At the moment in Britain there is an official enquiry into press standards - it's called the Leveson inquiry.
Though this is not a thread about politics, rather something else that struck me when a man disrupted proceedings.
Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister, was giving evidence to this enquiry when a protester entered the chamber and shouted 'Excuse me. This man should be arrested for war crimes ...' This was in reference to Blair presiding partially over the decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003. There were further accusations to follow which you can read about here.
Now, what struck me was that he prefaced his protest and rant with an 'Excuse me!' It fascinates me that you would bother to say such a thing before launching into an accusation of war crimes and corruption.
Leaving politics aside, I found there to be something quite wonderful about this use of 'excuse me' in this context.
Do you think this is peculiarly British way of using language? Soft language skills anyone?
Is this man a one-off?
Would someone be this polite in protest in your language culture?
Which leads to another question. are teaching these 'soft skills' important in the language classroom or should we not worry about the niceties of cultural discourse?
In which case, how would you approach teaching soft skills?
It would be fascinating to hear your thoughts on this (the language use rather than the politics - there are plenty of other spaces in which to discuss the wrongs and rights of man's actions). Will you share what you think?
I don't think that protestor's "Excuse me" is particularly polite or unusual. He was indicating that he was taking charge of the notional microphone. His "Excuse me" was logging on and getting attention so that his following words would be treated with some attention.
Remember the difference between hear and listen and between see and watch. The crucial element is attention. The protestor was getting attention.