Public Eye

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 May, 2012, 12:00am


Let's make Legco election a filibuster referendum

It's time to up the stakes. Let's play all or nothing. It's the only way to settle this nonsense about the rights and wrongs of filibusters. Pro-democracy lawmakers preach the virtues of filibusters as a legitimate delaying tactic to stall government measures they oppose. Government supporters say the tactic is a money and time-wasting evil. Why not let the people decide? It's their time and money. The Legislative Council election is a few months away. Let's make it a referendum on filibusters. The people can pass judgment with their votes. Pan-democratic candidates can fight the election singing the praises of filibusters. Pro-establishment candidates can do the opposite by rubbishing filibusters. Let's see which side wins over the people. It's big-time political gambling. But if you believe in something, you shouldn't be afraid to defend it to the death. Should we let the games begin?

Political Russian roulette

Let's do some more high-stakes gambling. Opponents of a six-month ban on legislators who resign from running again say it is an attack on democracy. That's why pan-democratic legislators tacitly backed radical colleagues who filibustered to stall the bill. But the filibuster has been derailed and government supporters have enough votes to pass the ban law. The government says public opinion supports it. If the pan-democrats are so sure such talk is nonsense, they must call the government's bluff. One way to do this is for all pan-democratic winners of September's Legco election to resign right away. The entire pan-democratic camp will then boycott the by-elections and ask voters to do likewise. That would leave only pro-establishment candidates taking part. If voter turnout is still high, it would mean the people really did support the ban law. The pan-democrats should then shut up. But if turnout is poor, we'll have a Legco stacked with government yes-men who have no real mandate. Our legislature will become a global joke. It's political Russian roulette. Dare the pan-democrats play?

What price democracy?

We in Hong Kong put a dollar sign on everything. We have now put a dollar sign on democracy. Many say the filibuster by radical legislators was a waste of public money. But instead of squabbling over how much filibusters cost, why not ask if lawmakers should have a right to use the tactic? Democratic legislatures elsewhere all allow filibusters in one form or another. Shouldn't we squabble over what form suits us best rather than cast the debate in money terms? That would at least protect our democratic values. But no. We just moaned about the money. At what point does democracy become too expensive? Our bureaucrats were among the first to moan about money-wastage. They are the world's highest-paid bureaucrats aside from Singapore. And they talk about wasting the people's money?

Shopkeepers for mainlanders

It's going to happen anyway, so why not just let it happen. No one can stop the tide. Go ask King Canute if you don't believe Public Eye. The tidal wave of mainlanders swamping our shores will only intensify, not retreat. Protesters picketed the clothing chain store Giordano over the weekend for switching from traditional to simplified Chinese in promotional material. Before that, they railed against agnes b. Cafe for doing likewise with its menu. And before that hundreds defiantly snapped pictures outside a Dolce & Gabbana store after the name-brand chain said only mainlanders could take pictures. Wake up, everyone. We're now a city of shopkeepers for mainlanders. There's nothing you can do about it, so get used to it.