Can someone please explain why standard policies in developed countries aimed at benefiting the general population are condemned by the Democrat Party in Thailand?
Why it screams blue murder at policies such as subsidised universal health care for people who are economically stressed, and maliciously call these policies “populist”? Universal healthcare has been one of the cornerstones of social democracy in Scandinavia since the end of World War II, and also has a 60-year history in the UK. The same applies to the micro-credit development funds and low-interest agricultural loans that have raised thousands out of the poverty trap in the North and Northeast. In Bangladesh, Muhammed Ynus pioneered the concepts of micro-credit and micro-finance with his Grameen Bank for which he won the Nobel prize in 2006 for providing small cheap loans to the poor so that they could start their own businesses.
The present Thai government may have made a major blunder with the rice scheme, to guarantee an income to poorly paid rice farmers, but so do governments all over the world. The government is viciously attacked and their policies routinely condemned as “vote buying”, whereas in the European Union about 65 per cent of the total budget is paid out yearly to farmers as subsidies.
Thailand is no exception to the general rule of corruption. In the European Union billions are lost every year through corruption and theft. The Democrats have been around ever since Thailand made the transition from absolute monarchy, 80 years in all, so why did they not root out corruption while they were in power? They certainly had enough time. My own theory is that the Democrats and their supporters are no longer getting such big pieces of the pie as in the past now that a Pheu Thai government is in power, and they want to win that piece back. Only a fool can think that patronage and corruption can be eliminated from the system completely. It is merely a front and rallying-cry to dupe the demonstrating middle-class to come out in the streets, with cries of “save Thailand”.