Giles Ji Ungpakorn
Now that King Pumipon has died and it has been officially announced that the loathsome Wachiralongkorn is to be the next king, it is time to ask questions about all the conspiratorial nonsense surrounding the Thai royal family which has kept fairy-tale fans and lazy journalists occupied for years.
Firstly, if Pumipon had political power, why is there no political vacuum in Thailand? A recent rubbish article in the British newspaper, The Guardian, claimed that Pumipon could force soldiers and politicians to crawl on the ground in front of him “in order to keep them in check”. Others have claimed that Pumipon ordered various military coups, including Paryut’s coup in 2014. If so, who is giving orders to the generals now? How could they possibly have a clue about what to do without their king’s instructions?
The truth of the matter is that Pumipon had no power what so ever and it was always the military and other senior members of the Thai ruling class who advised (told) him what to do and say. What is more, Pumipon was incapacitated for years previous to his death and the military junta has ruled the country just like previous Thai military juntas. When we had elected governments, they also ruled the country along with other members of the ruling elites. Pumipon was just a symbol of their status quo.
Following his death that symbol of status quo has to be honoured in the long, expensive and tedious funeral ceremony. Coercion and socialisation are being used to continue the life of this reactionary symbol with those not wearing black being subjected to abuse and threats of violence and extra long royal anthems introduced into cinemas.
Secondly, supporters of the “Succession Crisis” conspiracy theory have suggested in the past that there was going to be a war or at least a serious fight between the Crown Prince and the Princess and their respective supporters. Where is the evidence for this civil war now?
Failing to show any evidence for the above, they quickly and conveniently “moved on” to hint that the delay in the Crown Prince’s coronation was an indication that he might not be king. They wet themselves with excitement when it was also announced that General Prem, top Privy Councillor, would be the Regent. Swiftly the junta announced that Wachiralongkorn was going to be the next king and Generalissimo Prayut and Genarl Prem went to see Wachiralongkorn, supposedly to “take orders”. In reality they were probably telling the half-witted thug about their plan for him and the country. Never the less, they emerged from the meeting to announce that “his majesty” was concerned about the happiness of the Thai people and that he had “instructed” them to protect the well-being of the population. That would be a first! Normally Wachiralongkorn is only concerned about his own happiness!
Those who fear that Wachiralongkorn would not make a good king (if there is such a thing) have nothing to fear. As Thomas Paine once wrote in the Rights of Man: being a mechanic requires some skill, but being a king only requires the animal body of a man.
The delay in Wachiralongkorn’s coronation is just an act designed to show the population that he is sad about his father’s death and is not impatient to sit on the throne. In fact he and his father never really liked each other. He was closer to his dreadful mother.
The delay in the coronation could be useful to the junta in dragging out this whole tedious mourning event and keeping up the royalist hype and repression. What is more we should not be at all surprised to learn soon that elections will have to be postponed until after the funeral and the coronation…. Taking us into 2018 or even 2019 and beyond.