Our politicians are never at fault. They only find fault with others. Even if a parliamentarian were to stab a person to death and get caught for that some of MPs, in fact, should be behind bars for such crimes he would readily pass the blame on to the blacksmith who made the knife!
Minister Bandula Gunawardane has had a brainwave. He has found the root cause of the deterioration of parliamentary standards! The rot set in, he has revealed, the day the JVP gained representation in Parliament. Eureka! Bandula should do an Archimedes along the Parliament Road! The latter`s brainstorm occurred while having a bath and the former had it while wallowing neck deep in mud.
What does Minister Gunawardane think the people are? Suckers? The JVP may be hauled over the coals for many things but how on earth could it be claimed that Rathu Sahodarayas ruined Parliament? Was there anything left of parliamentary standards for them to spoil by the time they got elected in 2004 in their numbers? On the other hand, if Minister Gunawardane`s argument is tenable that the JVP MPs were responsible for blemishing the reputation of the national legislature, then the blame for that should be laid fairly and squarely at the doorstep of the UPFA government, on whose ticket the JVP successfully contested the last general election and secured 39 seats.
Parliament has had its share of misfits like any other State institution. It takes all sorts to make a world, as they say. Right throughout, there have been MPs of all sorts, from the sublime to the ridiculous. Universal suffrage, no doubt, helped empower the masses regardless of their social status but it also facilitated the entry of political jetsam and flotsam into the national legislature. Each and every parliament has had lamebrains, ignoramuses, loons and schlemiels besides the learned and the wise.
The situation arguably took a turn for the worse in 1977, when the people gave vent to their pent up anger and brought down the SLFP-led United Front government which had grossly abused power and made the public undergo untold hardships because of its harebrained socialist experiments. Parliament faced a double whammy there was an influx of tattooed thugs et al in the garb of MPs, who sat with their Oxbridge counterparts side by side Parliament lost its supremacy owing to the promulgation of a new Constitution and was reduced to a mere appendage of the executive presidency. The JVP did not have representation even in a local government institution at that time.
Parliament has not recovered ever since. The Proportional Representation has helped even the scum of the earth get returned at elections by throwing money around. Most of them nurse pockets of support in an electoral district at a massive cost and garner enough preferential votes to enter Parliament.
At general elections, the SLFP and the UNP have been fielding political riff-raff and dregs hankering after wealth and status together with a few decent candidates and it is not surprising that Parliament has lost its dignity over the years. It was long before the election of JVP MPs that schoolchildren who visited Parliament were scared out of their wits and broke down in the public gallery because of fisticuffs and exchanges of raw filth in the House in session.
It was not the JVP MPs who attacked the genitals of an MP Monk during a heated parliamentary debate. An SLFP MP was responsible for that sinful act.
It is not being argued that the JVP MPs were paragons of virtue. They failed to live up to public expectations and their contribution to debates and efforts to raise parliamentary standards was woefully inadequate. They lost bearings in national politics and were swayed by various forces including those hostile to this country.
But, it is wrong to pin the blame for the sorry state of affair in the national legislature on the JVP. It should, in our book, be apportioned between the two main parties.