Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The ultimate question: how would YOU make things better?

We've all had something to say these last couple of months. Lalidah said it best: blogs have been coming in like bullets from a machine gun.

It's human nature that we are quicker to criticise than praise, better at asking questions than offering answers. But let's try and turn the tide. Let me give you this totally hypothetical scenario:

By some freak of nature, you become the appointed soul who has to solve Thailand's political mess. You can introduce any reform you like within reason. What would you do?

I would dissolve both houses immediately. They have clearly become dysfunctional battlegrounds of self interest and seem acceptable to nobody. I would call new elections with UN and local observers invited.

I would change the elected/appointed ratio in the senate from 51/49 to 70/30. This ratio represents a genuinely democratic house with just enough appointees to reduce danger of any faction in the lower house from controlling the senate as happened under the TRT government.

I'd push through with Suryaud's failed promise of police reform. (In reality this would be tough).

I'd write a new constitution. Yes, another one! Why bother? Because the 1997 constitution had some great elements to it. The new one dropped some of those elements but introduced some others. I'd also set up a constitutional advisory panel with genuine influence. In that panel I'd include representatives from the PAD, the UDAD and other demographs, perhaps even a NWL blogger!

I'd strongly recommend that the new constitution clearly defined the armed forces as being segregated from politics and any coup as illegal. I'd also clearly define the role of other institutions. Moreover, I'd strongly suggest greater focus on free speech in the constitution because I feel that could alleviate tensions in Thailand.

I'd also seek expert advice on possible reform of the judicial appointments system.

I'd set up two public bodies. The first would be a project aimed at real national reconciliation - not in the fake sense politicians mean when they say those words. The project could include collaborations between the Bangkok community and rural communities.

The second project would aim at forming a federal system for Thailand's economy. This would take a lot of costly work, but I'm sure it would provide massive long term benefits.

Finally, I'd suggest a series of public referenda. Possible votes could include a chief of police, parliamentary reform, etc.

So that's my imaginary work done. Now how about you?

1 comment:

tiz said...

interesting post.

I would also reorganize the school system, in a way that encourages kids to think critically and to have to work to get a pass. Which will be a difficult plan, because the teachers are the one's whose mentality need to be changed then.

And I would invest heavily in education in the rural areas. I think good education is critical to achieven the inspirational leaders of tomorrow you are talking about in your previous blog.

Finally, very radical, I would scrap "a certain law", leaving more room for healthy criticism.