In an excellent and provocative piece for today’s The Nation, Chang Noi makes the case that “[t]he bleating about vote-buying and patronage politics is simply an attempt to undermine electoral democracy because it seems to be working”.

Taking on those who support the disenfranchisement of Thailand’s rural masses this is a tough-minded intervention from a well-regarded commentator. It is, I might add, the same basic case that New Mandala co-founder Andrew Walker has been making around what he calls the “rural constitution”.

Chang Noi skewers the key myth with characteristic aplomb:

In truth, the problem is not that upcountry voters don’t know how to use their vote, and that the result is distorted by patronage and vote-buying. The problem is that they have learnt to use the vote only too well.

Go Chang Noi!