The two opposing political camps can’t agree on anything. But both sides seem to think this: a political crisis requires a political solution. That’s their mantra. They are both right – if only they would make an effort to find a solution. Of course, what they mean by it are completely different, as you would expect. But in the near term, so long as neither side is willing to make concessions, there is no political solution. The way things are going, we are in for a long, nasty haul. What government allies mean is that Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor can’t rely on law enforcement – the police and judiciary – to substitute for the job of governing, which local officials have abdicated since the crisis started almost three months ago. They want to talk or negotiate, but have no idea how to start. The latest attempt at a “negotiation platform” ends up inviting the most prominent Beijing supporters. Cue: negotiations only work by talking to people who don’t want to talk to you, not to those who are dying to offer their pearls of wisdom for free. Carrie Lam pressed by local leaders to meet Hong Kong protesters’ demands What the protesters mean by a political solution is that Lam and her government must concede to all their five demands, without exception or compromise. As I have written many times, some of them make no sense, so I won’t repeat myself again. As for universal suffrage, I am all for it, if people from one or both sides figure out a way on how to restart the process. But that’s the problem. The current constitutional set-up requires the government first to trigger the process; but that is a decision that’s above Lam’s pay grade, even though she is paid an extraordinary salary for screwing up. The pan-democrats may not be the ones hitting the streets and fighting the police, but they are perfectly happy to let the unrest continue for as long as possible, as they hope to win big at the district council elections in November while the pro-government candidates are discredited. They are the one group that will probably benefit the most from the prolonged unrest while Hong Kong burns. Everyone thinks their political solution is the only solution. Perhaps if people realise how dire the situation in Hong Kong really is, they will start thinking of more realistic ways going forward.