If you listen to some of the loops on the anti-government side – and we mean their tape/iPod seems to be on a loop – we are back somewhere in 2005, dressed in yellow shirts and demanding a political intervention by the monarchy.
When Suthep Thaugsuban was reported at The Nation and confirmed in the Bangkok Post, he allegedly “unveiled his plans” for his preferred “national reforms.” As the newspaper notes, this was the done “for the first time last night.” It is heady royalist stuff, and hardly deserves the description of “plan,” let alone “plans”:
He said these would start with the setting up of a People’s Assembly, which would initially act as a legislative body to set up reform policies and promulgate necessary organic laws before selecting a prime minister.
That’s right, an unelected body will devise laws and policies and then select a premier. Nothing democratic in this effort to change the political rules and to remove any say from the electorate.
It gets worse for anyone who might hope that there had been political progress for all the deaths, injuries and mayhem. Not a bit from this royalist lot:
Under Article 7, if there is no provision in the Constitution, then the issue shall be decided in accordance with the Constitutional practice of a democratic regime with the King as head of state.
Yep, back to square one, where the People’s Alliance for Democracy was in 2005: this is exactly the same demand.
The report also notes that “Suthep did not provide a timeframe for the process…”. We imagine that they may take some time to work this out, trying to get it right this time, having failed to fix the political system in their interests in 2007-8
Nonsense claims about “fair elections and anti-corruption efforts” are politically insulting, for “fair” is whatever the unelected royalists want. And their corruption will be okay, as it was under Suthep and Abhisit Vejjajiva’s regime.
Also in the category of protest plagiarism is the claim that a “non-politician would be selected as a prime minister to run an interim national government that would administer the reform policies…”. Like putting a privy councilor in the premier’s chair as in 2007?
And, the push for the People’s Democratic Reform Committee to have “offices in all 77 provinces to accomplish the reforms” is sounding like a witch hunt in waiting.
So what is Suthep planning right now? Of course, he wants his celebrations for the king to be better than the government’s, trying to claim loyalty and political advantage. It seems clear that the king’s birthday was used to establish a very shaky “truce.” Shaky because the BBC is reporting continuing occupations and Suthep saying protests will continue.
For an assessment of Suthep’s movement that was written prior to the events yesterday, and we wanted to mention yesterday but ran out of time, academic Kevin Hewison notes that:
The current demonstrators can only succeed with another dose of military, judicial or palace support. If they receive it, and Suthep seizes power, the political reality will be considerably more authoritarian than his populist rhetoric suggests. A political “cleansing” and dismantling the Thaksin regime suggests a chilling despotism rather than a new politics.
That remains true today as much as it was earlier in the week.
Meanwhile, also at The Nation, and at its biased best, is a rundown of what is says is a “range” of options. Actually, “range” usually spans all sides, but not at The Nation, where it simply cites anti-government “academics,” without bothering to mention, and consequently hiding, the connections between some of these ideologues and Suthep.
The Nation states: “Many options have been proposed by academics…”. That could be true, but The Nation just provides advice by Suthep’s supporters, saying: “There are two variations on how to prepare for the dissolution of Parliament.” Yes, they did say “range” but manage to come up with two, which are really one. No range at all!
Pichai Rattanadilok Na Phuket of the National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA) is quoted as saying “that His Majesty the King invoke Article 7 of the Constitution to select an interim government to replace Yingluck’s Cabinet to reform the country.”
Didn’t Suthep say that? Of course, NIDA is a hive of yellow-shirted academics, but couldn’t The Nation have explained that this “academic” is a former PAD stage performer with a long history of links with anti-Thaksin and anti Yingluck groups and schemers.
The Nation then reports that:
Surapon Nitikraipot, a former rector of Thammasat University, has offered a similar road map to Pichai’s but suggested that the Senate Speaker nominate a person to be the prime minister for His Majesty’s endorsement. The new prime minister would call an election as well as a referendum to establish the people’s assembly.
You might think that Surapol is just another serious academic, but that would be wrong. Surapol was an appointed member of the military junta’s National Legislative Assembly. He is a defender of the military junta’s 2007 constitution, a member of a cabal of yellow-shirted academics, and an ideologue for the
Kangaroo Constitutional Court.
And finally, The Nation reports NIDA’s Sombat Thamrongthanyawong, who says that the way forward is to “enforce Article 3 of the Constitution to set up a ‘national government’ as a caretaker to lay out new political rules for the country and call for a new election.” Helpfully, it is explained that: “Article 3 states that sovereignty belongs to the Thai people and the King as head of state exercises power through Parliament, the government and the courts.”
Sombat’s royalist advice for kingly intervention is to be expected; he is a well-known yellow-shirted academic. Just a few days ago Sombat was described as an adviser to Suthep. Now wouldn’t you think The Nation might just mention this? Not a bit!
But it is even worse than this, at least as far as journalistic integrity is concerned. A few days ago the Bangkok Post reported this scene on Suthep’s protest stage:
Standing shoulder to shoulder with him on stage were core members of other anti-government groups including Green Politics coordinator Suriyasai Katasila, academic Sombat Thamrongthanyawong, leaders of the Network of Students and People for Reform of Thailand (NSPRT), the People’s Democratic Force to Overthrow Thaksinism, the Dhamma Army, and The State Enterprises Workers’ Relations Confederation.
Even in this report showing that Sombat is an activist with Suthep’s anti-government movement, we don’t understand why an extreme ideologue is considered an “academic.”
But back to the point: The Nation is so biased that it would even have dead fish trying to get out of it. Essentially, it is deceiving its readers.
We guess that there is going to be much more of this campaigning by disreputable ideologues masquerading as academics and journalists.