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The roots of populism go deeper still

Re: "Money is the root of all evil", Letters, July 2.

Richard Bowler accuses fellow letter-writer Eric Bahrt of making a common mistake in claiming that Thaksin Shinawatra came to power on the back of populist policies, and asks what evidence there is for the existence of such policies prior to the 2001 election.

Well, the evidence is not hard to find. In an article published in The Nation on January 11, 2001, Thanong Kanthong made the following observation: " For two years, Somkid Jatusripatik has been a member of Thaksin's inner circle. He has been instrumental in formulating Thai Rak Thai's policy platform and drafting a strategic plan to win the election. Using basic marketing and survey strategies, Somkid and his team were able to identify the needs and wishes of rural voters neglected by past governments, but who formed a powerful mass of voters. Thai Rak Thai's policy platform grew out of these surveys, and became the populist agenda which won the election."

I think that clarifies the issue. Eric Bahrt is right, and it is Richard Bowler who has made a common mistake in not doing his homework properly.

Robin Grant

Bangkok


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