Novelist. Author of APSARAS and tales from the beautiful Saigh Valley. First person to quantify spiritual values.

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Monday 13 December 2010

Some thoughts on the Democratic process

Three thoughts on Democracy.

Channel 4's programme last night on the political situation in Thailand showed yet again how dangerous it is for Nations to trust the people when it comes to their governance. The so called 'red shirts', whose base is in the rural north of the country, particularly Issan, are supporters of the ousted and discredited ex-prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatr. This was a man, intensely disliked by the urbane intelligentsia of Bangkok who was alleged to have conducted electoral fraud, been responsible for the mass murder of thousands of drug dealers so that his family could have free rein, changed the laws of the country out of self interest in a misuse of power that would have made Tony Blair blush. Yet the mainly poor and disadvantaged of the north consistently voted him in office. That he allegedly bribed the electorate with public money to vote for him doesn't stop the pro democracy lobby from voicing their support and denigrating the military for overthrowing him. Thailand, one of the oldest Monarchies in the world has tried to embrace Democracy without success; there being over thirty coups since the second world war. This flirtation with Democracy does not seem to suit a population that has for many centuries been well served by devotion, bordering on worship of the ruling Monarch. Todays ailing King Bhunipol is no exception, a man known to be devoted to both his Country and its people. The people trust him with their interests, trust him to look after them all, so why not stick with the system of Monarchy? The answer, like the main pro-argument for democracy, is that natural succession does not often produce the required result. The King's natural heir is a 'playboy' prince who is not well regarded and people worry for the well being of the Nation when he comes to reign. The people would prefer the crown to pass to Princess Sirindhorn, his second daughter, who has inherited her father's love of his people. It is for this reason that people are very anxious about the present health of the King. His death, as well as bringing the Country to a halt as people genuinely grieve for a man they think of as a God, will also trigger an enormous power struggle. I do not know what the military think of the Prince but one mustn't underestimate the power of his patronage to buy important supporters. One must also consider the possibility that Thaksin Shinawatr and his millions of Bahts may yet return to have some influence in the Ancient Kingdom.

Liu Xiaobo was duly pronounced the latest Nobel Peace prize winner in a move calculated to irritate the Chinese Government. One must have some sympathy for the Chinese Government, having delivered in the last twenty years the highest growth in standard of living of any country on earth. To achieve that, transforming the economy and bringing unheard of prosperity to many,  and then have a man feted by foreigners for complaining about the lack of human rights in the country, must be particularly galling. Particularly so when the question of 'human rights' without corresponding responsibility is being discredited  around the globe.

Thirdly; the London student riots. I have blogged about this and the disgraceful way people abuse the freedoms they are allowed. We now hear that various anarchist groups are threatening to disrupt next year's royal wedding, thereby destroying an event much cherished by millions of Britains who value the history and cultural legacy of the Nation's monarchy. It is not so different from Thailand, although a system of Parliamentary Democracy has been long established in Britain. It seems to me that this Democratic form of Government has run its course. If the anarchists are allowed to get their way because they have 'Human Rights' then what about the same 'Human Rights' of those who cherish the UK's monarchy and who want to disrupt the anarchists? Allowing the people too much freedom, will inevitably  result in the destruction of the very freedom they wish to enjoy.

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