‘Anyone But CY’: how the ABC bandwagon is making for strange bedfellows
From unionists to the business elite, everyone, it seems, wants to see the back of Leung Chun-ying
Last year’s July 1 march had the poorest turnout since 2008. Will this year be better or worse?
Many blamed protest fatigue after the Occupy movement and the absence of an obvious political goal for the low turnout last year, which numbered 48,000 according to organisers and fewer than 20,000 by police counts.
The Civic Human Rights Front, which has been organising the annual rally since the 1997 handover, is trying to avoid another embarrassing lack of marchers this time by running with ABC, the popular political theme of the moment that stands for “Anyone But CY” (for a second term).
Actually, what they are calling the rally this year is “Showdown against 689”, another moniker for Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying that referred to the low number of votes he received from the 1,200-strong Election Committee in 2012.
Everyone is going ABC these days: the pan-democrats and liberal unionists running in the Legislative Council elections in September obviously; the Liberal Party, backed by the “anti-CY” business constituencies, has joined the ABC bandwagon; Ricky Wong Wai-kay, head of the ill-fated HKTV, says he may run in the September elections just so he could go ABC.
Even Starry Lee Wai-king, chairwoman of the ever-reliable Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, has declined time and again to endorse Leung for a second term.
As a feel-good rallying cry, ABC makes perfect sense. A recent survey found that going against CY would be a major issue for voters in the September Legco elections.
This is something of a rare consensus across the political spectrum: down with CY.
It conjures up visions of business leaders linking arms with pan-democratic militants on July 1. Well, not quite; our business elite prefers to bad-mouth and back-stab behind closed doors in Beijing. But the two opposing sides seem to have found common ground, for once.
The only people who are not joining the July 1 march are the localist fringe and university student leaders dreaming of independence for Hong Kong. It’s not that they despise Leung any less, but they reject the whole political system.
Given the poverty of our political discourse and the lack of charismatic leadership in opposition parties, going against CY looks like the surest winning bet. But it is also a very crowded bet.