In 2006, 2008 and 2014, conservative Thais of all classes took to the street against three governments.
Amidst cheers and applause, the Thai Rai Thai Government was ousted in a military coup; the People’s Power Government was banned by the judiciary; and the Pheu Thai Government was ousted by another military coup.
All three governments are of the Thaksin Shinawatra political faction.
There was a short-list of grievances:
- The “defending the monarchy” mantra, even though the institution was never in danger.
- The “Thaksin is evil incarnated” slogan.
- Simply being sick and tired of the “old school” patronage politics riddled with cronyism, nepotism, corruption and incompetence; plagued by a nauseating cast of gangsters and godfathers, whether in suits or in military/police/civil servant uniforms. Enough is enough.
For number two on the list, conversative Thais got what they have worked so hard for.
A constitution that almost guarantees that no matter what happens at the election poll, the 250 senators and a funny calculator will keep the Thaksin political machine in the opposition, and never the government, at least for eight years.
As a bonus, that upstart Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit?
Banned and bye-bye. See you in ten years, maybe.
Oh wait, you might even spend 10 years in prison.
At the price of democracy, Thailand’s conservative faction has effectively stomped down any opposition.
But in 2020, the people of Thailand — whether the so called “salim,” yellow, red, orange or any other color and nickname — from the most ultra conservative to the farthest left liberal — we all still toil under the same old-school patronage politics riddled with cronyism, nepotism, corruption and incompetence; plagued by a nauseating cast of gangsters and godfathers, whether in suits or in military/police/civil servant uniforms.
Just take a look at the ruling government party.
Perhaps there are some earnest and talented MPs here and there. If you exist, please speak out. But the power of the Palang Pracharat Party is made up of:
The “4 Sons” Technocrats who for the past six years have proven that they simply don’t have the talent to manage the Thai economy.
The “3 Friends Gang” The cast of old-school Thai politicians, with all the patronage baggage that comes with them. On top of which, they used to work for Thaksin.
Former protest leaders Those who did such a great job destroying rule of law and the democratic process, they are rewarded with ministerial positions.
Two old generals There’s the loud and angry one, who admits he doesn’t know much about the economy, but insists he’s very sincere. He still pretends he’s not a part of the party.
Then there’s the one with all the bling watches and always saying he doesn’t know anything about anything. Well, not even ultra conservative Thais like this one, and he might even become party leader.
The only saving grace is the delusion that General Prayut Chan-o-cha is a good man, and that it’s everyone else around him that is corrupt. But even if the General is not corrupt, the last six years surely have proven enough that he doesn’t have the competence to manage a nation.
The internal power struggles inside the Palang Pracharat Party that we have seen over the past weeks further prove one thing: Thai politics is as dirty as ever.
The “dirty politics” that conservative Thais hated and marched against, and tore apart any resemblance to democracy we have had in the process. Today, generals, gangsters and godfaters still rule Thailand.
If you hate the Thaksin political faction because of dirty politics, why not also hate the present ruling government for its brand of dirty politics?
Those who marched in 2006, 2008 and especially in 2014 must ask themselves:
“Is this what we fought for?”