Protesters and opposition pan-democrats keep repeating their five demands which must be met if they are to halt their anti-government rallies. If that’s the case, they can protest till kingdom come, because it is impossible for this or any government to meet all those demands. Many also claim the government doesn’t listen. Actually, it has listened and already acted to meet those demands that could be satisfied and explained why others could not be met. It’s the opposition that won’t listen and keep repeating the same points like mindless parrots. Still, there is no excuse for Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and her top officials for practically taking a leave of absence from the public in the past month while the city faces its worst political crisis since the 1997 handover. But that’s a different matter. ● The extradition bill is a moot point. It is “dead” and cannot possibly be revived any time soon. If protesters must insist on “complete withdrawal”, you have to wonder why they think it’s worth wrecking Hong Kong for just two meaningless words. ● The “riot” characterisation of protests. The police and government have conceded on that point. But that won’t stop police from charging suspects with rioting, as they have done with 44 protesters in the latest round. ● Discharge all arrested protesters. Here, we are in a vicious cycle. The more people protest, the more protesters will be charged, and the less likely all of them could be pardoned. A blanket amnesty is simply not on the cards. ● An independent inquiry. It hinges on the scope and nature of the inquiry. If it’s just to go after police misconduct, it’s a non-starter. If it’s a commission for truth and reconciliation, then that could have wide public support. But so far, the opposition has shown no interest in reconciliation, only criminalising the police. ● Universal suffrage. Beijing has always insisted any such reform must be based on the so-called five steps process, a constitutional procedure involving the Hong Kong government, the legislature and the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. My guess is that the protesters and probably most pan-dems would not agree to those five steps. How do we plan on getting past that? In politics as it is in war, when you set goals that can’t be met, you are bound to lose.