• Mon
  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 10:17pm
My Take
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 September, 2013, 3:27am

Forget democracy, try leadership

What do voters want? This should be the first and foremost question to occupy any democratic party or politician who wants to win elections, gain power and run a government. Anyone who doesn't think like that doesn't deserve to be taken seriously. But, ultimately, this is the problem with most pan-democrats.

Hong Kong voters are just like voters everywhere else. When it comes to choosing a leader, they don't want a troublemaker. They want someone who looks smart and has mass appeal - someone they can like and trust. Such a candidate should have principles and purpose, some ideas about where and how she wants to take Hong Kong to a better place than where it is now. If the pan-dems could come up with such a leader, I'd vote for him or her in a second.

But the system is rigged, they say. Fine, come up with a system that is not rigged. At its inception, the design of a democratic system does not need to be a "consensus" exercise. Some of the world's most successful democracies had their systems imposed on them; others evolved over time. A system that is supposedly forged by mass participation is not necessarily more democratic, efficient or legitimate, as Occupy Central organisers think. Voters want a system that works. Not everyone has to take part designing it.

Most people don't care about the Basic Law or international democratic standards, the nomination committee or the central government's power to appoint the chief executive.

But the pan-dems are fighting for a principle called "democracy", not power. I don't know how many times I have heard pan-dems say Beijing had nothing to fear because judging by previous election results, a pro-establishment candidate is likely to win in a free and fair chief executive race.

For God's sake, can those pan-dems ever run a government? Do they even want to run it if power is handed to them? They seem happier forever fighting a democratic struggle than leading Hong Kong.

I don't know whether that is nobility or defeatism but it is the root cause of their obstructionism and political irresponsibility.

Is it too much to ask the pan-democrats to cultivate a leader and candidate who dares to try winning and leading? That would be real political courage.

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John Adams
"For God's sake, can those pan-dems ever run a government? Do they even want to run it if power is handed to them? They seem happier forever fighting a democratic struggle than leading Hong Kong".
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"Is it too much to ask the pan-democrats to cultivate a leader and candidate who dares to try winning and leading? That would be real political courage."
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" If the pan-dems could come up with such a leader, I'd vote for him or her in a second"
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Mr Lo : How true, how ABSOLUTELY TRUE !
.
Give me CY , warts, weaknesses and all, over any pan-dem because at least CY is honestly trying to lead .
.
(And I can't think why on earth he took on this awful job with all the personal criticism it entails if it was not for the fact that CY does sincerely want to lead and finally he wants to leave HK in a better condition then when he found it )
Kubrick
A spot on analysis. None of the pro-dem is a credible leader. They lack gravitas, common sense and waste their time and energy fighting amongst themselves. The recent exposure of their involvement in accepting advantages (corruption to the laymen) has further undermined their standing and shown them to be no different from other self-serving groups in Hong Kong.
whoaman
I agree with the author that the pan-dems need to cultivate a leader, not just a bunch of complainers (that seem to react to almost everything, without putting practical and constructive ideas forward). And lest we forget, in the last two 'elections', the democrats did have a candidate nominated to run for CE, Alan Leong and Albert Ho, so i don't think the nomination process would really hinder this. In the US, it's a small minority of voters that actually tend to nominate their candidates before everyone votes on them.
The focus is so strongly on the democratic process or lack therof, when the real problem lies in who to vote for in the pan-democratic camp - I can think of no one I would want to at this point.
impala
Mr Lo is putting the cart before the horse.

Of course in the current political environment and system, it is unlikely to find much leadership talent in the pro-Dem camp. For any bright individual with ambitions in politics/government, the obvious alignment to be made is with the DAB, and nothing else.

Change this, and you will see the cart follow the horse. Devise a system where government power shifts from one party to another are a serious option (unlike the current one), and you will see multiple strong parties with respectable leaderships emerge.

By the way, let's not pretend that the pro-Authoritarianism camp has such fantastic leaders. The only thing they truly lead on is a curious mix of kleptocracy, cronyism, sucking up to Beijing and incompetency.
321manu
I agree with the OP, insofar that the dems do need to devise a platform, and that they need to stand "for" something rather than simply being "against" this, that, and the other. In a democratic society, where the systems for democratic expression are in place, you need to present such a platform when you stand for election.
But it's a little more complicated in HK. Namely, the systems for democratic expression are not in place. Even though Mr. Lo is keen to note that "If the pan-dems could come up with (someone who has)...some ideas about where and how she wants to take Hong Kong to a better place than where it is now..., I'd vote for him or her in a second", the fact is that Mr. Lo actually couldn't, at least not right this second. This hypothetically awesome dem candidate would need to be allowed to be nominated first, before Mr. Lo could vote for him or her. And that is partly what the dems are fighting for.
If there is a criticism, it should be that the dems need to present a vision, even while they're fighting for the right to have said vision formally presented to the electorate. But it is certainly not the either/or dichotomy that Mr. Lo tries to present.
KwunTongBypass
Another Singapurified "reasoning" of Mr. Lo.
lexishk
Exactly. Under the current system, there is exactly zero point cultivating and putting forward a leader who is not allied to the central government. The system prevents such a person from ever winning the right to lead. Lo may think that peacefully demonstrating for democracy is the pointless pursuit of an abstract ideal, but the only alternative is violent revolution. Would he prefer that? Otherwise, we are stuck with incompetent leaders who have no interest in managing HK in accordance with the interests of its people, and why should we be happy with that?
johnyuan
Run on a dual track – fight for the right to be nominated and present a platform. Let the abstract and the practical reinforce each other. Hong Kong has an unusual political system partly inherited from colonialism and partly set on the after the colonialism. It renders Hong Kong politics most complex fighting the inertial against the change in all things. Unusual situation calls for unusual means that usual means proven elsewhere but will fail in Hong Kong.
Camel
Democracy is nothing and doomed to fail without strong leadership.
pslhk
Lee Kuan yew: "Order and law"
Jiang Zemin: "Three representations"
Peter Lok: "Noblesse oblige"
latin saying: "Si tu id aeficas, ei venient"

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