of the white population where such an outcome is then called “equality”.

    (My apologies for going off topic).

  10. Raju Says:

    My apologies for going off topic but it is relevant to GM’s claims about lack of “freedoms” in his recent article as well as his previous articles which hammer on about equality and the “lack” of it for Tamils.

  11. nilwala Says:

    Raju has brought up a very relevant point, although it may be a side issue to the main topic of “sycophants” and “Yes” men. It is the perception of a lack of equality by the Tamil community which is something that is clearly in their collective psyche that no amount of bending backwards to accommodate by the Sinhalese will manage to cure. The Tamils have got so accustomed to whining and acting the victim – they were more the victim of their own leaders, political as well as military than they were ever victims of Sinhala discrimination which is claimed without let-up. They have simply come to believe as factual their own propaganda and lies propagated by the LTTE and supporters.
    Why Mr. Dayasri brought this aspect up is beyond comprehension when he is surely aware of all what is being done today for the upliftment and rehabilitation of the North and East.

  12. Raju Says:

    Apologies for my last post which is a broken and all over the place.
    (There really needs to be an edit function to enable users to correct any mistakes in their comments)

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