Yesterday, the Swedish Minister for Enterprise, Deputy Premier etc etc Maud Olofsson was going to chat online with the readers of the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet. The chat was scheduled to 13.00. However, when people at the local newspaper Västerbottens-Kuriren read about that, they realised that this was exactly when the minister had been interviewed by their reporters. In her home in the North of Sweden. That is, hundreds of miles away from Aftonbladet’s newsroom.
It turned out to have been Ms Olofsson’s press secretary who had responded to the readers’ questions. In the minister’s name. Claiming to be the minister.
Aftonbladet is furious and has demanded (and received) an apology for having been “fooled”, as the editor in charge of the online edition puts it. Now there’s an interesting flip of mind, by the way, as the paper in question has a solid, dubious track record for fooling its readers every day, but that’s beside the point.
Anyway. The story could have ended there, but has since been compounded by the press secretary’s hilarious attempts to explain the whole matter away. Asked by the media magazine Dagens Media “But it wasn’t Maud Olofsson chatting”, she delivers the following gem for a response:
“Indirectly, it was, but of course I was the one pressing the keys. But it was Maud’s words”.
New Agers usually use expressions such as “chanelling” for this phenomena, whereby dupes are automatically writing messages from alleged spirits. But little did I know that such powers had also been extended to Cabinet members and their press secretaries.
This, though, opens up unexpected possibilities for eco-friendly government: Instead of jetting all the ministers in from their constituencies, just put a press secretary with psychic powers in the same room as the Prime Minister. “I now invoke the Defence Minister…” And what about the EU circus, where ministers, officials, MEPs and assorted bureaucrats are shuttled and shuffled across the European chessboard on a daily basis? They could just meet by telepathy, even doing away with the need for energy-intensive computers.
Remember where you read it first.