So here in Thailand we are now under Martial Law.  Big Deal!  The reality is that very little, if anything, changes for those who live here, be they expats or native Thais.  Similarly, holidaymakers are not impositioned in any way.  Yesterday, Wednesday 21st May, I took a trip in to the centre of town from my home in the Ladprao area, to the north of Bangkok.    I walked a couple of miles and did all the chores I had planned.  Not only did I fail to see a tank or any other type of armoured vehicle I never so much as saw a single soldier.

I have now been a resident of Thailand for ten years.  During this time I have lived through a Military Coup; closure of the main airport by Yellow shirt protesters; the demonstration and sit-in by the Red Shirts and the apparent closure of Bangkok by the PDRC.  None of these things has affected my daily life and I have always seen more from television stations than I have with my own eyes.

I am, like all expats, a visitor to Thailand, albeit a long-term visitor.  I am therefore not in a position to stand for one side or the other in the ongoing political problems that have beset Thailand for the past decade.  I can see arguments for both sides and do not have an answer as to how to formulate a peaceful settlement that works for both factions.

However, it is clear that the significantly divisive point concerns Thaksin Shinawatra.  The man is seen as a hero by one side and a fugitive by the other.  The fact that his brother-in-law and, most recently, his sister have held the office of Prime Minister since he was ousted suggests his hand has never really been off the tiller of Thai politics.

For what it is worth, and whether or not it is acceptable to the Thaksin supporters, my suggestion would be to disbar all members of Thaksin’s family and all of his known friends and acquaintances from politics for ten years.  The supporters of Pheu Thai would still have a party that stands for their rights but a clear and transparent leadership that does not have the spectre of Thaksin hanging over it.   In the event that Thaksin was to return to Thailand and be able to completely clear his name in the courts then the ban on him, his family and his friends could be lifted.

I do not want to get involved in Thai politics.  All I want is for this fantastic country to grow and prosper and for the world to see what a wonderful and completely different country and culture exists here.  Thailand is now my home, I will never be going back to England and I want my home to be free from violence and discord.

In conclusion any of you who are worrying about visiting Thailand – stop worrying.  It is perfectly safe and, in fact, the imposition of Martial Law makes it even safer.  Come here, enjoy your vacation and then go home and tell your friends about this wonderful country.