Banana Republic 2

It gets worse.

So to remind you. The BJP who got the largest number of seats has been given by the Governor (BJP) fifteen days (now shortened after the intervention of the Supreme Court) until today? To demonstrate on the floor of the house that they have an overall majority, (which they didn’t get at the election so they will have to poach Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) to increase their numbers).

Are you still awake?

Now the president (BJP) , remember he’s supposed to be independent and above politics has appointed a temporary speaker (chair of proceedings) also, you’ve guessed it, from the BJP. This is completely against protocol as it’s usually the senior most MLA that gets the role but he’s Congress so that won’t do, will it? The newish speaker has been in the job before who was censured by the Supreme Court for his….. partiality in a previous situation, involving the same main character Yeddyurappa and corruption.

You seriously couldn’t make this up,

More here

In despair, I’m turning away from this soap opera of unbelievableness to some light entertainment.

Banana Republic

Am I seeing things or is that a straight banana?

First let’s talk about Banana Republics. Well actually that’s a bit unfair. The state that’s probably got most bananas is the least like a banana republic. Generally over the years they’ve had reasonably coherent and stable governance although they’re maybe losing their way more recently. That’s Kerala.

Back to the point.

We’re in Karnataka, where we had a state election last week.

The result was ‘hung’ as they say between three parties: the BJP, Congress and JDS with no one party having an overall majority. The Governor (until appointed he was an active BJP politician, which is not allowed but let’s forget that, he is however supposed to be independent and above party politics), who has authority in these matters, swore in the leader of the BJP (yes, his party, no no no he’s independent remember) after the election.

This is the party with the largest number of elected representatives (called MLAs) but they did NOT have an overall majority. Got it? Yeddyurappa, the leader was given fifteen days to prove he had an overall majority, which he hasn’t ….

Woah, hang on a minute the two other parties with a combined strength had an overall majority and one was the incumbent ie previous Government. They also have signed letters from the MLAs (members of the legislative assembly) , as proof. So surely they were invited to set up the Government as a coalition? Er, no.

The BJP leader was not only sworn in he will not have a cabinet but is already making decisions on revenue expenditure, without even putting together a budget or knowing the financial situation and he’s got fifteen days to prove he’s got an overall majority. But remember, he hasn’t got an overall majority. So how will he solve that problem?

Ta ra ta ra

buy Them? Surely not.

The wonderful, patient, trusting (actually they don’t trust their politicians) people of Karnataka, registered, listened, deliberated, ok some were bribed, queued up, to cast their vote for a person carrying some sticks, a flower or a hand (symbols of each party as so many of the voters are illiterate) got a mark on their finger so they couldn’t vote twice…… used their precious fought-for- vote to elect MLAs who represented specific parties.

It’s useful having parties, by being a member of a party it helps us understand what they stand for in terms of policies, values, future of the state, that sort of thing …. but hang on, if they we’re to switch to a different political party immediately after the election…. for money? Or a job in government. Doesn’t that sort of invalidate the system? Is this real?

Wait …. is it a bird? Is it a plane? Noooooo it’s Super- Court, well Supreme Court….

STOP PRESS

The Court takes action…..

and forces the BJP to prove they can form a government. The BJP chief Minister has now just one day to bribe as many of the MLAs as possible to get his overall majority. Shameful.

So that’s how the largest democracy in the world is currently working out here in the south. So how about the longer established democracies, they working well? A shining beacon for the others to copy? Er well no, Donald being Donald in the Useless US is making a right old pigs ear of things but it’s a mistake to think that. It’s going to plan, it’s working, he’s shifting that society and the administration where he wants it to be, if only he could find the napkin he wrote the plan on, he might have an idea how he wants it to end.

What about the mother of all Parliaments? Well the disunited Britland has the most incompetent Government and opposition, and what’s called the second house is causing too much trouble messing up the mess that is Brexit so the Governments party is going to increase its membership so that it votes its way. Marvellous, now that’s a Banana Republic of the cold cold north.

Equally shameful.

Coconut palms

The two lovely palms in our drive whose tops form a backdrop for our rooftop garden have been removed by the owner of our house. I’ve managed to hold off the inevitable for a year or two. I’ve used every argument you might imagine, to no avail.

THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY NO NEED FOR THEM TO GO.

So is this…. Idiocy? Stupidity? No it’s probably not those things.

You might see this as a gross over-reaction on my part and maybe it is. It does in my view reflect something that diminishes all our societies. There are at least two key issues. The first is about the ‘trees’ themselves.

DSC02692

Looking around our area, where beautiful trees are regularly chopped (I’m the one that will go out and challenge, when I see it happening, credibility gone there then) where people dump rubbish (another key question for our guests will be covered on the blog) on the road verges, its a mess, one eyesore after another. You’d think it’s lack of awareness of environmental issues or appreciating what is beautiful. It is those things and it’s depressing.

Its also impractical. Trees are useful they provide amenity. They help freshen our air, create oxygen and now we’ve realised, a week after the carnage we’ve experienced here it provides well needed shade to reduce the temperature and make life bearable in the heat of the summer.

Yes the giving has gone.

Dysfunctional state

This might seem a big jump but…. when I first began to realise how senior civil servants were appointed and shifted at a moments notice, here in Karnataka …. I just couldn’t believe it. I previously was a senior manager in U.K. local government. I just couldn’t have done my job if I was continually looking to protect my own back to check that a politician wasn’t going to ‘punish’ me if I’d acted to challenge unacceptable practices or somehow crossed an invisible political red line. How does someone such as a District Commissioner locally manage on a day to day basis or for example challenge corruption, especially where politicians are concerned if in an instant they can be effectively demoted and sent to the back of beyond!

I write this at a time when we’ve just gone through a period when civil servants have been regularly changed as if passing through a revolving door. I mean very senior people shifted every few months, even weeks! How can an organisation function? Maybe that’s the point.

I write this as today we will get the results of the Karnataka state elections.

Check here to see how it now works in the US

Open defecation

Going to the toilet is a regular discussion topic at Mysore Bed and Breakfast and on our MYCycle Tours. We’ve covered many related subjects: the benefits of squat toilets, the use of the water and left hand/right hand etiquette.

It’s one of a traveller’s preoccupations 😉

On our Srirangaptnam MYCycle Tour we visit an old small village. It provides invaluable insights into India, it’s traditions, contemporary life and challenges the community faces.

One aspect we cover is the growing number of toilets in the village, built through the support of the Government. A massive public health and social problem in India is the millions of people, predominantly in rural areas choosing to defecate in the open, that’s maybe in a field, by railway tracks, on beaches, down lanes, at the edge of the village . So it’s important to tackle it to help reduce illness and improve children’s health and development.

But the cash to help build toilets only tackles one part of the problem. In many places they are poorly located, maybe used just as a bathroom, for storage or completely neglected. Changing the mindset, getting people to understand and incentivise them to actually use the toilets is a whole other challenge.

This video helps highlight this problem and the work to understand and tackle it!

I blame my parents

I was there……

In the middle, to the foreground with the wings….

No, not actually in the photo. This is Butlins holiday camp pool in the early 1970’s when I most definitely was or had visited with my family. Take in the photo. Look at how white we were and slim! How things have changed.

So why do I blame my parents? A convenient excuse? A contradictory mix of experiences that helped me prepare for the consistently inconsistent life that is India. On the one hand we’d be pioneers driving through England and France to holiday in Spain. Visiting quaint villages that are now over fifty years later, Temples to package tourism. That was in the early 1960’s when I was a little nipper.

My holiday education did also include ten years later the decided working class holiday at this very holiday camp. Rows of cabins, knobbly knee competitions for the Dads, beauty completions for the mums, activities for the kids, soooo non pc. In terms of my working class upbringing, let’s not forget the ultimate: Charabanc (coach) trips to Blackpool illuminations and Skegness from our home in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England., organised by the archetypal ‘Working Men’s Club’

So why am I telling you all this?

It helps make up who I am.

Check the Guardian article that relates to the photo.

Coincidentally Martin Parr, who’s exhibition this all refers to, lived in Hebden Bridge early in his career probably shortly after this photo was taken. In 1986 when Liz, Ben and I moved to Hebden Bridge we bought the very same house where he’d lived.

It’s Election time

Spot the differences with your elections!

The local paper has news about politicians bribing locals to vote for them. Police/army checkpoints are in the look out for large amounts of money, as in the first news item. Alternatively offering chickens!

But it’s a secret vote so voters can accept bribes, maybe from more than one party and vote for whoever they want! 😉

A common practice is to show images of politicians alongside projects they claim to have initiated. During election campaigns they have to be covered as seen here at a shop for selling generic drugs at cut price. An initiative of the Modi Government.

So what difference does it make?