Columnists

Caesarean Republicanism: The silence of the lambs?

Views - 2678 Wednesday, 7 October 2015 00:00

  Shall the taxpayer have to see and bear a reinstitution of the lionising of local politicos that was par for the course under the previous Caesars?     A funny thing happened on the way to the UNGA for


UN, Uncle Nepo, and once more unto the breach, unbelievers

Views - 3114 Wednesday, 30 September 2015 00:00

  By now all of Lanka knows the President was accompanied to the UNGA forum by his son, who had no official standing in the Sri Lankan delegation, and that the young man in question was a visible part of the President’s entourag


Rationalising the “Third Republic”

Views - 3593 Tuesday, 22 September 2015 00:10

A little thinking – like a lot of learning – can be a dangerous thing. An excess of it can be downright subversive. The trinity behind a recent exhibition <Corridors of Power: Drawing & Modelling Sri Lanka’s Tryst with Dem


There’s viral life in the new political “culture”

Views - 3458 Thursday, 17 September 2015 00:00

What has come to pass in the Republic in the name of constitutional game-changing cannot be allowed to pass – to pass into time past by default, and opportunities bypassed by design – without rigorous engagement  


Big government – bad for good governance?

Views - 3346 Friday, 11 September 2015 00:00

Did you feel that democracy is the worst form of government? Except, of course, for all the others that have ever been! Could it be, though, that we have seen too little of it, of late, to appreciate it least when it works best... We ha


Why National Govt. is not the new political culture it’s meant to be

Views - 3433 Wednesday, 2 September 2015 00:00

The Government wants the real Opposition to be part of the Government. A minority party with a minor fraction of our house of commons to its name wants to sit as the main Opposition. And the Legislature is looking increasingly like a char


When winners lose out to runners-up

Views - 2866 Friday, 28 August 2015 00:00

Now it looks as if the next two years at least will be a much more but still compromised benevolent oligarchy in which ‘national government’ means precious little in terms of accountability to the people  


Election exam done; a return to reality!

Views - 2566 Friday, 21 August 2015 00:00

There is every possibility that the UNP and its partners in constituting the new government might interpret the people’s will as a mandate to implement the plans spelled out in its election manifesto. That would be missing much of t


As you vote, think on this...

Views - 2598 Monday, 17 August 2015 00:05

By the time you read this, most probably, the die would have been cast – together with your vote.  Or is there still the faintest glimmer that you’ll catch a vision of what I’m envisaging, before you rush off to your frien


All systems "green" or, go (So what are the red flags?)

Views - 2593 Thursday, 13 August 2015 00:00

  If you were hoping that the post-‘Revolution’ parliamentary election would be fought over matters of principle, you might be quite mistaken – and/or rather disappointed. The chips are down again, and all the custom


‘Tsar Wars’, or how the evil empire strikes out

Views - 3482 Tuesday, 11 August 2015 00:13

In George Lucas’ classic space trilogy ‘Star Wars’ (actually, a trilogy of trilogies), it was easy to discern who the good guys and the bad guys were... or who were meant to be as such. The idealistic hero with stars in his eyes,


Politicos fly too low, so people learn fast!

Views - 2017 Wednesday, 5 August 2015 00:00

     It’s been a rude awakening, it has this week. The electorate went to sleep dreaming of good governance and a free and fair election at last, hopefully, but awoke sweating with fright at the sound of gunfir


Is "‘good’ governance" good (enough) for us?

Views - 2217 Wednesday, 29 July 2015 00:14

  This, among other questions, has been on many hearts and minds in the past six months or so. After the initial euphoria of early January 2015 died down, it began to be clear – or, at least, strongly felt – that


Better governance had better be made of sterner stuff than this

Views - 2277 Wednesday, 22 July 2015 00:00

  Yes, the murders have stopped. No, not even the odd abduction captures the headlines anymore. Even in the good old, bad old days, there was hardly any reportage about corruption or fiscal/fiduciary crime by the powers that


No more bookies, crookies, rookies – and no more humbuggery, either!

Views - 2772 Friday, 17 July 2015 00:00

Now that nominations are in and planted, there’s a month to go before the fruit of our voting on them can be ripened, plucked, and harvested. In the short run-up to nominations, and in the long haul before elections, the clarion call has bee


The great pretenders

Views - 2220 Wednesday, 8 July 2015 00:00

 When the 8 January revolution was launched, it was envisaged that the nascent movement to reintroduce democratic-republicanism to the island would encounter much opposition. The Government at the time – a regime that had been incumbent


Looking back at 19A – Not in anger, but with angst

Views - 2129 Wednesday, 10 June 2015 00:00

Many who take a via media view of the so-called victories won by the passage of 19A see a mixed bag of results. One of the key areas in which the outcome was quite different to what was anticipated by the architects of the cornerstone pie


Growth with integrity: The bridge too far?

Views - 2205 Wednesday, 3 June 2015 00:00

 The Government appointed more Ministers recently, pictured here with President Maithripala Sirisena   I think you might have read with some interest – or no small measure of irritation – the news that the Gov


The mouth doth speak out of the abundance of the heart

Views - 1750 Thursday, 28 May 2015 00:47

   Westminster it isn’t. At least, not in terms of rapier-sharp wit and scintillating repartee! But provoke the firebrand rabble-rousers in Parliament long and hard enough, and sooner or later – out pops the cloven ho


Ridding the republic of rotten reporting

Views - 1538 Friday, 22 May 2015 00:00

 Comparisons are odious. As we said in this column last week, urging a principled government minister not to contrast the administration of which he is a part with the one immediately past. Because the virtue of a republican government must


The Al Capone syndrome and odious comparisons

Views - 1436 Friday, 15 May 2015 00:05

Today, Jinny and Jonny. Yesterday, Tissa and Sashi and Basil. Who will it be tomorrow, GR and/or MR? That is as far as actual arrests go! There has also been a veritable gallery of alleged rogues hauled in to give account before the dreaded FCID v


That farmer who gave up his fasces

Views - 832 Sunday, 10 May 2015 13:37

  Pinch me, someone: I think I’m dreaming. In the past 120 days, the country has undergone a sea-change into something rich and strange. So much so that not even democracy-loving citizens who went to sleep slaves on 8 January would


The movements and men of the moment who mustered 19A or militated against it

Views - 1040 Thursday, 30 April 2015 00:00

  The fact that game-changing nation-saving legislation such as 19A struggled in the womb so much before it could be born is a good thing. At least in the opinion of those who have gotten over the disillusionment of the somewhat dubious e


Nice speech; now let’s get real

Views - 2417 Saturday, 25 April 2015 00:00

President Maithripala Sirisena delivering his address to the nation on Thursday I think the whole country, from casino kings to constitutional tinkers, watched, heard, or read the full text the next day of the President’s address to the nati


100 up, but not 100 n.o.?

Views - 1157 Friday, 24 April 2015 00:00

As the ‘century’ comes up on Good Governance’s scoreboard, there are many sportive questions which beg answers. Was it a classic and flawless knock? Were any serious chances offered, or stunning catches taken? Where could the dawdling run rate


Resolving some key amendments, refocussing ways to see it all…

Views - 1677 Saturday, 18 April 2015 00:00

It’s almost 1:47 p.m. on 14 April, as I write. The sun is poised to transit – astrologically speaking – from the House of Meena (Pisces) to the House of Mesha (Aries). The star around which we orbit, to put it poetically, is about to show a new


As day 90/100 approaches: ‘Arresting developments’

Views - 2467 Wednesday, 8 April 2015 00:00

  One of the great expectations of a good-governance-touting administration was that it would bring a whole cabal of lawbreakers of yesteryear to book. But a closer scrutiny of the coalition government’s erstwhile election manifesto rev


Who’s the April fool now?

Views - 2299 Wednesday, 1 April 2015 00:10

Today, on the first day of a new month, my mind goes back to that dawn, no more than three moons ago, when some of us had our legs pulled. It was a dawn of hope in which many democratic-republicans waxed eloquent about the change that was to be. But


M.R., M.S., and Mr./Ms. Machiavelli?

Views - 1250 Friday, 27 March 2015 00:00

  There are at least three ways to view the sudden swell in the numbers of government ministers earlier this week. The first is a charitable one – that “these things happen” and it’s all to be expected (and even accepted) as par


What “game” is Govt. banking on?

Views - 1512 Friday, 20 March 2015 00:00

There’s a breathless hush in the Close tonight as I write. Not because there’s “ten to make and the match to win” or “ten to make and the last man in”. But because the match – the match that made all the difference to Sri Lanka’s Worl


Today's Columnists

The Brahmin footprint in Sri Lankan history

Saturday, 17 November 2018

It is generally said that there are no genuine “Sri Lankan” Brahmins in the island today, and that those Brahmins who officiate as priests in Hindu kovils (temples) are of Indian origin with close ties with Tamil Nadu.


Country paying for Sirisena’s childlike behaviour

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Many were surprised on 26 October to see former President Rajapaksa being appointed Prime Minister by the very man who defeated him a couple years ago, at a considerable risk to himself and to those who helped him win the election. Then events beca


The JR-MR effect

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Sri Lanka over the last few weeks has experienced a twin crisis. One is political provoked by its Constitution, and the other economic engendered by its politics. However, this crisis is the combined effect of two previous presidencies, those of J.R.


The fish that swallowed the whale

Friday, 16 November 2018

This is an easy-peasy, elementary effort of an ordinary citizen to comprehend the mad scramble for power among the political class. It is undertaken in the belief that the crisis we face is an opportunity to reject the family kleptocracy of Mahinda R


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