Abhisit’s indecent proposal offers absolutely nothing
Since Abhisit Vejjajiva’s career relaunch on YouTube, he has been busy rubbing shoulders with the good and the great, insisting he has a proposal to end our political deadlock and a plan to take us to the “promised land”.
Mr Abhisit’s attempt at playing Moses has been met with thunderous applause from the usual suspects.
However, in my view Mr Abhisit’s proposal is the most indecent proposal since Robert Redford, playing a swanky billionaire, asked to sleep with someone else’s wife for a million dollars.
At least in the movie both parties received something in return. Mr Abhisit’s proposal offers the other side absolutely nothing apart from insulting the intelligence of anyone who wants to see an end to this political quagmire.
Let me explain why Mr Abhisit’s proposal was doomed for rejection and failure right from its inception. Firstly, Mr Abhisit has recklessly squandered all the political capital he ever had. Sadly, he has allowed himself to be used and abused by the likes of Suthep Thaugsuban to the point where his credibility is in tatters.
When I first saw Mr Abhisit speak in parliament, I was full of hope that once he became our leader a new dawn would come. However, instead of leading, Khun Abhisit allowed himself to be led. Instead of demonstrating courage, he dodged, citing feeble excuses. And instead of empowering his fellow citizens through more democracy, he unapologetically denies the people’s rights to free and fair elections.
Abhisit Vejjajiva was the future once, but now, all he represents is the same old way of doing things and the same old politics.
Secondly, Mr Abhisit is somehow under the impression he is a person that has something of value to offer Thaksin Shinawatra and Pheu Thai. Let’s be honest. In politics, there is only one thing worse than a man with no credibility, and that’s a man with no power.
Does Mr Abhisit have the power to order Mr Suthep and the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) to come to heel? No. Does Mr Abhisit have the power to influence the army and get them to leave their barracks and seize power? No. Does Mr Abhisit have the power to command the obedience and loyalty of his own party? No. And does Mr Abhisit have the power to persuade the majority to reject Thaksin and come out in support of the Democrat Party in free and fair elections? A resounding no.
So what does Mr Abhisit have to offer? Well, he offers his own absence from the next elections if his proposal is accepted. But why would his absence be of value? Well, he states that by not participating in the next election it demonstrates genuine self-sacrifice in that his proposals have no ulterior political motive!
Thirdly, in my view, Mr Abhisit’s proposal is tantamount to blackmail. As the Democrat Party spokesman has openly declared, a rejection of this plan will result in yet another Democrat Party boycott of the next elections. This is not the language of a peacemaker, but rather, it is a language tinged with a tiny hint of terrorism.
So what would I like to see Mr Abhisit do? I would urge him to enter the elections and embrace the possibility of losing, but with one difference; he should renew his commitment to liberal democratic values and unequivocally renounce the philosophy and methodology of crackpot movements like the PDRC and the Garbage Collectors.
Yes, he will lose the support of the extremist wing of his party, but he will more than make up for it with voters from the centre. And it’s the centre ground that wins elections. Admittedly, bringing the Democrat Party back to the centre will be a monumental task. It won’t be easy, but the alternative is political oblivion.
Lastly, Mr Abhisit should start fighting for the “little guy” for a change. He has spent his whole career defending the rights and privileges of the establishment against the interests of the weak and defenceless. Mr Abhisit was indirectly responsible for the imprisonment of Uncle SMS when his secretary filed a lese majeste charge against an old man who denied wrongdoing but was presumed guilty, with bail consistently denied, until Uncle SMs’s eventual death while imprisoned.
Moreover, in a case where a poor old couple was jailed for picking mushrooms in a national park, Mr Abhisit was silent. When a man was jailed for rummaging through garbage for old DVDs to resell and feed his starving children, Mr Abhisit was silent. And when a police officer was run over and killed by a trust-fund kid driving a Ferrari on Sukhumvit Road at high speed and has yet to even receive a speeding ticket, Mr Abhisit was silent again.
If Mr Abhisit wants to be relevant again, he should start with an apology, not a proposal.
Songkran Grachangnetara is an entrepreneur. He graduated from The London School of Economics and Columbia University. He can be reached at Twitter: @SongkranTalk
Songkran Grachangnetara is an entrepreneur. He graduated from The London School of Economics and Columbia University.