Familiar faces foretell familiar failure

Big Lychee, Various Sectors

The Communist Party demanded dullards who can’t do much but will do it unquestioningly – and they got them. Even fervent pro-establishment figures struggle to sound enthusiastic about soon-to-be-Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s cabinet line-up. The lady’s own glowing descriptions of their newness and passion almost sound tongue-in-cheek.

The funny thing is that the Chinese government expects Carrie’s administration to take on some very big, difficult, hard-sell tasks in the coming years.

Take three. There’s the toxic Article 23 national security legislation, which today’s no-nonsense paranoid-psycho Beijing will probably insist criminalizes words and thoughts as well as actions. There’s ‘National Education’, through which the toddler-brainwashing Communist Party will take possession of your children (won’t apply to Carrie’s ministers and others who can send their kids to the safety of private schools). And in theory there should be a renewed emphasis on livelihood and welfare issues to sweeten the above medicine and keep the masses from revolting.

Such hazardous missions do not come naturally to the bunch of oh-so elite civil-service Administrative Officers approaching retirement known as Team Carrie. Their key skills are prevarication, risk-avoidance, focusing on process rather than output, and blathering helplessly about consensus and a way forward.

Beijing has progressively tightened its grip with each Hong Kong Chief Executive since Tung Chee-hwa. Following the counter-productive hyper-loyalty of super-zealot CY Leung, Team Carrie represents the next, more-subtle, stage of micro-management – a puppet government hand-picked to be bland, predictable and obedient.

The Hong Kong public knows better than to expect this lot to deliver results. Beijing will only become more frustrated as it finds tighter control means even more incompetent and ineffective administration.