There appear to be several pretenders for the king’s crown, at least as far as discourse goes. Suthep Thaugsuban has been at it on the dictatorship’s constitution.
Next in line is the old political meddler, Privy Council president, General and coup planner Prem Tinsulanonda. Of course, Prem has more pedigree for speaking for the king than Suthep, having been the king’s favorite for many years. He’s one of the old men who consider that they rule Thailand now the geriatric network of monarchists.
In the Bangkok Post, the aged political boss is reported as having “lashed out populist policies…”. Nothing unusual there, except that the junta itself has been accused of populism in its policies (denied, of course).
As a wealthy royalist, an elitist and anti-democrat, Prem hates the idea that any of the lower classes should have a voice in politics and on policies. His paternalism suggests that such populist policies and corruption go hand-in-hand and have “weakened the country and the people…”.
Like the king, he hates notions of welfare – think universal health care – as welfare (now populist policy) “discouraged people from helping themselves. Instead they became recipients.” The king has often claimed that welfare made people lazy and a burden on society.
Prem and the king prefer charity to welfare. Charity, preferably from royals, ties the populace to the monarchy and creates hierarchy and reinforces paternalism and patronage.