Month by month, week by week, day by day, it is getting worse to be CY Leung. Leaked documents and common-sense cynicism leave most thinking Hong Kong people in little doubt that their Chief Executive did a secret deal to allow murky rural thug-linked ‘strongmen’ to profit at the expense of badly needed public housing supply. If (for the sake of argument) CY had one claim to credibility, it would be his apparently sincere commitment to struggle – albeit against mysterious and apparently insurmountable odds – to tackle the city’s housing problem. So much for that.
It would be a tremendous credit to government spin doctors if they had deliberately crafted yesterday’s press conference to distract the public by highlighting the supposed rivalry between CY and Financial Secretary John ‘grim faced’ Tsang. They are, of course, nowhere near that devious – it just turned out that way, thanks partly to reporters’ inability or reluctance to ask the right questions. The PR advisers probably did suggest the emotional ‘weepy’ performance at the end. It was sub-Nixon-Checkers-speech stuff, and won’t impress anyone.
(James David Barber classified Nixon as an ‘active-negative’ leader, meaning: ‘lack of deriving joy after expending much effort on tasks, aggressive, highly rigid, and having a general view of power as a means to self-realization’. And shifty-looking, of course.)
The Legislative Council’s new, youthful, energetic, invigorated, blood-smelling, knife-sharpening opposition camp aren’t buying the government’s flimsy making-it-up-as-they-go-along excuses. Their challenge is to use the Wang Chau land scandal to inflict maximum damage on the administration and its grubby and grasping Heung Yee Kuk and other colluding allies – and test Beijing’s commitment to them. The pro-establishment lawmakers have the unhappy job of appearing happy with and loyal to the administration, even as such misfortunes as the counterproductive United Front meddling, Sing Pao weirdness, leaking of documents, and a blatantly sullen Financial Secretary suggest that it is coming apart.
And the court did indeed slap down the government’s whiny attempt to put the Joshua Wong Trio in jail. Just to add to that everything’s-going-wrong feeling.