My Take
PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 06 September, 2013, 3:29am

Alliance for True Democracy can still recognise political realities

BIO

Alex Lo is a senior writer at the South China Morning Post. He writes editorials and the daily “My Take” column on page 2. He also edits the weekly science and technology page in Sunday Morning Post.
 

Wow, there are still some adults in the pan-democratic camp! For a while, I thought they were letting the kids from Scholarism take over the whole movement.

The Alliance for True Democracy has proposed a half-decent plan for reforming the 2016 Legislative Council election as a step towards a fully elected legislature in 2020 or thereafter. The more sensible and realistic reform plans the coalition - or anyone else - draws up, the more pressure there will be on Hong Kong and Beijing to come up with counterproposals that may be acceptable to the public. In the end, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying is the one who has to present reform blueprints for a vote in Legco.

But what's reasonable? Well, some ideas for reforms are so ludicrous as to be complete non-starters. Make all 3.5 million voters in Hong Kong members of the nominating committee for the chief executive? That effectively nullifies the committee as required by the Basic Law and is the idea tabled by Scholarism. Kids, let me give you a hint; the number of committee members has to be somewhere between 3.5 million and 1,200, which was the number of members sitting on the selection committee last year. You are just as much a bonehead for insisting on 3.5 million as a hardcore pro-Beijinger who wouldn't accept anything more than 1,200.

What is really sad is that this "civil nomination" is supported by the Civic Party, NeoDemocrats, the Neighbourhood and Workers Service Centre, the League of Social Democrats and People Power, run by people who are supposedly adults. At least they are not joined by the Democratic Party, the Labour Party and the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood.

Now all these groups are part of the alliance. And that gets us back to its proposal for Legco, which is to shrink the number of seats in the rotten- borough functional constituencies from 30 to 20; and to further dilute their influence, increase the number of directly elected seats to 60.

Why is this reasonable? We can argue over the numbers, but it shows that, in its more rational moments, the alliance can recognise reality, which is the impossibility of getting rid of the powerful rotten boroughs in one go, as radicals and idiots demand.

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