Phoney phone-ins, Thaksin’s aim to hurt people in high places

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Thaksin is clearly desperate in his struggle. He is a man who has nothing to lose. In his view, if he is indeed on his way down, he intends to drag other people down with him. Yes, the entire nation, if possible.

Now we can see that Thaksin Shinawatra’s regular phone-ins to his red-shirted fans enable people with sane minds to understand whether he is a mad dog, or a tame dog, as he claimed in his previous call. The last live talk show to a gathering of his admirers in Chiang Mai on Sunday was a no-holds-barred, no-punches-pulled verbal attack. The virulent effects of his accusations, whether true or false, undoubtedly affect many people in high places.

The targets of his badmouthing this time included three members of the Privy Council, the chief justice of the Administrative Court and a senior judge. A retired Army general was named as a party to an alleged sinister plot to assassinate Thaksin. All of these people denied the allegations.

Thaksin is clearly desperate in his struggle. He is a man who has nothing to lose. In his view, if he is indeed on his way down, he intends to drag other people down with him. Yes, the entire nation, if possible.

The state of his mind and his mental stability is questionable. A lot of people already think he has gone mad and nothing can cure him. Even his wife has deserted him, choosing to disown him, preferring the chances of regaining her frozen assets to family harmony.

This is something to seriously consider in human behaviour. Thaksin is fighting to escape from a jail term and pending criminal charges. If that can extend to the regaining of political power and the premiership, it would even be better for him. 

During the damaging phone-in on Sunday, Thaksin’s words and temperament served as a credible gauge to suspect the degree of his mood swings are quite beyond salvage. There are no more niceties. We might even conclude that the character and words of this criminal running away from a jail term hold no credibility. Yet, one worrisome question remains: How far the man is willing to go?

Who knows, the next names he utters could be shocking and beyond our wildest imaginations.

If those cheering him in the Chiang Mai stadium believe in his accusations, it means that the respected names he mentioned will be hated by thousands of people in the land. Therefore, the malice in Thaksin’s words cannot be denied.

Cabinet members try not to view Thaksin as a real threat. They choose to play down the negative impacts. In their view, the fugitive can just use the phone-in talks to please himself, even though there are some people who still listen to him. Some of his supporters are there due to financial gain, so to speak.

In another respect, Thaksin is repaying part of his karma. The man amassed immense wealth from the mobile phone business using a monopoly and expensive charges. Now he is enduring long hours using cell phones, and paying out money just to get an audience.

If we assess the result of the gathering in Chiang Mai, with a turnout of slightly over 10,000 people, this was an abject failure. The province is the stronghold and birthplace of Thaksin, where many of his fans believe that he is truly a saviour of the rural and gullible poor. The stadium should have been jam-packed.

After much hype and with a lot of people enticed from neighbouring provinces, the low turnout proved that Thaksin’s mantra does not have the magical power as in the past. Funding to attract those people might not have been adequate, or it might have been siphoned away from the chief organisers who have been enriching themselves at the expense of the fugitive and his financial sponsors. 

Now that the gathering was disappointing, we have to see how big the protest rally will be at Government House on Thursday, as announced by the red-shirt ringleaders. Surely they expect another big financial windfall before the movement runs out of steam.

The latest public opinion polls did not please the opposition in the House due to the sloppy censure show, which became disastrous when they resorted to vulgarity and even displays of the middle finger. That’s why Thaksin’s supporters must rely on street protests and demonstrations with increasing intensity, and probably more violence, through provocative acts of their own.  

What is Thaksin’s trump card? We have yet to see that. Eventually his strategy will crumble like a house of cards. Earlier, he had some credibility. Now that the opposition and the red-shirt hecklers do not have credibility, Thaksin’s last weapons are more big lies and big money.

A shortage of both would make his next phone-in just phoney and much less venomous.

By Sopon Onkgara
The Nation

 SOURCES FOR FURTHER READING

Ever the victim, Thaksin tries to explain his downfall

Fugitive’s phone-ins will have only toxic repercussions

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