I was sitting in the house of Jairan, a struggling farmer in Chiang Mai province, when the news came through that the Election Commission had recommended the dissolution of two parties in the governing coalition – Chart Thai and Matchima Thippatai. “It’s just like killing a tree,” Jairan commented. “You don’t just do it all in one go. You chip off a little bit of bark at a time and eventually the tree will die.”

In this part of Chiang Mai province they know how to kill a tree surreptitiously. Once it is dead it can then be a legitimate target for felling.

Not a bad metaphor for the persistent attempts at a coup by stealth.