(Adapted from "Take a stand" on facebook. Political Psychologists argue that context and perception of environment form as crucial in our political behavior as our values. Looking at my different stances for my two beloved countries, I can see that the above statemet is true.)
2008 Prime Ministerial Candidates:
UK:Nick Griffin or at least the UKIP party. Failing that, David Cameron.
Thailand: Abhisit Vejajiva. He has his faults but he is the only remotely clean, remotely progressive politician.
UK: I support the right to abortion. Morally, I do not believe that a fetus is yet capable of feelings or thoughts. Statistical studies have shown that allowing abortion reduces crime. The emotional, financial and mental strain if raising an unwanted child can wreck lives and damage society.
Thailand:Abortion is a grey area in Thailand. It is still illegal except in cases of rape or life threatening births however abortion clinics do exist.
UK: Affirmative action/positive discrimination is despicable. It is a political football used to pacify groups who otherwise unsettle the government. It is, in essence, a form of bribery.
Thailand:The concept of affirmative action really does not exist in Thailand.
UK: Yes, for crimes such as terrorism, child murder or rape that are verified by DNA evidence. Capital Punishment is not used in the UK.
Thailand: Capital Punishment is in force but rarely used. Many Thais do not support capital punishment in Thailand as they believe police and law enforcement agencies are not mature, clean or efficient enough to deliver justice.
UK: None. Censorship is a form of thought control. Even web sites used by terrorists should be unrestricted, censorship simply forces them to go underground, makes them harder to monitor and allows them to disguise their behaviour. Certain media should carry warnings and watershed times should be used for TV .
Thailand:Censorship is rife. Paranoid junta and rich people at the top have a lot to hide. The masses must be kept uninformed and under mind control. The struggle continues.
UK: It's time to go Mr Brown. Labour did do some good things for the economy but they are looking like tired old men. Battered over the Iraq war, battered over immigration and battered over lack of NHS improvement.
Thailand:Surayud and Sonthi claim to be working for the good of the nation. Sonthi has done little except serving his own interests and ensuring the military remain in control visibly or otherwise. Suryud has worked hard but like all the self appointed government, he is old and out of touch.
UK: Should be free (and is). At university level, should be heavily subsidised. It should not be totally free. A high number of graduates provides benefit for the state, but totally free education can simply encourage lazy freeloaders. We must produce intelligent, productive and educated youth but we must also inject responsibility into them.
Thailand:Education is free by constitutional law up to age twelve. Government schools are damaged by corruption and class sizes are usually over forty. Many believe that Thailand would benefit from smaller classes, modernisation of schools and training and monitoring of teachers. Of course this all costs money and time.
UK: More pressure must be applied to Burma. North Korea must be pressured by all peaceful means possible. We should continue to work closely with all nations in the fight against terrorists.
Thailand:Similar to the UK, except for spats with Singapore.
UK: Benefits us, may not benefit other countries, particularly less developed ones. We should be careful not to exploit.
Thailand:The previous regime was accused of signing self serving FTAs with America, but little action has been taken since.
UK: I have no problem and do not feel at all threatened by what a gay person is, does or wants. The gay community should respect the same laws of decency that hetro couples do, there is no difference. I guess I go against my rightist peers on this one.
Thailand:I believe the age of homosexual consent in Thailand is 18, as with hetrosexual sex . Social attitudes are very tolerant. We could learn from Thailand on this one. (Beware any foreigner who tells you different concerning ages of sexual consent).
UK: Let's stand up and take responsibility. One day there will be no oil. Start looking for alternatives and find a way to undo this mess. The state should fund government and independent research tanks.
Thailand:Lip service only. Government spokespeople barely concealed their petty jealousy when UN workers visited Thailand to offer their opinions.
UK: If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. However, control should be tight. Full background checks, a waiting period and thorough licence checks. Violent criminals lose the right. It is not necessary or desirable to have the same gun culture as America.
Thailand:Contraband arms deals do happen. At street level, availability of weapons is obvious to anyone walking past a street market but firearms slightly less so. Carrying any form of firearm or explosive without licence is an offense. Laws are strict but enforcement is not. Perhaps changes are needed?
UK:For all its faults, the NHS is a good thing. A country should not make its people pay for basic health care. Drug companies should all be subject to compulsory licensing, they do not have the right to hold sick people to ransom.
Thailand:The 20 bhat health care scheme has ostensibly been made free, in reality funding has been cut. Thai government hospitals are under staffed, under funded and under trained. Private hospitals are booming. What will the next government do to help?
UK: A big problem in my country. They should be rounded up and sent home.The issue of human rights does not come into it. Our tiny country is full and we are known as the "soft touch". All claims of asylum should be scrutinised and checked for fraud.
Thailand:A problem in trafficking and in presence. Neighbouring nations have a number of illegal immigrants, however local authorities are not shackled by political correctness and happily send immigrants back. Thai people put themselves first and are proud of it. How different to Britain.
UK: Yes. If we can legalise alcohol, we can legalise weed. Take the money from the dealers and put it towards something worthwhile.Save the police time. There is no evidence to show marijuana use encourages experimentation with other drugs.
Thailand:Unlikely. Some believe that powerful politicians make money from keeping it illegal.
UK: Fine, as long as we have a truly independent media watch dog with teeth. Politicians and groups with lobbying power or funds should be forced to publicly disclose any investment, payments or conflicts of interest with media groups.
Thailand:All TV channels are owned by the military or the government. Enough said.
Right to Die:
UK: Yes. I don't want to see someone I love go through endless pain and I don't believe any other sane person would either.
Thailand:Murky area. Not specifically addressed in Thai law so therefore treated as murder or suicide. Euthanasia also goes against Buddhist principles.
UK:Yes but not compulsory. We do not have the right to force children to follow a religious path and we should encourage them to choose for themselves.
Thailand:Compulsory at state schools, at least morally and socially. Private schools tend to be guided by the religious beliefs of the owner. Unlikely to change due to the Thai religious psyche. Does this encourage freedom of thought?
UK:The UK is rife with benefit fraud. Social security should be monitored with independent bodies running random checks on scroungers and freeloaders. Unemployed adults in good health should be given a deadline to find work or be forced to explain why to an independent adjudicator. However, SS is an essential part of state care.
Thailand:Exists in theory. SS funds must be paid by the company and for registered workers only. Most poor people in Thailand cannot register or afford to pay. Can any government take the big step to true universal SS?
UK: British taxes represent about thirty percent of a middle class worker's salary. VAT is 17.5% This is high and is used to fund the NHS and benefits. Such taxes would be lower or expanded in scope if such a portion of them was not used to finance freeloaders, immigrants who have not been approved to reside in the UK and minority groups.
Thailand: Tax returns are complex and usually required to be calculated by the individual. Question marks exist over their usage as the government is not transparent.
UK:Should not be given to much power. The Conservative government were right to strip them down. Unions have the right to form and lobby, they do not have the right to enforce socialism on weak governments.
Thailand:Unions exist and have been known to create stirs, but rarely so. They are a force however and are unlikely to go away. In Thailand, this is probably a good thing as unions can pressurise corrupt governments.
War in Iraq:
UK: Pull out. Too many have died. Whilst the war was noble in its intentions, the prospects for democracy between warring Muslim factions is unlikely to improve. We should go on a one year drive to provide security and infrastructure to Iraq before pulling out completely.
Thailand:Thailand sent 443 non-combatant soldiers to Iraq for one year. Two were killed. Few have argued against the withdrawal.
UK:Yes. Honest people have nothing to hide and the state have a duty to be pro active in protecting its citizens. A warrant should be issued however.
Thailand:Under the Telegraph and Telephone Act, B.E. 2476. authorities can tap after receiving a warrant. Others face up to five years in Jail. Wiretapping is opposed by many in Thailand as they do not trust the authorities to use it for good.