…or so begins an analysis of Thailand’s current political showdown published in Britain’s Telegraph. As the current “final battle” lurches into Thursday I expect there will be many more similar efforts to probe beneath the surface of this now huge international story.

As long-time New Mandala readers are aware, on both the “Yellow” and the “Red” side there are all manner of social, cultural, historical and emotional drivers of the current crisis. This is not simply a showdown between the public leaders: Thaksin and Somchai, on the one hand, and Chamlong and Sondhi, on the other.

Of course, getting inside the myriad elements of the political conflict is a difficult job.

With that in mind, readers who do not follow Bangkok Pundit‘s superb efforts to consolidate and analyse events should do so. As ever, the Pundit is right on top of things in his city with an enviably consistent stream of facts, reports and questions.

Unfortunately this open discussion and analysis of the current conflict isn’t really possible in the Thai media because of some of the players involved. It is only in parts of the international media, and online, that key issues driving the “final battle” ever really get a full airing, and are subject to wider public scrutiny.

Perhaps things would be different if the mainstream Thai press was free to report on all of the tensions ripping its society asunder. Perhaps.