Old hands to come up with new Legco tricks

As the latest anti-government alliance emerges, the pro-establishment camp may rue the day they kicked out novices who made the opposition look bad

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 November, 2017, 1:23am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 November, 2017, 1:23am

The government may think it has been clever in getting rid of six Legislative Council radicals through the courts. Unfortunately, an equally radical but far more experienced anti-government alliance is about to emerge to take their place.

If some reports are correct, Legco veterans Claudia Mo Man-ching, Raymond Chan Chi-chuen, Eddie Chu Hoi-dick and Leung Yiu-chung will form a new bloc that uses uncompromising tactics against the government. Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung of the Labour Party may also join the group.

If so, government loyalists who think it will be plain sailing until the next by-election in March because of their temporary majority can think again. Not counting veteran troublemaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, the other disqualified lawmakers were novices when it came to playing the “great game” in Legco. They thought just screaming, shouting and throwing things were enough for an honest day’s work, but the more experienced opposition figures know there is method in the madness.

Enough of theatrics in Legislative Council

Wong Yuk-man, who may well deserve to be called the father of filibustering, once dismissed his election rival, young radical localist Yau Wai-ching, with a derogatory Cantonese slang that means someone with low intelligence.

It was sexist. After all, he lost his Legco seat to Yau, who was barely out of university. But what he meant was that to be effective in opposition, you need to know the Legco rule book like the back of your hand. And that’s true, judging by the fierce, ongoing fight between the two opposing blocs over rewriting the rules and procedures. How else can you filibuster effectively if you don’t know the rule book by heart?

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Those who are reportedly forming their own bloc are veteran legislators. Chu is the exception in that this is his first term in Legco. But he has already proved capable of coming up with an original if ridiculous tactic in stalling government initiatives. He was the one who tried to launch an absurd debate to kick out journalists and members of the public from the Legco chambers, just to delay the government’s motion on joint customs and immigration clearance at the new express rail terminus in West Kowloon.

The pro-establishment camp may rue the day they kicked out those novices whose antics were guaranteed to make the opposition look bad. Now, they have to fight Legco old hands who know how to play the game.