Don’t waste your time on more fanciful voting schemes Benny, just stick to what you know

If Benny Tai is really concerned about the fate of four lawmakers facing court action over their status, he should just offer his legal services for free

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 December, 2016, 12:44am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 December, 2016, 12:44am

The mind of Benny Tai Yiu-ting must be a bizarre place to inhabit. How else can you account for the weird, usually counterproductive, ideas that keep coming out of this associate law professor?

His latest is a proposal that pro-democracy members on the Election Committee should support a chief executive candidate who must promise to scrap a government lawsuit aimed at unseating four lawmakers over their alleged invalid oath-taking.

A group of lawyers, including several pro-establishment legislators, have written to the secretary for justice to complain that Tai’s plan risks perverting the course of justice, breaking election laws and committing contempt of court. They will complain to the Independent Commission Against Corruption and the University of Hong Kong, Tai’s employer.

Hold your horses, people. Tai’s scheme is not so much “immoral” or illegal as ridiculous. On his Facebook page, he has lashed out at his critics by saying they are being ignorant because such horse trading is how political bargaining is done.

Really?

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If he wants to help those four lawmakers by electing a chief executive who would drop the lawsuit, he is bound to fail. Pan-democrats hold about 326 seats on the 1,194-member committee. Another 10 to a dozen members may also share pan-democratic, anti-establishment sentiment. They have the numbers to pick a Beijing-friendly candidate they prefer for the top job; they have too few votes to make one of their own the next chief executive.

Perhaps Tai just wants to make the government lawsuit an election issue. But what makes him think he could mobilise the 320-plus pan-dems on the committee to do his bidding? Neither would any loyalist candidate dare take up Tai’s call, to avoid provoking Beijing’s ire.

Tai, in fact, has alienated many pan-democrats. His so-called ThunderGo polling scheme, which also involved the use of a strategic voting app, has been blamed for contributing to the defeat of several pan-dem candidates in the Legislative Council election in September. That might have paved the way for the more radical localists to win their Legco seats, leading to the subsequent oath-taking fiasco.

Even pan-democrats who have defended Tai are scratching their heads as to what he is up to. Professor Tai, try the most direct route. You are a legal expert. Why not offer your services free to those four poor lawmakers?