Sunday, July 22, 2007

Democrats New Policy Slogan Is "People Come First"-- Right After the Interests of Military And Their Campaign Contributors

Democrat: People come first

Bangkok Post

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva pledged Saturday to push forward several major party policies under a ''People Come First'' platform.

The Democrats are so original that they are recycling their campaign slogans from the past. Actually, they are stealing Bill Clinton's slogan from his 1992 presidential campaign, which was "Putting People First."

So far, I haven't heard what these "major party policies" are, but I am sure Nong Mark will be sure to outline them for us specifically. Let us look below.

During the annual party caucus, Mr. Abhisit pledged to help restore democratic rule by endorsing the newly-drafted constitution and urging eligible voters to go to the polls which his Democrat Party will contest.

How does Mark restore democratic rule by endorsing the military's constitution? I don't get it. One has to wonder if next time there is a government that the Democrats don't like and can't beat in legitimate elections, it will support democracy by boycotting the election again and then come out for a coup that overthrows the legitimate government, considering that is what underpinned its former "restoring democracy" policy.

The military, which had staged last year's coup to oust former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, are bound to return to their barracks after democratic rule has returned to the country, the Democrat leader said.

This what the Democrats said after the 1991 coup and the 1997 Constitution was put into effect.

Mr. Abhisit said he did not believe the private sector should necessarily take care of the poor, but said the national economy will not improve unless the people's economy and well-being have been restored in the first place.

Now, if Nong Mark said this, he really is an idiot, but I think the problem is with the editing of this article rather than with what he said. If there is video of this speech, I would like to see it.

I have a couple questions: What is the people's economy and well-being? And what does that have to do with the national economy? Even for a politician, this language is particular weasly and incoherent.

In addition, Mr. Abhisit vowed to push for economic recovery so that the poor earn higher income, especially the farmers who have been feeding the world with their farm products and food.

How does this observation translate into public policy? Which policies would give farmers higher income? Thankfully, Mark didn't say "sufficiency economy" was the panacea for all of the farmer's problems. However, my feeling is that Mark will propose Thaksin-like "populist programs" and call it sufficiency economics.

Rural, poverty-stricken areas throughout the country should top government priorities for economic restoration projects, he said.

What does an economic restoration project look like?

The impoverished people should be entitled to optimum benefits from varied, cost-effective investment schemes while irrigation projects should be developed to cover wider farmland in remote areas than today and industries and service businesses should be strengthened.

Yes, more weasly political language that is meaningless.

Thailand's high logistics costs involving the transport of goods should be substantially reduced, he said. For instance, goods from the northeastern and southern regions of the country should have direct access to export markets, such as an Andaman Sea port for the South and a double railroad system for the Northeast.

I seriously doubt that Mark will go after the transportation and customs ministries, which are the two most corrupt departments in the Thai government, in order to reduce logistics costs.

I don't like to make predictions, but I am going to predict right now that transportation and customs will fall under the authority of coalition members who will have the king making power to make or break Abhisit's government. Ergo, he is not going to do anything about the high cost of logisitics and will turn a blind eye to his corrupt allies making corruption money off transportation projects. So, in the end, the problems will only get worse.

The Democrat leader said he will push for human resources and educational development projects and see to it that people in all parts of the country, especially those in the southernmost provinces, stop from harming one another and begin to co-exist in peace.

What human resources and education development projects? Is he going to go after the corrupt education ministry? Will he raise teacher's standards?

I love his last public policy proposal for the problems in the South. Do nothing significent and hope for the best.

One has to wonder how long Thailand will last with politicians who speak in flowery language, do nothing significant except look like big shots and sustain their big shot status, turn a blind eye to rampant corruption under their noses, and continue to allow the structural problems of the country to fester.


In the Bangkok Post, Abhisit is either a fool or a liar if he really said this:

At the first party gathering on Friday, Mr Abhisit said that Thailand had never experienced a worse political divide and worse economic crisis than it is now facing. And never ever was the country in need of a stable and resourceful leader who is ready to learn the lessons of past mistakes who is also ethical, he said.

Off the top of my head, I can name at least 5 different crises in Thai history that were worse than the current crisis.

1. Overthrow of the absolute monarchy when the People's Party hunted down the royalists and murdered them one by one. And this was during the Great Depression!!

2. World War 2

3. Assassination of King Ananda

4. The reign of Plaek

5. The reign of Sarit

6. The reign of Thanom/Prapat--73 crisis

7. 1976 crisis

I guess Mark didn't read much Thai history while studying in the UK.


Anonymous said...

Oh well Fonzi . . .

So who do you prefer then Fonzi? The remnants of the TRT rag-tag pirates (policies galore, trickle-down to the poor corruption benefits and tax-free perks to the ministers & wives)? Or the old-style corrupts Banharn and Sanan?

Or maybe deep inside you are rooting that General Sonthi should really go into politics and put up his own party so you can vote for the constitutionally-upright, corrupt-fighting, very patriotic very politically-correct Fatigues Party?

Unknown said...

It is possible to favor none of the above, Matty. That is certainly how I feel -- I can't support people whose modus operandi is 'do nothing significant except look like big shots and sustain big shot status', and that seems to be the mold for not only Thai politicians, but entrenched power Thais in general.

Maybe it would be better if a Burma-style junta were established in Thailand, at least then the ruse would be up and the people of Thailand and the world could better see the need for substantive change.

As it is, expect nothing more than changing the political window dressing, as seems to happen every few years. Hope for more, but recognize that if history is any guide, in all likelihood it will be most of the same inept and incompetent politicians of the past in power in the future.

Anonymous said...

Fonzi you are probably right . . .BUT I just get this sense that all your despondency and your resignation and your bitching about the return "of the same inept and incompetent politicians of the past in power" is being inspired by Thaksin's ouster and no other.

But hey Fonzi you can still at least draw some consolation to the knowledge that among those "inept and incompetent politicians returning to power", the biggest corrupt ('mother of Thai corruption" so named) and the most inept (the Southern unrest big mismanager, Thaksin, won't be among them!