UNP’s beleaguered leadership in political receivership
Posted on September 22nd, 2010

Philip Fernando, former Deputy Editor Sunday Observer, Sri Lanka

As imperatives of economic advancement take hold and the prospects of growth come through loud and clear the UNP seemed bewildered not knowing what politics to engage in. It is in political receivership. That usually follows serious losses. Someone has to take control in order to help an entity struggling to get on its feet and recoup. UNPƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s predicament is bad news for those who had expected leadership to recover soon after an unprecedented fall into oblivion. That did not happen.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The ill-timed no-confidence motion against the Minister of External affairs is emblematic of the depth of despair UNP leadership is in. They picked the boomerang as a weapon. The debate would be focused on the depressing state of UNP leadership. There is no doubt about it.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ UNPƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s traditional rightwing socio-political repository has dwindled to a miniscule level and may need massive doses of oxygen for resuscitation. UNP leadersƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ ideological hallmark, the conservative economic theorizing could not preserve its voter base after the last parliamentary election. That manifesto was rejected beyond doubt.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ As supporters in and outside Parliament leave in groves, the despondency gets worse. To the question what next there seemed a babble of contradictory voices coming from ingrained factionalism.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Favorite slogan obsolete

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ UNPƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s exclusive stake in the economic domain has vanished. The slogan that they were the last word on economic prosperity had become obsolete. That deeper disorder has caused pandemonium like a ship drifting without a rudder. Not certain as to what politics to engage in hereafter made the vexation worse. Boycotting parliamentary debate is not an option in modern day politics.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ UNP had boasted itself as a political party with the pedigree, organisation and an ideology. Now it has morphed into an urban confab, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-a has-beenƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ with lowered expectations and power base. The association with DNA and the JVP destroyed its cohesion and appeal.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ JVP with the history of atrocities in 1971 and 1989-90 did not fit in even with its ultra-parliamentary guise being shed. The failed history of infantile insurrectionary tactics and politics of conspiracy and manoeuvre cannot co-exist with the UNP dogma of tax breaks for the rich and the politics of business interests.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Erosion of ideology

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ GovernmentƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s astute economic strategy seriously eroded UNPƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s avowed ideological touchstone. The UNP, if it ever were to re-emerge as a large player, will have to be reborn with a new vision.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Populous governance as an effect multiplier has eluded the UNP. Transparency is the fourth dimension in politics as news spreads fast due to the media outlets traversing every corner of the country. Conversely, following the resounding gains at the polls, the success rate of the government has a multiplier effect

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ That is the kind of daylight that makes the cockroaches scurry. In that blinding light the Opposition is seen as stuck in a traffic jam unable to moveƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬‚worse-even to engage in critical thinking.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The most devastating impact of this position is that while everyone demands clarity in order to measure inputs and outputs the Opposition can only mumble and grumble.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Speaking of transparency, every one says letƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s have a little more, please, when it comes to the question of who is doing what toward which goal and to what effect. We have to know where we are to know how far weƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ve left to go.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Dizzying policy commitments

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Opposition cannot counter the dizzying array of policy commitments on critical issues the government has fruitfully paraded: agricultural and industrial development-habours, airports, roads-, and overall growth rates of the economy. This is the stuff that wins over even the most harden of cynics.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Tracking the pledges and progress made happens fast not just on an act here and there but on an exhaustive scale covering many issues of growth rate, trade, governance, investment and a multiplicity of spheres. Credibility about potential success has silenced the hardest of critics.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ There is a partnership growing between all sectors–partners accountable to each other and above all to the citizens these systems are supposed to work for. How amidst the global meltdown and all pervading austerity Sri Lanka achieved an 8.5 growth rate during the last quarter is astounding.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Unstoppable momentum

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Transparency and investing in what works is at the core of that strategy and leadership remains undiminished. Dull statistics do not sing. We are on the correct path and success or signs of it make these words full of meaning. The momentum is unstoppable

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The government has clearly demonstrated that the unfathomable deprivation that had dominated two decades of the terror war is over for good. A few groan or snooze through the pious pronouncements from the podium. It was undiminished and undaunted thought planted by Nelson Mandela in his quest to tackle extreme poverty in South Africa that rang loud. He said ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ No amount of babble by the disgruntled would deaden the upward trajectory which is quite visible to the naked eye.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ It is all about doing and not gabbing. The subject is one whose monumental importance is matched only by commitment to the development goals.

One Response to “UNP’s beleaguered leadership in political receivership”

  1. jay-ran Says:

    Yes sir, Failed UNPers should re-enter politics with new idelogies as mentioned below:
    “The UNP, if it ever were to re-emerge as a large player, will have to be reborn with a new vision”.

    But unfortunately, they lack any vision for the progress of mother Lanka.Judging by the utterences made by many in UNP, WE SEE ALL OF THEM AS JOKERS!!!

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