Not everyone is born a Rajapakse. Provincial Council election poster, Hambantota district
I’ve been travelling around, mostly the south. I don’t talk about politics, but stuff still comes up. What’s surprising (as in I’m an idiot) is that people outstation have more nuanced views than ‘LTTE bad, Mahinda good’. Duh. One issue that comes up is cronyism. Positions, contracts and money go to people connected to power rather than the capable chaps. Which is, in my experience, obvious. It seems to be obvious to people outstation as well, and they’re not happy about it.
I’ve also heard stories (secondhand) from local level SLFPers who are none to happy about Anarkali types swooping in from Colombo when they’ve been working hard for years. That is, at least some of the natives are restless.
To a great degree I think they’re right. The broader issue is that any Sri Lankan should be able to get ahead on merit, talent and hard work. In many ways we’re not. It’s all about hook-ups and who you know, and on the local level people are not dumb. They see that. What I heard from a lot of people is that politicians look out for their family and that they don’t expect any help from them. In many cases, politically connected naifs seem to be getting in the way.
I don’t think anyone wants an unstable government, but it would be nice to have one based on the job at hand rather than who you know. In the business community there’s a variety of people working together because they love it and they want to put food on the table. If they work hard, I think they should have a chance. As it is, however, a lot of the opportunity simply goes to those close to power, and they waste it. Personally I think it’s unfair, but also unproductive. There’s dudes outstation who may not be connected in Colombo but they’re still pretty good at what they do. They deserve a shot. What’s interesting to me is that they know it.