India’s Manomohan Singh and Canada’s Stephen Harper are not attending the CHOGM summit in Sri Lanka. They say because of moral issues, but they act for political reasons – at best a crude approximation of the former. Singh is tired of getting shit from Tamil Nadu and Harper is tired of getting shit from the Tamil diaspora. For both of them disgruntled Tamils are a vote base and they respond to voters. Which is fine, that’s the political side. From that perspective it’s easy to say that these politicians are craven, but that’s missing the point, which is that politics does crudely approximate morality, sometimes, mainly on Thursdays.
Archive for the 'Politics' Category
I was reading about jail time being seen as a badge of honor in India, for politicians. In India about 30% of lower house members have charges against them and having a criminal record seems to actually double your chances of winning an election (via WSJ). In Sri Lanka I feel like it’s much the same, it’s just that no one files charges. So how did jail and crime become grad school for pols?
I heard this quote yesterday and I couldn’t place it, I actually thought it might be sensible. In context, it’s not. Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is essentially saying that minorities are drawing majority ire by being insular, that the minorities are to blame for the extremism directed at them. The extremist BBS, of course, welcomes this statement. Logic doesn’t.
Is worth a read. She’s taken a thoughtful look around and despite the government’s allegations that she’s biased, she was, well, not very biased. Even in the face of offensive personal attacks from within the government (Public Relations Minister Mervyn Silva asking to marry her for example, others calling the South African diplomat LTTE) she’s given a pretty straightforward report. Here, to me, is the money quote:
Mahinda has formed a new Ministry of Law and Order which, like when he gave Mervyn Silva the Ministry of Public Relations, may be another joke. The new order is that certain people are above the law. If you have or cite connection to the first family or the defense establishment you have access to your own police, army, etc. As they say about the mob in Goodfellas – “what the organization does is offer protection for people who can’t go to the cops. That’s it. That’s all it is. They’re like the police department for wiseguys.” Now, if you’re connected, you’re above the law.
Manthri.lk is a site being launched this Friday (hence not live yet) which monitors and rates MPs. Broadly, for their productive time in Parliament, measuring how much they speak on topic and how much off. That’s a start and I assume they’re going to do the data collection and analysis. With that as a base there’s a lot of interesting stuff such a portal could do. People right now have little idea what is going on in Parliament and there’s little incentive to actually performing there.
Dharisha Bastians has a good blow-by-blow of the recent defection of Dayasiri Jayasekera to the government. Here’s the money quote. It’s from Jayasekera at a press conference: “Even if he loses in 2014, he will remain leader of the party. If the lampposts within the Working Committee give him another term, he can remain in office for the rest of his life. His leadership is a blessing to the Government.”
The UNP is rapidly turning into a failed state with severe brain drain. Ranil, the leader-for-life, is threatened by anyone with any political talent or following so he sidelines or disciplines them within the party. Ranil also insists on running the party though he can’t win elections (not even running in the last Presidential) so you’re left with a party in permanent opposition. There are just enough perks to keep the few people on the working committee loyal (I’m sure Mahinda ensures enough largesse for this) but no hope of ever being in the actual government and having power. It’s a sad state or perhaps even end for Sri Lanka’s first proper political party.
The BMICH recently shut down a French Film Festival for features ‘Flying Fish’, a story about the war. The film has gotten some play in international film festivals and reviews in places like the New York Times, which said: “Perhaps it’s mean-spirited to say that a movie based on the director’s personal experience of a brutal 26-year civil war is unpleasant. But that’s the word that comes to mind” The Sri Lankan government, however, thought that it was something more like unpatriotic and shut down the whole festival.
Speaker of Parliament and brother of the Prez Chamal Rajapakse recently said working with women is difficult. Previously the male Women And Children’s Affairs Minister said men should always be chairs within that organization and women subordinates. Both are supremely wrong. I personally think the country would be run way better if it was run by more women, or even all women.