Final Word from Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda has certainly ruffled somefeathers and stepped on some toes at city hall, perhaps eventhe degree that a smear campaign is being launched againsthim (as he claimed yesterday). But Svoboda is a pragmatistand is already indicating that he understands the limits thatexist when control changes hands between one regime andthe next. In this way he's not so unlike Václav Havel, whom hepraised on F1 radio earlier this month as having a high moraland ethical standard all his life. When asked about the situationat Prague city hall, Svoboda told F1 that it's not a matterof uncovering corruption and locking someone up, becausethis will not return the financial resources or the confidencethat was lost. He said he is convinced that the battle againstcorruption begins with prevention. It's almost as if he's sayingthat what was done was done, but we can't let it happen anymore.The problem with such a policy is that it's not likely tofully satisfy either the lobbyists, or the frustrated voters.

Glossary of difficult words

to draw a line under something - to consider an issue finished and not to return to it;

to ruffle feathers - to cause someone to become annoyed or upset;

to step on someone's toes - to offend someone by encroaching on his area of responsibility;

smear campaign - a plan to discredit a public figure by making false or dubious accusations;

pragmatist - a person who takes a practical approach to problems and is concerned mainly with the success or failure of his actions;

F1 - the part about Havel begins at about 21:30 and about corruption at about 14:00;

to lock someone up - to put someone in prison.


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