Bringing an end to the political divide in Thailand requires both long and short term planning. Unfortunately the key underlying factor is still being ignored, and that will simply repeat the process that could once again lead to violence.
Connecting the Dots does not like to take sides, but others may have a different opinion about that. But simply because one side has been acting in such a self serving way, it becomes difficult to appear balanced. But now there seems to be emerging evidence that supports the main complaints the poor have, and that is the huge and growing divide between the people who have, and the people who have little or nothing.
Fixing the education system is key to long term reconciliation in Thailand. Without a good education there will always be imbalance in society, and that is universally true in any country. That fact is common knowledge and even a modestly educated person could figure that out.
In very general terms, When Thaksin Shinawatra was elected Prime Minister, the elite were pushed from power and the poor seemed in control. During that time the Thai education system continued to produce sub par graduates because many had documents that did not match their actual abilities. When the democrats and in general the elite came back into power when Abhisit Vejjajiva was legally voted into the Prime Minister’s seat, nothing much changed.
From that time in December 2008 when Abhisit came to power there has been plenty of time to fix the education system. However the only fix seems to be a new coat of paint and all the tools really needed to fix it never left the tool box. Granted the democrats were under significant attack during that time, but a simple procedural change like not passing failing students would be a good first step that only requires a signature to implement.
With those simple facts, any casual observer of events in Thailand must conclude that keeping the majority of Thais under educated is a tool to stay in power. Both the educated people in the pro and anti Thaksin groups seem to be wanting to keep things that way.
So if that is indeed the case, then keeping the lesser educated Thais as cattle that can be lead with minimal effort and convinced to vote in whatever way is the desired state. Bringing an end to vote buying is dealing with the effect of low education. It seems it is one of the few ways the poor lesser educated Thais can get some extra income. If they were more educated the temptation of vote selling would be reduced or eliminated and they could decide their countries path with better clarity.
Unfortunately when education is in abundance, the elite may if not certainly find it more difficult to remain the elite. Challenges from elected politicians looking to work for their constituency and not the elite would most certainly be the outcome.
Even the progressive blocking of the Internet is fueled by the desire to stay in power. Many of the sites being blocked have little or nothing to do with the reasons they claim they are being blocked for. The reality is it is all about staying in power. If you can control the information, then even the educated people can be controlled just as easy as the uneducated people.
Suggesting that there are several thousand websites that have content that offends the King or members of the royal family is very hard to believe. The King of Thailand is one of the most respected people on the planet by Thais and non-Thais alike. If it was someone like some out of control politician who is threatening the world with nuclear weapons, that huge number of blocked sites could be expected, but not so with the Thai King.
The fact is the Internet is a tool for education as well as entertainment and sexual content. Opinions and views can spark thinking that could lead to not believing those who look to control others with false and misleading information.
So without education the chances reconciliation will succeed on the long term are near or at zero. What is going on appears to be a shallow effort with just enough spit and shine to make it look sincere.