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Cyril Mathew revolted against Dudley in 1960s and JR in 80s : Can a Divided Party Rule a Nation?

16 September 2019 12:37 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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  • Three options for Sajith: Do it alone, surrender pride and seek Ranil’s blessings and run away and live to fight
  • Some analysts believe the beleaguered PM has in a pathetic attempt to draw sympathy made him pensive, anxious and without a hint of a smile
  • UNP under Ranil’s leadership, has gained an image of being ultra-liberal, pro-Western, and not caring about the masses

 

As reported in Friday’s Daily Mirror,Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has met with a few party men loyal to him and stated last Wednesday, that he commanded majority support of the party’s Working Committee. He has spoken at length on his role as leader, how he protected the party during trying times, and that he will contest only if he thinks he can win. 
Some analysts believe the beleaguered PM has in a pathetic attempt to draw sympathy made him pensive, anxious and without a hint of a smile. In developed economies they tend to value rational appeals, but emotional appeals are more powerful because they hit us in the gut, not the head. They say the words generated an appeal to his faithful audience’s emotions. He may have a majority following in the working committee, [WC is appointed by him] but not from the majority of party members who are for Sajith; the same way Sajith Premadasa has vast Majority support within the party, but no mass support in the electorate. At the Election it’s the public who vote, not the working committee or party’s support base. Both the leader and his deputy must realize this truth.   


Four times Prime Minister and an expert with 42 years of Parliamentary practice; two and-a-half decades as leader of the largest political party might have to bid good bye to the political stage.  
The UNP nominee for Presidency is to be known in a week, but it was former British PM Harold Wilson who said, “a week is a long time in politics.” when the opposition sponsored a No-Confidence motion against him, Sajith and other young rebels in the party, who face disciplinary action today, stood by their leader. Ranil can take consolation from the reality that in his hour of need, the party rallied around him. Even Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, who was sacked from Cabinet, voted in his favour. So what was the excitement all about? The UNP under Ranil’s leadership, has gained an image of being ultra-liberal, pro-Western, and not caring about the masses.  

Divided party can’t Rule a Nation  - Cyril Mathew

Cyril Mathew, a senior member quit the joint Secretary post and the party sighting differences with his views and leader Dudley Senanayake in 1967: though he rejoined later, again he was debarred from holding a Cabinet portfolio in the JR’s UNP government in 1984. Mathew, the racist, regained his position under the leadership of Ranasinghe Premadasa in 1989.  
Mathew the controversial Sinhalese-nationalist in his letter of resignation 52 years ago [November 2, 1967], stated: “as an honest politician dedicated to the welfare of the motherland and my people, I have no alternative but to resign from a party with which I have been associated with for nearly 20 years. ‘A divided party cannot rule a nation’. Unless there is trust and confidence between those at the top the whole party would be a nest of intrigue.” He had said that he tried his best to convince his leader, Dudley Senanayake, that if the Party continued to act in the manner it was doing, it will ruin itself and would ruin the country as well.  


What vocabulary, Mathew would have used if he was alive today? C. Cyril Mathew born on September 30, 1912, was a UNP member of parliament, representing the Kelaniya electorate, and was the Minister of Industry and Scientific Affairs in the JR cabinet (1977-1986).  
Mathew, the well-known chauvinist, authored ‘Sinhalese! Rise to Protect Buddhism’, urging the Sinhalese to fight for their rights and a booklet titled ‘Who is the Tiger’, consisting of inflammatory speeches he made in late 1970s. Infamous for his hard-line stand against the minorities, Cyril was appointed as the Minister of Industry and Scientific Affairs in July 1977 by JR. He was the key minister who instigated the July 1983 pogrom.  

 

"Cyril Mathew, born on Sept. 30, 1912, was a UNP MP, representing the Kelaniya electorate, was the Minister of Industry and Scientific Affairs in the JR cabinet (1977-1986)"


Mathew continued, “I entered politics seven years ago, in the conviction that the UNP, chastened by its route in 1956, had learned its lesson and profited by it, and was capable of rescuing the country from the chaos of 1960. Today, I realise that it was not only in Europe that decadent aristocracy was prone to learn nothing and forget nothing. I am disillusioned, but it is with no pangs of regret that I tender my resignation, not only from the post of Secretary of the Party but also from membership of the party itself.”  
Quoting Committee report on reorganisation of the party [appointed in 1965], “…from 1948 to 1956 the UNP with the help of seasoned politicians governed the country efficiently, built it up economically, saved our external assets, our foreign and internal debt was a small fraction of what it is today, issue of Treasury bills was at a minimum, but at the 1956 elections only eight members were returned. One of the charges levelled against the party of this period was that the high-ups were giving various jobs to their close relatives. About the truth of this allegation, we are not concerned. But we are certainly aware that the UNP of that time never in an organised manner helped their party supporters from amongst the ordinary people.”  
He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day--- [Demosthenes, the Greek orator opposed Alexander the Great in 338 BC, and deserted the front after the combat of Chaeronea]  

Three options for Sajith

1. Do it alone. 2. Surrender pride and seek Ranil’s blessings. 3. Run away and live to fight.
Sajith has three options if he wishes to consider before he project himself to head the nation. Follow the example set by Rajapaksas; desert the grand old party and takeaway the 99% support base with him or lie low and reconcile with his leader; lastly, concede the struggle for 2020 Presidential stakes and look forward to 2025. Sajith is only 51 years old; there is a long way to go.   
“Believe it was propriety that prevented your giving a sympathetic hearing to the rank and file of the Party who worked for us at the elections….,” Cyril Mathew wrote.  
Quoting the report further, “…the type of minister who thinks he is in office by some divine right and not by virtue of the strength of the party will only be a millstone around the neck of the party and such an individual will only help to drag himself, the Party and the country to destruction. While condemning the previous regime for its insensitivity to the public opinion in certain respects, you have permitted some of your ministers to surpass them.”  

 

"He quit the joint Secretary post and the party sighting differences with his views and leader Dudley Senanayake in 1967"


Once in power however, Mathew wrote, “you have permitted the same practice… I have adduced sufficient proof of the efforts I have made to make you see the writing on the wall— but you have been insulated by ‘yes men’ and tale-carriers who put self-interest above that of the Party and the country…. You have failed to lead the Party in a manner that would instill confidence in the people of the country, and it is therefore that I am compelled to tender my resignation.”  
The horrors and confusion of the ‘Black July’ remain etched in the minds of citizens of both communities. Goon squads drawn from ruling party’s trade union arm became active, unleashing rounds of riots, who were transported to various places in CTB buses by the TU leaders who worked under Mathew, who was well-known for his anti-Tamil stance. President JR in 1984 sacked Mathew from the Cabinet and the governing UNP for publicly criticizing a round-table conference called by JR to redress grievances of Tamils. 
 Cyril Mathew died of a heart attack when he was 77-years-old.  

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