Public Eye

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 September, 2012, 3:33am

United you stand, divided you fall. Surely the pan-democrats know that. But they subdivided themselves and fought against each other - all in the name of democracy. Do they even understand the meaning of the word? With such public anger over Leung Chun-ying's leadership - fuelled further by national education - Legislative Council seats were there to be won. But the democracy camp failed to get even its traditional 60 per cent voter support. It won just 27 of the 70 Legco seats. The pro-establishment camp got 43. Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. When the democracy camp can't even speak with one voice, how can it possibly lead the charge in making sure that the universal suffrage that's been promised starting in 2017 will be real democracy?

Leung doesn't know when to fight and when to fold

Public Eye asked a week ago how long it would take C.Y. Leung to understand that national education was belly-up. He tried to keep the corpse alive for three more days after that before he finally declared it dead. He understood only after tens of thousands of Hongkongers massed to demand its burial. The lesson for Leung is that he can't fight the people and expect to win. The lesson for the people is that Leung will listen only if they bludgeon him with people power. He's shown us that he doesn't know when to fight and when to fold. He tried to ram through his government restructuring plan but was humiliated by legislators. The writing was on the wall that people feared national education. What political sense did it make to go against the people if, as he claimed, national education was not a directive from the central authorities? We don't know if it was, but if it wasn't then Leung is anything but a savvy leader in tune with the people.

Honest and imaginative leadership sadly lacking

When all else fails, blame someone else. That's what C.Y. Leung did in bowing to people power on national education. He insisted he backed it only because he inherited it from his predecessor. Oh, please, give us a break. If he really didn't care either way why did he risk his already damaged popularity by fighting so hard for so long? Leung ditched or overhauled other inherited policies that faced much less opposition. The My Home Purchase scheme and hospital beds for pregnant mainlanders spring to mind. So why did he cling on to national education until a mass protest forced his hand? We had hoped for honest and imaginative new leadership when Leung was elected. We haven't seen it yet.

Please Carrie, save the tears ... and the Kleenex

When the people told her they didn't love her any more she cried on TV. Poor Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor. She got all emotional during an interview about her falling popularity. She blamed it on her support of national education as part of Leung's administration. Before we hand her the Kleenex we would like her to know that people who don't ride around in a chauffeured car, live on The Peak and earn HK$300,000-plus a month like her are crying too. They live in subdivided slum flats, caged beds and scavenge for cardboard boxes to survive.