- 'I will not identify the minister unless he chooses to put up his hand. However I should clarify two points. Firstly, the reference to Tokaji wine was intended to give a sense of the flow of time and of argument over an extended conversation, not to imply that the minister's tongue was loosened by the flowing alcohol. My interlocutor was sober; which makes his admission all the more brave and interesting. The second point is: what precisely was the minister referring to when he acknowledged that the government had “fucked it up”? He has called me to explain that he was only talking about the government's presentation of its case: the timing of the law (on the eve of Hungary's EU presidency) and the failure to appreciate quite what a row it would provoke in the rest of Europe. He still stands by the need for the legislation and its substance. I accept his clarification.'
- 'Over a long dinner assisted by the expertise of the specially-appointed “EU presidency sommelier” one minister first claimed the media law was no different from other European countries. He later admitted that it was, indeed, more stringent than similar laws elsewhere. “You have to understand, this is central Europe, where there is anti-Semitism and anti-gypsy sentiment. The government has to protect people.” By the time the sweet Tokaji dessert wine was poured he conceded: “OK, we fucked it up."'
- "The reactions to WikiLeaks share one abiding characteristic, so obvious that it can easily be overlooked, namely an unwillingness to address with any sophistication or seriousness the complex and everchanging world that the US -- and all of us -- must now deal with. The prevailing and lazy assumption is implied but all too clear: that the foreign policy élite, and government, should be left to get on with the job, with whatever secrecy that they demand. ... So far WikiLeaks has produced a reaction all too symptomatic of our troubled democracy. Instead of informed debate, hysteria and told-you-so complacency. This reaction is perhaps the most important -- and devastating -- consequence of WikiLeaks, and the one that should give us the most pause."
Delicious LiveJournal Links for 1-9-2011
Second paragraph of third chapter ("Samuel Pepys: A Scholar and a Gentleman", by M.E.J. Hughes): The reasons for educational patronage were various.…
From Samuel Pepys' diary: Jane called us up about three in the morning, to tell us of a great fire they saw in the City... So I made myself ready…
I had most of yesterday morning free in London, and decided to try a commemoration of everyone's favourite blogger, Samuel Pepys. Insufficiently…