IT IS October 6, and Governor Chris Patten has decided to go it alone on political reform. Indeed, the expression on his face is so grim, as he enters the Legislative Council chamber, the Hang Seng index slips 100 points even before he begins his second annual policy address. In the hours that follow, the stock market slide turns into a rout, as the Governor seeks to justify his decision to put an end to the negotiating process, by revealing the ins and outs of the past six months of fruitless talks. Mr Patten explains how it took more than two months of shadow-boxing, through May and June, before the two sides even got down to discussing electoral arrangements. He adds that when, in July, British chief negotiator Sir Robin McLaren did finally succeed in coaxing Beijing's proposals for the 1994-95 polls out of his opposite number, they were even worse than feared, calling for minuscule new functional constituencies and a partially-rigged Election Committee. The Governor proceeds to recount how he then drew up a set of counter-proposals, which were passed to the Chinese, when the talks resumed after their August hiatus. These effectively spelled the death of the original Patten package, put forward in his October 1992 policy address, and instead tried to introduce a limited degree of democracy, within the confines of Beijing's interpretation of the Basic Law and previous Sino-British understandings. Mr Patten adds that despite frenetic activity throughout September, with weekly rounds of talks in Beijing, culminating in last-minute concessions from the Chinese side during a meeting of the two countries foreign ministers in New York, it ultimately proved impossible to reach agreement. But even as the Governor concludes his policy address, by expressing the hope co-operation can continue with China over other issues, despite his decision to go it alone on political reform, Beijing fires its first broadside. A deputy director of Xinhua (the New China News Agency) is wheeled out to condemn what he describes as ''Patten's final violation'' and declare all Sino-British contacts are at an end. THE problems spelled out in this - so far - fictional scenario are that the Governor and his team have been only too well aware for the past few months, as they repeatedly weighed up the difficulties of going ahead unilaterally, and the tactics to be used if and when the time comes. But there is an additional problem that, until now, has remained unrecognised: what is meant by going it alone? In the past the answer was all too obvious. When a frustrated Mr Patten decided to go it alone on March 12, there was only one course of action to take: gazetting the proposals put forward in his first policy address. Now things are more complicated. As the Sunday Morning Post reported last weekend, the Governor has already drawn up a fresh set of proposals on the 1994-95 polls. Some of this is understood to be now on the negotiating table, while the remainder will be put forward after the talks resume next week. Already the first details of these new proposals are beginning to emerge. Out will go last October's imaginative proposal for the nine new functional constituencies to give every Hong Kong worker a second vote, so creating an electorate of 2.5 million. In its place, Britain will propose reverting to the traditional concept of functional constituencies based on specific organisations and professions, as laid down in the Hong Kong Government 1984 White Paper, that Beijing so often cites in support of itscase that the Patten package violates past understandings. However the Governor will try to retain as strong a democratic element as possible by suggesting mass organisations, probably including trade unions, form the basis for the nine new seats, and so still managing to enfranchise up to 1.5 million under the new proposals. On the Election Committee, Britain's new proposals are certain to spell the death of last October's idea that the body be composed entirely of members of directly elected district boards. Instead the most likely option is to agree to Beijing's demand that the college must be modelled along the lines laid down in the Basic Law - with membership equally split between businessmen, professionals, grassroots elements and politicians - but insist all these be democratically elected. While these new proposals are ostensibly only part of the negotiating process, the reality is that once put forward they will constitute a viable Patten package Mark II that will be hard to withdraw. Indeed, they may well end up still being implemented, if and when talks break down. Under any go it alone scenario the Governor and aides, such as Secretary for Constitutional Affairs Michael Sze Cho-cheung, would probably prefer to revert to last October's original (Mark I) package. But the pressure in the opposite direction will be strong, with many arguing it will be better to opt for the compromise model, which may stand some faint chance of surviving beyond 1997. That is why, if and when the Governor decides to go it alone, he will almost certainly have to offer the public a choice: between Patten packages Mark I and Mark II. A choice that will mean simultaneously putting forward both alternatives - perhaps in the October 6 policy address - and then waiting for the reaction of legislators and the community, as judged by opinion polls, before deciding which version to introduce through legislation.