Political Animal

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 November, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 November, 2008, 12:00am

Minibonds debate takes a musical turn

Christmas came early to Legco's solemn chamber last night when a lawmaker broke into song - and about minibonds, no less. Democrat James To Kun-sun received Minibonds are Coming to Town, an amended version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town, from an investor who had lost a fortune on the failed minibonds, but not their creative streak. Mr To decided to regale his fellow lawmakers at a debate on reforming the financial regulatory system.

While Mr To's performance set off no oratorical fireworks - and what it added to his argument was also questionable - he did exhibit a knack for maintaining rhythm, so that by the end of his second and final chorus, lawmakers were inspired enough to continue with their hours-long debate.

Don't get your hopes up for vouchers

Fearful of a swiftly inflating chorus of calls for the issuing of consumption vouchers, government officials have moved to dampen expectations. As soon as Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah concluded his first pre-budget consultation session with legislators on Tuesday, officials acted quickly to dash any false hopes. The move followed a call by Federation of Trade Unions legislators for the government to give everyone a HK$2,000 consumption voucher, double the amount proposed by the Liberal Party last week. An informed source said the government was in a dilemma. With the consultation just begun, it was politically awkward to rubbish the idea publicly now. A high-profile response by finance officials, meanwhile, might also fuel public debate and, worse, expectations.

Lawmakers think alike ... and dress alike

It is a nightmare for female celebrities aspiring to steal the spotlight at film premieres and charity shows. But when it comes to the business of politics, two prominent female legislators were happy not only to think alike but also dress alike - or sort of - and pose for photos. Yesterday, Emily Lau Wai-hing, a soon-to-be-confirmed Democratic Party member, and Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, of the Civic Party, caught the eyes of newshounds with their green jackets and black, round-collared shirts.

Ms Eu admitted she deliberately picked something green from her wardrobes to reinforce her message in an environment-related motion on a low-carbon economy. Asked if her choice of colour represented a show of loyalty to the Democrats, whose logo features a white pigeon on a green background, Ms Lau said: 'It's just coincidence.'

Businessman gets cold shoulder from Liberals

The mudslinging between David Lie Tai-chong and the shrunken Liberal Party seems to have come to an end, with the businessman's application to rejoin the party being turned down. Mr Lie, who was a key figure in a recent row among the party leadership, was among more than 90 Liberals who had their membership suspended after they failed to pay membership fees. It has now emerged that Mr Lie was the only one not welcome to rejoin. A party vice-chairman, Tommy Cheung Yu-yan, dismissed criticism that it had curbed dissenting views. He did say, however, it was most important 'members work towards the same goal in a united way'.