Stats and polls

Intelligent, thinking, inquiring laymen should have no problem reviewing all the information accessible to them and accepting that the overwhelming majority of highly trained and equipped scientists who accept the theory of evolution do so for good reason. Much the same can be said about climate change, even if the mechanics of what is happening are less well understood than DNA and natural selection, so things are a bit hazier. But when it comes to Hong Kong government statisticians’ population forecasts and the Great Aging Society Menace, we are entitled to be skeptics.

You don’t need a PhD in number-crunching to know that a straight-line extrapolation is often meaningless, but that is how the last government of Chief Executive Donald Tsang, in particular, did demographic forecasts. Although the scarier predictions seem to have been toned down, the latest figures still lead to alarming reports that ”…growth in our gray-haired population will strain medical, housing and welfare services and probably increase the waiting time for a place in a care home.”

This doesn’t have to be true. We could have a higher retirement age, youthful immigration from the Mainland or the Philippines (or Burma? – we’re talking 2041 here), encouragement for the old to retire offshore, robots that wash the dishes and do hip replacements, a comet that wipes the whole planet out… Anything could happen.

But that’s not the message that the residual propagators of Sir Bow-Tie’s thinking in the bureaucracy want to spread. Their agenda is: keep recurrent spending down (so we will have some spare when 90-year-olds are flooding the hospitals) and meanwhile devote lots of funds to infrastructure, so all those extra people will have roads and bridges to drive on. In short, give our wealth to Donald’s tycoon friends.

In the CY Leung era, it would be nice to think that some politicians would stand up and question the Census and Statistics Department’s stale scaremongering. Chances are, they will be too busy flinging mud around.

With nominations for September’s Legislative Council elections now closed, there will be an average six candidates fighting for each geographical constituency seat. Although Legco has been enlarged, the number of GCs remains the same, so a constituency can return up to nine members, meaning we will probably see people get in with below 10% of the vote. The pro-democrats, when not abusing each other, will accuse the pro-Beijing folk of supporting national education brainwashing; Beijing officials based in the Liaison Office will leak all the dirt they can find about the pro-dems’ illegal structures and Mainland mistresses. It will be terrific fun.

But before that, we need to get a bit of dullness out of the way. First off the blocks this morning on the Mid-Levels Escalator – a transport system almost purpose-built to funnel voters past campaign workers – was former Security Secretary Regina Ip’s exciting New People’s Party. Soho was festooned with bright banners featuring the lady, plus a slightly gullible-looking candidate called Dennis Wong. He won’t win a Hong Kong Island seat, but Regina presumably will. Funny thing: you will never meet anyone who admits to voting for her.

Click to hear the Blues Magoos’ ‘The People Had No Faces’!

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6 Responses to Stats and polls

  1. Regierungsrat Bela von Lugosi, Bauamt IV says:

    Cram them all in…higher property prices..cheaper labour…more visitors to Ocean Park…zat is Kapitailsmus!

    Build build build…higher higher higher…into ze clouds and a new race of people surviving on pure sulphur dioxide…

    Consume consume consume…

    Es muss alles betoniert werden, as my friend Klaus Strangelove used to say. More concrete, concrete, concrete…I love it.

    Asphaltmenschen über alles!!!

    And even a Volkspartei!!

    Oh dear…I have to lie down now.

  2. Real Scot Player says:

    Being unfunny is that exhausting?

  3. Maugrim says:

    Mrs Ip once remarked to me that I lived in her electorate, good manners forbade me from uttering the response I had formed in my mind., something about preferring to eat faecal matter as a more pleasurable alternative,

  4. Headache says:

    RSP, it’s mentally and physically exhausting hitting “refresh” all morning to make sure you get the first comment.

  5. Chimp says:

    Well, there seems to have been a nett increase in population of about a million since the handover, so either there’s been a lot of people getting their leg over, or the new Hong Konger’s come from the mainland.

    I don’t personally see the problem. The government doesn’t do anything for the grey haired, non-productive fuckers anyway. I foresee a future with empty rubbish bins and streets without a scrap of cardboard to be seen… win-win.

  6. David Webb says:

    You wrote: “a constituency can return up to nine members, meaning we will probably see people get in with below 10% of the vote”

    Not just probably – almost certainly. If you get 10% plus 1 vote, you are guaranteed election, because not more than 9 people can have that many votes, even if they are evenly distributed.

    Hit the link above for more detail. Albert Chan Wai-yip was elected in NT West in an 8-seat constituency in 2004 with 7.83% of the vote, much less than the 11.11% then needed to guarantee success..

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