Everything’s Thaksin’s fault

22 10 2009

Also available as อะไรๆ ก็โทษทักษิณ

The Bangkok Post (22 October 2009: “Abhisit: Thaksin the major stumbling block”) reports on comments by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva in a new book titled (in the translation provided by the Post) “The same old Abhisit – in the prime minister’s seat.” The book’s author is Somjit Navakruasunthorn who is a political reporter on TV Channel 7 and conducted interviews with Abhisit for this book.

In it, Abhisit admits that “after 10 months in office, has not been able to bring an end to the problems besetting the country” because of one  “stumbling block.” No guesses needed as the stumbling block is none other than Thaksin Shinawatra: “The unrelenting political activities of fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra are the major stumbling block to solving the country’s problems, particularly the political mess that is the root cause of the divisions in society…”.

Abhisit complains that ”Thaksin is still active. His goal is to return to power. He has made efforts to exonerate himself from legal cases which have already been decided…. ‘This means, if Thaksin is determined to fight to achieve his goal then changes must be made to various systems, and this could have a serious impact on Thai society…”. It is unclear from the report what he means here by “various systems”? Judiciary? Monarchy? Both? Or more than this?

Abhisit says that when “he leaves office he wants people to remember him as a person who was able to bring Thai politics back to normal and resolve the political crisis” and he pleads for support, saying that “the Democrat Party still has a chance of victory in the next elections, provided it is able to solve the economic problems, reduce social conflict and provide state welfare for the people.”

In these short excerpts Abhisit again displays the characteristics of the elite that make it so difficult for them to comprehend the changes that have taken place in Thai society. Blaming Thaksin for the government’s woes is a gross under-estimation of the range of issues that face the country.Falling back on a view that Thaksin pays, cajoles and dupes is short-sighted and politically stupid. Thinking that way and that the current government can pay its way out of “social division” through the provision of state welfare is reflective of this. Ignoring coups and the manipulation of the judiciary and elections is, likewise, politically dumb.

It is easy to see the rise of extra-parliamentary politics featuring PAD and the UDD, the return of the military as political puppet masters and the overt political machinations that emanate from the palace as somehow related to Thaksin. He has certainly played a role, but identifying the problems with Thaksin as an individual ignores the changes in society that unleashed social forces that are behind Thaksin’s rise and his staying power, the popularity of Thai Rak Thai and its descendants, and the demands for an end to the elite’s manipulation of politics.

PPT doubts that Abhisit will ever understand. Based on the “traitor” allegations of the last few days, it is clear that the palace and its backers certainly have learned little over the past decade.



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22 10 2009
อะไรๆ ก็โทษทักษิณ « Liberal Thai

[…] by chapter 11 Everything’s Thaksin’s fault October 22, 2009 ที่มา – Political Prisoners in Thailand แปลและเรียบเรียง – แชพเตอร์ […]

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