Ah, C.Y. Leung, C.Y. Leung…
Supposedly the HKSAR supremo put his hoof into it again by pointing out that switching from the current nominating committee to direct selection of candidates by universal suffrage would give the poors a big voice in local governance, since half of the potential electorate makes less than US$1800/month.
The liberal fainting couch was instantly overloaded by journo/activist types overwhelmed by C.Y.’s anti-democratic callosity. Depicting C.Y. Leung as a hopeless ass is, of course, central to the pro-democracy movement’s objective of delegitimizing the current officials and the entire process that selected them.
This gave me free rein to indulge my contrarian/lonely outlier inclinations, and I think I summed up the actual dynamic neatly enough on Twitter that cut ‘n’ paste should just about do it:
CY Leung not as dumb as he looks, maybe. Telling the rich folk “apres moi le deluge”. HKO can either say, No! our neoliberal alliance will continue to work w/ the rich to screw the poor! or “Yeah, I guess one implication of our agenda is massive social upheaval.”
What I’ve always found amusing is the “HK is a precious pearl that must be protected from the filthy paws of Beijing”. Well, the reason for its current pearliness is that the local government & power structure have allied to keep a boot on the necks of the poor for 200 years.
It would be pretty cool if HKO dared take a bite of the “we believe in taxes/income redistribution” apple. But I think we’ll mostly get Look at that stupid CY woof woof woof instead.
Think CY’s message is “the pro-dem toffs will promise tycoons everything but once HK goes full demo they won’t be able to deliver anything.”
The last line is, I think, the democracy movement’s Achilles Heel. They’ve been trying to sell the Hong Kong tycoons on the idea that full democratization will be a pain-free win-win way to get past the current rancor. Beijing won’t invade, the stock market will stay yeasty, students will be happy so, Mr. Rich Guy, why don’t you discretely add your voice to the calls to Beijing to drop the nominating commission?
Problem is, once there’s direct nomination for democracy, the pro-dems are probably not going to be able to control or deliver squat. Despite the media fapfest over the demonstrators as the face and voice of the new Hong Kongers, it looks like the city is pretty well split down the middle between doctrinaire pro-dems and the Meh crowd. Whether or not the pro-dems can actually elect a slate pro-business enough to please the well-off, or even avoid a pro-poor panderpalooza if they do win, is pretty much a black box.
C.Y. is saying to the tycoons, “Pissed-off students is the devil you know. Pissed-off poors with the vote is the devil you don’t know.”
Like I said, not so dumb.