My Take

Exco soap opera beats TV

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 November, 2013, 4:17am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 November, 2013, 5:01pm

Exco is turning into a soap opera. It's the "anti" version of The West Wing, the American television series about how brilliant White House staff helped run the presidency from crisis to crisis.

The latest episode has Exco convenor Lam Woon-kwong calling for revamping the decision-making process following the row over the granting of two, instead of three, TV licences. He was promptly denounced by Executive Council colleagues like Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee. Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying played down his remarks.

Funny that. This sort of airing of Exco's dirty laundry is nothing new, and Ip and Leung know all about it. Early this summer, Ip said on radio that a few of Leung's handpicked ministers were not up to scratch and should be replaced.

"Some of them could be more professional," she said. "You can see some of them cannot [comprehend government] papers. They just say whatever they are familiar with in the Legco, and they don't understand the government's affairs."

Ip had to apologise for her remarks.

Back in 2009 when Leung was still coy about running for chief executive, he denounced his two predecessors, according to Leo Goodstadt in his new book, Poverty in the Mist of Affluence: How Hong Kong Mismanaged Its Prosperity.

Leung, who was then Exco convenor, told a Hong Kong Democratic Foundation audience that the last decade of colonial rule achieved more for Hong Kong than the two post-handover chief executives. Leung is now getting a taste of his own medicine. Judging by its recent convenors, Exco doesn't need any pan-democrat enemies.

The licensing row has many non-government members of Exco running for cover and distancing themselves from the decision; so much for its once sacred confidentiality and collective responsibility rules. No local TV station could possibly produce any drama, high or low, as gripping and filled with backbiting, recriminations and disarray as our own government and its once all-powerful Exco.

Reality has proven to be far more entertaining. Really, who needs two or three new TV stations when you have an endless supply of absurdist dramas from our own government already?