Yesterday, in a state of some trepidation, I was summoned at relatively short notice to a country retreat whose location must remain secret in order to attend a senior editorial meeting of this organ.
Our Leader, fresh from attending the World Economic Forum annual meeting at Davos, was keen to give us his views upon all matters of state including climate change, Brexit and the reason behind the recent moving of his HQ from Alfriston to Taiwan – which possesses the largest economy of any country that is not a member of the United Nations – and which he was at pains to point out were neither for state control nor tax reasons.
Thankfully it was soon confirmed that reorganisation and ‘element of restructuring’ were not part of the equation. This was a relief to some of those attending including your author, who had heard rumours of a number of news websites being under increasing pressure from financial difficulties and resulting attendant redundancies on the back of the fashionable governmental drive to make internet giants more responsible for their content and influence over Western democratic elections.
The most interesting presentation at the lunch for sixteen was that given by our resident IT expert, an archetypal geek who doubles as the crooner fronting a well-known 30-musician 1940s big band tribute combo that makes a healthy living on the UK rotary club dining circuit.
Not being technologically literate myself, hitherto I had been unware of quite the extent to which, via what is colloquially known as the “Dark Web” and false internet signatures and identities, together with the availability of websites that encrypt personal passwords and software devices that frustrate global organisations such as Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Amazon – to name but four – it is still possible to hide from public scrutiny the growth of the very inter-continental conglomerate via which we who are retained by the Rust make our humble livings.
You will have to forgive me for not revealing the details here of the state of this organ’s finances, even if I was to have gained more but a passing understanding of the impressive-sounding details of our daily website hits and sponsored or advertorial revenues.
Suffice it to say that, were I to retain my correspondent’s annual retainer fee for another three and a half years, at the age of 70 I shall be able to retire to my smallholding farm on the Falkland Islands and live happily ever after with my vinyl record collection and complete leather-bound set of Encyclopedia Britannica until the Final Reckoning occurs, or indeed my dementia finally sets in to a degree capable of being registered under current NHS protocols.