Imagine that someone in Beijing gives Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam a kick up the backside about boosting ‘social harmony’ in the city. Instinctively capable at implementing anything without question, she sets to it.
The lady personally declares a one-off cash handout to every member of the poor, semi-poor and not-very-rich segment of the population who (in some cases, at least) didn’t benefit from the rebates, grants, bonuses and other money-flinging measures in the recent surplus-filled Budget. Politicians from across the spectrum whine, thus enhancing the subliminal impression among the public that she has accomplished something bold and worthwhile.
Then she goes to the Democratic Party’s annual dinner, where she hobnobs and even hands them a modest donation. From a United Front perspective, there’s no harm in giving them a little face. The DP is a stale single-issue group that still takes our increasingly ceremonial Mainlandized political structure seriously, and its aging members at least consider themselves to be fellow Chinese. Trying to split them from Hong Kong’s young radical pro-independence elements is a Leninist no-brainer. As a little extra, the patriotic loyalist parties complain bitterly about ‘rewarding’ the opposition (they mean the symbolism rather than the sensuous pleasures of having dinner with Carrie), and they need an occasional kick in the teeth to remind them of their place.
Who have we left out? Oh yes – the tycoons. Carrie decides to relax and give herself a treat by setting up a committee. Obviously, she isn’t going to freak out with an original one; this Chief Executive’s Council on Innovation and Strategic Development is a resurrection of Donald Tsang’s Mega-Commission, though perhaps more tightly focused on getting leaders of parasitical oligarchic ‘pillar industries’ to suggest how to free Hong Kong from the grip of parasitic oligarchic ‘pillar industries’.
And talk about fortuitous timing! Appointments of Westerners – and indeed females, and as if that weren’t groovy enough, Western females with track records in icky same-sex trendy stuff – to the Court of Final Appeal, just as everyone moans that the Communists are scrapping our rule of law.
See how nice things can be when you don’t go around electing localists?