If you have not been following all the rubber tree sapling verdict fallout in the news, you may be other places than Thailand. Finger pointing has been the sport of the week after the ruling vindicated much of Thaksin’s ‘A’ team. Although the court ruling may have vindicated high ranking members of the defunct Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party, in the same stroke Thaksin lost much of his argument that the courts are unfair and hopelessly slanted against him.
Although the fallout has sent serious ripples through Thai politics, there is likely to be a silver lining in this political storm cloud. The fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra has regularly cited that the courts were not fair and the reason for his self imposed exile (AKA On the run from justice). Now that simply becomes much harder to say with the acquittal of a major chunk of his past and present cronies.
From Thaksin’s perspective he must somehow try to separate himself from this verdict and say that he is singled out and that others will get a fair trial. The extremely difficult downside of that is successfully explaining that to his key audience who are way down on the educational attainment scale. Rendering that complex spin simply may prove to be over their heads. The complexity of what Thaksin will be forced to do and seed it with some distorted logic would be difficult to grasp even for someone with a full high school education.
Thaksin coming out and saying others will get a fair trial certainly fits Thaksin’s past habits. When he no longer needs someone they are discarded like used toilet paper. If he takes that approach it also lends credibility to the courts and the Abhisit government as well as the various anti corruption bodies that are on his heels. Not only that it will also in an indirect way add credibility to the 2006 coup that ousted him from office. To come out and say the courts were bribed simply causes more problems for Thaksin as no doubt that will bring contempt charges as well as open up a whole new can of worms for him.
Meanwhile the verdict has energized the acquitted to move on without Thaksin as they have seemed to had a refund with this particular dance with the devil. As they undertake new personal ventures, it becomes more difficult to justify (at least for the moment) siding with Thaksin. To do so will simply bring more problems their way.
From the governments perspective, this gives them a new tool showing that the courts are fair. Although this particular verdict may taste the same as the above mentioned used toilet paper, it does provide means to win over more Thaksin supporters in the pro Thaksin provinces. It will be much easier for the lesser educated Thais to grasp a concept that matches what they can see with their own eyes. That will prove useful also in taking some of the fire out of Thaksin’s red shirts propaganda and justify what lies in wait for them.