Saturday, November 11, 2017

Party vs Party

My friend's recumbent is a big hit

Failure to reform, in different ways, was the theme for the two major parties this week. The KMT remains a Leninist party run by and for mainlander elites, despite the need for it to reform. The Taipei Times quoted former KMT legislator Sun Ta-chien criticizing the party for bypassing the primary process to nominate a budding party princeling, Chiang Wan-an, for the KMT mayoral candidacy in Taipei.....
“If the KMT gives Chiang this comfort zone, as mentioned in the report, by granting him the candidacy without a primary, it would only destroy Chiang,” he said.

“The most commonly made criticism about the KMT is that it is rife with collusion between local factions and the wealthy elite,” he said.

“The cultivation of talent within the KMT has been largely focused on the offspring of politicians and local faction leaders... It is something young people would have a hard time identifying with,” Sun said.

Chiang is the great grandson of former president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石).
In the previous election longtime KMT politician Ting Shou-chung ran against Sean Lien, the son of heavyweight Lien Chan, in the primary and was beaten. Lien was then crushed by newcomer Ko Wen-je in the Taipei election by an electorate fed up with the KMT parachuting in princelings into local areas.

Now, points out Sun, the KMT is doing it again. Chiang Wan-an is a far more congenial figure than the inept and inexperienced Sean Lien, and will likely have a much better campaign manager than Sean Lien did, but still... Ting has long worked for the KMT in Taipei, and would appear to deserve the nomination. And he has actually won elections, not coronations.

Even a primary, while better than a coronation, would not be very indicative, since the KMT primary voters are not representative of Taipei's entire voter base.

Meanwhile the DPP assault on the KMT patronage networks continues. The Taipei Times reports on the government's plan to take over the irrigation cooperatives, long a KMT preserve and long said to be hugely corrupt.
The terms of the heads of the 15 associations in Taipei and Keelung would be extended to Sept. 30, 2020, while the heads of the Taipei Qixing Irrigation Association and Taipei Liugong Irrigation Association would continue to serve until the end of their terms on Sept. 30, 2020.

The government would appoint the heads of the associations after that date, while any vacancies on association committees between now and Sept. 30, 2020, would not be filled by holding an election, he said.

All the associations would need to observe the Civil Service Administrative Neutrality Act (公務人員行政中立法), the Executive Yuan said.
By making the association heads government employees, the DPP will effectively cut into the KMT's longstanding use of these associations as patronage bases. For a fuller description of how things worked historically, see my old 2007 post on Farmer's Associations.

Sadly, the DPP's strategy is not to eliminate clientelism, but instead to insert itself at the head of these patronage networks and eliminate the KMT's hold on them. The Chen Administration was never able to carry out its broadly similar plans because the KMT controlled the legislature through both of Chen Shui-bian's terms, but the Tsai Administration does not have that problem. Indeed, it got another law passed preventing political parties from running businesses.

Meanwhile the DPP may well get a check in the 2018 elections because of its labor policies, which are anti-worker. New Bloom observes, after detailing the changes (read the whole useful piece):
It is hard to see how these changes to labor policy will not lead to large public blowback against the Tsai administration. While outrage has already ensued in media outlets and online, this outrage will only grow when these new policies take effect.

The Tsai administration’s labor reforms last year were already widely protested by labor unions for not doing enough to protect workers, workers calling for the restoration of cut public holidays—seeing as Taiwanese workers already work the 4th longest working hours in the world—and demanding that workers be allowed two set days off per week instead of a flexible rest day in which they could still be made to work. Low punishments for breaking the Labor Standards Act also led to fears that companies that broke labor laws would get off easy under new reforms.

The Tsai administration initially waffled on its plans for labor reforms last year when confronted with resistance from labor groups, leading to large social disruption from industries that had already begun restructuring in anticipation of the new changes, then being unsure of whether these labor reforms would actually pass. However, the Tsai administration’s labor reforms were displeasing of big business owners in Taiwan, with leaders of seven business groups including the owners of some of Taiwan’s largest corporations threatening to suspend all ongoing wage negotiations with if the Ministry of Labor backed down in the face of demands from labor groups.
Once again, the familiar sight of a DPP government courting labor when it is out of power but spurning its demands when in power....

Finally, as many of us and the media had predicted, the KMT is going to use pollution as a major issue against the Lin Chia-lung Administration in Taichung, now Taiwan's second largest city, in the 2018 elections. That the pollution here is the result of the party's longtime commitment to fossil fuels and its complete failure to shift the nation to renewables, as well as the KMT's lack of enforcement of environmental regulations, etc, will not stop this from being an issue. Lin raised it himself, and now it may well backfire. I observed a couple of weeks ago:
Remember, this year Taichung has become Taiwan's second largest city. In the battleground of central Taiwan, Taichung may well become a stepping stone to the Presidency, especially if Taipei stays with Ko Wen-che so that no DPP politician is associated with Taipei, and the KMT runs or wins with an old-fashioned ideologue like Alex Tsai who is unelectable on a national level. A KMT politician who can do well or even win in Taichung has demonstrated he can appeal to the center on local issues. Presidential...
Surely Johnny Chiang, the putative KMT candidate in Taichung, must be dreaming of presidential-ness. Chiang Wan-an, the princeling grandson of Chiang Kai-shek, will never get elected outside Taipei, meaning that he is not a viable presidential candidate in a predominantly light-green/green electorate. But if Jiang wins and proves himself both competent and moderate, he will automatically be mentioned among the prospects for 2024, just as Cheng Wen-tsan in Taoyuan is for the DPP. The KMT lacks young, competent, seasoned candidates with broad moderate appeal at the moment...
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Anonymous said...

"These aging aircraft are what happens when the US refuses to sell Taiwan upgraded aircraft."

And jumping to conclusions is what happens when you try to turn everything into a political drama. Newsflash: there are other possible causes besides age.

Michael Turton said...

I was basically quoting 2 defense experts, but thanks for your (stupid) input.