Hopper suppers
Posted on February 20th, 2018

Editorial Courtesy The Island

There are unmistakable signs of a perfect political storm brewing in the wide dark yonder. People, all at sea, are left with no alternative but to batten down the hatches and hope for the best. The prevailing political uncertainty has cast a pall on the country, and not many people, we believe, are in a mood for political jokes, which are likely to go down like lead balloons instead of lightening up the atmosphere, fraught with doom and gloom. It is, however, said that many a true word is spoken in jest.

Music is said to be the food of love. Or, at least that is what lovelorn Duke Orsino says, albeit dejectedly, in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. If that be so, what is the food of treachery? Mahinda Rajapaksa, still reeling from the loss of his crown, may say it is hoppers, of all comestibles. Ranil Wickremesinghe, troubled by the fear of losing premiership, may slightly differ in his opinion; he may say, in keeping with his taste, it is egg hoppers. Anyway, be it plebeian aappa in squalid wayside kiosks or expensive egg hoppers at the high-end Independence Square Arcade, where parvenus gather in their numbers to be seen, eating hoppers with politicians is now considered something to be avoided.

For the uninitiated, the aforesaid joke, which sheds light on the treacherous nature of Sri Lankan politics, more than any erudite political commentary, has its genesis in the last hopper supper, as it were, President Rajapaksa had with the then Minister Maithripala Sirisena in 2014 on the eve of the latter defecting to run for President. Beleaguered PM Wickremesinghe, too, seems to have made the mistake of partaking of hoppers with Sirisena if the SLFP’s all-out efforts to oust him are any indication.

President Sirisena declared in the run-up to the recently concluded local government polls that there were no permanent friends or no permanent enemies in politics. In the late 2014, he defected from the SLFP, joined forces with the UNP to secure the executive presidency and unflinching brought down the SLFP-led UPFA government with a two-thirds majority. He took over the SLFP leadership thereafter and, did everything in his power, to prevent the UPFA from winning the general election and, thereby, succeeded in putting paid to his bete noire, Rajapaksa’s effort to secure premiership. Extolling the virtues of conciliatory politics, he formed a national government with the UNP. That was the best arrangement for the country, we were told.

In a dramatic turn of events replete with irony, President Sirisena had to undertake the uphill task of campaigning to ensure the victory of the SLFP/UPFA, which he had previously eviscerated to achieve his political objectives. Having pathetically failed in his endeavour he is now offering to smoke the peace pipe with his former enemies, whom he kept on condemning, for over three long years, as a bunch of rogues; he is also ready to dislodge the national government which he once made out to be the panacea for all ills of the country. He is trying to form a government led by the SLFP, which went all out to foil his presidential bid in 2015. This, he is doing at the expense of the UNP, which threw its weight behind him, enabling him to secure the much-coveted presidency against tremendous odds.

Not to be outdone, the UNP is striving to form a government of its own; it is even ready to engineer defections from the SLFP to muster a majority in Parliament. The reason both the SLFP and the UNP gave for their political marriage of convenience in 2015 was that they had to sink their differences and work in tandem if national progress was to be achieved. Development and national unity had eluded us for decades since Independence because the two main parties had been at loggerheads, we were told. They appointed a mega Cabinet and their grandees lived in clover. But, today, following the first electoral debacle, they are desperate to break ranks. Is it that they have abandoned their much avowed goal of working together to usher in national progress and reconciliation?

Actions are said to speak louder than words. The yahapalana leaders have amply demonstrated that they have only permanent interests, and their friends and foes are both expendable; they won’t miss a trick or hesitate to treat anyone to hoppers, so to speak.

2 Responses to “Hopper suppers”

  1. nilwala Says:

    BRILLIANT!! The Editor of The Island is congratulated on the political analyses and implications of all that is going on in our Parliamentary politics, and the efforts now by those in power to make the “Unity” Government appear legitimate when it is nothing but SHAM & SCAM in violating the Constitution (no such thing as a “Unity Govt” mentioned in the Constitution, and the attempt to equate it to a “National Govt”) and trying to get away with a humongous Cabinet bought and paid for by taxpayer money.
    If Parliament tolerates this scam they are all guilty.
    .

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    Yes, INDEED!

    Politicians have NO PERMANENT ALLIES, ONLY PERMANENT INTERESTS …. their OWN!

    Many a Judas has PARTAKEN in Last Hopper Suppers!

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