I am deeply saddened by the disasterous turn of events in Thailand. Ex Prime Minister Thaksin may have been corrupt or ineffective – I do not make any judgement – but the way to get rid of him (and his successor Mr Somchai) if this was sought was via the ballot box not by forcing them out of office. Thailand’s middle class ‘yellow-shirts’ effectively forced a popular leadership out and now his ‘red-shirt’ supporters have returned with a vengence demanding the end to the succeeding government of Mr. Abhisit. Thaksin operating from abroad has mischievously called for a ‘revolution’ and offered to return to Thailand to take power. He should not have said this – the stakes are too high irrespective of his perceived personal injustices.
The Thai people are among the most friendly I know. Partly this is because of well-founded fears about the dark side of the Thai psyche. Beneath the surface there are deep, violent emotions among the Thai. I fear the worst in the current situation and blame Thailand’s middle classes for the mess. I fear bloodshed on a major scale.
Waving my hands wildly I could call for fresh elections where anyone can stand and where the democratic process works itself out but I fear the cat is out of the bag – Thailand’s bourgeoisie have shown that street demonstrations can drive a change of government irrespective of the popular will. To be honest I cannot see any simple way of reversing political perceptions based on this view.
Maybe once again the military need to intervene decisively. What a disasterous prospect for the beautiful people of Thailand. It may be that His Majesty King Bhumipon can intervene to seek a resolution. I am amazed however that the red shirts are targeting General Prem Tinsulanonda a Privy Councillor and one of those closest to the monarch. Make no mistake there are very serious longer-term issues here – the protesters seem to blame General Prem for masterminding the coup to oust Mr Thaksin.
Update: A partisan though accurate discussion of the current astounding situation.