My Take

Electoral reform deliberations a tedious game of political charades

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 November, 2013, 2:16am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 November, 2013, 2:16am

When our chief secretary says the two mainland Basic Law honchos are not visiting Hong Kong to set the framework of political reform, we can assume they are here to set the framework - at least to the government. And why not?

At least Beijing is making no pretence: any democratic reform is a matter for its approval; and any reform options proposed by the government after a public consultation will have to be acceptable to Beijing. We all know that when it comes to democratic reform, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying can't lift a finger without Beijing's green light, so we should welcome the latest visit. It shows things are moving.

I am tired of rounding on the pan-democrats. But they were complaining that only two of them have been invited to meet Basic Law Committee chairman Li Fei and vice-chairman Zhang Rongshun today. Is it not enough to invite Civic Party lawmakers Ronny Tong Ka-wah and Dennis Kwok, two senior barristers and pan-democrat heavyweights, along with the Legco president and four Legco committee chiefs? Can the two not take notes and explain to fellow pan-democrats afterwards? Both happen to be perfectly reasonable, intelligent and competent.

Try inviting all 27 pan-democrat lawmakers to the meeting. We all know what will happen. Some will make a big fuss about being pressured to attend "a closed-door" meeting; others like "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung will disrupt or hand insulting makeshift toys or messages to the mainland officials, as he did in his last meeting with liaison office director Zhang Xiaoming .

If Beijing is willing to lay down its terms, pan-democrats should do the same. Unfortunately, neither side would do it, not publicly anyway. They have to put up their own charades. Beijing must pretend to wait for the Hong Kong government to start conducting its public consultation next month. The pan-dems can't present theirs until Occupy Central's Benny Tai Yiu-ting finishes with his "deliberation day" exercises to let "the people of Hong Kong" design their own democratic systems. That's the pan-dems' version of public consultation.

Meanwhile, we are all held as a captive audience to this tedious political gamesmanship.