Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Empty harangues and fawning flatteries 

Radio 4 informed me last night that several members of the House of Lords have been voicing continued annoyance with Brian Haw, the anti-war protestor who's been set up in Parliament Square for the past three years. Obviously they only believe in limited freedom of speech. Rousseau has words for them - 'long and empty harangues which waste such precious time are a great evil, but it is a much greater evil for a good Citizen not to dare to speak when he has useful things to say'.

He also has advice for Haw, though, whose position is, after all, getting a bit old once you've heard it for the 1000th time - 'in order to cut down on the rambling and gibberish somewhat, every haranguer might be required to state at the beginning of his speech the proposition he wants to advance, and, after he has spelled out his argument, to give a summary of his conclusions' (from his considerations on the government of Poland). So we should be getting a short précis from Haw any time now. Proportionate to the length of the rest of his protest, about six months would do...

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