Arculli's view cuts both ways

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 January, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 January, 1993, 12:00am

MR Ronald Arculli is going to have an interesting political career if he interprets all expressions of agreement with his views as sarcastic. As his spurious expressions of gratitude (''Sarcastic attack can backfire'', South China Morning Post, January 9)were not accompanied by any comment on the substantive point made in my letter (''Legco must have free vote'', South China Morning Post, January 6) let me repeat it in terms free from any whiff of irony. I have long believed that Hongkong Government officials can have no claim to represent Hongkong people and should not talk as if they do. Accordingly, I wholeheartedly agree with Mr Arculli that it would ''not seem right'' if the only reason any proposal passed was that three ex-officio members had voted for it. But we cannot just say ''anyone can vote except those employed by the Government''.

Decisions which are ''crucial to the Hongkong people'' should be voted on by councillors elected by and answerable to those people. If we are going to exclude someone who is only on the Council because Sir David Wilson made him Chief Secretary, then we also have to exclude those who are only on the Council because Sir David Wilson made them councillors. Both groups have equally slender claims to representative status. And one must also ponder the situation of the more select functional constituencies, of which Mr Arculli's is one. It may be that Mr Arculli has developed some more subtle test of representativeness, which officials fail but appointees pass. If so he has not yet explained it. Until he does so he must not complain if people suspect that his use of democratic rhetoric conceals a simple desire to exclude from the list of voters those with whom he expects to disagree. TIM HAMLETT Kowloon