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Free (as in Speech)

The Netherlands has a “dichter des vaderlands”, a national poet. I don’t know if that would be comparable with a British poet laureate — perhaps because the Dutch one is primarily a product of a single newspaper / publisher. The conservative one, at that, but the national poet is tasked with doing whatever poetry demands. A little like a national ombudsman, I suppose. The current holder of the title is Ramsey Nasr, and his latest foray starts with (loosely translated): “So, Mr. Premier, how does it feel to lie // and then to see the same in print?” The Dutch version refers to the premier by his initials, JP. I’d pin this up as a testament to Free Speech in this country.

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