THE conservative Co-operative Resources Centre's painful progress towards becoming a political party received a significant boost this week with the news that convenor Mr Allen Lee Peng-fei would be received by the Prime Minister, succeeding in a stroke where other more liberal counterparts with no major political party backing have failed. It may be reading too much into the Prime Minister's failure to see Miss Emily Lau Wai-hing or Meeting Point's Dr Leong Che-hung to claim it suggests a softening of the British Government's position. However the CRC, for all its faults, is now the only major political group that can claim to have access both to Mr John Major and Chinese Premier Mr Li Peng. That may later prove to be an uncomfortable position. To have a foot in both camps is to be trusted by neither. As others have found before the CRC, governments have a habit of shooting messengers. Nonetheless, with this boost to its prestige and its ability to command at least 17 votes in the Legislative Council, the CRC clearly regards itself as a force to be reckoned with. It is now confident enough to demand that any future party member must immediately resign from other political organisations which might otherwise be seen as its natural allies in the belief that it will have the pulling power to build a genuine party organisation from the ruins of its failed attempts to link with Liberal Democratic Federation and conservative civic associations. Such ambitions may be unlikely to give the CRC popular appeal with the grass roots. However they are likely to give it more credibility as a serious interlocutor with governments than it deserves at present, while so many of its members represent nobody but themselves.