Friday, February 13, 2015

Funny thing about politics and the media (Letter to Hong Kong 8-2-15)

Funny thing about politics and the media. You never quite know when they would pick up what. Take my most recent proposal to take the political reform debate forward. I suggested a month or two back that if the Central Government were willing to promise the people of Hong Kong abolition of functional constituencies in 2020 and lowering the nomination threshold as well as increasing the voter base of the Nominating Committee in 2022, I would be prepared to persuade Hong Kong people and the Pan Democrats to accept the 31st August decision of the NPCSC. I first raised this privately with the SAR Government and the Pan Democrats and thereafter went public on radio, television and with the paper media, but few seemed to have noticed this proposal. And then suddenly, it caught fire last week. Not only had it got the full attention of the media it also caught the ear of the SAR Government.
Honestly speaking, the response over the last few days was a bit overwhelming. Overwhelming not so much in the sense that there were positive responses, which there was none; but overwhelming as regards the open discussion which it managed to generate. Sure, the SAR Government was quick to say no. But I was not addressing the SAR Government. I was putting forward the proposal to the Central Government. Of course the SAR government has no power to give what I seek; and even if they had said yes, I would not regard it is a done deal. With the greatest respect, the same goes for Elsie Leung.
Response from the business sector and the pro-government political parties is a slightly different story. In 2009, I had proposed the functional constituencies be replaced by a territory wide proportional representation election system. I invited everyone on the pro-government side to sit down and talk behind closed doors and they all said my proposal was not out of the question. And of course, there were then signs they were all gearing up to enter into the field of direct elections. I understand if the Central Government did not indicate it would be willing to scrap the functional constituencies, the pro-government parties would not be willing to give up their power base of their own accord. But universal suffrage for LegCo was promised in our Basic Law and the Hong Kong people had been fighting for it for years; so for them to feign sudden indignant surprise to my proposal is frankly way over the top and hardly convincing.
But the biggest disappointment has to be the Pan Democrats’ reaction. They seem to have forgotten that the abolition of functional constituencies has been the common political ideal for all democrats for as many years as we have been fighting for democracy. What is even more astonishing is that they seem to be completely content to veto the 31st August package simply for the sake of vetoing it. There is no demand for advancement of the Democratic Cause other than the reversal of the NPCSC Decision. I would not use the word foolish, but it is somewhat beyond comprehension of the man in the street as to what exactly is the goal there.
Constitutionally, the NPCSC is the highest power centre of the PRC. There is no procedure or precedent that a decision made by the Standing Committee could be reversed by any political body other than the NPC itself. Politically, it is even more baffling. Let say for argument sake the NPCSC were to reverse its own decision, then what? We will be back to square one. The present administration in Hong Kong would have no time or mandate to restart the 5 step process for political reform; and if and when and how the following administration will restart the next 5 step process in a few years’ time depends on so many variables that it is just too early to say. So for now, the whole process just stops and nothing happens for a few more years when even who will be the next batch of legislators is equally unknown. It is like going back to the stop called “Go” in a game of Monopoly without collecting the obligatory 200 dollars! What is the wisdom in that?
I agree we should veto the 31st August package. But for very different reasons. I say unless the Central Government can show some sincerity that it is determined to push democracy forward, we cannot support the current proposal. This is because the government is asking us to have faith in them when none existed. When the government said “pocket what is on the table first”, it is impliedly saying something good will come later. But that is asking the people of Hong Kong and in particular, the Pan Democrats to trust the government. Sadly, that is precisely what is singularly lacking at this juncture. Forget about who’s right, who’s wrong and how we got here; but a lack of mutual respect and trust is a hard fact staring us in the face. How can you say, “pocket it now’ without showing an iota of sincerity to win back our trust and confidence? I agree Hong Kong people and the Pan Democrats, in particular, also need to show our sincerity, but someone has to make a first move. We are like two teenagers in a 50s movie racing our cars with our head lights full on towards each other, daring the other side to flinch and swerve first. Sad, isn’t it?
It is in this light that I proposed what I did. It is a possible way out. It is not ideal, or even likely, but it is all we have. If anyone can think of a better alternative, I’m sure we are all ears. So let’s try to think about it.


記得○四年一個 夏天的晚上,我對母親說要參選立法會。她頓了一頓,皺着眉說:「政治是骯髒的,當大律師有甚麼不好,何苦從政?」我淡淡地答:「你看看家中所有的東西都是 這個社會給我的,花幾年時間作為回報,也是應該的。」她聽後一臉不以為然,但也沒有再說甚麼了。誰知轉眼間,幾年已一變為十一載,爭取普選始終目標未達, 心願未了。

昔日豪情  煙消雲散

由從政那一天開始,我已有一種想法:要有足夠力量落實普選,必須爭取政治比較中立沉默大多數 的支持。當時,我察覺到很多有知識水平,擁專業資格的中產人士對當年的泛民政黨若即若離,始終不認為那些政黨可以代表他們,於是有了組黨以擴大民主運動的 想法。花了近一年時間分別說服余若薇、梁家傑和吳靄儀;說服了這位,那位又變卦,說服了那位,另一位又遲疑,最後還是因為節目主持人李慧玲,在一次我的訪 問中誤打誤撞「宣布」了組黨已成事實,才催生了公民黨。黨名是我取的;黨的第一句口號「為公為民,香港精神」也是我想出來的。公民黨組成時,我堅持要以執 政黨的心態議政,當時令眾人嘩然:民主派要執政,是否癡人說夢?我解釋說,做律師的目標是要當大法官,組黨目標當然是要執政;尚未執政,也應以執政者之心 態議政,切忌為反對而反對。這番說話今天同樣地是大道理,但昔日豪情,奈何早已煙消雲散,組黨目標,也忘得一乾二淨。

今天民主行列不但沒有 壯大,過去一年,我反而不斷聽到不少支持民主的中產和專業人士以厭惡性言辭來批評、奚落民主派;更有建制派人士打着中間政治旗號,把這些本來心向民主的沉 默大多數收納旗下;換來一批年輕人,卻以粗言穢語、標榜港獨自豪。這些改變,實在令人痛入心扉!真失敗!怎麼普選仍爭取不了,便連運動也輸掉?

否決政改後 如何爭民主

泛 民斬釘截鐵高呼要否決政改方案,重啟五部曲;但否決了政改,往後如何爭取民主?與中間選民疏離,又爭取不了學生們支持,痛定思痛之餘,沒有新的思維,就算 五部曲重來,如何能確保政改不會重蹈覆轍?霎時間,從政的忘了是在從政,政黨的不懂政黨與壓力團體之分,社會正在嚴重分化,我們卻像事不關己般只懂得袖手 旁觀,又或把所有責任推卸於他人身上,這條路怎樣走下去?沒有自我檢討的意願,哪有改革翻身的一天?

很多人說這是死路一條,但我不認命。香 港人需要一條新的普選路。只要我們記着,溫和不代表放棄堅持,理性不代表缺乏原則。只要我們能清楚知道政改失敗的主要原因,對症下藥,聚焦改革,定能給沉 默的大多數一綫新希望!這第三條路不是要分化民主派,更不是要靠攏建制派,而是給心向民主的沉默一群多一項選擇,拉近兩極距離。英國自由黨近年的崛起,把 一向處於兩極的保守黨和工黨距離拉近,便是最好的例證。

這是一個需要修補裂痕、治療創傷的年代。我們不能期待已破碎無遺的關係可以朝夕復原,但這搶救工作 一天不開始,重拾獅子山下精神的日子便一天不會來臨!

Friday, February 06, 2015

密室 政治

著名政治學者和 兩岸政要蘇起教授親手送來他的最新大作《兩岸波濤二十年紀實》。書中最令我感興趣的要算是九十年代兩岸破冰的過程。他談到兩岸正式展開協商前,已有所謂 「民間協商」及「密使會」等秘密管道為兩岸僵局打出缺口。教授特別指出「密使會」以長達五年時間及二十七次密會,給予兩岸政府一個可進可退的試探機會,讓 雙方先建立初步的互信,及後海基會與海協會才展開公開談判。教授在書中坦言,如果沒有這條秘密管道,唯一的公開管道能否承載海峽兩岸的敵意、疑慮與期待, 恐怕大有疑問。


那 麼在中港關係不遜於中台關係的緊張情况下,秘密管道能否發揮政治效用?疑者會說,太天真了!共產黨怎可信?台灣人相信,因為台灣政治獨特,有其政治本錢, 香港人有什麼?不要癡人說夢!你可能是對,但假如失敗了,你又有何損失?政治有時便要死馬當活馬醫,才可望減低阻力,甚至找得出路。有些人竭盡所能把密室 政治妖魔化,便是不希望困局有出路,這是另一套政治目的,與解難紓困無關。

當然,對於原教旨主義者來說,歷史與政治學皆是廢話。他們要的不 是鬥爭後的成果,而是鬥爭本身的過程,目的是什麼實在不值得探討。在這一刻,對很多人來說,我們面對的最大挑戰已不是八三一方案能否獲得通過,而是一個更 廣闊深遠的問題:中央與港人如何相處下去?一國兩制是否到此為止?如果你還沒有看到這分別,你不配從政!

Thursday, February 05, 2015


在電視機上看到莫乃光滿頭大汗地不斷為自己的政改立場解說,有點莫名其妙;不到中午,又受各泛民領袖和網民左右夾攻,慌忙又要發出特別聲明收回早上 的言論,一時之間,難不同情他的狼狽,卻又忍俊不禁。對!這正是零八年激進批判文化崛起後,泛民主派常見的情況。還有甚麼可說?

泛民主派立場十分清晰:否決八三一政改方案,推翻人大決定,重啟政改五步曲。說了一大堆話,都是同一樣東西。否決了政改方案只會帶來兩個可能 性:一、政改五步曲從此變為絕響,八三一決定當然也因此存在等於不存在,失去其意義;二、下屆特區政府需重啟政改五步曲;到時人大常委會必須根據當時特 區的實際政治環境和情況再作決定,結果也是一樣,八三一決定已成過去。但有一樣事實卻是肯定的,便是就算下屆特區政府重啟五步曲,港人也只會像在玩大富翁 遊戲一樣,重回起點。分別只在於我們連遊戲中的二百大元也拿不到。

從憲制層面而言,政改否決權是泛民主派唯一的真正政治籌碼。你可以運用這政治籌碼令政改原地踏步,也可以用來爭取最大政治回報。不要忘記,所有 泛民主派議員在過去各屆參選時,均曾向選民承諾爭取雙普選。時至今日,就算普選行政長官確實是遙不可及,為甚麼不繼續爭取取消功能組別,普選立法會?為甚 麼要等下屆政府重啟政改五步曲後才重新爭取普選行政長官?放棄有策略地運用否決權只會令人感到泛民主派是為否決而否決,把本來是一場極為嚴肅的憲制改革變 為一場意氣之爭,甚至是口舌之爭。就算是贏了這場辯論,那又如何?你還是需要重回起點!

留意我不是說要「袋住先」。這是一種侮辱。你不能說爭取落實二零二零取消功能組別、二零二二降低提名門檻、大幅度民主化提委會是「袋住先」。你 可以說這想法太天真。也許你是對的。但邏輯上,你說中央不可信,那麼你每天活在一國兩制下,認為《基本法》可以保障你的權利,寄望英國政府會為你出頭,是 否也同樣太天真?那麼那些大聲疾呼要「武裝抗共」、「爭取香港族群獨立自主」的人又是否同樣太天真?若然你不認為後者的主張是太天真,那麼我倒想看看你明 天會做些甚麼去參與或支援「武裝抗共」!

政治沒有絕對的對與錯,更沒有天真與不天真的策略。政治只有可預見的政治後果。當然,你我對政治現實可能有不同的解讀,但怎可說爭取取消功能組 別是「
太天真」?那麼香港人爭取普選立法會數十年是否也一直是「太天真」?你可能是在罵中央,但你也正在侮辱香港人、侮辱自己。更何況你每天罵中央又如 何?可以有普 選嗎?可以落實一國兩制嗎?有這種想法,是否才是太天真!