29 August 2006

Coming next: a fake kidnap

Here in Thailand the buzz is all about the bizarre alleged bomb plot against the Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who appears to be as unpopular in Bangkok as he is popular in rural areas. A car packed with explosives was found near the PM’s home a few days ago, but there are several indications that all is not as it seems – as so often in Thai politics. So the rumours are that it was a stunt, set up by the PM or his allies to win sympathy for Thaksin at a turbulent time. The shame is that it’s quite plausible, and not just in Thailand or the developing countries. Objective criteria count for so little in our political system that winning sympathy is as good a way of getting elected, or re-elected as any other. City dwellers are deeply skeptical, but early indications are that this assassination attempt, real or staged, will be to Mr Thaksin’s benefit.

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