Bookmarks for May 14

I was among those who signed the original MySociety petition back in January which attempted to stop MPs from blocking a Freedom of Information request into their expenses claims. I still believe that a transparent system – where MP’s expenses are published on the internet – is the best way forward. The hysteria being whipped-up over MP’s snouts stuck in the allowances trough is deeply disillusioning though.  Thank heavens, then, for Stephen Fry who provided some welcome perspective on the scandal:

“Lets not confuse what politicians get really wrong,” he told Michael Crick on BBC Newsnight. “Things like wars … where people really die; with the rather tedious bourgeois obsession  of whether or not they’ve charged for their wisteria. It isn’t important. It isn’t what we’re fighting for. It isn’t what voting is about.”

+ The Observer’s Robert McCrum on Orwell’s 1984 and how it killed him. Nicely timed to anticipate the 60th anniversary of its publication next month.

+ How the fall of the Berlin Wall, which also has an anniversary coming up, started with just a whisper.

+ Newspapers and coffee go together like Chinese and takeaway. So Czech newspaper group PPF have decided to put them together by opening a series of cafes-cum-editorial offices. The idea being that you order a latte then chat to the local reporters as they prepare the local paper. Great idea, although nothing is new under the sun.

+ Bit late on posting this, but Peter Preston advocating an internet licencing fee is still worth catching.

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