PUBLISHED : Saturday, 21 June, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 June, 2003, 12:00am

It has been said that people who don't learn from history are condemned to repeat it. You can't say that about Security Secretary Regina 'Broom-head' Ip (right).

In her defence of Article 23, she has shown - in her spare time - to be as erudite in recent history and current affairs as she is about literary matters. (Remember her on the cover of Cup - a magazine owned by Albert Cheng - in a sleepy, reclined pose with a copy of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera on her lap?)

Undeterred by all the criticism levelled against her following her comment in November about Adolf Hitler being brought to power by democracy, she now cites Aceh, Kurdish separatism in Turkey, the May 2000 coup in Fiji, nationalist hostilities between India and Pakistan, and even the Sars outbreak as examples of why Hong Kong must enact its own national security laws. She even quoted former SAS general Sir Peter de la Billiere that governments had to be constantly 'looking for trouble' and not to take things for granted.

If I remember correctly, that is the title of Sir Peter's memoir because he has been getting himself into trouble since childhood - he didn't actually advise governments to do the same.

Perhaps Mrs Ip should remember what a British wit once said about history: 'People learn too much from history, and they usually draw the wrong lessons.'