It is tempting to think that Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is one leader who probably did not want the G20 summit in London to end. Take the final dinner. Mr Abhisit was nicely placed, seated near UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso and World Bank president Robert Zoellick - the kind of conversational partners who offer welcome legitimacy to an unelected leader. The Jamie Oliver-inspired Welsh lamb, mint sauce and organic Scottish salmon would have gone down rather well, too, given Mr Abhisit's British roots. Born in Newcastle, he was educated at Eton and then Oxford University before returning to Thailand to enter politics in his late 20s. And while the event allowed him to rub shoulders with the world's political elites - he flanked US President Barack Obama in the final summit photo - it provided a useful and powerful distraction from the efforts of ousted former leader Thaksin Shinawatra and his supporters to unseat him back in Bangkok. Thaksin - on the run from a two-year jail sentence - has scored a few points this week as more than 30,000 of his United Front For Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) red-shirted protesters clogged Government House. They represented a jarring reminder of the tensions Mr Abhisit has yet to ease. Protests have been spreading in rural areas, too. And Thaksin - now described as a 'Cyber Leader' by some commentators - and his cronies have promised intensifying action in the coming days. Just as he attempted to dent his rival's image with an appearance at Hong Kong's Foreign Correspondents' Club during a regional leaders' meeting a month ago, Thaksin is again acting up just as Mr Abhisit prepares to host the East Asian Summit in Pattaya next weekend. But, if history is any guide, it takes a lot more than 30,000 protesters to bring down a Thai government. The UDD has promised 300,000 on the streets next week yet it is far from clear whether they will be able to muster anywhere near that number. Thaksin may have scored some points but he remains far from reversing a trend that has seen the royalist, military and old-money establishment firmly back in control since Mr Abhisit's Democrat Party forged a ruling coalition after the courts disbanded the Thaksin-allied People Power Party last December. The establishment's fear and anger at the prospect of a Thaksin return to power should never be underestimated. Uncertainty about life after Thailand's revered monarch, 81-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej, passes from the scene fuels those fears. The strongest and most popular elected leader in Thai political history, Thaksin is seen by his enemies as a dangerous autocrat determined to rule for decades and reshape Thailand in his own image. The government may be willing to talk to the red-shirts to defuse tensions but it is unlikely to extend talks to any notion of allowing Thaksin to return a free man or deepen his involvement in public life. His actions may be bruising to the government but also point to his desperation. His ongoing political operation is a money trap, he has struggled to keep one-time cronies in line and foreign governments are tiring of his presence. The bulk of Thaksin's assets - US$2.4 billion linked to the tax-free sale of his Shin Corp - is not only frozen but is now the subject of final-seizure action in court. A decision could come as soon as July. If Thaksin is drinking at the Last Chance Saloon, that doesn't mean Mr Abhisit will be able to rest easy. The protesters voice many grievances beyond simply the restoration of the Thaksin years. They are a reminder that no other leader has reached out effectively to the poor and lower-middle class - the bulk of Thai voters. And at some point, the avowedly liberal Mr Abhisit will have to go to the polls.