Sunday, April 1, 2007

Deconstructing Sophon: You Are A Thaksin Stooge If You Protest This Coup


Promised election won't cure multiple conflicts

Sophon Ongkara

The Nation

We are due to have a general election in December of this year barring unforeseen circumstances.

Prime Minister General Surayud Chulanont has tentatively proposed two dates - the 16th and 23rd - for eligible voters to decide the future and fate of the country.

Nobody seems to point out that this is three months later more than promised.

Politicians of their choosing, elected through true or blind faith, will seek a majority to form a new government that will prove whether Thailand is condemned to bear gutter politics or whether the country is due for time-consuming improvements after all.

This is a veiled attack against the majority of voters who voted for Thaksin

Is Surayud's promise of an election time designed to cool down political tempers fanned by activists and dissenting groups hostile to the Council for National Security (CNS) and the government? Quite so apparently, but nobody can claim credit for reading the mind of the prime minister, who obviously has his own game plan.

The move might serve his purpose and desire if activists and protesters are satisfied that they now know when they will be casting their ballots, though there is yet no clear sign that we have completed political reforms and that all is ready for another re-launch of democracy.

This probably was Surayud's plan, but obviously some people are not happy with the idea of a military junta and its installed government calling all the shots.

The problem is that the call for the general election is seen as an excuse to stage protest rallies and heap abusive words on the CNS and the government. Members of the PTV crew, who just recently switched from their political careers under the Thai Rak Thai Party, certainly do not want only an election. They want their patron, Thaksin Shinawatra, now in exile, and his family to be freed from criminal prosecution.

Sophon doesn't have one shred of evidence to support this accusation.

The protest rally at City Hall on Friday became uglier when an activist group launched a campaign to seek the ouster of Privy Council President General Prem Tinsulanonda from the Privy Council. This has become a heated issue - so much so that other groups, including the PTV crew, have distanced themselves from the campaign.

Is attacking Prem against the law? I've read the lese majeste law. It doesn't say that Prem is inviolable and sacred.

This is a high-risk pursuit, not just a high-stakes one. Messing with Prem, a man of high stature, could enrage his admirers. It could also endanger the entire campaign and is seen as Thaksin's scheme to get even with the man whom he thinks was behind the military coup to oust him. Thaksin is no fan of General Prem. During his visit to Australia, his unkind remarks about Prem were recorded and sent through e-mails, making it difficult for him to have any chance for a home-coming anytime soon.

So what if the protesters go after Prem? His position is not threatened. The king isn't going to dump him because of a couple thousand protesters. And the king isn't going to go after the protesters for criticizing Prem. Idiots like Sophon want to create uneccessary drama when there isn't any.

This is the video clip that Sophon is talking about.

The rally featured many familiar faces known as staunch supporters of Thaksin. PTV crew members continued to hold the stage for long tirades, attacking the military junta while strangely sparing General Surayud, making people wonder whether the ex-politicians intended to drive a wedge into the shaky relationship between the CNS and the government.

So what if Thaksin supporters attended these rallies? Sophon is implying guilt by association and creating a conspiracy where one doesn't exist.

Worries that the rally would attract tens of thousands of people were unfounded. The PTV crew and its allies have not been able to attract people of high standing and credibility to join their campaign. Besides, the issues they were lamenting and their attempt to assist Thaksin were for their own interests.

Notice how Sophon spins. Because the rallies haven't attracted huge numbers and "people of high standing" then this somehow takes away from credibility of the rally. And anybody who dares to take a stand against this junta is doing it "for their own interests."

Now that Thaksin's wife and brother-in-law have been charged in court with tax evasion and face long and troublesome legal problems, PTV crew members have to work harder to try to end the joint rule of the CNS and the Surayud government, so that politicians can change the course of legal matters once they retake public office.

Sophon is an idiot. First he says that these rallies are dangerous to the Prem order, then he says they are insignificant because of the numbers, and now he is saying that it is all a scam to end the Shinawatra's legal problems.

The PTV crew will have to work harder to come up with more imaginative strategies so that they can elicit more supporting funds, while trying not to overstep the line drawn by the CNS and the government.

What does this mean? Is he implying that PTV has failed and its need a more effective strategy on how to spend Thaksin's money?

As for General Surayud, he seems to be content with being able to control the game and the political momentum while maintaining his own stand and not appearing to be under the influence of the CNS. His trump card is that if push comes to shove he can quickly resign and put the blame on the CNS, or stay put while seeking public support against any attempt to usher him out.

This is just stupid.

As of now, there is still time for all parties in these multiple conflicts to maintain their positions, while plotting new moves. It is still the prime responsibility of General Surayud to ensure that he keeps his promise for the election in December.

In other words, while dozens of factions are plotting and scamming, Surayud must assure us that the election goes through in December.

That means the constitution now being drafted will be completed and processed through the National Legislative Assembly with other arrangements allowing political parties to resume their activities. This is going to be difficult, now that many articles and stipulations of the draft constitution will be subject to heated debates.

Plus, there will be a debate on the legitimacy of the process itself. If the "just say no" campaign in effective, there will be bigger things to consider.

There is still another boiling point. Will the Constitution Tribunal decide to dissolve the Thai Rak Thai Party, the Democrat Party, or both to re-launch democracy with a clean slate? If so, it would be a very eventful, if not troublesome, period leading to the election.

Yes, another problem. Will the smaller parties led by the old political godfathers be winners? Can you imagine Barnharn, Sanoh, Somsak and Sanan running the country? Buddha help us.

There is another serious task for Surayud to fulfil. He must succeed, or appear to be successful, in guiding and restoring the national economy away from what surely has to be seen as a slowdown, if not a long slump, which has caused hardship for all.

I think this is an overlooked aspect of the political situation this year. In the end, it might be: "It's the economy, stupid." If the economy really tanks, this will become a major issue and the political, constitutional issues might become secondary concerns.

Sopon Onkgara

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thaksin 's stooge is what you exactly are. You know that deep inside every time you look at the mirror, don't you?