Does Abhisit have legitimacy?

I think the question of Abhisit’s legitimacy needs to be addressed, considering how often it is used by his opponents, and Hobby, too.

The world has 10 kinds of people, those who know binary and those who don’t.

But even if we accept only binary answers to the question we still get plenty of opinions and it all depends on who we ask.

Yes, if we ask 14 million who voted for Democrats
No, if we ask 14 million who voted for PTP
Yes, if we ask another 7 million who voted for neither and have their MP in government.
No, if we ask those who opposed the coup
Yes, if we ask those who agreed with it
No, if we ask those prefer Thaksin
Yes, if we ask those who abhor Thaksin

That’s enough of people. Let’s talk abstracts.

Yes, if you go by current law books
No, if you reject the current constitution as illegal

Yes, if you say he is the product of the same parliament that elected Samak and Somchai before him
No, if you say he had help from outside the parliament
Yes, if you say his opponents had outside help, too

No, if you say that after PPP dissolution a new mandate should be obtained
Yes, if you say that MPs are still the same and by-elections filled the empty seats

No, if you expect the PM to be the leader of the biggest party
Yes, if you expect the PM to get most votes in parliament

That’s getting boring. Let’s talk what is the practical meaning of “legitimacy”, beyond the binary.

Suppose the answer is “yes” and so Abhisit has the legitimacy.

Is his legitimacy equal that of Thaksin whose party once obtained some 75% of parliamentary seats? No.
Does he need an equal amount of legitimacy to the PM? No.

Suppose the answer is “no” and so Abhisit has no legitimacy.

Does it mean he has enough legitimacy to sign some paperwork related to day-to-day work of the government? Yes.
Does it mean he has enough legitimacy to negotiate with the reds on the solution to the crisis? Yes.
Does it mean he has enough legitimacy to run the country before the negotiated dissolution, if there’s a deal? Yes.
Does it mean he has enough legitimacy to represent the country in international forums like Asean? Yes.

Let’s now consider how his legitimacy changes over time for each of the above categories? Or maybe not, you get the point.

I’d just say that he has more legitimacy now, after running the country for a year and four months, than last year in the run up to Songkran. His legitimacy will grow if he survives this Songkran, and it will diminish as the election day draws nearer.

Only for some hard core opponents his legitimacy, if he ever had any in their eyes, waned even further over this period.

Ok, now how about changing opinions and perception of his legitimacy over time? Or, better yet, how about changing perception of his legitimacy in the process of a debate?

Do you see how a simple question: “Does Abhisit have legitimacy” brings out unlimited possibilities of answers, even if rounded to a yes/no choice.

To sum it up, a simple “he has no legitimacy” is a throwaway line that doesn’t deserve any attention unless the exact meaning, purpose, perspective, and usefulness to the discussion are clear. From experience and observations, most of the time it gets ignored.

Hello world!

Let’s go over some fundamentals first.

 

The world is perfect, Thai politics are perfect, there’s nothing to improve. Really.

 

The world and Thai politics in particular serve their purposes just fine. The problem is that we want something different out of it.

To the folks who’d protest that it can’t be fine, that people are suffering as a result of this mess, my answer is – people would suffer anyway. In Bhagavad Gita there was this guy, Arjuna, and he was going into a battle against half of his relatives. So he hesitated – people he cared about very much would be killed.  He was given a simple, and profound answer – they are already dead, you just don’t know it yet. Your job is to go out and do whatever you have to do, and don’t worry whether they live or die – God will sort it out himself, that’s his job, and he is better than you at balancing people’s karma anyway. In fact he is perfect at whatever he is doing, by definition.

 

So, having this attitude in mind, what should we do about Thai politics?  On one hand, if there’s God’s design for it and he’s watching over – then everything is fine, he can’t be wrong. On the other hand, if it sounds so fatalistic – why should we, I, bother at all? Well, I feel like I’m doing something useful here, that it’s kind of “my job”, so, regardless of the outcome, I’m happy I’m doing this, just for the sake of making effort. I’d feel inadequate writing a blog on flowers, or motoring, or scuba diving instead. It just wouldn’t be right.

 

Generally I apply the same standard to anything else – if people are doing something  because they genuinely feel like they have to, that it’s the “right thing” – I support them wholeheartedly. If they have ulterior motives – that’s the reality of life. Everybody has ulterior motives, all the time, the difference is in the degree and people’s own awareness of what is right and what is wrong, of the voice of their own consciousness, even if they are too weak to follow it.

 

So, the task is to keep the absolute, unattainable goal in mind, and navigate the dirty world of politics at the same time, making choices and backing one side over another.

 

Let’s see how it goes.