With two updates: The Democrat Party and its failures

9 09 2013

On Sunday, in an op-ed at the Bangkok Post, Voranai Vanijaka managed to criticize the Democrat Party for its multiple failures, not least at the ballot box, without ever giving credit to all the pro-Thaksin Shinawatra parties since 2001 for their remarkable political savvy and capacity to win elections. The best Voranai can do is put multiple election victories, many by landslides down to good PR and babble about a “democratic dictatorship.” We think he means parliamentary politics.

In other words, pro-Thaksin parties are really very, very bad and very, very nasty, but their PR covers all this up for the apparently stupid electorate who chose them.

And, oh yes, the Democrat Party helps out by being politically hopeless.

All the party of the elite has to do is get better PR locally and internationally, and, hey presto, they’ll get into power. Hence he can doodle about foreigners having only a superficial understanding of Thai politics but the fact is that the Democrat Party itself seems to have a jaundiced and superficial view of the nature of Thailand’s politics and the way it has changed. When Voranai writes of PR, how different is this from the view that all voters are paid, misled or stupid?

Thailand has changed and the Democrat Party and the royalist elite are being left behind.

PPT can’t help wondering if the Democrat Party should also ditch its name; in recent years it has not shown any penchant for democratic politics. Perhaps, too, if it is to be involved in electoral politics in any serious way it should ditch its tainted leaders Abhisit Vejjajiva and Suthep Thaugsuban, both forever stained by their orders that resulted in the deaths of nearly 100 and injuries to thousands in 2009 and 2010.Abhisit and Suthep

The sense that politics is all about PR stunts is seen when Voranai notes that: “The Democrats [he means the Democrat Party] suffer the image of a conservative, pro-establishment party with a too-comfortable alliance with the military. This simply does not speak well to the international community that promotes democracy.”

You see, its “image.” No, Voranai, it is a fact. This is exactly what the Democrat Party really is, for the local electorate, and it is not what they want.

But Voranai seems to assume that the Democrat Party is serious about parliamentary politics. A story at the Bangkok Post suggests otherwise:

The Democrat Party expects chaos and political game-playing in the joint parliamentary session this week when the chamber resumes the constitutional amendment debate.

Based on the past week’s experience, this is not a prediction, but a threat.

The Democrat Party demands that every one of its MPs should be able to speak on every article in the bill. In most parliaments – the U.S. being a major exception – such a tedious tactic is soon set aside by speakers, as set out in, for example, Robert’s Rules.

Even if they can speak forever, the Democrat Party is still going to refer the bill to the Constitutional Court, which makes all the delaying rather silly except that it allows the Party to bring the parliamentary system and elected politicians into such disrepute that whole system, they hope, will collapse.

If anyone doubts the democratic destructiveness of the Democrat Party, then read the Bangkok Post’s interview with Deputy Democrat Party leader Korn Chatikavanij.Korn_tea

After babbling about party reform and admitting the party has not been able to recruit many outstanding members … since politics became polarised after the 2006 military coup,” Korn says “… it is possible the Democrats may start to lead people onto the streets…”.

Start? They have already been doing it, including organizing protests. Again, Korn is making a threat.

Also at the Bangkok Post there’s a short report on three academics trying to explain political conflict. None seem to be reported as explaining conflict, but Pasuk Phongpaichit’s call for “old power cliques” to accommodate to “the country’s changing social and political terrain…”:

She said the refusal of the old power groups, which included the Democrat Party, to adapt has caused the conflicts.

The Democrat Party is at a remarkable low point. Its issues and allies are not just conservative but reactionary.

We agree with Voranai (and Pasuk) on one point: if the party is democratic and supports the parliamentary system, then it needs to be a stronger party that strengthens the system rather than undermining it. It can only do that with a new, untainted leadership and policies that don’t plagiarize but challenge the pro-Thaksin parties.

To be honest, we don’t think it has the capacity for such change. That’s bad for democracy.

Update 1: The paucity of the Democrat Party’s ideas and debate is further demonstrated in a recent Khaosod report that has former premier Abhisit attacking current Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra as อีโง่ or “a stupid bitch” in the following video:

The video runs the selection twice but the point is clear. As Khaosod says:

Abhisit′s uncharacteristic rudeness might also reflect the larger shift in attitude of the Democrats. The party has recently embarked on aggressive tactics in its attempt to oust the government including organising street protests and creating chaos inside the House of Parliament during debates on contentious issues.

Abhisit reportedly reinforced his misogyny:

Abhisit did not apologise for his now-notorious remark when reporters questioned him at the Democrat Party headquarters earlier today.

He claimed that he did not refer to Ms. Yingluck specifically when he said those words on the stage. “I was merely following what I saw on Google,” Mr. Abhisit insisted (typing “stupid bitch” in Thai on Google search would bring up images of Ms. Yingluck).

Smart ass rich lads treating women badly is unlikely to curry favor with anyone other than the patriarchal right-wing royalists.

Update 2: Khaosod has gone to extraordinary lengths to point out that its translation of อีโง่ as “stupid bitch.” It does this in part because other English-language newspapers have translated Abhisit’s sexist rant in more “generous” terms, perhaps protecting the errant Democrat Party leader.

For PPT, Khaosod’s translation is accurate and carries the venom Abhisit intended.

Several outlets have suggested that Abhisit’s comment was not directed at Yingluck personally. The context, in the video above, makes it clear his misogynist attack was directed at the premier.

 


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10 responses

24 09 2013
Opposition fails, judges needed | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] experienced in parliamentary debate, has become increasingly ineffective…”. In fact, the party has failed and violated […]

24 09 2013
Opposition fails, judges needed | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] in parliamentary debate, has become increasingly ineffective…”. In fact, the party has failed and violated […]

20 11 2013
Promoting PADist propaganda | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] from repeating the base and misogynist charges made by Abhisit Vejjajiva not that long ago – we imagine that Abhisit gets his ideas from propagandists like Chai-Anan […]

20 11 2013
Promoting PADist propaganda | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] from repeating the base and misogynist charges made by Abhisit Vejjajiva not that long ago – we imagine that Abhisit gets his ideas from propagandists like Chai-Anan – […]

16 01 2014
Misogyny as political weapon | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] as a “slut” or “whore” for daring to stand up for democratic governance. Democrat Party semi-leader Abhisit Vejjajiva added to this personalized attack when he showed that the “educate” people can also be base and crude by decrying […]

16 01 2014
Misogyny as political weapon | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] as a “slut” or “whore” for daring to stand up for democratic governance. Democrat Party semi-leader Abhisit Vejjajiva added to this personalized attack when he showed that the “educate” people can also be base and crude by decrying […]

12 06 2014
Holding the dictator’s coat | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] movement. Of course, others have noted this and scoffed at the party and its failures. As we have regularly observed, the Democrat Party has a long history of cuddling up to dictators in military uniforms, all in the […]

12 06 2014
Holding the dictator’s coat | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] movement. Of course, others have noted this and scoffed at the party and its failures. As we have regularly observed, the Democrat Party has a long history of cuddling up to dictators in military uniforms, all in the […]

2 02 2016
“Gender equality will weaken Thailand” | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] or “whore” for daring to stand up for democratic governance. At around the same time, Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva added to these shocking and disgusting personalized attacks by referring to Yingluck as “a stupid […]

2 02 2016
“Gender equality will weaken Thailand” | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] or “whore” for daring to stand up for democratic governance. At around the same time, Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva added to these shocking and disgusting personalized attacks by referring to Yingluck as “a stupid […]