Friday, 11 January 2013


When Professor Hoffmann von Fallersleben (1798-1874) said: “The greatest rogue in the whole land is, and will remain, the informer” he was talking about police informers, those who denounced good German people. Professor Hoffman von Fallersleben was a great patriot and I guess when he wrote the lyrics to German national anthem it did not occur to him that as the result of his poetry one day he would suffer the fate of all whistleblowers in the first phase: he would loose his prestigious chair.

Germans have lived under different dictatorships (Nazi, Stasi) and the concept of informers has that meaning of betrayal.

 Discussion of whistle-blowing  has been coming mainly from USA and Australia. There are many whistle-blowers as casualties in UK particularly in National Health Service (NHS).
The necessity to support whistleblowers is difficult for some administrators as they do not quite know what is involved.

Somehow it is easier to think that dictatorship is something that happened in other countries and in a different historical periods and not in your own street or profession.
Professor Hofmann lost his professorship in 1842 because he was critical of the prevailing conditions in his poems which had the ironic title "non-political songs" (1840/1841).

It can be the small number of people who can change some dreadful situations eg at work.

 One of the healthy social developments is the use of the Internet to disclose the facts of the case and that brings down secrecy which is one of the weapons of bullies and those who protect them.