The New Age is upon us. Even the Legislative Council has entered it. We are not talking about the new political dispensation. The through-train's been derailed. But when even a man's man like the Democratic Party's Tsang 'The Bull' Kin-shing starts talking about a woman's right to choose, you know the millennium is almost upon us. It was Emily Lau who brought it up. There they were, debating Mr Tsang's call for the Chinese Government immediately to amend the Basic Law to permit the direct election of the legislature and chief executive by universal suffrage. It was probably the last chance any of them would have to make such radical suggestions until at least the 1998 elections. Suddenly, up popped Ms Lau with a simile to warm the cockles of any antenatal specialist. She could not agree with Mr Tsang that Hong Kong had been saddled with half-democracy and half-dictatorship. You could no more be half-democratic than you could be half-pregnant. You could not have democracy without universal suffrage. Industry representative Ngai Shiu-kit picked up the image and ran with it. But being obviously unfit, he didn't want to go too fast. Legco disagreed on the pace of democratic development, he said. He did not want universal suffrage yet, in case a monster was born. Lee Cheuk-yan, never a man to be bound by convention, seemed to have developed an unhealthy interest in gestation periods. No wonder Mr Ngai was worried about birth abnormalities, he said. The mother had been 'inseminated' 13 years ago at the signing of the joint declaration, and Mr Ngai and his like now wanted the birth of democracy delayed until the Basic Law's current target date of 2007. In those 23 years, any mother might die. By the way, he added, there was no guarantee democracy would be born even 10 years from now. Had anyone actually read the Basic Law? Article 159 said the electoral system could be changed in 2007 only if China agreed and it did not contravene Chinese policies. Martin Lee joined in. The abnormal foetus had already come into the world. It was the provisional legislature and Mr Ngan was part of it. Allen Lee said it was not for Hong Kong to reopen negotiations on the Basic Law. If you asked for something to be changed, China might unpick some other bit you were quite keen to keep. The argument was stillborn. Szeto Wah smacked it hard with a copy of the Basic Law to see if it would cry, thus knocking out whatever life might still have been in it. The Basic Law, he said, gave Hong Kong the right to propose amendments. Mr Tsang summed up. Hong Kong people had become pregnant with democracy in 1991 and 1995 he said. It was a woman's right to choose when and whether to bear a child. And it was not for the housekeeper to choose - not even, he added cryptically, if the housekeeper was British. The motion passed.