Why this Blog?

A place where I can lament the changing times; for eccentric comments on current affairs and for unfashionable views, expressed I hope, in cogent style; also occasional cris de coeur largely concerned, I regret to say, with myself.


I welcome your comments, so do please write. Please note however that all comments are moderated prior to publication. Whilst I fully appreciate that life can be frustrating, nevertheless, abuse, SMS language and illiteracy will not be tolerated!

Wednesday 12 November 2008

Free Speech: President Sarkozy Eats Babies!

It is reasonable for a reader to ask whatever prompted me to compose the eccentric headline above.

Well I am simply exercising my right to free speech, supposedly guaranteed by the United Nations, The European Union, and by all the countries that subscribed to the Helsinki accord.

You could argue that by making such a childish statement (sorry for the pun) I am abusing my right of free speech; of course it was inspired by the nonsense propaganda that circulated in England during the First World War concerning Kaiser Wilhelm II.  Further than this the real prompt was quite another matter.

A friend has sent me a news item from PCinpact.com concerning an appointment at the Elysée Palace - the official residence of the President of the Republic of France.  The appointee is a 24-year-old, Nicolas Princen by name; he was appointed last March.

His function? To monitor blogs, websites etc. for "false rumours and misinformation" concerning le Président de la République.  The Elysée helpfully commented that it is quite normal for the République to monitor such things, as it does with press and radio etc.  Apparently there is no plan for a particular course of action in the event of abusive content: the function of this office is merely to inform...

However the plot thickens.  The French Ministry of Education has issued an invitation to tender for further monitoring, including identifying the themes and assessing the likely impact and many other criteria, including "locating the opinion leaders" and "to alert and make recommendations."

Now on the face of it this doesn't seem so terrible, but having reported British plans connected with the Internet, let us say that I am at least sceptical if not downright suspicious.

So I shall just wait and see if my silly headline causes panic at the Elysée...

And by the way, it's not just the politicians and departments of state: a while back I wrote a piece about the Raytheon drone "Killer Bee." And the very same day, I found that my blog had been visited by someone in the corporate offices of Raytheon itself; my hopes that I had a new loyal supporter in high places were dashed however, as I do not think they have ever come back for another look at all the wonderful stuff I post here.  So disappointing...

Until the next time

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