To MsExPat: The LSD is dead. Long Live the People's Force.
To MsExPat: What are your thoughts on the split up of the LSD (League of Social Democrats) in Hong Kong?
My thoughts: In Hong Kong, Raymond Wong and Albert Chan have left the LSD due to differences with Andrew To (the head of LSD). In my opinion, this basically means the LSD is dead as a political force in Hong Kong. In the Hong Kong legislature, only 3 of the members belong to LSD. With Wong and Chan leaving, this means only 1 member, Long Hair, still belongs to LSD, and Long Hair still considers himself a political ally of Wong.
Even if Long Hair stays with LSD, he doesn't appear to have much direct influence with To who will do whatever he wants. Similarly, Long Hair is making political decisions on his own without any regard to what To wants to do. If anything, Long Hair is more likely to consult with the Wong and Chan on his political decisions than with To - because all of them are HK legislators.
The only reason why LSD was as important as it was in HK politics was because it had 3 members in the HK legislature. But with Wong and Chan leaving the party and with Long Hair not coordinating with the LSD on his political actions, the LSD (or more accurately, the LSD leadership) will be irrelevent.
In the 2008 election, Andrew To couldn't win a seat in the HK legislature. Looking back, this is a significant event because it means he doesn't have a prominent post in which to push his politics. With Wong and Chan leaving LSD, the HK newspapers and magazines aren't going to interview To nearly as much (they'll go to Wong or Chan or Long Hair directly) which means his political prominence will drastically fall. But also, I think it's questionable whether or not Andrew To has enough political support on his own to ever win a seat in the HK legislature. Certainly, many people in the past supported him because he was on the same side as Wong and Long Hair. But with Wong and Chan splitting with him and his party, it's not clear he has enough votes on his own to win a seat in the HK Legislature. To the contrary, both Wong and Long Hair both have independent supporters who support them and not the party, and they've won elections because of those supporters. I don't think To has that kind of support.
As for his ability to take control of LSD, one has to give credit to To for his political manipulations to gain control. First he won the trust of Raymond Wong. Next he got his supporters to take over LSD. Then he created some new corporations also called LSD which is controlled by his operatives in case he ever loses power in the original LSD. All this is very clever and smacks of Chicago politics. But ultimately with all 3 lsd or ex-lsd hk legislatures ignoring To, To will be inconsequential in HK politics if he doesn't have enough support on his own to win a seat in the HK legislature - and I don't think he will.
As for To's politics, it appears to he's an Obama-admiring Post Partisan Unity Pony. His schtick is to say he disagrees with the other pan-democrats while constantly saying he has to work with them. It's pretty clear he's more interested in destroying Albert Chan and Raymond Wong than in opposing the Chinese Communist party.
One final question: will Raymond Wong run for re-election in 2012? I seem to remember him saying that he wouldn't, but with this decision I suspect he will.