Morning Muse: Potemkin Election Anyone?

UPDATE March 21: So the CC has now invalidated what was never going to be anything other than a shadow-play anyway and I have to say: It is hard to know what to make of all the faux surprise and crocodile dismay being expressed in the wake of yet another foregone conclusion.

It is hard to know what to make of all the fuss surrounding tomorrow’s election.

The mere physical act of voting is subject to speculation. How many polling stations can the PDRC effectively block and what tactics will they use to make up for lack of numbers? Will there be violence? Will voters have to climb walls and clamber over crowds to get to the polling stations, thus providing the ever-hungry media with dramatic, “iconic” photographs with which to telegraph the continuing saga of Thai democracy?

And what about the results? Will Puea Thai lose votes due to the one-two punch they have self-administered with the rice scheme and the amnesty bill? Or will they gain votes due to the electorate’s wish to punish the Democrat Party and its street wing? Will people vote No? Will there be a significant number of spoiled ballots with No choice indicated?

Most interesting of all is the swirl of questions regarding the legal, constitutional requirements for deadlines and quorums and by-elections and parliament formation.Fortunately Yingluck has not been starring in a cooking show, so not a lot of electrons spent on whether her recipe-sharing may result in her banishment from the country altogether.

You would almost get the impression that any of it mattered, when the simple fact is it doesn’t mean a thing. Nada. Zilch.

At best this “election” will provide poll-type information regarding Puea Thai’s and Yingluck’s popularity and yet more undeniable evidence to prove that the Thai people want to live in a democracy.

At worst it will be a massive waste of time, money and a few lives that serves to extend the time available for backroom negotiations as Thaksin and his party wrestle with the question of how much more parliamentary and executive power to abandon to the old network so they can continue to recoup money wasted and seized in previous rounds of Thai realpolitik.

The real question of course is “What if they held an election and no one who mattered cared?” Because that is what is happening here.

Better to start a pool on which geriatric “good person” will be wheeled out to head the Committee for Public Safety or Council of Really Morally Upright People Who Love to Kowtow-for-Cash with the King as Head of State (CRMUPWLKCKHS) that will “govern” for the next year or eighteen months while another council of equally “good” people apply the lipstick to the pig and call it a new Constitution.

Then the only question left will be directed at the Thai electorate, all of it. Not just the Redshirts and those few Yellows who actually do understand and support democracy, but all of it. And in particular that group of white-shirted, candle-bearing peaceniks who’ve been holding visually lovely vigils and making all the right pro-democratic noises.

That question is: What are you going to do about it?

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