Thailand’s George W Bush

Is it really possible that Thailand’s George W. Bush will become Prime Minister? As Andrew Walker at New Mandala puts it: “With the assistance of a military coup, two party dissolutions, a new constitution, an activist judiciary, royal backing, an ultra-nationalist crisis, six months of escalating street provocation, military insubordination, and an economically disastrous airport shutdown, the Democrat Party now seems to be within striking distance of forming Thailand’s next government.”

Since Abhisit W. Vejjajiva is leader of the Democrats, he is most likely to get the nomination from his side, if the deep-pocketed influencers who are buying the loyalty of former PPP-coalition MPs manage to convince enough to turn their coats.

In what way is he Thailand’s George W Bush. Let me count the ways:

Born into a family of wealth and enormous privilege

Enviable academic record made possible by family influence rather than personal ability

Never managed a useful day’s work in his life

Draft dodger (allegedly. Well, it is true but being disputed)

Awarded office by court decisions rather than the ballot box

Hopelessly incapable of understanding the problems facing his country and likely to pass all real political work to extremist and secretive background people

The kind of guy you’d like to have a beer with – that always struck me as a strange thing with Bush, who of course is a currently non-drinking alcoholic (since we must discount the curious pretzel choking rumours and the … on second thoughts, I have deleted the end of that sentence).

It is not definite that the Democrats will be able to put together a coalition and, even if they do, how stable it will be, since numbers are likely to be close and a number of the new coalition members will face severe criticism from voters over their behaviour and many will be voted out and can spend more time with their newly-swollen bank accounts. The army has started to talk about ‘unrest’ in the north which could be true, of course or else preparation for a military crackdown (possibly re-imposition of martial law) in areas unhappy about the Silent Coup now taking place.

Let us live in boring times.

Violet Elizabeth Abhisit

Well, we made it through another weekend without a military coup or widespread violence. Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej is talking about patience and seeing out the problems caused by the anti-democracy mob, which is besieging Government House. Around 10,000 mob members (according to the BBC, the Thai media claim many more than that) advanced on Government House over the weekend and, apparently, ‘easily outwitted’ the police and their road blocks – outwitting the Thai police, eh, they said it couldn’t be done. Perhaps this is one reason why.

As a sop to the mob and their supporters in the Senate, now of course stuffed with junta appointees, Khun Samak has assented to a frankly inappropriate series of censure motions against the government, which has had just four months to sort out the mess left by the disastrous junta period and the obstruction of parliament. The motions will presumably by led by Violet Elizabeth Abhisit (if he can drag himself out of bed long enough), who has threatened to scream and scream and scream until he gets his way. VE Abhisit, a workshy quisling, has many things in common with the mob: both are the results of privileged backgrounds with nothing but contempt for the democratic process or the votes of the millions of rural poor who have repeatedly rejected the policy-free Democrat Party. Second, rather than create a new party politics with policies people might want to vote for, VE Abhisit would prefer to bring down democracy in Thailand, which he proved with his shameful decision to boycott the election of 2006.

Despite the fact that a court (it is illegal to criticize Thai court decisions) banned more than one hundred leading politicians from the Thai Rak Thai Party and dissolved it altogether, the Democrats were once again heavily defeated by the newly-formed People’s Power Party, which continued the pro-poor policies of Thai Rak Thai. In response, the Democrats, a once powerful party with a proud history, have done nothing. Fifty of its MPs will be involved in the no confidence debate which it has no chance of winning. One and a half days of debate will feature the Democrats moaning about supposed mistakes by the PM and seven members of the Cabinet instead of doing their proper job of articulating an alternative set of policies and persuading people to vote for them.