HKFP Satire

Declassified documents have revealed that in 1983 British civil servants discussed a plan to move the Hong Kong population to a new colony within Northern Ireland. Let me tell you how this probably went down.

The idea came from a sociology lecturer at Reading University, not a well-known source of practical propositions and if you are living in Reading, evacuating to anywhere seems a good idea. Apparently, this vision was picked up by a civil servant in the Northern Ireland Office called George Fergusson. A little research, by grace of Google, suggests this was almost certainly a 28 year old administrative grade officer who later transferred to the Foreign Office and is now British Governor of Bermuda.

pub idea

This has all the traces of a bright young assistant principal, fueled by a sense of fun and likely lunch in the pub, sending off the wheeze to his peers in the Foreign Office. They were probably  his mates and in the pub with him, because the Northern Ireland Office was not in Northern Ireland at all but round the corner in Great George Street, London. Their responses were the dry sarcasm of young manadarins frolicking. It would have been more than their annual reports were worth if the notion had got anywhere near a minister.

But now it has and British ministers, being marginally less sane than the ones in the 1980s, have obviously decided the moment has come to reveal the Fergusson Plan.  Beijing’s announcement of the national security law came on July 1st and London’s release of these papers came straight afterwards. The timing is significant.

With democracy denied and oppressive laws closing in on the former colony, ageing contacts in the UK government, whose bladders can’t hold pub lunches anymore, tell me that delusional ministers who liberated Libya believe the world will be looking to them to save the Hong Kong people. Something has to be done.

The British Home Secretary, whose duty it is not to like foreigners, looks with less distaste upon the prospect of Hong Kong Chinese. They are relatively popular among the natives for being quiet, self-sufficient, having no visible religion, and being the saviours of the country’s fish and chip shops. They are also more than likely to vote Conservative.

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Immigration is so far gone now that a few million of Her Majesty’s former Chinese subjects in the mix would not be beyond reason. In it already, for example, and quite beyond comprehension are 150,000 Somalis with whom there is scant historical connection and whose young men find recreation hanging around outside gay clubs of an evening, beating up patrons in devotion to the Prophet. It is reckoned that Hong Kongers, though they may conceal a compost pile of prejudices, will be much less annoying.

The rule is going to be that if you have a passport- any passport- a credit card and no terminal illnesses, you’re in. How you get to Northern Ireland from here is up to you but if you turn up at a British port of entry and show the immigration officer a recent Hong Kong gas or electricity bill, you will be given directions to the site of the colony, identified by the raving Reading sociologist as the town of Magilligan, located between Coleraine and Iceland.

There will be existing buildings there from which the inhabitants can be driven out in the Irish tradition. For the extra millions, prefabricated housing and generators will be supplied by the remains of the British Army and there is a lake for water. I would like to tell the new Hong Kong colonists that there will be some similarities, some hints of Sheung Shui or Shamshuipo but there are none. Soda bread and porridge, graffiti and drizzling rain that carries depression like radiation bear no resemblance to anything.

There is the fear in Whitehall that the Hong Kongers might become soaked in Northern Irish ways and form Loyalist and Republican triads which the remains of said Army could no longer deal with. I am told though that the colony is purely a front for domestic consumption and that the Chinese settlers will be allowed to slip into the rest of the country ‘to do their fish and chips thing’ as Boris Johnston was heard to remark.  More than that will be on their shoulders, though. As the original whites become too drunk or idle or gay to reproduce and disappear entirely to Spain and Portugal, the British Isles will be left to the descendants of the 2015 Hong Kongers – and the Somalis. Wait now for the official announcement.

Stuart Wolfendale is a freelance columnist, critic and writer based in Hong Kong. He wrote a long running weekly column in the South China Morning Post, was daily diarist of the Eastern Express, back page columnist of the Hong Kong Standard and contributor to Spike magazine. He also trains people in presentation skills and public speaking.