OnPoint by Keith Ng

42

Who's the real Dick, then?

So... what about that Don Brash then? I hear he's not the National Party leader anymore.

Ahem. I think it's the jetlag. I've moved back about 300 timezones, so I'm a bit behind on the news.

But when I left, Fran O'Sullivan was comparing Hager with Nixon for stealing private correspondence, while everyone else was comparing Don Brash with Nixon for being forced out of office in disgrace when he was found out to be a bit of a tricky dick.

So, who's the real Dick, then?

That would have made a good title, but that was about as far as I got when I got on the plane, and it seems a tad redundant to write the rest of that post now. However, I would recommend the movie Dick, a very serious movie about Watergate starring Kristen Dunst and Michelle Williams.

Favourite quote - Michelle Williams screaming, in front of the Washington Memorial: "I love Dick!"

Heh heh. Political satire is deep. Heh heh. Deep.

--

Meanwhile, here in Secret Pirate Island, aka Hong Kong, the election was held yesterday. Well, not like an election election, but an election for the Election Committee, which elects the Chief Executive (the head of the executive branch of government).

You political science geeks would love it.

The Election Committee has 800 members: 200 from the "industrial, commercial and financial sectors", 200 from "the professions", 200 from "labour, social services, religious and other sectors", and 200 from actual political bodies (the Hong Kong legislature, HK members of the National People's congress) etc.

So, essentially, each arbitrarily defined caste in Hong Kong gets a quarter of the votes. But ah - the actual representatives from these castes have to be elected, too. So each sector is divided into sub-sectors, and each sub-sector is allocated a certain number of seats from the 200, and they vote on their own candidates.

For example, all the social workers in Hong Kong would get to register as voters in the social workers sub-sector, then they'd get to throw 40 votes at a field of 80-odd candidates.



40. Goddamn. Votes.

On the other hand, half of the sub-sectors had less candidates than positions. They were declared to be uncontested, and candidates got in automatically. In some contested sub-sectors, candidates were elected with double-figure votes (Hong Kong has nearly 8 million people).

3% of Hong Kong are registered voters. The voter turnout was 17%.

So...

0.5% of the population vote for an arbitrarily allocated portion of an 800-member Election Committee which has no subsequent responsibilities or means of accountability to its constituents which then elects the head of government which has no subsequent accountability to the Election Committee.

Inspired! Diabolical! Stole the idea off Babylon 5!

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Before I left Wellington, I spent about two hours explaining the flat accounts to one of the remaining flatmates. I suspect we're one of the few flats that have a single-ledger double-entry accounting system. It's pretty bad-ass, as far as accounting systems go. It don't follow nobody's rules. I did sixth form accounting and promptly forgot the lot of it, but when I became the head tenant in a 9 person flat, bits and pieces started coming back, and the weird system evolved.

Anyway, back at the 9 person flat, one of the flatmates was more or less asked to leave. He was insistent that the flat owed him money. We disagreed, and he insisted on auditing the books. So I happily gave him the 12 column double-entry monster, and that was the last I heard from him.

Guess the Hong Kong elections are like that.

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Also, apologies for posting NGA late. My fault, not Jarrod's.

Click here for more NGA.

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