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Elitist prejudice preventing progress

Re: "Red-shirt propaganda doesn't add up", Letters, December 17.

Edward B Duhigg is of course correct when he states that the Democrats draw support from across the social spectrum, but so, to some extent, does Pheu Thai, even though their main support comes from the rural North and Northeast. However, United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship chairwoman Thida Thavornseth is also correct when she claims that the current anti-government protests are backed by the "Bangkok elite". Recent reports by Reuters included interviews with prominent socialites and members of the Sino-Thai business community who are actively involved with the protests.

Some people from this background also support Pheu Thai, but the underlying issue here is one of perception. A vast swathe of the electorate, many of whom support the UDD, have for years been disparaged as "uneducated" or "ignorant buffaloes", first by the PAD and now by the PDRC. Indeed, Suthep Thaugsuban, in a recent BBC interview, observed that most of those at his rally were from the middle and upper classes, and educated. The inference was obvious.

It is no wonder therefore that there is a political divide, and that Thida should express the resentment felt by those she speaks for. Criticism of the current government's record is justified, and political reform is fine in principle, but it won't work until some people, middle class, elite or whatever, stop regarding millions of their fellow Thais as second-class citizens. If that continues, then trouble lies ahead.

Robin Grant

Bangkok


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