Friendship being put to the test as The Alliance plans a party The question of friendship seems to be wearing a bit thin, at least among the government's allies. Plans by The Alliance - the collection of non-affiliated but government-friendly legislators formerly known as the Breakfast Group - to form a party have drawn a cynical reaction from pro-government veteran Tsang Yok-sing. In a newspaper column, Mr Tsang expressed doubts whether the group's members could continue to back the government unreservedly after forming a party to which it hopes to attract professionals and businesspeople. The founding chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong also wondered exactly what they were up to, saying it was hard for 'ordinary people' to read their minds. Some might have wondered what Mr Tsang himself was up to with his testy response to the plans of so-called allies, but a possible explanation came from within the Liberal Party, another so-called ally. A key Liberal said the DAB could lose out as its members with business backgrounds switched to The Alliance, because it had become too grass roots-oriented. However, other pundits said the business-oriented Liberal Party might suffer most if The Alliance's plan took off. Is a free-for-all looming in pro-government ranks? And can rivals still be friends when the chips are down? Time will tell. Putting two and two together It's hard to beat an accountant when figures are involved. It seems the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants has figured out an equation to resolve its row with the sector's representative in the Legislative Council, Mandy Tam Heung-man. Ms Tam has been outraged for weeks over the professional body's refusal to deliver her quarterly newsletter to its 20,000-plus members. First, the institute said it would deliver it if Ms Tam paid for it. Then it made a U-turn, saying none would be distributed because of privacy concerns. Yesterday, the institute e-mailed members asking them to fill out a form of consent if they want to receive Ms Tam's letter. Ms Tam, a democratic ally, was not impressed. 'I wonder just how many busy accountants would respond to the e-mail given we are right at the middle of the tax season,' she said, claiming the conservative institute was still bent on hindering her contacts with constituents ahead of the Election Committee poll. Sometimes, any news is good news Never mind the sharply differing views of his chance of winning a ticket to the chief executive race, would-be candidate Alan Leong Kah-kit is feeling good about the campaign trail so far. The barrister, not known as being a regular reader of entertainment news in the Chinese press, was delighted with a catchy headline on a story about an annual in-house performance award run by TVB at the weekend. It said the chance of pop singer Andy Hui Chi-on scooping the most popular male actor award would be dimmer than Alan Leong's in the chief executive contest. Mr Leong was pleasantly surprised because news of his efforts had actually reached a mass audience.