Bad chess players can’t see beyond the next move. Hong Kong’s opposition politicians are worse: they are still smarting over their opponent’s last move. The national security law is a fait accompli. There is nothing we can do to stop it. So what’s the point of dragging the city into another round of protests and strikes, which may again reignite more violence? Why not try something more positive? As they say, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. There are several key pan-democratic demands that can be built on the introduction of the new security law: restart electoral reforms leading to universal suffrage and plan for an extension of “one country, two systems” beyond its 50-year limit. Both can be built on statements, promises and guarantees made by the central government. Hong Kong opposition plans to raise HK$3.5 million for Legco poll primary Before the ill-fated government electoral reform of 2014/15, there was talk of a grand bargain within the city’s political circles: you give us universal suffrage and we give you national security legislation under Article 23 of the Basic Law. Beijing has always been afraid of a fully democratic Hong Kong being used as a base for secession, sedition and subversion. Now that we will have a security law, Beijing, by its own arguments, should be more tolerant of democratic reform. The opposition can then legitimately argue for a less restrictive framework for the selection of chief executive candidates than that imposed by Beijing back in 2014. In return, the opposition can offer to help the Hong Kong government legislate Article 23. They will not be giving up much as its key provisions, with the exception of treason, are already covered by the upcoming security law. I believe that’s why Martin Lee Chu-ming now says he no longer objects to Article 23 legislation. Meanwhile, mainland officials have been hinting for more than a year that one country, two systems may continue after 2047. In his latest online seminar, Zhang Xiaoming, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, defended the new security law on the ground that it would help Hong Kong keep its separate system beyond the 50-year guarantee. It is legitimate for the opposition to link a fully democratic transition with extending the 2047 deadline for one country, two systems. But to succeed, it would require the wisest and most skilful of statesmen. If the opposition continues on its current boneheaded path, it will end up with nothing – or worse.