Fifth Column

9th April 2000

After all, it is our fate!

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"Thaaththa," Bindu Udagedera asked, "what is all this fuss about the government resigning?"

"No Sri Lankan government has resigned recently," Bindu's father Percy said, "so, that will not happen now"

"But Thaaththa, the greens want them to resign"

"That is because they lost a vote in Parliament" Percy explained.

"But thaaththa, if the government can't get a vote passed in Parliament, shouldn't it resign?" Bindu wanted to know.

"Traditionally, it should" Percy conceded.

"Then, thaaththa what happens if it loses some more votes in the future?"

"That won't happen, Bindu" Percy assured.

"Why do you say that?"

"They lost this vote only because their MPs were too lazy to come to Parliament, not because they don't have enough MPs on their side"

"But if resigning is the tradition, shouldn't they follow that tradition now?"

"Bindu," Percy asked, "was tradition followed when Satellite presented the Budget?"


"Then, was tradition followed when the Chief Justice was appointed?"


"Was tradition followed when an 'outsider' was appointed as Elections Commissioner just before an important election?"


"Was tradition followed in state media coverage before the elections?"


"Was tradition followed when senior military officers were sent on compulsory leave recently?"


"Was tradition followed when Satellite kept away from the Independence Day celebrations?"


"Was tradition followed when the promise to abolish the executive presidency was broken?"


"Was tradition followed when Satellite, who has pledged to uphold the Constitution always calls it a 'bahubootha viyawasthaawa'?"


"Was tradition followed when they promised to re-establish media freedom?"


"Was the tradition of free and fair elections followed, especially at



"Was tradition followed when athletes accused powerful people of indecent conduct?"


"Was tradition followed when powerful people interfered with the Cricket Board elections?"


"Was tradition followed when they promised to limit the cabinet to twenty people?"


"Was tradition followed when almost all government MPs were appointed as ministers and deputy ministers?"


"Was tradition followed when the government gave MPs and Provincial councillors a pay increase, leaving all other employees out?"


"So, Bindu," Percy asked, "what makes you think that tradition will be followed now and that the government will resign just because it lost a vote in Parliament?"

"I suppose," Bindu agreed, "that will be asking too much from them"

"But, of course" said Percy, "the people will have to resign themselves to their fate"

Bindu didn't want to disagree.

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