Former deputy prime minister and finance minister MR Pridiyathorn Devakula last Tuesday submitted an open letter to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra that called for the end of the controversial rice-pledging scheme and suggested direct payments to farmers instead. At last a voice of reason, but will it be listened to when the government's mantra is ''We have never done anything wrong''?
Paying directly to farmers was a policy of the much-criticised Democrat Party. Will the Pheu Thai Party suffer the embarrassment of admitting it was a better idea for the good of the country?
LAY CARDS ON THE TABLE
Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong has denied MR Pridiyathorn Devakula's claim that 425 billion baht has been lost in the government's rice-pledging scheme, saying the figure was false and misleading. But at the same time, he refuses to reveal the government's correct figures.
This looks like a stalling tactic on the part of the government. Given the fact that Mr Kittiratt has admitted to telling white lies to the public before, the finance minister has clearly overrated his own credibility.
HOSPITAL PASSING THE BUCK
The pathetic, feeble excuses given by the directors of a private Bangkok hospital which rejected a woman in labour, resulting in her miscarrying (''Hospitals to face probe over home birth fatality'', BP, Oct 12), are shameful.
What the hospital directors are doing is very obvious _ it is called passing the buck.
The woman should sue the hospital for a billion baht.
Money is the only thing private hospitals understand.
If they cannot take an emergency patient in, let them pay through the nose, as they say in the West.
NOT TOO LATE TO STOP BARBARITY
Animal lovers worldwide are protesting against plans by the Taiwanese Council of Agriculture to inject the rabies virus into beagle puppies for experimental purposes. Those dogs who are infected will suffer paralysis, excruciating pain and eventually death. We already have effective rabies vaccines. Such torture is completely unnecessary.
I urge everyone to sign the Physicians Committee petition available on Change.org and contact the Taiwanese Embassy in Thailand and politely ask them to not go ahead with these barbaric experiments. Humans are the only species depraved enough to treat their ''best friends'' this way.
ELECTIONS ARE OVERRATED
In his column ''Keeping it in the Pheu Thai family'' on Thursday, Voranai Vanijaka warns of the dangers of allowing family members to become senators. I think he is missing the point. If you prevent family members from sitting in the Senate, modern political parties will simply replace them with professional party politicians who know that they have to toe the party line if they want to keep their jobs.
The real issue is that if you intend your upper house to be a chamber for review and revision, it makes no sense to have one which is wholly elected and simply a mirror image of the lower house, and that applies equally to all countries around the world and every stage of democratic development. Democracy does not require elections. In Athens, the birthplace of democracy, they avoided them whenever possible. What democracy does require is a selection method that produces people who are acceptable to the public; the present Thai system of appointment is unacceptable to many not because it takes away their right to vote, but because it is designed to produce a bloc of Senators who are anti-Thaksin.
Perhaps it would be more worthwhile to explore how a Senate appointments system could be designed to produce senators that the public could see were truly independent experts. If that could be achieved I think a majority of the public would be quite content to accept a partially appointed Senate, and this would therefore be democratic.
TEA PARTY'S DANGEROUS AGENDA
If America's right-wing fanatics, now epitomised by the Tea Party, continue to gain influence they will remake the USA into the image of a fascist country in Africa or the Middle East. This wing of the Republican Party has for some time produced the most incompetent of politicians, lacking both skills and vision. George W Bush is a prime example of a politician who made grave blunders while believing he was inspired by God.
Keeping the tradition alive now are the likes of Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin.
If these pirates take charge of the Republican Party, it is only a matter of time before America is battered by whirlwinds of hatred towards minorities, and unfortunately that looks like where the country is headed.
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