Lord Acton was an English Catholic historian, politician, and writer, was a master of the principal foreign languages and began at an early age to collect a magnificent historical library, with the object which, however, he never realized of writing a great “History of Liberty.” In politics, he was always an ardent Liberal and is perhaps best known for the remark, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” This idea has been proved true from tests in laboratory settings in Sri Lanka in the recent past and the country is still facing its misery to date.
This misery was witnessed again this week during the Central Bank bond scam debate, that saw again stormy proceedings with crossfire between the members often in language that has now become as accepted language in parliament that would have been called “un-parliamentary” in the past, did force the Speaker to expunge certain sections of speeches from the Hanzard. The Speaker repeatedly warned the Parliamentarians to be mindful about their language and not to disturb the members as they take the floor and urged both the Government and Opposition members to be considerate and not to resort to character assassination during the course of debate, making a special request asked members of both sides to stick to the matter before the House and help him conduct an admirable and respectful session of Parliament. The Speaker also warned members to be mindful of the language reminding them that, “All members in this House are ‘Honourable MPs’ and to give that respect when addressing fellow members.
Defying all norms, the members of parliament on both sides of the house resorted to hurl abuse and make direct accusations against each other and officials. But this type or even worse behavior seems rampant in this parliament based on what is aired on TV and various comments published on the parliament debates in the media news media. Politeness courteous behavior are all a thing of the past in today’s Sri Lankan House of Parliament; sincere comments with sense to understand by members with facts clearly delivered would be more productive, carry lot of meaning to the hearer and a pleasure to read in the Hansard and media.
This chaos is occurring frequently in the House of Parliament, because of rift rafts gets elected by the people themselves to parliament; most of whom are in the Government as well as in the ‘joint opposition’ led by the former head of state. The former head of state could have safe guarded his dignity as Former Head of State, by not entering of the House of Parliament, that would have helped to overcome such chaos in the House and outside in the country as a whole; instead has helped the people to realize the bitter truth from tests in laboratory settings the idea that ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely’. It is the hope the people from all corners of this little island notwithstanding their ethnicity or religious believes will come to their wisdom and give room for the present leaders by supporting their endeavors to get the country on the correct path in the near future for a righteous living for all.