Reform policy is bankrupt

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 January, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 11 January, 1993, 12:00am

MR Major admitted recently that he had made some mistakes as Prime Minister. I wonder if he included his decision to replace Lord Wilson, and to ''get tough with Beijing'' as a mistake.

Is it not clear by now that the Major/Patten policy is morally and politically bankrupt? Morally bankrupt, because whatever legalistic arguments they adduce, it is obvious that they are breaking the spirit of previous agreements.

Any Memorandum of Understanding will include the understanding that they should confer on important issues. And if the wider franchise that Patten proposes does not break this spirit, then why did the earlier agreement have a narrower franchise? Politically bankrupt, because Patten is at best irrelevant unless he has the goodwill of his counterparts.

Recall that the Bank of China will be issuing banknotes by 1994.

The British policy only makes sense if they think there is nothing to be gained from co-operation (for instance, if they equate China with the Khmer Rouge), and if they are able to back their position up, perhaps militarily, in some way.

Even if they do think that China is a bully, they don't need Machiavelli, or Sun Tzu, to counsel against picking a fight with a bully, unless there is some chance of winning.

Also, it seems there are no good answers to the questions: what is the expected and desired outcome of the Patten policy? And what does he do now? A. CARVERHILL Sai Kung