Despite the robust defence by Chief Secretary for Administration Anson Chan Fang On-sang against politicisation of the civil service, it is almost certain housing chief Tony Miller will be removed when the political row cools down. Barring new housing scandals, major political factions are prepared to keep him in the post until a new chief is named. An immediate crisis is seemingly over, although the complicated task of revamping the power structure in housing policy has just begun. A far more difficult task, however, will be how to handle the constitutional and political issues that have underpinned the housing saga. Like it or not, the apolitical civil service system and the 'executive-led' structure have become more vulnerable amid the drastic political change from within society. Pessimists may argue that this will make the Tung leadership and senior mandarins even more resistant and hesitant to accept change. Officials may become more unwilling to share power with the legislature and accommodate public demands. The stronger the pressure for the leadership to concede to public and populist pressures, the greater their paranoia and fears about change. One equally important factor is that conservatives in the SAR and Beijing will be shocked by the growth of populism and the negative impact of elective politics. This will probably be the short-run scenario. There are good reasons for officials to wish for better times. After the September elections are over, some political forces who turned up the heat on the Government in recent months might return to a friendlier and more sympathetic stance. When the economy improves, public grievances will gradually fade. Nevertheless, the Government's predicament will recur in the not-so-distant future if the problem with the political structure is again brushed aside. As Mrs Chan asked: 'First Ms Wong, then Mr Miller? Who's next?' This is a question that senior bureaucrats have to consider seriously, regardless of the difficulty in altering the cardinal principles - both statutory and unwritten - behind the political system. The fact remains the resignation of Ms Wong and the passage of the motion reflect a tide of change in the political scene. This tide will grow to push for changes to the system and cannot simply be reversed by the will of SAR and Beijing leaders.