Democrat Party in soggy attack on red shirts

18 10 2011

In the same Bangkok Post report where PPT cited former Prime Minister but still authoritarian Abhisit Vejjajiva’s call for military force against opponent-victims of flooding, there is also some interesting material from Democrat Party spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut.

First he complained that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is being seen too much (think of the media reports that say she is missing, weak and lacking leadership) and when she is, the nasty “red shirts would clap their hands in support of …  after she gave her interview[s].” The spokesman also complained that red shirts had “acted as if they were supervisors” at the Don Muang flood relief center.

Next he complained about the “government’s launch of 500 boats at Nonthaburi to try to push water from the Chao Phraya River, the Bang Pakong River and Tha Chin River out into the sea, he said the operation was a waste of time and effort as there were high sea tides at the time.” Spokesman Chavanond better bite your tongue for there has been ongoing discussion of the origin of this idea – see a thread at New Mandala – and it seems it is one of the king’s ideas.

PPT thinks the criticism is probably right, but we aren’t hydrologists. However, it would be outrageous for a member of the royalist party to be critical of the king.

In a report at The Nation, the Democrat Party turns to its more traditional form of political carping, with the party’s deputy spokesman Atthaporn Polabutr actually calling on ” former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to tell the red-shirt movement to stop causing rifts during this time of crisis.” Of course, his jaundiced view is that the red shirts are at the beck and call of Thaksin.

Atthaporn “said the country now needed unity to tackle the flood crisis but the red-shirt movement continued to escalate rifts.” He cited Nitirat and Robert Amsterdam as the culprits.

Now, while Amsterdam might have a line direct to Thaksin, it is a far more serious allegation to suggest that Nitirat is merely a tool of the red shirts and that Thaksin can  tell these academic lawyers what to say and do. Atthaporn may be confusing Nitirat with the kind of academics that have aligned to the Democrat Party and the yellow shirts.

Atthaporn then went on to link back to Abhisit by predicting that the “country will later on plunge deeper into crisis because of shortages and rising food costs. It will become a national crisis.” Atthaporn seems to think that it is Thaksin, red shirts and political opponents of the Democrat Party that have caused rifts in Thailand, forgetting his own party and their buddies and supporters in the elite.

Hopefully, when Atthaporn dries out, he may have something more useful to say rather than his re-runs of Democrat Party rhetoric circa 2007-10.

Democrat Party and getting a political crisis in motion

11 09 2011

The Democrat Party has declared that time is up for the Puea Thai Party-led government. In the Bangkok Post, the deputy spokesman of the party that was trounced in the election in early July has declared the new government, officially in place for a month, has had it.

Democrat Party deputy spokesman Atthaporn Polabutr warned that people “should be prepared for a new round of political crisis which may occur in six months because the Pheu Thai-led government has abused its power for the benefits of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra…”. He claimed that “the government’s power abuses had become unacceptable to the people in society.”

These alleged “abuses” include: “pressure to win a royal pardon for Thaksin, an attempt to revive the Ratchadapisek land case, unfair transfers of state officials, and appointment of people under serious legal charges to take political positions…”. For good measure, he added that “the government’s key policies such as the 300 baht daily minimum wage, the 15,000 baht monthly salary for bachelor’s degree graduates, and the paddy mortgage programme were full of flaws and could affect its stability.”

Finally, Atthaporn called for Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, with only a month in office, to go. Otherwise, “this government would meet growing resistance from various sectors of society.”

Should Atthaporn simply be dismissed as a lunatic who can’t get over the fact that the Democrat Party can never win an election? We don’t think so. There are several reasons for this view.

First, less than a week ago, Puea Thai MP and and red shirt leader Jatuporn Promphan is said to have stated that “an unconstitutional power clique is conspiring to bring down the Pheu Thai-led government.” There can be little doubt that the anti-Thaksin elite are already at work, plotting and scheming.

Second, the Democrat Party has repeatedly shown that it does not respect the electoral process, so no electoral defeat, no matter how large, will be respected.

Third, the Democrat Party has a long history of relying on decidedly undemocratic forces to lift it to government – palace, military, the People’s Alliance for Democracy and backroom elite deals.

Finally, the Democrat Party is drawing on precedent. Thaksin won the biggest ever election victory in February 2005 and yet the military set the tanks rolling just 14 months later following a long period of agitation by anti-Thaksin forces.

For Atthaporn and his party, the election defeat is just a bump in the road, and can soon be overcome with anti-Thaksin propaganda, rhetoric and by getting the yellow-shirted media, intellectuals and organizers in motion.

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