Dr Grumble does not want to lose his readers. So why does he raise the tedious topic of a Motion for a European Parliament Resolution on concentration and pluralism in the media in the European Union (2007/2253(INI))? What is there to fear from this superficially innocuous document? Prompted by a post from the Witch Doctor, today is the second time Dr Grumble has perused this impenetrable product of Brussels. He still finds it heavy going. The first sentence of the paper is the longest sentence Dr Grumble has ever read. Any document which has 23 paragraphs in a row beginning with the word 'whereas' cannot be intended for the likes of Dr Grumble. There are also six paragraphs in a row beginning 'having regard to'. Plainly this is not the sort of document a mere mortal like Dr Grumble could possibly summarise here. But he thinks he understands the implication of the words 'having regard to' and 'whereas'.
As Dr Grumble has already revealed he failed Use of English so he finds trying to explain the significance of these words a challenge. By way of illustration, here is a sentence written in the style of a Brussels bureaucrat.
- having regard to the law on the welfare of animals,
A. whereas dogs are a man's best friend, it is recognised that they may foul paths,
1. Urges the EU to have all dogs destroyed.
The above example does not read well but, frankly, nor does the EU document. It is quite difficult to extract the meaning from Dr Grumble's short paragraph but what you can see is that where it says 'having regard to' and 'whereas' the scene is being set. There is some motherhood and apple pie stuff there but it is meaningless as the sting is in the tail. What this means is that all the nice talk in the EU document about the Human Rights Act and Civil Liberties is not at all reassuring. That's just the preamble. What one needs to look out for is their proposals. Here is just one:
The European Parliament,
9. Suggests clarifying the status, legal or otherwise, of weblogs and encourages their voluntary labelling according to the professional and financial responsibilities and interests of their authors and publishers; (pdf)
We already know that the EU has become very concerned about the political influence of bloggers. Taxpayers money has been spent analysing the effect bloggers may have had on the outcome of the Irish referendum. Is that proper use of our money? Would they have bothered if the result had gone the EU way? Why do they want to 'clarify our legal status'? How can you have a legal status if nobody knows who you are? Doesn't having a legal status inevitably mean loss of anonymity?
We can chat to each other in the pub. We can chat to strangers. We don't have to reveal who we are before we open our mouths. We could post anonymous pamphlets through letter boxes if we could be bothered. So why shouldn't we express our views in our personal blogs, anonymously or otherwise, without let or hindrance from the