In today’s episode of Who Cares? – the exciting new Executive Council line-up.
Obvious question: what is ExCo, the so-called policy-advising ‘cabinet’?
In colonial times, the EC comprised the Governor, the Chief Secretary, Attorney-General, and Financial Secretary, the Commander of British Forces, and a few ‘non-official’ members, typically taipan-types from Hongkong Bank, Jardines or Swire. At weekly meetings, each bureau head would go in one by one and get quizzed about the latest situation in Education, Health, Public Works, Lands, etc – and get a pat on the head or kick up the rear, as circumstances warranted.
Today, the EC is four or five times bigger, including all 16 of the bureau heads, plus a similar number of outsiders such as pro-Beijing legislators and shoe-shining finance/business folk. Membership supposedly confers social status, so is used as a reward for loyalty or (as with Regina Ip being named ‘convenor’) a consolation prize. The average age of the new non-officials is (I read somewhere online so it must be true) 65.7. Proceedings are confidential, but we can be fairly sure – judging by quality of governance – that this large group does not offer advice so much as receive instructions on the ‘lines to take’. Under a principle of collective responsibility, members are required to openly support government policy.
As with the ‘improved’ patriots-only elections, Legislative Council and most publicly visible ‘politics’ in Hong Kong, ExCo is essentially ceremonial. The real decisions are made elsewhere.
Hence Hong Kong’s nonsensical and apparently never-ending Covid restrictions. Despite the quarantine/hotel requirements that make inbound travel extremely difficult, the Rugby 7s organizers are hoping to hold an international tournament later this year, using a ‘closed loop’.
Presumably, they are hoping the Covid regime will in fact be ended by November, as the proposed arrangements (teams being confined to hotels when not playing/training) sound too onerous for the average rugby player to bother with. Hong Kong’s top rugby doc foresees medical-care problems…
It’s not possible to have a WR rugby tournament without a concussion specialist pitch side.