There is a high level of interest in the parliamentary censure debate which began yesterday and has continued today. The motion of no confidence has been brought by the opposition Phuea Thai party in the wake of the incredibly violent crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators by the army under, presumably, the orders of the government. At least 88 people were killed, most of them shot dead by the military according to reports and nearly one thousand people injured. In the continued ‘emergency’ and ‘curfew’ ordered by the government subsequently, dozens more people have been disappeared and censorship of the media has reached new heights. The media permitted to broadcast have been pouring out pro-government propaganda on a relentless basis. The United Nations has called for an independent inquiry into the events – any inquiry established by the current regime is likely to be stuffed with pro-establishment figures (as, for example, happens with humans rights bodies).
When challenged about responsibility for the events, PM Abhisit Vejjajiva seems to have fallen back on his default discourse – deny all responsibility and blame other people, irrespective of facts or evidence. The Nation has this brief report.
Meanwhile, the censure debate seems to have veered off into discussion of the (allegedly) corrupt nature of the current coalition government – according to anecdote, this Democrat government is possibly the most corrupt Thailand has ever suffered, with particularly high levels of looting from the public purse in those ministries (one in particular run by a minister whose gender I will not specify) in which coalition partners have an interest. Let us wait until new figures from Transparency International or other reputable international bodies are published to see whether these rumours are substantiated.
In any case, it does not seem very likely that the censure debate will have any positive impact other than in the court of public opinion – government MPs will simply deny everything (they are not the first to do so, of course) and know that the force of the establishment will surely support them. It does not matter, in other words, how the majority of the people vote and how often they vote for parties representing their interests, those parties are dissolved and the politicians banned. Unable to achieve their objectives by what they perceive to be not just an unfair system but an illegitimate one, their thoughts turn to direct action.