By Anne Perkins –
Do you love your country? When Keith Vaz, the MP who chairs the home affairs committee put the question to the Guardian’s editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger, midway through yesterday’s evidence session on the NSA leaks, it was, almost certainly, meant helpfully. It was that lawyerly thing of getting out into the open the answer to the opposition’s charge (the rather hefty one of treason) before the opposition had a chance to put it themselves. Cue unqualified affirmation!
But do you love your country? Well do you? Quite right, it’s a trick question. The answer’s not what you say, or even the way that you say it. The answer is in the pause between the end of the question and the start of the answer. If you need to stop and think about it, then you might just as well say no. You almost certainly don’t love your country in the way that the person who asked the question meant.
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