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The problem is the system, not Thaksin

It is often said that those too close to a problem cannot see the solution. In the case of Thailand, I have never seen such a large scale example of this.

I applaud the protesters' stated motive to clean up Thai politics and the current administration would be well advised to listen carefully. However, the protest organisers are politicians themselves and we must clearly understand that, whatever the stated motive, this is still a power game. Although it may be com-forting for some to envisage a council of "worthies" running things, that is a dangerous road to take and in itself opens doors to corruption.

The only thing that will bring lasting peace to Thailand, is for everyone to move on from the pre-occupation with Thaksin Shinawatra and sit down to deal with the underlying issues. Blaming Thaksin is convenient, because it polarises opinion, but it makes this "personal", while the problem is systemic. However tempting it is to demonise him, Thaksin is not the root cause of the troubles in Thailand. He is just a symptom of a changed society that afforded him the opportunity to do what he does. If he disappears, soon there will be another similar person, and another one after that. The coup-installed government in 2006 completely failed to deal with underlying issues and merely screwed down the lid of the pressure cooker even tighter. There is nothing to indicate an unelected administration would do any better.

Like it or not, the way out of this mess is via the democratic process. So Thailand goes to the polls sometime soon and we pray that the yellows will put aside their deep-seated belief that the average Thai is too ignorant to vote and that people vote with conscience, whether or not there is money forced upon them.

The election will not produce a result that pleases everyone, but whoever comes in, must work hard and fast to fix the system. As to what those fixes should be, that's another matter, but whoever governs next had better get on and do it, or things are bound to get very nasty indeed.

Alan Mehew


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