Parliament of Clowns
“This world is a comedy to those that think,
a tragedy to those that feel –
a solution of why Democritus laughed and Heraclitus wept”
– Horace Walpole, 1769
It’s taken just a few days for the new government to show its true colours.
- The government dropped the price of petrol by 8 Baht a litre. Enormous queues formed outside petrol stations, and many places ran dry. The government promptly raised the price again.
- The police chief has been forced out of his job, to be replaced by Thaksin’s brother-in-law.
- The promise to raise the minimum wage to 300 Baht from January (a major vote winner) has now become “raise the minimum wage to 300 Baht in only seven provinces for the time being”.
- The government has admitted that its policy of a minimum starting salary of 15,000 Baht per month for graduates can’t legally be imposed upon the private sector, so will only apply to government workers (if it’s ever actually implemented, that is). I’m not sure where the money will come from to hike the pay of the 346,365 graduate government workers who currently earn less than that.
- Two cases of corruption against members of Thaksin’s family have been dropped. (An independent judiciary?)
- The government used its influence to persuade Japan to grant a vista to Thaksin, though as a convicted criminal facing 2 years in prison he wouldn’t normally have been granted one.
- The policy to help poor people buy cars (as if the streets of Bangkok weren’t crowded enough already) has been changed so that only tax payers will benefit (and in Thailand the poor – and the very rich – don’t pay taxes).
- The “credit cards for taxi drivers and motorcycle taxis” is now to be extended to give credit cards to all the poor so they can pay for fuel. (Or rather, they can run up credit then default, as has happened with similar government schemes in the past.)
- The government has appointed about 20 red shirt leaders (i.e. the people responsible for setting fire to Bangkok shopping malls and widespread looting) to government positions, even though they seem rather lacking in qualifications.
The lunatics really do seem to have taken over the asylum.