So the PAD got their demands and have now finally left the airport. But it was always likely that the court would rule against the PPP, so I wonder why they bothered in the first place. Why didn't they wait till after the court ruling? That way, they would have saved Thailand billions of dollars in lost tourism. In fact, the PAD have cost the country far more than any of Thaksin's dubious transactions. To me this is clear evidence that it's about power, not about the moral purity of a particular government.
Let's look more closely at what's really going on. The PAD are determined that no party representing the rural poor is going to have office. This is, in effect, a class war, and, in my opinion, risks eventually developing into a full blown civil war. There must now be massive discontent countrywide amongst those who voted for the PPP. And, indeed, they have themselves now formed their own protest group, the red shirts.
As it happens, the PPP will probably be able to re-constitute itself under a new name with a new leader, but the PAD will almost certainly continue to harrass them. So I think we can all expect some more fireworks at some point in the not too far future!
At street level, one of the effects of the airport closure is the absence of tourists in Bangkok. This evening, I went for a meal in the normally packed out food court in Sukhumwit Soi 7, and it was virtually deserted. Thousands of people in the tourist industry have had their lives affected by the amazingly inconsiderate actions of the PAD. It's really important the Thai people see through the PAD and banish them completely.
One of the things that disturbs me most is the precedent the whole affair sets. By succeeding like this, a signal has been sent out that it's OK to go to the streets if you don't like a government, even though it was democratically elected. Another worrying feature is the fact that the army is clearly not neutral. The PPP were unable to call on its support throughout the whole crisis. How can any government work when it is at odds with its own army? Anywhere else in the world (almost) the police and army would have worked together quickly to quell the problem.
Anyway, enough for one blog! Let's see how things unfold.