Wanted: one public relations genius. Salary according to number of proven miracles previously performed. Annual bonus according to successes in the post. Only candidates with highest levels of retrospective foresight need apply. If you need a translation of this phrase, you haven't got a Democrat's chance on a balcony of getting the job. But what we mean by this is that your hindsight can be back-dated to midnight on July 1 and before. All hiccups must have been foreseen and planned for, if not before they happen, then at least before some wise-guy in a newspaper comes along and says: 'Why didn't you see that coming?' The ability to draw up a strategy - which does not a) blame it on the foreign media b) blame it on the local media c) involve paying journalists to travel the world selling the good news about Hong Kong to the editors of newspapers or d) require seeing what they will do unbribed - would be an advantage. Ideally, the candidate must be able to work for Hong Kong rather than individual governments and personalities. This will be considerably simplified by the departure of the British, removing the need to foresee and prevent bungles by the combined forces of Government House, the Foreign Office, the prime minister and the Joint Liaison Group. Two recent British failures in hindsight management: a) The announcement that 509 People's Liberation Army troops would enter Hong Kong with 464 weapons and 150 rounds of ammunition in locked boxes three hours before the witching hour of midnight. It was portrayed as a great British climbdown, even though Week Ending's sources assure us the Chinese side originally wanted 3,000 troops, armoured vehicles and the right to carry the arms openly. It was a British proposal that the arms should be boxed. Actually, a British victory. b) The announcement that Joint Liaison Group leader Hugh Davies, British Consul General-designate Francis Cornish and US Consul General Richard Boucher will be attending the swearing in of the provisional legislature, while British Prime Minister Tony Blair flounces off back to Britain and United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright sits alone in a hotel-room somewhere and watches it all on TV. This was a devilishly cunning Foreign Office plot to reinstall the sinologists in the China policy driving-seat and humiliate the second prime minister in a row. Alternatively it was a Machiavellian US-British conspiracy to shoot themselves in the foot, concocted in a secret session at last weekend's Denver summit of leading industrialised nations. A good hindsight strategist would now be claiming it was always expected that the officials would attend, and it was the media's fault for not asking the right questions. Actually, we understand the whole Foreign Office team, down to the humblest second secretary, was originally due to attend; only the unwelcome media attention made this impossible. However, it will still be necessary to forestall public relations blunders on the part of the Special Administrative Region chief executive, the SAR government, the provisional legislature, the Chinese leadership and all its factions, the Communist Party, the Cantonese-only Immigration Department border-inspectorate, the PLA, the Hong Kong Police Force and the People's Armed Police. While it would be wrong to assume their public relations disasters will be worse than those of the departing regime, the possibility should not be ruled out altogether. Candidates should draw up a strategy for presenting in the best possible light the news that PLA soldiers, having retrieved their guns and ammunition on the stroke of midnight, march into Statue Square and, in the full glare of the world's TV lights, take aim at the Legislative Council balcony and fire. In the case of a tie, points will be deducted for suggesting that the Legislative Council incident never happened, because no one was killed inside the building.