Hong Kong news junkies nostalgic for the balmy days of mid-late 2011, when former Legislative Council president Rita Fan spent months publicly musing over whether she would ‘run’ for Chief Executive, are in heaven. Former Security Secretary Regina Ip holds a meeting of her New People’s Party supporters to say that she might make a bid for the job, or she might not, or – thanks to the laws of quantum mechanics – she might do something in between.
Readers of tea leaves will note that China Daily provides a prominent and extensive story about what must have been a rather forgettable event, lending a little credence to the idea that someone somewhere has penciled in the fearlessly coiffured lawmaker as emergency replacement should Beijing’s presumed choice Henry Tang become unappointable if, say, multitudes of exceptionally distasteful past marital or other indiscretions come to light.
The Standard reports that the pan-democrats could be in with a chance of getting enough Election Committee votes together to nominate a candidate for the make-believe election for Chief Executive next March. The main value is in getting a TV debate out of it; smart-ass Civic Party lawyer versus clueless Henry would be as fun to watch as a Manny Pacquiao whitewash. Otherwise, it is a futile gesture, made all the more embarrassing if public opinion, often besotted by such credentials as ‘government experience’, comes out in favour of Beijing’s chosen lamebrain.
There is a school of thought that the pan-democrats would be better off endorsing one of the current front-runners – which inevitably means CY Leung. In practice both sides would recoil at the idea, but such a move would add a completely new dimension to the quasi-election charade now underway. By backing CY as the best alternative to the bureaucrat-tycoon establishment gorging itself on the real-estate pyramid scheme, the pro-dems could conceivably provoke Beijing into pushing the new administration in a more reformist direction. It would require subtlety, lateral thinking, boldness, hard-headedness, more than a dash of Machiavellian cunning and large quantities of hens’ teeth flown in by winged pigs.
So, secure in his position as dim rich-kid having the CE’s job handed to him on a silver plate, Henry goes through the motions of setting up a campaign PR team, as the South China Morning Post explains…
Never heard of these communications geniuses? Not impressed by their apparent track records? Bemused by the civil service links? Don’t worry: it’s just one big game of make-believe. Roll on March.