Leading up to and after former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s impeachment, signs of fractures were becoming very obvious. To the trained eye, Thaksin Shinawatra either can not or will not keep his supporters on the same page and singing the same song. If the fractures are this obvious to the media, what is really going on behind close doors must be Thai drama at it’s finest.
Between the Red Shirts, former Pheu Thai members of Parliament, former Pheu Thai Ministers, and whoever else feels like opening their mouth in the pro-Thaksin camp, they all seem to be saying something different. For the record, that has never been heard before without some sort of adjustment a few hours later putting everyone on the same page. But now this has been going on in earnest since the start of 2015, and the disharmony still can be heard.
It is no secret Bad Boy politicians are starting to pay the price for their bad behavior. The Pheu Thai Party (PTP) is using this for spin saying they are unfairly being targeted. The phrase ‘Un-fair’ or ‘Not fair’ have been associated with them before. That tends to be heard when it is time to pay the bill for being bad.
The fact is the PTP is not being targeted, just bad politicians. But the fact that the bulk of the bad politicians are in the PTP, it can look like the party is being targeted. Politicians from other parties have also been targeted as well including Thailand’s squeaky clean Democratic Party.
Clearly the pro-Thaksin camp has been doing their best to put political spin on things the best they can without tripping the no politics alarm. There has been a long running theme that if Yingluck is impeached, it could disturb or end the fragile calm that the Coup brought. The occasional saber rattling from the Red Shirts kept that bit of anxiety alive.
From the more outspoken PTP ex-Ministers and people of a generally higher authority in the party, there was a sense they would not tolerate a sham impeachment because Yingluck was already out of office and impeachment only applies to people in office. There is some logic behind what they say about a sham impeachment, but there seems to be a fairly good argument as to why it was done.
As before the coup, there was a Caretaker Government in place with no members of Parliament seated, and they are the ones who would do the impeachment. So by dissolving Parliament, Yingluck insulated herself from being impeached. The rice pledging scheme that she was impeached for was still running while the Caretaker Government was running the show and only ended when the coup started.
As for what was being said by ex-Members of Parliament from the pro-Thaksin camp, it was mostly about themselves and how they felt about what was going on with new laws.
So here we have a selection of voices all from the same camp. But when you look at what Thaksin wants to do, you see that too is different. Thaksin knows he does not stand a chance at the moment, so he simply must pretend to be submissive. The word pretend does apply as he has never listened to anyone but himself. He has left instructions to sit and wait until the next elections.
However the bad boy politicians see how the new laws are coming together, and it does not look good for them. Punishment looks to be quick, harsh, and very permanent if anyone steps out of line, and that upsets them. So there is a burning desire to sway public support from the way the new laws are going. Thaksin seems powerless to stop them as they are mostly being driven by the new understanding that the days of being bad are most likely over, and they don’t know any other way to behave.
For Thaksin it does not matter. It will be the people that follow him that will take the hit and not him. He always manages to be far away escaping the fallout. We often reference this outcome as dancing with the devil. The difference is the deterrent being built into the new laws allow no second chance. Once they mess up it’s game over, and game over can spell life in jail and potentially even the death penalty. So there is no real wonder why cracks are showing in the pro-Thaksin camp.