Privy councilor as political dinosaur

27 04 2014

PPT and many of our readers noted that another privy councilor has decided to provide his observations on the ills of Thai society and their remedies.

Privy Councillor Kasem Watthanachai is reported at the Bangkok Post. His view is that:

Thailand has been mired in “a decade of darkness” resulting from the politics of populism and graft, told a seminar yesterday.

Mr Kasem said the crisis Thailand has been facing over the past decade is unprecedented.

He described it as a decade of darkness resulting from politics revolving around populist policies which have led people to crave and become addicted to materialism and consumerism.

He said corruption is a serious problem that needs to be addressed urgently.

Kasem has said similar things before, lecturing those who “sold” land to “foreigners” about “greed.” Then he complained about a third of Thailand being owned by “foreigners,” sold by “greedy” people; this was a nonsense.

A privy councilor since 2001, his claims about “darkness,” an unprecedented “crisis,” serious “corruption and linking this to “populism” is simply another privy councilor engaging in overt politics, attacking the elected governments that they loathe.

Hence, KasemĀ  can urge “people, including civil servants, to come out and ‘light candles’ to dispel and counter the darkness of corruption and for the government to make serious efforts to tackle the graft problem,” he may as well be asking them to welcome anti-democrats with gold whistles.

Supporting the anti-democrats? You bet he is. He was speaking at another of those “independent” agencies that have been carefully politicized under the influence of royalists, the Office of the Ombudsman.

The old men of the privy council worry that “Thai people are adopting some negative social values such as bowing to dishonest people, or admiring and supporting wealthy people who commit wrongdoings…”. He means Thaksin and the Shinawatra clan.

His political conservatism was matched by Ombudsman Sriracha Charoenpanich who:

told the seminar that Thai society has been “seriously ill” and is badly in need of “operations” at almost every level.

So it is that these political dinosaurs are encouraging right-wing extremists and gang of thugs just as they did when privy councilor Thanin Kraivixien was the royally-anointed premier. This time it is the so-called Rubbish Collection Organization led by Major-General Rientong Nan-nah and the enforcers of the anti-democrats.

Led by the ancients of the Privy Council, it is argued that the answer is to “restore moral and ethical values while national discipline must also be forged among people to move the country toward progress…”. They mean the king/monarchy.

Politically biased privy councilors and an Ombudsman who thinks he should engage in politics by attacking “impostor defenders of democracy,” and the battles lines are as clear as they were in 2006. This time, however, there is more push back. For example, the Puea Thai Party is needling General Prem Tinsulanonda. (Is it “greedy” to take 121,950 baht a month as a “position allowance” for a position that is not gazetted and does nothing? Is it corrupt for such an allowance to have been awarded by a buddy at the Privy Council who happened to be premier after the military coup?)

In essence, the Privy Council is the repository of much of the deeply reactionary thinking that exercises rightists and royalists in Jurassic Thailand.

Wikipedia notes that “[a]lthough the word dinosaur means ‘terrible lizard’, the name is somewhat misleading, as dinosaurs are not lizards.” Interestingly, for Thais, a “terrible lizard” can have a derogatory meaning. Obviously, PPT uses “dinosaur” to refer to a political dinosaur.

Such dinosaurs are dangerous because they are so disconnected from political realities, defining their “reality” by flunkies pandering to them and their connection to aged extremists and the class that believes it should rule Thailand and that is determined never to compromise with the rabble who favor elections.


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