Abhisit’s gift to the Thai people

29 01 2011

You don’t need any Thai to get the meaning of this particular piece of state propaganda put out for the Democrat Party-led government.

The images clear convey the meaning. Here is Abhisit providing a gift – in the form of the Pracha Wiwat program – for the Thai people. Which people? That’s clear too. It is a “gift” to the farmers, taxi drivers, hawkers and the like who have been amongst the main supporters of the red shirt rebellion, and before that, the pro-Thaksin Shinawatra parties.

PPT reckons this is pretty rich. First, the “gift” is funded with taxpayers money, so Abhisit is using trick developed by the monarchy that gains the person claiming to be making the gift great merit.

Second, it is blatant “vote-buying” through “policy corruption.” It is about seeking to create an “obligation” that acts on the minds of voters. If that sounds familiar, it is because these were the charges directed at the Thaksin Thai Rak Thai Party when campaigning as so-called populists. On the one hand, the devoid of ideas Democrat Party continue to plagiarize Thaksin while hating him, but they do it in an even more clearly electoralist manner than even Thaksin dared. They do this because they are desperate to get even a few votes away from the pro-Thaksin regions where the Democrat Party is loathed. If readers have forgotten all the attacks on corruption and Thaksin’s populism, see this paper (a large PDF) and think about Abhisit.

Third, the clip shows something else about the Democrat Party that proves it can never be truly “populist”: look at how the policy-making process is portrayed. A bunch of suits with laptops and designer shoes march into a room, sit around with big shots and come up with the “gift.” They get nods of approval from the mainly Sino-Thai big shots. Abhisit and Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij, not to mention that the police chief (did PPT miss the military brass or were they deliberately left out?), are there nodding approval before unveiling the “gift.”

If readers dislike Thaksin’s populism, then they must condemn Abhisit and his ilk. There is, however, a difference between Abhisit and Thaksin, and PPT thinks it matters. In his first electoral incarnation, Thaksin came up policies as part of a platform he put to voters. They apparently approved. Abhisit, however, is dishing out loot before an election. This is not a party or prime minister that has ever received a mandate for this kind of policy. That strikes us as shabby, even grubby.


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30 01 2011
Abhisit, restraint and irony | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] our recent post on “legitimate grievances” being met. On the rule of law, PPT has pointed out that Abhisit means something other than the usual […]

12 02 2011
Trying to fix an election result, part II | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] that not insubstantial sum in with all of the government’s other schemes such as the 9-10 billion on Pracha Wiwat giveaways that are also meant to increase popularity […]

20 08 2012
Kavi goes off, loves Abhisit, hates Yingluck, hates electors « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] corruption now and the Democrat Party government didn’t do anything wrong (see here, here, here and here, just as a few examples of Kavi’s […]

20 08 2012
Kavi goes off, loves Abhisit, hates Yingluck, hates electors « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] about corruption now and the Democrat Party government didn’t do anything wrong (see here, here, here and here, just as a few examples of Kavi’s […]




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