Freedom Of Speech, In A Vacuum Of Silence

Thank you everybody. The response I received on Friday and over the weekend was overwhelming. I cannot express my gratitude for all the supportive calls, texts, emails and comments. It gave me the strength and confidence to republish my words after I momentarily faltered. The experience was unique in my lifetime. You encouraged me to believe that I was taking a stand for something worthwhile – even if it costs me money and causes resentment amongst possible business contacts – and it really meant a lot to me.

Before I go any further, let us get one thing straight. This blog is not supposed to be about me. It is supposed to be about revenue assurance. I intend to resume normal service soon. However, I imagine some of you are wanting to know the news about what happened to me when I went into BT this Monday. According to the logic of the phrase no news is good news, then it was all good news. Because absolutely nothing happened. It seems my blog did not stop the world from turning or cause the sky to fall on our heads. The whole day went by, and nobody actually spoke to me about it (at least, not in an official capacity).

That was rather an anti-climax. It is not like I was hoping to throw the Earth off its axis, but then, I was not the one who suggested it might be. On Friday I felt like the boy pointing out the emperor has no clothes. Today I feel like the boy who cried wolf. I had the whole weekend to anticipate the “policies” and “procedures” that were going to be thrown at me on Monday morning (the HR woman was unwilling to tell me exactly which policies or procedures applied, so I still do not know). None of them ever surfaced from the policies and procedures cabinet. What was I supposed to do? Storm out in a huff? Slap my resignation letter on the table and bellow a line from Shakespeare to signal my never-ending defiance? They would have laughed, or just been confused. So I did a normal day’s work and came home instead. Perhaps tomorrow they will get around to the urgent task of explaining why they believe my blog must be censored in order to have peace in our time. Or perhaps it is holiday season and everybody will forget all about it.

All of which rather suggests that the original complaint about my blog was disproportionate. The longer they leave it to take action, the more ridiculous any action will seem. So now I intend to keep going back and see how long it takes. Of course, announcing your secret thoughts to the world, much like Machiavelli did in The Prince, rather gives the game away. But my guess is that, even though I am giving the game away, it will not help anyone in BT work out how to respond. If they do nothing, my point is made, because Geoff Hammond tried to silence me but was not entitled to do so. If they do something, they are going to have to show some rare ingenuity to show my actions have anything to do with BT’s interests, never mind that they harm them. After all, my criticism is with Geoff Hammond in his capacity as newly-appointed chair of WRAF, not with his work at BT. So my argument is that this is not an internal BT matter, even though it involves a BT employee. Hammond is the one trying to make it an internal BT matter, and hence to pressurize me to stop saying things that I would have said no matter where I was working at the time. For now, I guess everything is back to normal, with me returning to taking a pop at various vendors, consultants, Papa Rob and all the usual suspects, until somebody from WRAF discovers the backbone to stand up for their new organization. When they do, I will take a pop at them again ;) And again, and again, until they make their governance accountable and transparent. You have my word about that.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.