Yesterday’s presentation of the new Thai government’s policy agenda has set off a new round of name-calling about so-called “populist” policies. This is to be expected from the usual suspects in the media and the Bangkok elite.

But is it too much to hope that, this time around, academics and other public policy commentators might hold off on their pre-programmed anti-populist stance and actually engage in some meaningful analysis of the implementation and impacts of these policies?

“Populist” is an easy term to bandy about, but serious assessment of government policies requires solid leg work. Are Thailand’s intellectuals up to the task?