Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Reforming the GOP

I don’t really like Republicans; Two years of Bush presidency has seen the United States falter on most things ‘American’. From the war in Iraq to spying on its citizens President Bush has done a pretty lousy job. But this isn’t about Bush, Cheney or Schwarzenegger this post is about our own Grand Old Party – the UNP.

It has been almost eight months since the loss of the last presidential elections, and the promised reforms for the party are still to be seen. From then and now the UNP has lost yet another election, lost a few key members, made a joke out of the Colombo Municipality and now the good President is poaching away more of its MPs almost at will.

Ranil Wickramasinghe, for his part seem to adopt a rather unique philosophy of problem solving - ‘Do-Nothing’; this philosophy seemed to have worked for him in varying degrees, especially in the recent leadership crisis where he seemed to have ridden the storm with only minor injuries, the victory in 2001 general election too seem to adhere to this philosophy of ‘let them strangle themselves while I do nothing’, which is an eventuality in all forms of socialist and populist administrations. But if ever the UNP has any designs of regaining power then party reforms are a necessity. These reforms should be based on objective analysis of the political atmosphere and not brought on to accommodate certain people or groups of people.

There seems to be (or was) a ‘dissident group’ within the UNP, who call for a change of leadership; Presenting Karu Jayasuriya, the current deputy leader as the replacement for Wickramasinghe. Although a fair enough substitution, I really don’t see how anyone can expect this to solve UNP’s problems. Karu is much like Ranil, a principled man with adequate skills and vision but like Wickramasinghe hardly a good orator, and his waving and clapping seems as awkward as his incumbent leader. But one thing I can agree on is there should be changes.

I would propose reforms somewhere along the lines of creating an executive chairman who would have to be elected by the members for a set period of time. The chairmen will be in charge of all party activities including appointments and nominations at all levels, fund raising, promoting party policies, election strategy, and grassroots organization. A good person for the post would be S.B. Dissanayake, the fact that he’s popular, organized, and not in parliament are definite advantages. The ‘party leader’ can be someone else who will be in charge of policy and direction of the Party, Ranil himself is a good choice for this position. Both chairmen leader and other front liners could be in a central committee where their inputs can be taken for both policy and strategy.

More immediately, the UNP should get official spokespersons for specifically for Defense and Economic issues so as to stop the mixed signals they seem to be sending, they must be having someone better than Tissa Attanayake in sirikotha, Also the debaters, especially in TV must be asked to be a bit more focused and strategic in their arguments, currently the UNPers seems to be engaged in a verbal fights with the JVP/JHU while the government politicos are sitting pretty.

The UNP must learn to focus on its strengths, rather than trying to minimize its weaknesses. It’s credited for having the better people, so much so that even the current government is almost run by former UNPers - Rohitha Bogollagama, Keheliya Rambukwella, Tyronne Fernando, Ajith Nivard Cabral combined are almost both the engine and the face of the government. But the people still on the UNP side of the fence (albeit ‘on’ the fence) seems to be hiding away for some unknown reason. They have got to come out, and get some logic and credibility going in the UNP noises. They should also de-demonize things the UNP stands for: from free-market economics, to specific policies of privatization, to their rather liberal stand on the ethnic conflict.

Finally, the UNP should take advantage of the multicultural support base. I frankly think Ranil should have run as the ‘Sri Lankan president’ because he was truly the only leader who could reach out to all communities, that was his strength - Didn’t use it. Besides, really -how many Sinhalese Buddhists with the superiority complex would vote for him any way.

What’s done is done, UNP has lost elections it should and could have won. But with the right people in the right places and with a coherent strategy coupled with the self-destructive nature of socialist-inspired governments the grand old party could be restored to its former glory. If reforms are not pushed, however, I’m afraid the UNP will remain as it is: Grand, Old and Obsolete.


sittingnut said...

one thing about gop in usa is that they really know how to win elections. they will win in this november midterm election too.

as for gop here, while it is good to engage in reorganizations etc. in politics sometimes one can strike too early.
only way that unp can get back to power is to go for an election after making sure that pa and jvp do not contest together. it is too early to be sure of that.

personally i think ppl who want to defect should be let go. keeping them in will only make the problem fester at buffalo's pleasure.

as for s.b. he is a little too clever and most traditional unpers do not like him. and let us not forget he barely got elected from n'eliya in 2004 election.

as for capitalism and trust in markets , it is a pity even unpers seem unconvinced, defending them only as things we are forced to support ( bc it is the what rest of world does, or world bank says etc) instead of advocating them as positive things we should support bc they are good for us.

~CC~ said...

i agree with letting who wants to go, go, but reforms must coem in nevertheless.

As for free-markets,

Perhaps the UNP could do with some third-party organizations who would push for that type of thing if it's politically unfeasible for the UNP to say it out directly. kind of like what JVP has.

Maharaja's doing there bit. but more should be done.

Maestro said...

HECK WITH THE REFORMS! the UNP doesn't need reforms at this juncture. What they need to do is wipe the party of traitors. Already a few have left the party and we need to get rid of the remnant of the traitors. It's no secret that the traitors who left were overtly against Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe. Those were the very people who demanded reforms. The UNP has its share of loyal members like Tissa Attanayake, Johnston Fernando, Lakshman Seniviratne, Malik Samarawickrama etc etc etc. They are the ones who are trying their best to keep the party together. Whilst the so-called "reformists" are plotting and planning to oust Ranil in a bid to help the government.

Ranil should not only be careful of S.B. Dissanayake, G.L. Peiris, Mahinda Wijeysekare but also two-timers like Milinda Moragoda. Mr. Moragoda was the cause of the 2005 Presidential Election defeat and the Colombo Municipal Council nomination list debacle. We still don't know if those were done willingly or through negligence. My personal view is that it was done willingly. The same goes for Naveen Dissanayake. Mr. Moragoda thought while ensuring a Ranil defeat he can advent to the leadership of the UNP. Let him know that real UNPers will never vote for him.

Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe should not worry one bit about these pole vaulters. In fact he should be happy. There will be more opportunity for real UNPers and youngsters to take over the government soon. The tiger terrorists, Southern terrorists and UNP squealers are trying their best to bring down Ranil. But we all know he's a die hard fighter. The end result will be the traitors/terrorists running with their tails between their legs and the great UNP coming back to power soon under the visionary leadership of Mr. Wickramasinghe.

Maestro said...

The Island, Divaina(MR appointed the head of the Upali group to the monetary board) ,Sunday Times, Sunday Observer and websites like AsianTribune are all anti-UNP (mostly anti Ranil). Though they appear to be independent, they are working under an agenda of MR. Their bid is to attack CBK, Ranil and project MR as a great leader. Let me tell you that the English Speaking citizens of this country can never be fooled by you. There is a limit for your bootlicking. MR might be offering perks to you thats no problem. He has every right to do so. Thats politics. But aren't you ashamed of kowtowing in such a degrading manner????

~CC~ said...

I think Ranil himself will conceed UNP need reforms.

i completely disagree with u saying, Moragoda was the result of the UNP defeat. it was the LTTE, combined with easy-going organizers at the grass roots and UNP's inherent inability to market what they stand for. Add to that Ranil's lousey luck, if you belive in that sort of thing.

and ranil is no die hard fighter, come on lets get real. he doesnt fight. sometimes he wins that way.

i agree he's the only man left with vision to lead this country, but buckets of vision wont get u anywhere if you cant win elections. like i said in the post, he should still lead the UNP but he's gotta change his role and delegate the party running matters to an EX. Chairmen. that way he can concentrate on thingas that matter for the most part.

i dont know the specifics of the CMC fiasco, but wasnt Moragoda and Mahroof who initally pushed for Cooray? its illogical having done that they wanted to screw the uNP. just doesnt make sense. of course there are romours that it was Maharaja's call to make Cooray the mayoral candidate.

i dont know, if Moragoda has UNP leadership aspirations, he would be a good choice somewhere down the line.

Jhonston Fernando, Attanayake and the likes are Wickramasinghe loyalists. plain and simple. they are not the backbone of UNP. i frankly think they should replace attanayake as the spokesman. the bugger cant speak.

it's time to bring back the bettr people, what the hell happened to Imthiaz ? time to bring these buggers again.

Sunday Times isnt anti-unp or anti-ranil, it belong to his uncle for god-sake. i think it still tries to remain in dpenedant, and if at all it's leaning, then that's to the UNP and not anywhere else. ST has always been anti-CBK. i dont read the island, so cant comment on that.

Maestro said...

Ranil Wickremesinghe - Perennial leader of the UNP and country
Tissa Attanayake - Good speaker, keep him as spokesman
Milinda Moragoda - We dont know what to do with you
SB Dissanayake - If he becomes leader WE RIOT

Maestro said...

Just because it belongs to your uncle doesn't mean you get to run it the way you want to. Remember even Lakehouse, Upali is Ranil's family property and ITN belonged to his brother Shan. We all know how they attack Ranil.

~CC~ said...

dude, ITN and lakehouse is state property. Ranil or his family has no say in it, once upon a time ownership doesnt count. i donno abt upali .. but his family ? i dont think so.

any way i agree just because it's family u dont get the way u wat. but i do think occasional pinching of the UNP is healthy.

as for Tissa attanayake being a good speaker. come on, UNP can do better than that. you need articulate people not just baggarders like Dr. JJ or just 'speakers' like attanayake not that he's a good speaker. Keep someone like Kabeer Hasheem and S.B for spokesman and anyway it's good to have seperate spokesmen for main issues. someone who has expirience.

sittingnut said...

i am not sure maharajas and their pocket politicians( that includes a whole bunch of them ranging from moragoda to shanthini kongahage) are all that healthy for the unp or those politicians ( even for maharajas). it smells, not of red blooded capitalism, but crony version of it.

Maestro said...

The Maharaja's have no connection to the UNP. They appear to be very independent in their endeavours. I met a Mahinda supporter today and guess what he told me?!!! "i'll never vote for him again" and "now i regret".... Wonder how long will it take for all 4.8 Million to realise the value of a vote!

~CC~ said...

maharaja's connection is well established. mahinda's supporters.. ya some are pissed abt the TV thing.. stupid fucker.. who gives him those pathetic ideas.

Lankan Pissi said...

I completely agree with sittingnut - those who are going - let them go. Further, I find that SB may be "popular" but is not too well respected in terms of leadership positions - he's known more as a orator/ a plug to stop the flow rather than a saviour.

What I don't understand is how ppl like Moragoda and Navin D, who have NO experience, have come to the forefront when loyalists with a lot of experience behind them like Lakshman Seniviratne, Malik Samarawickrama, Karunasena Kodithuwakku and Imtiaz (where ARE these latter two??) have completely disappeared off the face of the earth?

~CC~ said...

i dont know if Navin has come to the forefrunt, but as for Moragoda i guess he has talent. and that i think counts more than expirience.

i agree that imtiaz, and Karunasena should come to the fore a bit more. saw, a piece where imtiaz criticise Ranil quite lenghtily on his US stance and some other issues. which i totally support btw.. the Us stance that is..

reforms just has to come and looks like Karu will come to as the Executive Chair.. which is not that bad, he should seriously put his face forward a bit in the Gamaha district karu, ppl still respect him and atleast gamhapa is very much winnable unlike the southern scenario.

Nihal said...

I can't agree more with "lankan pissi". Seniviratne, Samarawickrame are fighters. Imtiasz didn't contest in 2004 dure to personal commitments. He will contest the next election. Apparently 4 SLFP MPs had asked him to join them. And his response?! "Please leave!"

SB can only talk and do petty politics. You need to be a statesman to be successful.

I agree with Naveen D. Who the hell is he?? Just because his father was the party leader (a person who deserted the UNP at a crucial time) doesn't make him a forerunner. He doesn't deserve the Nuwara Eliya organizer post.

Karu is too passive to be UNP chairman. He's a good guy but not suitable for that office. Ravi K. will do a better job. Although i heard he has opted for the Treasurer post.

~CC~ said...

Nihal, would you call Rajapakse a statesmen? and if SB can speak, which he can, he should SPEAK. i thought the speech he gave after being released from prison was superb.

As for Karu, the chairmenship might be a passive post. it's more like part administration. interestin abt Ravi :) treasurer huh? lol.

standingnut said...

Who said the GOP will win this november?