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So which side is ignoring democracy?

Re: "Absence of democracy equals absence of shame", Letters, May 1.

A Johnsen speculates that the editor publishes letters from government supporters only in order to let us make fools of ourselves by revealing our twisted and faulty views. Well, maybe, but perhaps our letters are actually published because The Nation upholds the principle of free speech, and if expressing an honest opinion makes one look like a fool, I reckon that's a fair deal.

The writer observes that, contrary to what happens in Thailand, a failing government in his Northern European homeland would bow to heavy pressure from the opposition and the media, and do the right thing and resign. But has he been reading The Nation over the past few months? This is precisely what has happened here. After initially trying to ride out the storm, PM Yingluck eventually bowed to the inevitable by dissolving Parliament and calling a general election.

Mr Johnsen rightly bemoans the widespread contempt for the law in Thailand, and reckons that the continuing caretaker status of the government is "horrible". But it is common practice in democratic societies, including, I presume, those in Northern Europe, for an incumbent government to continue in a caretaker role pending the outcome of an election. This caretaker status is enshrined in Thai law, and the fact that the government has been caretaking for so long is not its fault, but the result of a mob of self-proclaimed insurrectionists breaking one law after another with seeming impunity, and disrupting an election which otherwise would have ended the government's caretaker status months ago.

Anyway, in the interests of free speech, I support the decision to publish Mr Johnsen's letter, and I respect his views, however twisted and faulty they may or may not be.

Robin Grant

Bangkok


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