14 PilateMar 16th, 2008 | By Ian Poulton | Category: Writing
A senior civil servant with a Machiavellian streak justifies himself
Come in, my dear fellow, come in.
I do hope we haven’t kept you waiting too long. What with the festival taking place this weekend, I have been up to my eyes with policing matters.
It has been a long day, but we can never be too busy for the gentlemen of the press. We need chaps like you. I can’t tell you how much we value the work of journalists like yourself. Your role is so vital in a healthy society.
Oh, I do think so. I’m always telling my secretary how we should always have time to talk. After all, how can we have peace if gentlemen like yourself aren’t able to tell people what is going on in government?
Secrecy is a bad thing you know. People start imagining all sorts of things. In no time at all you have rumours and whispers and the most astonishing stories. Conspiracies thrive on suspicion and unanswered questions, that’s why we mustn’t allow either space to grow. Open government, that’s our philosophy – it means there is no room for suspicion and all the questions are answered.
Do you know I was so pleased when my secretary told me that you had requested an interview and that you would be coming this evening? I wouldn’t usually work on a Friday evening, but I felt it was important to talk to you. One needs to make sure the record is right.
May I offer you anything?
You’re fine. Good, I wouldn’t want it said that we weren’t hospitable to visitors.
Now what was it you had come about? The nasty business today, I suspect.
Yes, a thoroughly nasty business.
I’m sure you’ll agree with me that there was really very little else that we could have done. I think you would accept that that we acted in the public interest to minimise damage to property and to reduce unnecessary loss of life.
Some would suggest we gave in to the mob?
Some who do not understand the complexities of the situation in the way that you and I do, might make such a naïve suggestion. Yet we both know that any such comment is very wide of the mark.
It is good that we have responsible journalists like yourself to ensure that we have a true and accurate record of what has taken place here.
You are not sure that everyone would agree with my version of events?
Well, of course they would not agree, that’s why I am governor and they are not; truth is what I say to be true.
Hmm, that reminds me of a conversation I had with another man.
Anyway, I need to talk to my officers about odd claims some people are making about things that will happen. I’m sure my secretary would be very happy to furnish you with any other details you might need
Thank you so much for taking time to come to talk to me this evening, I’m sure you have lots to do.
Should you mention me in what you write, do please make it clear that I don’t expect to be remembered for my time in office here. I am a humble civil servant and all I did was my duty