One way or another, Hong Kong's Beijing loyalists will be brought into line
Since pro-establishment lawmakers screwed up their votes on the government's reform package for the 2017 chief executive election, the camp has been in disarray. The shock departure of former secretary for home affairs Tsang Tak-sing and civil services chief Paul Tang Kwok-wai only added to the confusion and finger-pointing.
New People's Party chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee has accused "some lawmakers [functional constituencies] for being less alert in their work because they can get re-elected easily", referring presumably to such people as Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung and Ip Kwok-him, who helped engineer the botched walkout that led to the voting debacle.
Meanwhile, the Tweedledee and Tweedledum of Hong Kong politics - the Tien brothers, James and Michael - are at loggerheads with each other. Over at the offices of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, some people called "pig-like" by Legco President Tsang Yok-sing have been busy spreading rumours about why the two ministers were thrown under the bus by the administration. Tsang Tak-sing, the quintessential leftist, was apparently punished for failing to placate the city's angry youths, while Tang was pushed out for failing to pacify angry civil servants. Well, who knows? All this bickering has the pan-democrats rubbing their hands with glee, seeing victory at the district council elections in November.
Their optimism is premature. The Beijing-friendly camp is a bit like the pan-democrats in 2010 after the Democratic Party accepted the government's 2012 Legislative Council election reform at the 11th hour. That fateful move split the pan-dems into rival groups and radicalised many of them, leaving the Democrats isolated. It took years for the pan-dems to lay aside their rancour to work together to block Leung's election reform package.
The honchos from up north, schooled in the dark art of the United Front, will not tolerate the disarray within the Beijing-friendly camp for long. Sooner or later, either the camp will have to straighten itself out or Beijing-style discipline will be imposed. Those like James Tien who have been working against Leung will have to be silenced or made to declare their loyalty.