Opinion: Thailand’s real royalists cannot let Palang Pracharat be its sole representative in parliament

The watch scandal, the crackdown on students, the military-backing, the coup, the minister who was a drug smuggler, the minister who built a home in national park land, the list goes on and on.

And we haven’t even brought up the constant party infighting that has seen new leadership (led by watch-wearer extraordinaire Prawit Wongsuwan) in less than a year, the infighting that pushed out new Finance Minister Predee Daochai, the internal drama where party members constantly bickers and fight for the spoils of governance.

This is the party that is supposed to defend and uphold the cherished royal institution?

Yet somehow that has become the case. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha and Deputy Prime Minister Prawit have somehow taken their special brand of corruption and nepotism and their merry band of syncophants and rebranded themselves into ardent defenders of the crown.

Who does one blame for this sad state of affairs?

Do you blame the students who want to modernize the institution and reform it? Do you blame parties like the Democrats who have become so inept that they’re effectively unelectable? Do you blame the coupmakers who have shrewdly rebranded themselves so that the public thinks that they’re inextricably tied to crown?

Or do you blame the public for being hoodwinked by such a trick.

For many royalists, the crown (moreso than the man) is a symbol of virtue, of paternalism, of fatherly love during times of crisis. It is sacred, cherished, even moral, dare we say.

So to tie the decay of Palang Pracharat to the crown requires some mental gymnastics that we’re not sure is worth the trouble or sustainable in the long run.

Royalists must realize, at this point, that Prayut and Prawit are doing nothing more than using the crown as a shield to prolong their stranglehold on power.

There is room to be loyal to King and Country and not the generals.

Let us not forget that the student protests began with a questionable court decision and against military intervention in politics. There is room to hate this government and still love the monarch.

If that middle ground can be found then perhaps there might be a more civilized way out of this conflict.

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