Self made slips hurt only a few; but political slips hurt nations
rdinary people making enormous, medium sized, small and not- worth-worrying-about mistakes all the time is no surprise; they are just being human. And their omissions, commissions and gross errors usually do not hurt anybody else but them. There are exceptions of course, when family, friends and associates also get hit by one person’s neglect, indiscretion or idiocy. However, slip-ups of politicians are different stories altogether. Even if one politico drops a marble it can end up as a steam roller ruining economies, destroying environments, triggering civil unrest and even wars. And when sensationalised media exposures cream the top of the foul-ups, unforgettable fractions in history are the result. Examples are aplenty throughout the world from ancient times up to today.
Pause to consider some of the massive blunders politicians and other leaders have made in the distant past and also in the recent past. Hitler and his attempt in controlling Europe and creating an Aryan race, Napoleon’s decision to invade Russia in the winter, British PM, Brown’s gold debacle, the countless tragedies spread over decades in Africa, Hiroshima, Vietnam, the Middle Eastern disturbances were all part of political slip ups that cost people dearly. Political skids that cause mayhem are often made worse by the boobs made by other politicos who try their hand in ‘turning the burning ship around and guiding it to harbour’. Political slip-ups were and still are quite common in Sri Lanka. Blunders made by glory seeking, sense politicos for the wrong reasons or at wrong times were clearly responsible for the chains of chaos that crystallised as a result. The maligned ‘Sinhala only’, the war against Tamil terrorism, local terrorism, Constitutional changes, lack of firm policy and bungles in the administration of those in place from A to Z headed by periodical tax hikes hit ordinary folk who cannot be faulted for thinking that the powers responsible for the unkindness were out of off their minds.
"Recently I heard a governor say an interesting thing; ‘considering the present climate changes, nobody can predict when the next monsoon is going to hit, machan’"
A beer ration
The recent tax hikes on certain popular items in the country were no exceptions. Beer was one casualty in the increase in taxation. It bothered many beer lovers who nattered regularly over gallons of the frothing stuff. This beer club included Tommo, a pussycat and Ooty an owl who as employees of the Wallside Restaurant and Bar enjoyed beer on the house. Not anymore; the tax hike resulted in the thirst quenchers being rationed by the management.
“Meeoowwwshsh,” I am going to feel the beer cut,” grumbled pussy stretched on a Wallside kitchen table.
“Same here,” hooted the bird skipping off a shelf. “Banda, (the Wallside barman) told me that beer sales have hit rock bottom after the tax hike and the price rise that followed. But then he said that the demand for Arro has jumped. Surely the government wallahs could have thought more before hammering beer drinkers? One of these days, they’ll knock up the tax on Arro, too.”
“Ha-ha-ha-haaa,” pussy laughed the way pussies do at times. “And hallelujah for kassipu kings. That will also make Wallside a kassipu den in the disguise of a ‘respectable and legitimate’ booze joint.
Like the farmer governors’ problems in selling their paddy at guaranteed prices and manure issues, the tax on beer is also a slip on a fiscal banana skin. Purshsh! Instances of political slipping in high gear and low gear appear to be increasing faster than the political yapping that’s going on these days.”
“That’s not surprising,” Ooty hooted. “Our governors’ governments have been notorious for skidding in imagined good governance or in smelly and putrid country management. To their disgust and annoyance, our governors have tasted the after effects of those mishaps regularly. Think of the boobs of the last regime and those of the new crowd who appear to be competing to over-run the performances of the old regime.”
“Meeoowwoyep. (Yep). The Sataka government slithers were very, very special. Collectively, they were not laughing matters to our governors who took the slithery Sataka formulae as long as they could until they built enough steam to kick them out and bring in another team. This type of janatha football began over fifty years ago. And they were repeated like hellish monsoons that arrived every so many years to wash the rot to sea and usher in another lot of politiccas that promised to correct the old slips and usher in a non-slippery era. It was a load of crap of course because the monsoons came again and again. See what happened during the last regime. Among its many slips down the banks of the Wellawatte Canal, the Mahaweli, off Lovers’ Leap, World’s End and finally off Mount Everest, the Satakayas excelled in slips of every description they never cared to do anything about.
Neither did they acknowledge that our governors relied on them to live as comfortably as possible. But the Satakayas didn’t care a hoot for our governors’ needs but kept fattening themselves. And they kept down our governors as mere on-lookers through lies and more lies, rough-arm tactics headed by disappearances similar to UFO abductions of dissenting governors and others they disliked or dangerous to their well being.”
“But our governors got the better of them through the hybrid Blue and Green combine didn’t they? Now the former top Satakayas chased by hybrids are struggling to keep away from jail or the gallows,” hooted the bird.
"The hybrids slipping here, slipping there and slipping everywhere better find firm footing real fast. If not, the next monsoon is bound to wash them away "
“Getting the wrong doers to pay for their wrongs is OK, but despite its guarantees of good governance by following ‘correct democratic procedures’ etc. many hybrid slip ups have made their appearances making some people whisper and others say in louder voices; ‘ Hell, they are all the bloody same’. Purshrsh! Even as a pussy I agree with them. To begin with, the hybrid choice of Cabinet ministers, big ministers, small ministers and diplomatic biggies were questionable. Spotlights also fell on undue tolerance and accommodation of political undesirables our governors didn’t want to touch with a barge pole, unofficial appointments, vitaminising favourites, bad decisions and changes, uncorrected shortcomings affecting our governors, rebuilding war affected areas, mishandling of protests of various kinds crowned with delays in delivery times and a sky climbing cost of living spelling doom for our governors. It proves that all politiccas are birds of a feather although roosting in different nests,” purred pussy.
“My, my,” hooted the bird, “that means our governors are no better off than they were under the Sataka crowd, noooo? You think they boobed by voting in the hybrid government?”
Who else do we have?
“Meeooow, some governors are certain they are not going to be blessed with hybrid delivery. Others are more hopeful that the hybrid performances would finally outshine all. ‘They are still new; they need time and space to tackle the Sataka messes no-one can undo just like that; let’s give them a chance shall we? Anyway, who else do we have?”
“Why do those governors say that? They have lots and lots of other choices; a blooming lotus party manned by wilting shoe flowers, Bell boys awaiting an invite, an uruma pickle, a camp of aged commies, tongue- in- cheek thameel and muzlim clubs lost in their own back gardens and cocktails of other jokers waiting to take a turn in making slips and skids in governance my darling, Thommo,” crooned the bird.
Pussy couldn’t suppress a grin. “Well, well, well, if that is so, the hybrids slipping here, slipping there and slipping everywhere and coming under heavy fire from all directions better find firm footing real fast. If not, the next monsoon is bound to wash them away like all the others before them. Recently I heard one governor tell another an interesting thing; ‘considering the present climate changes, nobody can predict when the next monsoon is going to hit, machan.