Forgotten promises and commitments

8 11 2009

With the Abhisit Vejjajiva government adding overt nationalism to its  royalism, the military-palace government now enters an extremely dangerous phase of its decline into authoritarianism. Governments in the past that have mixed these ingredients have generally been the most absolute and most repressive.

This mix of shibboleths allows governments to cover a multitude of traits that would usually, in a freer environment, be the subject of vehement criticism. This is not to say that there’s no criticism of the Abhisit government in Thailand; it’s just that it’s becoming more difficult to find brave mainstream critics.

At the same time, the reliance on rabid nationalism, conservative royalism and ever more blatant repression allows the Democrat Party-led government to “forget” commitments it made in several areas. PPT lists some of these here, and we are sure we will be forgetting some:

  • liberalism and democracy – remember when Abhisit masqueraded as a liberal democrat? Wasn’t it the Democrat Party and this premier who kept saying that democracy was more than election victories? Didn’t they promise to be better at a truly liberal democracy than the elected governments associated with Thaksin Shinawatra?
  • reconciliation – that was the catch-cry when the Democrat Party was maneuvered into government with Newin Chidchob’s coterie by the palace and military. It’s gone now and all about rooting out “traitors.”
  • solving the Sondhi Limthongkul assassination bid. That was said to be a sure thing by the end of September…. PPT wonders if anyone cares too much now as the Democrat Party and PAD seem to be thrown back into comfortable alliance.
  • working out a relationship with webmasters that prevented “misunderstandings” on computer “crimes” and lese majeste. Abhisit made the statement several times that he was the first prime minister to meet and discuss with webmasters. Now the Democrat Party-led government seems intent on on shutting down rather than “communicating.”
  • solving the murder of Somchai Neelaphaijit. That idea seems lost now.
  • less corruption – the corruption stories from the Office for Sufficiency Economy Community Projects, Ministry of Public Health and Ministry of Education all seem to have gone quiet.
  • amending the military’s 2007 constitution – a dead issue?
  • there was a time when Abhisit said that some analysis of the monarchy was acceptable; that is now long forgotten, with any excuse used to invoke lese majeste against the government’s opponents and all those identified as “traitors.”
  • the lese majeste case against Chotisak Onsoog had been dropped or resolved – the case continues.
  • Abhisit claimed that all of the people charged will be “treated fairly” and “given due process” – patently absurd, with Darunee Charnchoensilpakul having been tried in a closed court.
  • and then there was the desire to protect the monarchy and depoliticize it in public discourse  – ironically, this is probably the government’s most notable failure, with the monarchy now central to political debate and damaged by the government’s own political use of the monarchy.

PPT will stop here, but welcomes reader additions, emailed to us.


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9 11 2009



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