Editorial

Lanes, left and right

Summary

When one camp wants the country pulled left and the other wants to go right, metaphorically speaking it is hard to go forward. So, is ‘මැද මාවත ’ (middle avenue/road) the option?

The Lane Law, so-called, has generated a lot of comment. Some praise it for ‘disciplining’ errant three-wheeler and bus drivers and of course motorcyclists. Some criticize it for privileging the rich, i.e. those who go in cars. The argument is that the relatively poor have to use public transport or make do with motorcycles (in rain or sunshine) whereas the affluent can cruise in air-conditioned comfort without having to deal with buses, ‘tuk-tuks’ and motorcycles either slowing them down or cutting into the lane at will.

The latest however is that the space for buses, ‘tuks’ and motorcycles would be widened. Makes sense.

It seems, then, that the relevant authorities are treating the lane-issue as a work-in-process or a pilot project if you will. It is hoped that this is seen as part solution to the problem of traffic congestion. Clearly vast improvement in public transport has to be a key element of a more comprehensive and lasting solution to the problem. Maybe the authorities will start working on that aspect too, sooner rather than later.
Lanes bring to mind roads and paths. It’s all about direction. And therefore we could speak of ‘left’ and ‘right.’

A popular descriptive of radicals who renege is ‘වමට සිග්නල් දාල දකුණට හරවනවා.’ (signaling ‘left’ and turning ‘right’). Indeed, it has come to a point where it is hard to distinguish one from the other. When we consider the strange bedding arrangements of the Left and the Right or rather those who could be categorized as such, we have to ask ourselves if such labels make any sense any more.

Of course the label-users, especially the ‘Leftists’ (the ‘Right’ doesn’t use the label, for them ‘label’ is about brands, marketing and raking in profits) will vehemently deny this. However, it is not only in formal pacts that union and unity can be assessed. Outcomes also count. Preferred outcomes too.

When one camp wants the country pulled left and the other wants to go right, metaphorically speaking it is hard to go forward. So, is ‘මැද මාවත ’ (middle avenue/road) the option?

The ‘middlers’ are also a problematic category. They are excellently positioned to go in either direction. At will.

Yes, sorting traffic congestion is easier.

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