Monday, December 22, 2008

The Cockroaches take over

Over at New Mandala the ever controversial Giles Ji Ungpakorn comments on the Democrat Party:

"The Democrat Party is known among the cyber community as the “Cockroach Party”. This is because cockroaches live in filthy places and can survive even nuclear holocausts. The party has survived for many years, forming governments after various crises. These so-called Democrats have systematically backed anti-democratic measures. They supported the 2006 coup, the military constitution and the PAD. One Democrat Party MP was the leader of the mob that took over the international airport. Over the last 30 years, the Democrat party has never won an overall majority in parliament. It does not represent the people. During the Thaksin years it spent the whole time criticising the universal health care scheme and other pro-poor policies. After the 1997 economic crisis it used state money to prop up the banks and guarantee the savings of the rich, while telling the poor to fend for themselves and depend on their families."

And the role of the monarchy:

"The Thai King has always been weak. His status has been systematically promoted by military juntas and the elite in general. We are all socialised to think that the King is an “ancient Absolute Monarchy”, while at the same time being within the Constitution. This picture of power creates a shell to protect the entire ruling class and the status quo under a climate of fear. The army especially needs such a legitimising shell because it is no longer OK for the military to hold political power, unless it can claim to protect the Monarchy.

In previous political crises, such as in 1973 and 1992, the King only intervened late in the day after it was clear who had won. In the present crisis the King has remained silent and has not made any attempts to resolve the crisis. He missed his annual birthday speech on 4th December this year, claiming a sore throat.

The Royal dimension to this crisis is that it is a struggle between two elite groups. One side have been much more successful in claiming Royal legitimacy. But ironically this claim by the anti-Thaksin lot is causing a crisis for the Monarchy because it associates PAD violence and law-breaking with the Monarchy and the actions by the military have created an image that the Monarchy is against the majority of the population. The support shown by the Queen for the PAD has also angered or disappointed many Thais."

Professor Giles' political leanings are, of course, well known and somewhat predictable yet the bold citicisms of those in power, in the military, and the usually unmentionable monarchy are certainly welcome in Thailand's curtailed political space.

The complete article can be found here: Thailand: The Cockroaches take over

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