The Sunday Leader

Ranil’s Lack Of Honour

Political parties are like a restaurant. You do not have to get up and pay, but everybody does. It is an honor system. Ranil Wickremesinghe, however, is a politician without honour.
Honour and its cousin shame are what cause most political transitions. They have no relation to Ranil. In Italy and Greece, Prime Ministers stepped down when their positions became untenable. In the UK, Gordon Brown stepped down after losing an election. This is generally the pattern worldwide except in dictatorships.
People blame Sajith or UNPers for not resisting Ranil more forcefully, but it is difficult. Political parties, like any social system, are based on honor. There is nothing to stop you from eating in a lunch kade and just walking out the door. They do not keep security. If a person wants to be socially obnoxious there is actually very little to stop them, because the whole system runs on honour.
In political parties or even governments, change of power is often dependent on the person stepping down. Even Husni Mubarak, former dictator of Egypt, was not technically removed, he had to choose to resign. Even he had that honor. In more mature political systems, leaders faced with no confidence votes or lost elections will resign, though they technically do not have to do so.
These pressures work by creating pressure within a person, and on the people around him. If you do not pay in a restaurant you feel a tangible shame. It is a human emotion. This Ranil perhaps may not possess. As the broader world withholds honour and attention from you that affects the people around you  – your family and friends – and they in turn put pressure on you. This is how things are usually balanced in the world.

Ranil’s example

For some reason Ranil seems immune to these pressures, and so does his inner circle. This is perhaps because Ranil refuses to leave the leadership of an opposition party. If he was a regular dictator, people would have a strong motivation to remove him, and no alternative. In the case of the UNP, however, people have the option to just leave. Over 60 MPs have crossed and the UNP’s vote total declines with each election.
Rather than staying and exerting pressure on the problem, people are choosing to simply relieve the pressure and leave.
What this creates is a situation where traditional social shame does not exactly work, because there is an exit option. The pressure pushes opponents out the door before it pushes Ranil.

Ranil’s shame

While this option works for his self-preservation, it has systematically destroyed a once proud party, and the opposition in Sri Lanka. The whole honour system is based on people putting the needs of others before themselves, of fitting into a broader social system and accepting those values. Ranil does not. He is effectively a political sociopath, out only for himself.
There are clear signals that a normal politician or human being would respond to. Losing elections, having friends leave you, being embarrassed in public. Ranil ignores all of these. It is like having someone in a restaurant who simply cannot perceive the stares of other diners as the waiters hover over him and he just gets up and leaves.
The people gave Ranil the check in 2005, when he lost the Presidential election. That was due largely to LTTE interference, so he was allowed to stay. They gave him another check, however, when he continued losing election after election (Parliamentary, provincial, local), but he never got the point. Rather than dealing with the social stink, most people have simply left the restaurant. The people, the party, politicians. Now Ranil is nearly alone, seated at a table with a pile of unpaid bills and no food.

 Ranil’s honour (or lack thereof)

In his book ‘The Honor Code’, Kwame Anthony Appiah posits that moral revolutions happen not due to appeals to reason, morality or religion (though those are part of it). They happen when a particular behavior (slavery, foot-binding in China) become broadly perceived as dishonorable – embarrassing the group to outsiders and within.
Ranil’s behavior of dictator of the opposition has long surpassed that mark, but he remains simply because people have and take the choice to leave the party. Those that remain, however, must realize that even appeals to honor will move this man because, by his behavior, he has very little. People within the party must themselves make great sacrifices to keep internal pressure up, without leaving, and even then they may fail.
Right now, Karu Jayasuriya has said that he will contest, and many UNPers have asked for a fair and secret ballot. That decision and even the decision to accept Jayasuriya as a candidate must pass through the Working Committee, a body controlled by Ranil. Bureaucracy and protocol are the last refuge of the dictator, and Ranil dwells therein. It is unclear whether this measure will fail as street protests have failed before, because Ranil lacks the honor to even acknowledge them.
The fact remains that Ranil is a sociopath or, more accurately, a politicopath, insensitive and perhaps even unaware of the political needs of others. It is no longer the issue that he lacks reason or awareness, he lacks honour. If the UNP wants to reclaim theirs, they have to make a concerted push to show him the door.

32 Comments for “Ranil’s Lack Of Honour”

  1. Honourless Politicka

    Ranil has exceeded any normal form of Shame or lack of honour.
    By persisting and manupulating to be the leader of the opposition at any cost has deprived the country of a good opposition party , when we are going thru” a regime where there is mass scale corruption and lawlessness.
    This fellow should have stepped down or got kicked out of the leadership of the UNP many,many years ago.Having lost that MANY elections and being that in-efffective,he has shameless fought and stayed much to the detriment of the party and the country.
    Apart from our wish that this Govt and its leadership of the UPFA must go, it is also equally importatnt that Ranil should be kicked out soonest and we have a good and strong oppostion to oppose this disastrous/rogue regime.

  2. At one time UNP is the oldest and democratic party. Some 60 UNPers crossed over to government for perks and nothing else. They always blamed Ranil for that. If UNP is not resolved their internal problem sooner rather than later the party will be dead and burried. Ranil is an out of date product. As long as he is in power Mahinda Rajapakse will be the President of Sri Lanka. Mahinda loves Ranil. On the good side Ranil is loved by West. Ranil is respected in West. But Srilanka today need a very strong opposition to check on Mahinda. Sarath Fonseka is a very good person to challenge Mahinda. Sadly he is in jail and he is going to be there until he dies. It is a fact. So my humble request to Ranil is give up his leadership and work under Kary Jasuriya and rebuild UNP. Is Ranil ready for that? In the interest of our country we ask Ranil to give up his position before he is pushed.

  3. adhil nizam

    Ranil doesnt know the meaning of the word shame. If not how to do you explain a man clinging onto power after 17 years of loses in a democracy. This is worse than a banana republic dictatorship.
    When ranil is behaving like this, how can he talk about the undemocratic actions of the rajapakshas. This is exactly why i strongly believe that ranil is a puppet of the Rajapakshas with a contract to destroy the UNP.

  4. suren soysa

    You have hit the nail on the head too late!! In Ranils issue even late is better than never. Ranil should have been kicked out the day he signed the MOU with the LTTE on the instigation of the Norwegian RIF-raf. Ranil need be brought before courts for every LTTE killing after the Norway brokered MOU. Out of ten words Ranil utters now, one is “Democracy”! Democracy has been a blessing in disguise to Ranil.

  5. ira

    this man not a gentlemen,

  6. P.L.J.B.Palipana

    Ranil is an honourable man not only in Srilanka but all over the world.don’t forget that please.

  7. A well written article with full of facts. I hope Ranil reads this and makes a courageous decision to hand over the leadership to Karu without further damaging the party.



  8. Rober

    It is pointless talking about Ranil because he is shrewd and a crook in any way.
    If he further continues as a leader there is a possibility that more MPs will join
    the government, so this must not happen and therefore it is better that the only
    honest man like Karu to become the leader of the party in future. God save the

  9. Tropical Storm

    It is easy to blame a personal attribute we all are familiar with, when faced with any other person causing a situation to our dislike. Doing so allows us to package and lable the problem, so that it can be ‘sold’ to the audience. Not being able to do so makes it a very difficult task to assign blame to the targetted entity, since there is no clear outline of the issue. Ranil’s so called Problem, or Ranil The Problem, which ever way we look at it, is a lot more complex than that.

    Ranil to my mind is not simply a shameless charlatan as some call him, and many seem to believe him to be. Rather, I think he considers his role of passively abstaining from offering resistance to the present Government at this point in time, to be somehow meaningful in providing Sri Lanka a breathng space to recover from the after effects of the brutal war. We need to remember that this is the man who, in his heyday as a politician with a good future, resisted D B W’s supposed efforts to continue to hold on to power, after losing the 1994 election to the disasterous CBK. Did Ranil did so out of selfish interests, or in respect of Democracy? I have no doubt it was the latter.

    Has he changed so much since then? Or does he, in cahoots with Prez MR believe in a future for the country in which democracy takes a back seat to favor greater security and economic growth?

    I think it is the latter, even if he is doing so at massive unpopularity to himself. Perhaps he sees that the UNP lacks the leaders of the quality needed to defend our country against the large numbers of perpetually angry enemies who are lurking outside, waiting for an opportune moment to strike.

    In doing what he is doing, Ranil could be mistaken. His actions today could effectively help the establishment of a counter democratic, autocratic system of governance which could by itself invite the very trouble Ranil intends to avert.

    It is called Regime Change..and nations out there will actively pursue it in our case in time to come. If and when they do, it could be brief, and potentially bloody.

  10. NAIDE


  11. lankan

    ranil will not leave the UNP even he dies. he will haunt even in his afterlife. he is such a failure. utter disgrace. can somebody shoot this dictator…………….

  12. Kira

    What Ranil Wickramsinghe has left with Greed or Brain damage? In his old age.


    Without the p[arty leadership Ranil is nothing. Who will care for him in the West if he is not the UNP leader? He is like Gaddafi for Libya – Ranil for UNP!

  14. Photographer

    What a beautiful catch?The best “Picture” of the “World

    A “Buro”, A ” Fool”, and A ” Clown”

  15. sack

    and what does gota has to do with it???

  16. Imran Hussein

    So you want to remove Ranil, Try?
    If karu loses the leadership battle he loses the executive committee membership too. That will be a massive blow for Sajith Premadasa.
    And if Karu wins…..there will be a new interesting chapter.

  17. Eddy

    I fully & completely agree with the writer, thank him for writing such a telling article. All Sri Lankans know that Mr Ranil Wickramasinghe is a shameless man!

    If the UNP MPs are impotent and unable to throw him out, the public, specially UNP supporters, should boycott all functions attended by him, make it known, to him, simply take him by the” scruff of his neck & throw him out” so we can have a strong opposition with a charismatic Leader, who will halt the Rajapakses in raping our beloved Country

  18. Bandara USA

    Ranil is the only politician who have ever made the biggest damage to the country and its future development.
    Shame on you ……………………..RANGONIL

  19. B.Fernando

    In the democratic world, the party leader steps down if it looses at the elections. This is for the party to reorganize and win the next elections. Since Sri Lanka is no longer a democratic Country, but a lawless Banana Republic, with a Power crazy lunatic ruling the Country, may be Ranil is trying to imitate or follow the Dictator in power. However the UNP should not try to follow the wrong path and fall into the same rut as the ruling party. Hope Ranil will realise this and step down and let new blood take over the leadership and save the Country.

  20. UNP Dictator………..Chase Ranil away before you appoint any committee members………the present working committee is ILLEGAL with all appointed by Bean who does not represent the UNP voters……….Bean has been DISCARDED & REJECTED by the UNP common masses.

  21. dpl

    mr Ranil is not a result orient. he must leave head of UNP.the most suitable person MR Laxlam kelegala from kandy. or mr john amarathunga.god bless. mr Ranil fellow UK head resign. you too must fellow them. you los tall election you blasting others lives. please resign.

  22. California

    Look who is talking about honor ?. Have you got any Fredricka ?.

  23. Ranil signed MOU because he is stupid. No one in the party Stand up against him then.There was no one with back bone.Now Ranil has problems in his party , because he is has to lead so many people in the party. he can lead only about five people. he is modern MAHADANAMUTHTHA.

  24. Ranil has no shame, he is a shameless b——d. In other countries when a party leader looses ellection they resign then 7 there , but this wimp of a fellow cant even talk propperly with his short tongue is clinging for the sake of licking Rajapaksa’s ass. If he is from a good family he must look to his dignity, pride & family reputation. This sob has nothing called SHAME.

  25. gamarala

    Prabakaran first cut his throat by preventing tamils from voting for him.Then, Chandrika did same while he was abroad with a stable government running.
    Then Mahinda Rajapakse did same by enticing all greedy UNPers with portfolos,positions,perks, power and cash.
    And, all blame Ranil for a stable opposition which is even now being undermined – Grero is the latest ‘catch’ – he was offered what he could not afford to refuse.
    It is MR who spends billions of peoples’ money, on Bell Pottinger to prmote his ‘image’ or, what is left of it.

  26. Bruz

    No matter whether Ranil goes away or Karu comes in, no one can revive the dead UNP that easily. The MP’s who ran away to the Govt. side and enjoying some or a lot of perks are not going to come back until something happens to the present Govt.,
    which is very remote, at least for quite some time. So why waste time & dream about UNP coming to power or whether Ranil stays or quit. Face the reality,whether one like it or not, this Govt. is going to stay here & ruin the nation. Ranil or Karu or anyone can
    hardly change that. This is the curse our nation faces today.

  27. Ramani

    Ranil should have been thrown out long ago. It is not too late even now. The damage he has done to the UNP is countless. He talks about “democracy” when in actual fact he doesn’t practice it at all. Everybody who has written comments in favour of him, PLS think of the damage the present Govt is doing to our country. The only way to stop that is to have a strong opposition who can lead the party to victory. And the only way to that is to appoint a leader that the masses accept, and like. Pls UNP, find some way of throwing this man out!

  28. Ranil is the only leader who can save this country.

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