Saturday, July 12, 2014

First Things First

The impasse in the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council is of course a political game.  On the one hand, the pan-democrats are offering to move the less controversial expenditure items up the agenda to get their funding approved before LegCo's summer break, while continuing to block those items they disagree with.  On the other hand, the government is refusing to change the sequence, presumably with the aim of persuading the easily fooled that it is the pan-democrats' fault they will not receive their promised CSSA bonus and other budget giveaways.

Well, don't be fooled.  There are three things wrong with the position taken by the givernment and the establishment parties:
  1. They continually complain that the pan-democrats are being unreasonable unwilling to compromise and cooperate but when they are offered a compromise that will see much of their programme get through LegCo they refuse to accept it.
  2. They also complain that the pan-democrats resort to "radical" or 'extrene" extra-parliamentary actions such as protests and the threat of Occupy Central to get their way, yet when the pan-dems use parliamentary tactics according to the rules of procedure, such as filibusters and tabling thousands of amendments, they don't like that either.  Play the system or go outside the system, either way they object.
  3. This comes down to a more fundamental problem, the sense of entitlement the government and its allies appear to feel.  They act as if they have a God-given right to get everything they want through LegCo after a few token questions or objections.  Maybe that is how they interpret "executive-led government", but if LegCo is just there as a rubber stamp, why do we need it at all?  LegCo's primary job is to scrutinise the government's bills and expenditure requests, amend them where necessary, pass them where appropriate, and reject them when they are unacceptable.  That is exactly what is happening now, and while we still have "two systems", that is how it should be.

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