The Abhisit governments handling of security matters for the ASEAN summit can only be described as a sick joke.
The need to avoid bloodshed is a lame excuse when it comes to blatant lawlessness.
The previous PPP governments were hamstrung in dealing with the PAD because they were scared of any incidents that would derail their ultimate goal of whitewashing Thaksin, and deep down they knew they had not addressed the genuine concerns of the PAD.
Now the Abhisit government has also been hamstrung by a guilty conscience about the way the coalition came about, and the fact that they know they had not properly addressed the genuine concerns of the reds.
Abhisit - mate, if only you read my blog, I could have saved you a lot of trouble!
Here's a reminder of what I advised back in January and February:
"Just like the PPP led government failed to act in a reasonable and competent manner, this current Democrat led government is doing the same.
Abhisit appears reasonable with his smooth talking, but it's actions that count in the long run.
The handling of the Rohingya issue looks bad from an outsiders perspective, but I could imagine it would have been handled even worse by a Samak or Thaksin PM.
(It should also be remembered that the initial boat people incident happened in December when the new government had just taken over, so it could hardly be Democrat policy that caused the scandal)
There are, however, other things that the Democrat led government has had more control over, and it is the handling of those matters that has shown that they are hardly any better than their predecessors:
- Kasit as FM
(his past words mean he has to go, and they have missed their opportunity to do it quietly in the interests of reconciliation)
- PAD leaders to be held accountable
(even if the airport occupation charges are still being investigated, surely there are still outstanding charges from the government house occupation that can be acted upon in the meantime - IMO, getting Sondhi L in jail will go a long way towards moving the country forward)
- Lese Majeste & Internet crackdown
(looked at on it's own, without consideration of the political realities, the Democrats handling of this matter has been disgraceful - IMO, they should be setting a positive example and leading the debate on how to have the LM laws changed so that the monarchy can be kept out of politics)
- Reconciliation, Political/Constitutional reform
(on this matter, the Democrats have again let political considerations get in the way of simply doing what's right - IMO, they should work with the opposition to get a satisfactory amnesty bill and to get a consultative process going for constitutional reform)
This is what I said when Samak was removed:
"Samak is gone - even though the cooking show trigger for his demise was nonsensical, I wont be shedding a tear for him - had his chances to be reasonable, he wasn't, so I say good riddance!"
It is not hard to foresee a day when I will be saying something similar for Abhisit.
OK, I will try again. Here's my new advice to you - assuming you are still in power as I write this, and assuming of course, that you are now ready to start listening to me :)
1. Kasit must go (you now have another opportunity to do it, in the interests of reconciliation)
2. You must agree to liaise with the opposition regarding the amnesty bill
(basically the 111 banned politicians to have their political rights reinstated, draw a line in the sand and give blanket amnesty to all protest leaders except any who can be directly implicated in any criminal activity, and also to the pending LM & Computer crime cases)
3. Initiate a complete round of political reform, including using the 1997 constitution as the starting point, but also including amendments to the LM and Computer Crime laws, looking at and concisely defining the role of the privy council, implementing a strict permit system for future protests (to put some rules in place as so that the never ending supply of gullible and bloody minded protesters can be kept in check otherwise no government will ever be able to do anything) - surely there are enough great unbiased minds in Thailand that can come up with something appropriate, but if there are still contentious items then they will need to go to a referendum
4. Set a strict, but realistic timetable for the above political reform process, including a date for the next election to be held as soon as the new rules are in place.
5. Request that all parties/sides/colors take a step back from protesting, and invite them to instead get involved in the political reform process.
6. Strictly implement rule of law without fear or favour
7. Thaksin???? - I'm thinking that he is a special case and a negotiated settlement needs to be reached with him, but who does the negotiating? Off the top of my head, the best solution I can come up with is a special act of parliament requiring say 75% approval.
(it will mainly need to be a financial settlement, however the amount might depend on whether he enters binding commitments relating to the extent of his future political involvement).
As usual, its just general rambling to get it off my chest, and the real experts would need to work out ways to facilitate the legalities.