THAIS PROTEST AS TONY BLAIR VISITS THAILAND – With accusations that the Thai Government paid Tony Blair £400,000 (approximately 19.6 million Baht) a number of people hit the streets in Bangkok to protest Blair’s visit and the vast sum being paid for a speech.
With a Government minimum wage of 9,000 Baht per month (approximately £183.00) it is little wonder why many Thais would consider Tony Blair’s fee extortionate and offensive.
As Blair’s motorcade wafted through the Thai capital of Bangkok angry street protester held banners saying ‘Blair Speaks, Thailand Pays’. Other banners were a little more descriptive with ‘Blair Ruined the UK, Stay Out of Thailand’ and ‘Blair Betrayed Britain’.
It is often said that Thais do not have their finger on the pulse of international affairs but this demonstration clearly shows that they are fully aware of what is going on around the world.
Tony Blair and Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra have denied that any fee was paid for his appearance in Bangkok, however the Thai Prime Minister did acknowledge the taxpayer was picking up the bill to cover Tony Blair’s travel costs, accommodation and general expenses – so that would be the £400,000 as it is unlikely that Blair would have traveled by anything less than a private jet, stayed in the most expensive hotel and of course his general expenses could amount to anything he decides to make up.
The speech was perpetrated in order to draw a line under the 2006 military coup and the 2010 Bangkok riots with Tony Blair making a joking statement that he chose the colour blue so as not to be affiliated with any one faction of the opposing political views.
The speech, according to Tony Blair, was to try and bring some form of reconciliation between opposing factions so that democracy could flourish.
Unfortunately Yingluck Shinawatra’s plan appears to have backfired after a number of key opposing figures refused to attend the conference in protest of Tony Blair’s presence.
Thai newspapers and online news sites were awash with news of Blair’s visit soon after he completed his speech and each noted that his visit has had no significant impact on reconciling opposing factions and if anything has only made the situation worse given the suspected payment and Tony Blair’s shaded past in politics.
One insider we spoke to commented;
“Blair really does have some front. To come to Thailand and basically call for peace and greater understanding is nothing less than an insult and the Thai people, to their credit, could see right through him.
Here is a man that instigates an illegal war with Iraq and despite being the UN Peace Envoy for the Middle East is admonishing the British Government for not engaging in military strikes against Syria.
Blair is not an envoy of peace and the Thais are right in being offended by his presence in Thailand.”
Last week a number of protesters set up camp outside the British Embassy in Bangkok in order to display their disdain at Blair’s pending visit.
Some quarters are saying that if Yingluck Shinawatra really wants reconciliation then she should have listened more carefully to the people and asked Tony Blair to cancel his visit.
Meebal.com contacted another source who told us;
“Blair’s visit is little more than an insult. The conference titled ‘Uniting for the Future: Learning from Each Other’s Experience’ is little more than a joke. Here is a man who has learned nothing from his experience for he went to war with Iraq and now wants to go to war with Syria – how has this man learned anything from his experience?
Thailand has enough problems without taking advice from a warmonger.”
This might be one guest that Ying Shinawatra may wish she had never invited and from the images of protesters on the streets it is clear they don’t want Tony Blair in Thailand.