The king’s birthday bash, organized by the state and paid for by taxpayers, has been highly politicized. Readers will be getting bored with us saying this, but it is a fact that every birthday and speech is a deliberate political intervention. This one, however, was meant as a fillip for royalists in their battle against the “forces of evil” embodied in Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck Shinawatra and their supporters.
While the energy may drain from the ultra-royalists – it seems this has been the Thaksin-Yingluck political strategy – this birthday event may eventually be seen as being significant in the political battles; perhaps as significant as Privy Council president General Prem Tinsulanonda’s infamous intervention in 2006 that led to the military coup. PPT doesn’t have a crystal ball, but we expect increased ultra-royalist activism as a result of the birthday bash and the king’s speech.
That speech was to a remarkably partisan crowd, and seemed directed at them as royalists who understand the meaning of “unity.” Recall that the royalists and most of the mainstream media claim that it is Thaksin who is “divisive” and red shirts who destroy “harmony.” We have no doubt that the ultra-royalists recognized a call to political activism rather than for any reconciliation.
The partisan nature of the crowd is seen in a couple of videos that came to PPT’s attention via the Asia Provocateur blog. The first shows the crowds of yellow-clad royalists jeering Yingluck Shinawatra as she delivered the obligatory prime ministerial speech of good wishes to the aged monarch. The second shows yellow-clad devotes of royal harmony and unity attacking a street vendor displaying red shirt paraphernalia.