Monday, January 26, 2009

Thaksin's two main concerns today: His own mortality and Abhisit's populism

You could detect it. You could almost feel it. When Thaksin Shinawatra spoke in his "phone-in" television programme yesterday, he was nervous about two things: Death and populism.

He said he would pursue the return of his frozen assets, come hell or heaven. There was an obvious fear of death there. Then, he said even if he was assassinated abroad, other people would take up his cause.

Then, he warned PM Abhisit Vejjajiva against copying his populist policies to the point that the country might not be able to afford it. In other words, Thaksin was getting scared that Abhisit may become more populist than the original populist -- and that could wipe Thaksin out of the grass-roots' memory.

Abhisit did exactly that yesterday. In his weekly Sunday television programme (Thaksin's phone-in on DTV followed immediately after Abhisit's programme on Channel 11), the premier announced that state enterprise, private school and local adminsitration staff will make up the latest group to receive a Bt2,000 cash gift under the government's economic stimulus package.

Thaksin can't say Abhisit isn't a fast learner.

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