Geoffrey Rush, as promised. AKA the coolest thing in Elizabeth.
A few press statements concerning machines. The first is from Vodaphone, when the Egyptian government shut down mobile phone communications. It's a sort of on-the-fence shrug; the final clause indicating, very, very delicately that maybe Vodaphone would prefer this sort of thing not to happen, but that it's not really their business to interfere, and that, practically speaking, there's nothing that can be done. Not that I'm comparing it to the US reaction or our reaction here in the UK or anything. Less still the Foreign Office's 'wait-and-see' policy in Yes, Prime Minister to say that they can't do anything until it's too late to do anything, then admit that something could have been done but that it can't now, in fact, be done. Anyway, the quote.
"Under Egyptian legislation, the authorities have the right to issue such an order and we are obliged to comply with it."
Their second statement, made when service was resumed, is almost masterful in its wording; the implication being that Vodaphone were right to close down their mobile networks in Egypt, because had they resisted, the government would have closed them down manually and prevented them from bringing back the power of communication to the people for quite some time. So, if you think about it, they were the good guys, applying softer pressure from within the system rather than standing against it. Oh, Vodaphone, you brave little Schindlers!
"We would like to make it clear that the authorities in Egypt have the technical capability to close our network, and if they had done so it would have taken much longer to restore services to our customers."
The third statement came on Monday night from Google, announcing a new method of communication. In essence, it's that bit in A Knight's Tale where Heath Ledger's having veg pelted at him in the stocks. Then James Purefoy turns up as the Black Prince and announces dramatically that Heath Ledger's actually a knight and must be set free and given a chance to joust the baddie a second time and a happy ending and everything, after which he gives Heath Ledger a cheeky grin and a wink and starts very obviously rooting for him in the joust. You have absolutely no idea why this immensely powerful figure turns up and comes through for the underdog hero. It could be an ethical thing; or it could be just that he doesn't give a shit about offending anyone and he's too much of a softie not to root for the little guy, regardless of the knock-on effects of introducing social mobility very suddenly into the feudal system.
Observe the cheeky grin and the wink that accompanies this statement of obvious neutrality and business-like detachment. God, it might as well be whistling nonchalantly.
"Like many people we’ve been glued to the news unfolding in Egypt and thinking of what we could do to help people on the ground. Over the weekend we came up with the idea of a speak-to-tweet service—the ability for anyone to tweet using just a voice connection.