Just a few days ago, Hong Kong’s pro-establishment lawmakers made stupendous asses of themselves by neglecting to vote on the crucial political reform package. Their farcical exit from the Legislative Council chamber highlighted the unthinking and robotic behaviour that the Chinese Communist Party expects and requires of its allies (and the problem with unquestioning obedience). It also raised doubts about some of these individuals’ basic IQ levels. And for good measure, it reminded observers that the pro-Beijing camp is simply an ad-hoc and largely incompatible mish-mash of devout believers, co-opted special interests and blatant opportunists, with little in common but obsessive-compulsive shoe-shine disorder. One of the humiliated zombie-walkout losers-of-face is publicly blasting his fellow legislator and brother for not joining in last Thursday’s March of the Loyalist Lemmings.
And so it is only to be expected that the big story this week is… the earth-shattering and fatal mega-split in the pan-democrats, otherwise known as the departure of Ronny Tong from the Civic Party.
Ronny’s unsurprising and probably inconsequential decision reflects the pan-dems’ own dilemmas and inner crises. There is the perpetual Moroseness-at-all-Costs that requires the pro-democrats to be depressed and depressing, even when last week’s events hand them reasons to be cheerful and confident. This is important: a community looking for leadership doesn’t need woeful wrist-slashing martyrs. Related to this is the generational gap, as stodgy old lawyers and journalists obsessed with constitutional structures give way to the freedom-loving Hong Kong-first youngsters of the Umbrella era. And ultimately, there’s the deep question of how you convince a totalitarian, Leninist one-party state to let a pluralistic society live. Does it take defiance and opposition, or is moderation and compromise the only way?
As well as quitting the Civic Party, Ronny is standing down as a legislator. This will trigger a by-election. If the pan-dems manage to lose his seat in New Territories East, they will lose their narrow majority in the geographical constituencies, and thus much of the obstructive power they currently hold in the legislature – notably use of the filibuster.
This should be a hypothetical and improbable outcome. It will be a straightforward first-past-the-post race rather than the usual multi-seat, party-list proportional-representation bizarreness we usually get in Legco elections. The pro-dems will have to put a great deal of effort into losing – but as we all know, this is the sort of challenge they can’t resist.
It could be a blessing in disguise if the pro-dems did lose their power to filibuster. Nothing pleases the pro-Beijing media more than the chance to portray the pan-democrats as nihilistic troublemakers, a charge that resonates with much of the public. It would encourage them to seek different methods and indeed different goals. After 30 years, the fight for democracy in Hong Kong has achieved little or nothing, while the cronyism, the poor governance, the rip-offs and the inequality get worse, and people get angrier.
If there is a split, the pro-dems are dividing between those who have run out of ideas and energy, and those who have other things to do. What other things? Those who can’t answer that question should follow Ronny’s example and step aside.
Meanwhile, the real entertainment continues over in the pro-Beijing camp, where zombie-buffoons weep and wail and turn on their own siblings in their desperation to appease and assure their Communist Party string-pullers.
Another of those ‘Whoops we forgot it rains in Hong Kong when we designed the lobby area of our multi-billion dollar office complex’ moments…
The catastrophic lobby tsunami pictured above is yet more incontrovertible evidence of the devastating effects of climate change. Does anyone have Al Gore’s email address? I think he should be told.
Apparently Vagina has been on the receiving end of “comfort text” so those waterworks seem to be functioning okay.
Ronny’s problem was that he kept wanting to compromise, but could find no one on the other side to compromise with. To the establishment, “compromise” and “consensus” simply mean “let’s all do it my way”. Now we can only hope that the pan-dems have the sense to put up a single candidate for the by-election – preferably someone popular like Audrey Eu – and not a horde of competing ones. Beijing will no doubt tell their side to leave it to the DAB; probably they will select a local to secure the “indigenous property developer” vote as well. We may get our de facto referendum, albeit not territory-wide, without Albert Ho having to resign.
Not sure which is wetter, the underwater lobby or Ronny Tong.
He was a good lad, on the whole, but his measured approach has failed Hong Kong vis-a-vis democracy, and is rather reminiscent of Geoffrey Howe — “like being savaged by a dead sheep”.
Some of the votes in NT East are fake: villagers who still vote in rural places they would never be seen dead living in. But the area is becoming increasingly gentrified, so the anti-dems’ chance of winning must be lowish.
“It could be a blessing in disguise if the pro-dems did lose their power to filibuster.” The reason you seem to quote in support of this amazing claim is that it would make the pan-dems more loveable in the eyes of Peking! I’m flabbergasted at such jesuitism. Banging their heads 9 times on the floor would also ingratiate them up there, but there’s no good reason to do so.
We will be consumers of the various crikey knee-jerk responses to the latest vote. Ignore it.
The pro-Beijing camp is in disarray. They have been chastised by the Liaison Office and
it has been exposed that the liaison office has it’s special agents working in the district constituency.
R Tong is a failure. Good riddance. Now let us see if R Ip and fellow travelers fall on their swords.
Doubt it. They are truly vultures coming back to pick off the bones. You need a wooden stake to end the feast, tears aside,
The PRC has abrogated the the Sino-British agreement and the Basic Law. The Liaison Office has outed themselves as actively involved in the political process here.
Time to make this public
a sample of PRC history shows that the CCP doesn’t do publicly-aired compromise well, particularly when the Helmsman is a strong one. I prescribe further defiance and opposition as the only cure
Ronny dobbing the Civic Party as having drifted from original aims is pretty weak.
Much more likely is that his slant on softly-softly isn’t getting him any face in the top table. Possible – Audrey and Tanya tag teaming him? In the end, Ronnie leaving is probably good for Hong Kong; there’s just not enough mongrel in him.
As to the Tien brothers feuding. Surely the most odious little cocks east of Suez. It’s like watching a weasel versus a lemming in a slime bucket.
Today the Govt released a puff on what it is doing, as reported by RTHK: ” In an annual work report released on Tuesday “. Why is this referred to as “an annual work report”? The nomenclature is a direct copy of the CCP “work reports” to the rubber stamp NPPCC. One country, two systems?
Can some please tell me why after all these communist hacks (aka pro-establishment or pro-beijing ‘politicians’) have been called and/or summoned to the liason office, that there is narry a blink of outrage about the blatant breaking of article 22 of the basic law that they ironically all seem to quote selectively.
The only reference to 22 was made in EJ insight (translated from the HKEJ) and that was muted. Where is the public outrage and news reports. Why is noone going for the jugular on these united front pollies.
So what could be next for Ronny?
A pat-on-the-head reward: appointment to Exco (one of the pro-BJ’ers who walked out will be let go first – hopefully Vagina) ?
A cabinet post in the next government ?
An appointment to the People’s Consultative blah blah blah ?
A Bronze Bauhinia Keyring ?