My level of sympathy for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy parties has been waning since… well, ever since one-time Democratic Party leader Martin Lee started to lapse into a self-indulgent, whiny martyrdom routine aimed at an audience in Washington DC. Their biggest blunder has been their refusal to accept that genuine universal suffrage in Hong Kong is simply not compatible with one-party rule by the Communists over the PRC.
While they have spent years torturing themselves and the rest of us with lengthy nitpicking and moaning about arcane details of constitutional reform, the people of Hong Kong have been increasingly abused, ripped-off and under-served by exploitative property barons’ cartels, arrogant and idiotic policymaking, lousy schools and all the rest. If the pro-Beijing Democratic [sic] Alliance for the Blah Blah of HK were more independent and less guided by their Communist superiors, and if the pro-establishment Liberal Party were less obsessed with their own narrow commercial interests, they could between them wipe the pro-democrats off the electoral map.
As it happens, the two have now caught the Civic Party – the pan-democratic camp’s rich, cerebral and beautiful people – in a pincer movement over the issue of foreign maids’ fight to claim permanent residency in Hong Kong. The DAB delivered the first blow through its wild, racist alarmism over the prospect of half a million Filipinos settling in Hong Kong and sucking the health and welfare systems dry. CP lawyer-member Gladys Li is a legal advisor to the maids; a fellow lawyer-member airily dismissed the Great Filipino Brown Horror Threat as overblown, while others have stressed the importance of rule of law and human rights.
Now, just one day after I spelt Selina Chow’s name wrongly for the 5,000th time in my life, the Liberal Party goes for the fragrant, smooth-skinned jugular with a newspaper ad directly attacking the Civic Party’s stance on the fevered issue. It re-hashes the frightening statistics (helpers to get over HK$11,000 a month at minimum wage rates, HK$15 billion in extra health/education/welfare costs, 100,000 more families waiting for public housing) and holds Gladys Li and the CP generally to blame if the courts decide in favour of the maids.
The CP’s response is tragically defensive, indeed timid, and written in that turgid detail-obsessed, snore-inducing style favoured by members of the legal profession even when they are off-duty working as politicians and free to let their nastiest rhetorical capabilities do their worst.
I would happily match the LP’s HK$50,000 budget to pay for a CP counter-attack in the newspapers. The CP would say:
The Liberal Party are liars. Even if the court rules in favour (a huge ‘if’), few foreign maids would be eligible for full residency. Even fewer would overcome the family, financial and bureaucratic barriers to settling relatives here.
The Liberal Party are dangerous. They are willing to risk the rule of law, the integrity of our courts and the independence of our judges – without which Hong Kong people’s cherished liberties are defenceless – just to score political points and win votes from ignorant people at coming elections.
The Liberal Party are racist. Nearly everyone in Hong Kong is of immigrant stock. The LP is whipping up fears about people because of their skin colour. This is an insult to decency, fairness and Hong Kong values. They should be ashamed of themselves for damaging our city’s image.
The Liberal Party are self-serving scum. They care about their money, not the Hong Kong people. Miriam Lau has put the transport lobby’s profits ahead of kids’ and old folks’ lives on the roads by vetoing tougher road safety measures. Tommy Cheung risked workers’ health by delaying the ban on smoking in restaurants and proposed an inhumane HK$20-an-hour minimum wage. Vincent Fang tried to endanger consumers’ health by opposing tougher laws on food labeling. Etc, etc.
Whatever you may think about the maids or other things we may agree or disagree about, remember one thing: the Liberal Party are a bunch of slimy nematodes unworthy of your vote.
[Add photos of them for full, gruesome effect]
Of course, to the lawyers that inhabit the CP this would be unacceptable: emotional, unprofessional and non-factual. They don’t get it. It doesn’t have to be measured, accurate or even sincere (I don’t believe half the above, and I wrote it); the object is to verbally kick your enemy in the teeth over and over. Smear back, with double the quantity of mud. Gentlemanly debate won’t do it.
Another action-packed day in the long, drawn-out demise of Hong Kong’s pro-democrats.