Sunday 17 November 2019

Yes, we need a proper public opinion poll…

I had dealings with Matthew when he was Minister if Educations
Matthew Cheung, Chief Secretary, says we need a comprehensive international poll. Yes we do. 
I knew Cheung in my working days. A dour and unimaginative man. But keen to do the right thing.
I have wondered from the outset of these demos why the government didn’t carry out a detailed poll of public feelings. There have been a few though limited in size and scope.  But they haven’t done a comprehensive one. Carrie Lam is influenced by hardliners, who may be arguing against polling (why should we care what the people think?) and is herself stubborn.
Many people, including former chief justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang, have put forward in the Post sensible ways to resolve the ongoing crisis peacefully. All of this, as well as confidential pleadings within the administration, have fallen on deaf ears.
Lam is reputed to have been stubborn throughout her career in government. Her superiors in Beijing are convinced the Communist Party knows better than the people.
So, perhaps Cheung concluded that the public statement he chose to make in Legco was the only way for him to make powers above him rethink their stance. His message seems to be: conduct a public-opinion poll by an internationally reputed agency to figure out the source of public anger and what people think of the government’s policies.
Simple thing to do. But even this seems a road too far for this incompetent and pusillanimous government.

Related: Hong Kong government spurns chance to listen to the public

ADDED (18/11): Rioting bad, but government inaction worse.