Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Random thoughts: PAD, UDD, the blogs and the future

I think it would be arrogant for any of us to pretend we have all the knowledge and all the answers for the ongoing political crisis. We all have our own questions, opinions and ideas.

I could write pages of my own, but it would probably end up a garbled, fragmented mess. So instead, I will simply brainstorm my own thoughts and opinions, and I invite others to do the same.


- Their professed goal (new politics) is a very good one. Sadly, their methods have disgraced them.

- The PAD used to be a good thing. The first anti-Thaksin protests were the right way to protest. Why did they change? Perhaps they knew they lacked support this time around, so they needed to be more aggressive.

- One of the key failings of the leaders is their failure to condemn violent attacks such as the man who purposely ran over the policemen…..

- …this has attracted violent thugs who care nothing for the country but just want an excuse to attack policemen and others. Again, we must ask why this has been allowed, and the answer seems to be that the PAD need the numbers.

- This could have been something special. The PAD could have protested peacefully outside the airports, parliaments etc. They could have made a party atmosphere, distributed leaflets and staged music shows, etc, that got the message across. They could have pushed so hard for changes. It may have taken longer but it would have gained more support.

- The PAD seem to have a bandwagon mentality. Suddenly unions, students and shop workers all jump up and “demand” the government resign, all the while trying to get their picture in the papers.

- Will the leaders flee Thailand after it’s all over? Surely any political clout they have has been crushed under the weight of their crimes. Sondhi and Chamlomg must realize that they are playing Russian Roulette with their lives now.

- This campaign must have been expensive. Who is paying? Surely not Sondhi, he admits he is broke.

- There have been innocent victims in all this, but let’s remember where real sympathy should go. Whilst it was wrong to vandalise the Chart Thai premises, do we really want to shed too many tears for an incompetent, corrupt, godfather brand of politicians who have never been anything but opportunists?

- Likewise, let's remember that we have the likes of Chalerm in government. This is not a group of all nice people.

- My wife;s business has suffered as a result of PAD protests.

- General Prem has often spoken out during times of trouble, yet he has remained very silent during all this.

UDAD / Pro-government protesters

- In the beginning, it seemed to be the pro-government groups that resorted to violence. That has changed. For the most part they have been peaceful and articulate and they deserve credit for this.

- It shouldn’t matter and it doesn’t matter, but it has been observed (please take a look as it took me a long time to dig up that link!) that there are differences between the attractiveness of pro and anti government protesters. Perhaps Lalidah, Pasninja and others can join UDAD to even the score? (Just kidding, guys!)

- Pro government groups have the democratic advantage but geography is not on their side. Most of them come from outside Bangkok.

Both sides

- Talk about compromise but seem unable.

- Should really grow up and stop prancing around with weapons they have no idea how to use.

- Profess they are the ones who “really” love the country.

- The army and the police have probably improved their image during all this.

- The army have shown great restraint (*but is it for the right reasons?)

- The police don’t have the best international image but they have also been restrained.

- However, the police appear to lack organization and perhaps don’t like having the spotlight on them so bright that they can’t bully people as they have been accused of in the past. However, this certainly does not excuse the violence against them.

The endgame

- I see no way out. I think there will be no coup but I do see a military offensive that can only cause bloodshed.

- But that is not the end. The power struggle will continue. There are still questions to be asked, tensions simmering and things that cannot be said.

- I hope I’m wrong, I hope somehow this works out but I think things will get worse before they get better.

- In the very long term, I’m sure Thailand will be OK. As I’ve said before, it’s easy to look at the UK and say we are “democratically mature” but that’s because we went through stuff like this centuries ago. We still have problems now, but we get by. So will Thailand, but I’m not sure if it will happen in my lifetime.

1 comment:

hobby said...

I can see only 2 ultimate scenarios:

(a) Civil war
(b) Truce, with Amnesties all round (with a Royal dressing down thrown in for good measure)
The big stumbling block to the latter scenario is: What happens to the 73 billion baht?

If Dr T is to get back any substantial portion, then I imagine there will need to be some sort of guarantees that he will not be involved in politics.

It would be more fun to watch if there wasn't a real risk of scenario (a).