Prevarication is defined as ‘the attempt to avoid giving a direct and honest answer or opinion, or a clear and truthful account of a situation, often by telling a lie’. And how many times have each of us been guilty of such an action? Innumerable times, no doubt – unless you’re some kinda unique entity. For sure, the ‘degree’ of the ‘untruth’ uttered is often used as justification – a ‘white lie’, as some term it – and used, they righteously assert, to cause less harm than may otherwise have been caused. The purists, though, will have none of that crap – a lie is a lie is a lie, they will insist.

So, do the effects of ‘prevarication’ vary in terms of impact on the individual or, in a larger context, on society? It sure as hell does – affecting all and sundry across the spectrum and to varying degrees. The vote of ‘no confidence’ presented in parliament against the government spokeperson for his prevarication regarding the eviction of Tamil lodgers from Colombo is a case in point.

Waaaz da big deal maaan? Dese dudes be tellin notting but lies mos of da time, so how com dey don do dis sheeet more often, huh? Dis spokesperson dude, he be talkin such a load of toro pupu mos of da time, dat mos folk don believe his ass anyways. An I be guessin mos govermens roun da world hav dere spin doctors doin dere ‘spammin an jammin’, (as our ol fren Leon say) anyways – dat’s how it be maan – all aroun da world. Dey jus don want dere asses caught doin it, right? An dat ex-prez of ours – what did dat journalis dude call her? ‘Da mudder of all liars’ or somting like dat. Maaan could she stretch dat truth – she be stretchin it sooo muckin fuch dat it look like a totally differen beast by da time she get don, huh? Remember? I be guessin dat all dese politico types – anywhere on dis planet, be doin da same, so we jus hav to live wit dis ‘prevaricashun’, seein as how all of us be guilty of it at som time or anodder.

Java finishes his little spiel on the subject and heads for the sound.

Well, I guess Java is right on the ball. What’s the big deal he asks – and I’m hard put to answer him. It’s just that when the legal draftsmen did their thing all those eons ago with the Roman-Dutch law that filtered down through colonial times and spread their effects around the world, truth was held to be a standard of morality that was meant to be inherent in the responsibilities that those elected by the people to public office would be bound to uphold, and their oaths on entering office would include these conditions. So when a ‘spokesman for the government’ informs the country of a particular situation, he is bound to tell the truth and to wifully mislead the country’s citizens (and indeed the world), would be a gross violation of the trust imposed in the individual. And what is the penalty for this violation? I’m not much into the legal technicalities, but apparently the vote of ‘no confidence’ put forward by the opposition has asked that the ‘spokeperson’ be evicted from parliament. If this comes to pass – as unlikely as it may seem, for pessimists like Java, it will set a precedent (correct me please if I am in error) and perhaps serve as an example to future ‘spokepersons’ to watch their butts.

However, be that as it may, what strikes me is that it is sort of unlikely that the spokesperson would have devised this whole strategy by himself without at least discussing it with his superiors (whoever he/she/they may be) and if this was the ‘official’ statement, why should only the ‘spokesman’ take the fall? Shouldn’t anyone else also be held accountable? And who could possibly have told the ‘spokesperson’ to lie about the bussing? Your guess is as good – or as bad – as Java’s and mine.

Dat’s right maaan, all we be hopin fo is fo dis ting to end wit even a sem-blance of prop – how yo say dat word maaan? Yeah, dat’s right, prop-pri-ety, seein the sorry-ass state of our leaders an where dis country be headin.

Oh well, perhaps there’s hope for us yet. Let ‘prevarication’ get on that ‘endangered species’ list, at least for the elected representatives of us all. Haven’t we had enough of being lied to and taken for a pack of idiots by folk who don’t have the intelligence to tell the truth when even they know that we know that they know they are lying to us? This, as Java says, is ‘so-in-yo-face-blatant’ that we are expected to accept anything that is passed down without a murmur. But it looks like enough is enough – at least let’s hope this gets the ball rolling towards a more democratic state of affairs.

Java has Weather Report doing Zawinul’s classic ‘Birdland’, gets his stash out and we look forward to the rest of the evening in the cool climes of Flowerbook.