When the Red Shirt leaders called a Red Shirt rally in the past, pulling together numbers was not an issue. They flocked by the thousands to the rally site and did not show any wavering in support of Thaksin. But now it seems those days are gone and by Thaksin’s own hand.
The North East of Thailand known as Issan is the stronghold of the Red Shirts and Thaksin’s voter base. There was a time that Thaksin could get support in the millions and not even crack a sweat. But in a very recent call by Red Shirt leaders to organize a rally supporting the Thai Government, only 0.07% of the population turned up.
According to a population study done in September 2013, there are 2,609,427 people in the provinces targeted for the rally. However only some 20,000 Red Shirts turned up. That number is even worse than the percentage of people that supported the controversial Amnesty bill that would have freed Thaksin from his obligations. For the Amnesty bill there was about 10% support.
So obviously those numbers look bleak for the Red Shirts at 10%. But when you add in all the rice farmers that did not get paid from the failed rice pledging scheme, you can see why 0.07% bothered to show up for the Red Shirt rally. To make it worse, they did not need to travel to Bangkok, but roughly 3 hours at the most.
But dealing with Thaksin who is self centered and shows no empathy to anyone, sooner or later he would screw up and show his true colors to his Red Shirt Supporters. So as we have cited before, ‘All politically fatal moves in Thailand are self inflicted’, and Thaksin is no exception despite his belief he is better than everyone.
So when you add to that unless Thaksin digs in his own pockets to pay the Thai rice farmers, it is not going to happen based on the present situation in Thailand. The banks do not want to fund the payments because they are not blind and know the chances of getting paid back are slim at best. Payment money needs to be borrowed as the coffers are already depleted from previous rice payments to farmers.
So this shows another thing about Thaksin in that he has no real friends and people only seek his money. The Red Shirts abandoned him because he did not care about Red Shirt protesters losing their life in the 2010 Red Shirt riots. The farmers abandoned him because they are now waiting for payments that are likely not to come or be greatly reduced.
This is shown in the swollen numbers of Anti Government supporters. Getting over 100,000 at a rally was a push for all sides, but now with 3 to 4 million Anti Government protesters in Bangkok alone, Thaksin has only himself to blame. But he won’t do that and accuse someone else, and by doing that he will just add one more person to the Anti Government protest.