WEDNESDAY`S unacceptable behaviour in Parliament by the UNP Opposition during a solemn occasion would no doubt come in for censure by a majority of our citizens cutting across party politics.
It was only a few weeks ago that a UNP Member stormed the Speaker`s rostrum during another rumpus and yanked out a set of Bills from the Speaker`s grasp which prompted the latter to state that terrorism has lain seige to the August Assembly.
Wednesday saw a new low when for the first time in Parliament history a swearing in of a new member was greeted with hoots and catcalls. Basil Rajapaksa may not be a favourite of the UNP.
But for a party who prides itself on its sophistication and enlightened outlook on all matters the behaviour of its Members on this occasion to say the least was appalling and downright vulgar.
We say this in the context of the stand of UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe who never loses an opportunity to remind Parliament on the need for respecting conventions, time honoured traditions and norms of conduct whenever a dicey issue crops up in the House.
It is thus surprising that the UNP leader permitted such a display of hooliganism quite out of character with his pious pronouncements.
True, Parliament sessions anywhere are heated affairs even in the British House of Commons known as the Mother of Parliaments and Members tend to go for each other`s jugular figuratively speaking with no quarter asked nor given.
But there are certain limits where even the most vociferous of MPs dare not overstep, and the disruption of an oath taking is one of these.
We don`t venture to foresee what more is in store for our Parliament which is held up as the fountain of democracy and the receptacle of the People`s sovereignty - terms which ring hollow given the conduct of it`s inhabitants.
It is time that the Speaker takes firm action to stringently implement the Standing Orders governing the conduct of Members.
For the recurring displays of rowdyism that the public are exposed to via television are certainly going to impact on society especially when it comes to the discipline of the younger generation.
No parent would be able instil any accepted norms of behaviour in their progeny in the face of the rowdyism and the vulgar behaviour they see in our very lawmakers.
Hence it is not merely the tax payers` money that is being flushed down the drain in maintaining our MPs but also an erosion of moral values and other virtues hitherto held dear by society at large.
Time and again we see senior citizens harkening to the old days of Parliament where debates were not only highly educative but also were spiced with wit and humour and Parliamentary traditions were regarded as hallowed.
True there was fire and brimstone even in those days when Parliament was graced by the presence of stalwarts such as Colvin. R .De Silva, N.M. Perera, Dudley Senanayake and G.G. Ponnambalam et al.
Then too there were outbursts and heated cross talk but these never overstepped the bounds of decency and Parliamentary decorum sacredly preserved.
The behaviour of our present day Parliamentarians came in for censure by no less a person than the late Sirimavo Bandaranaike who took strong exception to the language used by some honourable Members.
It is time the Speaker and the authorities take action to rein in these elements and restore dignity and decorum in Parliament.