Come let us doff our hats to the Don and Dona Quixotes of the Legislative Council, (read: democrats, small d), those men and women of towering principle, who elect martyrdom each week in defence of lost causes. Certain in the knowledge of defeat in the battle at hand, but firm in the irrational hope of winning the war, they laugh at overwhelming odds. Outgunned on the right flank, outwaffled on the left, they stand their ground. It was Andrew Cheng's turn for ritual defeat. As unemployment continued its inexorable rise, bonuses disappeared and pay reductions and social security cutbacks exacted their daily toll of pre-Christmas misery, the member for New Territories East stood to demand the Government re-submit to Legco labour protection laws it had unceremoniously scrapped after the handover. Where, he asked, scathingly, had the leftists of the Federation of Trade Unions (FTU) been, when it came to defending the rights of the workers? No one expected the businessmen's parties to support collective bargaining, but what about the pro-Beijing trade unions? Sober Margaret Ng demanded the repeal be overturned as a matter of legal and constitutional propriety. Leung Yiu-chung took up the cry. Bill Clinton, he said, had admitted to wrongdoing with Monica Lewinsky. Why couldn't the Government admit to inappropriate behaviour with the Provisional Legislative Council in getting it to scrap the labour laws, apologise to the workers and reinstate collective bargaining? Lee Cheuk-yan, from the pro-democracy Confederation of Trade Unions, accused the Government of contravening the International Labour Convention. The forces of conservatism counterattacked. Investors would flee, warned the Liberal Party's Kenneth Ting, if workers had rights. He raised the spectre of Philippine Airlines and its bolshie pilots. And from the left the FTU and the DAB bore down on Mr Cheng. Serried ranks of angry warriors brandished their hammers and sickles. 'We have always supported collective bargaining,' was their battle cry. 'Just not your kind of collective bargaining.' The inevitable vote came. And with it the inevitable defeat for Mr Cheng's motion.