A Christmas Story

When our children are very young, we allow them to believe in a whole range of harmless gentle myths.

Probably the most popular is Father Christmas, a generously proportioned gentleman dressed in a red suit who brings presents for youngsters provided they have behaved themselves during the year, and don’t try to stay awake to catch him in the act and see what he looks like.

The Tooth Fairy will replace a dislodged milk tooth left under the pillow with a shiny coin, to soften the discomfort while the new adult tooth pushes through the child’s gum.

The Easter Bunny leaves delicious chocolate eggs hidden around the house or garden to be found by diligent searchers with a sweet tooth, and so on.

To this pantheon of mythical creatures we can now, thanks to the members of the People’s Power party, add a new one: the Democracy Fairy.

Regular readers of this column will know that I am a strong supporter of greater democracy for Hong Kong, and the sooner the better. Our people are mature and politically savvy. The vast majority will not run amok, rather they can be relied on to exercise their votes responsibly.

A major task for our government, our political parties, indeed our whole community over the next seven years is to make the 2017 target for direct election of the Chief Executive, and the 2020 target for direct election of all Legislative Councilors, a reality.

So the best course of action for our pan democrats is to work out how to cajole current Chief Executive C Y Leung into coming up with meaningful reform packages for the next round of elections starting in 2016.

While Leung has made some mis-steps in his first six months, he has also got some important policy issues right. Moreover short of a disaster he is going to remain our CE for the next five years. He has no intention of resigning and Beijing has no intention of firing him.

Yet instead of finding ways to work with him the pan democrats seem to be using all their energy to try to drive him from office.

For some while, many must have been bursting to find out why they are behaving like this. Luckily, during a recent discussion on RTHK’s Backchat programme we got the opportunity to put the question direct to one of the strongest advocates of the "Leung must go" movement.

The answer was surreal: if Leung can be forced out soon, his argument went, then Beijing will be obliged to advance the democracy programme and allow direct elections for his successor immediately.

So there you have it straight from the horse’s mouth: the game plan is to force the Central People’s Government to reverse course, fire the person they appointed just a few months ago, and open the doors wide to unknown outcomes.

To be fair to Albert Chan – for it was he who gave the answer – the same strategic objective and logic was repeated by one of the organisers of this year’s January 1 march.

Any neutral reading of the way the CPG has handled the issue of Hong Kong’s future over the past 50 years suggests that this outcome is unlikely to the point of impossibility. It is a fairy story on a par with the best fables from history. How experienced politicians could bring themselves to believe that this is a viable option – indeed the best option for Hong Kong – is a mystery.

Surely the descent into chaos would make Beijing more wary of democracy, more likely to pull back from "premature" moves in this direction. You can almost hear the conservatives in the CPG and their allies in Hong Kong gearing up their propaganda machine to argue that our community is not ready.

Are the pan democrats right? Is there really a Democracy Fairy ready to cast a spell over the State Council and deliver up democracy for us on a platter?

As our children grow older, their belief in fairy stories gradually fades. It is time some of our pan democrats grew up too.