The opposite of good will

The Pheu Thai and coalition MPs who make up the government's majority in parliament are about to announce they will restart the process to amend the constitution. The stated purpose is to "correct" the charter and usher in national reconciliation. Two events indicate it will do no such thing.

The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has summoned ex-premier Abhisit Vejjajiva and his former deputy Suthep Thaugsuban to acknowledge murder charges this week.

Meanwhile, the Pheu Thai Party intends asking the National Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate and dismiss six Democrat MPs.

The stated goal of the government may be national reconciliation. The political landscape, including actions on the government side, show little actual support of this worthy goal.

All this activity was put into action the day after everyone heard pro-unity advice from His Majesty the King. The monarch said that "kindness and goodwill ... will create unity in the country".

One sees little attempt at either kindness or compassion among politicians.

The murder charges against the two most senior Democrat leaders stem from the street riots in the terrible days of April and May 2010. Tarit Pengdit, director-general of the DSI, said top officials from his agency, police and the prosecutor's office made the decision to charge the pair.

Many, however, will not accept the stated objectivity implied by Mr Tarit. The murder charges will certainly be seen as payback by some, for the charges brought against leading red shirts from the same protests, who face trial on terrorism charges this week.

Red shirt supporters and sympathisers, of course, believe the terrorism trial is payback for similar charges pending against leaders of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD).

Those charges against leading yellow-shirt organisers stem from the PAD's attack on parliament and the occupation of the Bangkok airports in 2008.

If partisans in today's political arena were truthful, they would admit that "paying back" for both real and imagined offences is rampant. Karma is a key precept of Buddhism, but political forces are driving the desire for revenge.

The urge to get even with political opponents flies in the face of His Majesty's advice in his 85th birthday address. The King spoke of goodwill, kindness and unity. Mr Tarit assured the nation 24 hours later that his decision to charge the top Democrats with murder was taken in the spirit of justice. It is impossible to see into the heart of the DSI commander, but it was immediately clear that many people did not believe him.

The Democrat Party has largely abandoned its duty to hold the government accountable in parliament and before the people. Every major government policy and many minor ones have been put to the courts or agencies to litigate. This is not democratic procedure. It is playing scattershot politics and offers no alternative policies.

The government continues to shout about its "mandate" from the polls. It has no mandate to push through expensive policy changes without the public _ or the opposition _ getting a chance to participate. That is a mockery of democracy.