Pan-dems exposed again as they take rail checkpoint bait

By taking the nuclear option to block a meaningless motion, they have worked against the public interest and made Carrie Lam look like Machiavelli

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 November, 2017, 1:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 November, 2017, 1:00am

Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor may be more Machiavellian than we thought. When the chief executive announced she would seek the approval of the Legislative Council for a non-binding motion on a joint checkpoint at the upcoming express rail terminus in West Kowloon, she said it was to provide a platform for the opposition to air their views.

Her supporters had feared it would just provide another opportunity for the pan-democrats to grandstand.

As it turned out, the opposition did more than that; it filibustered, delayed and stalled with every Legco tactic well known and obscure to try to kill the motion. They went for the nuclear option on what is essentially a meaningless motion. They took the bait.

Carrie Lam reverses threat to push forward mainland checkpoint plan without Legco approval

What should or could they have done? Everyone knows the pan-democrats are down in their ranks after six of them were disqualified from Legco. But while they didn’t have the numbers to vote down the motion, they could still vote against it. They could then argue, legitimately, that Lam and her friends in Legco had no respect for the minority view on the controversial rail plan and just wanted to shove it down people’s throats. And it would have been convincing.

Note that it’s a non-binding motion. Approved or not, the government still has to go through the so-called three-step process: agreement with the relevant mainland authorities; authorisation from the National People’s Congress Standing Committee; and final approval by Legco. The last step is the real battle for the opposition. Everything else is just foreplay.

But they took a big sharp knife to what was no more than a playground fight. Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, an independent anti-government lawmaker, even started a debate to kick reporters and members of the public out of Legco just to stall Lam’s motion!

No doubt such efforts appeal to their base. But for the public, pan-democrats have shown, once again, sense and reason are secondary to their fanatical obsession to oppose the government; that they are happy to bring Legco to a standstill and ignore normal business just to score a pointless victory.

Most surveys show the majority of the public either supports, or is indifferent to, the government’s joint checkpoint plan.

The pan-dems are doubling down on an opposition that demonstrably has no widespread support, using tactics that work against the public interest.