Here’s a collection of various quotes, mostly by well-known figures, about politics and politicians, and those made by them. I have tried to select them where they have a current relevance, however many years ago they were uttered or written.
Civil servants – no longer servants, no longer civil.
On the required qualities of a politician:
The ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen.
On principles, and it seems Cameron is a past-master at this too:
Never stand so high upon a principle that you cannot lower it to suit the circumstances.
On voters and democracy:
The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.
On Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics:
When I call for statistics about the rate of infant mortality, what I want is proof that fewer babies died when I was Prime Minister than when anyone else was Prime Minister. That is a political statistic.
On the battle of the sexes:
In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.
Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous: you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides.
The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples’ money.
Labour minister who introduced the NHS and Welfare in 1948 (foretelling the EU?):
This island is made mainly of coal and surrounded by fish. Only an organising genius could produce a shortage of coal and fish at the same time.
On politics generally, and showing that great minds think alike:
We know what happens to people who stay in the middle of the road. They get run over.
However, this proves he was an expert at self-delusion:
The language of priorities is the religion of socialism.
Graham Greene, the writer (1904-1991) said this:
Heresy is another word for freedom of thought
Robin Day, political interviewer (1923-2000) offered this insight into his profession:
Television thrives on unreason, and unreason thrives on television. It strikes at the emotions rather than the intellect.
Norman St John-Stevas, Conservative MP (and Minister) 1964-1987, begging the question, “Is that how the elite see us?”
How amazing that the language of a few thousand savages living on a fog-encrusted island in the North Sea should become the language of the world
Benjamin Disraeli, Conservative MP 1837-1876 and Conservative Leader, being utterly self-deprecating, something Cameron could never do:
A Conservative Government is organised hypocrisy
William Shenstone, a poet (1714-1763) said this of Laws in Essays on Men, Manners and Things:
Laws are generally found to be nets of such a texture, as the little creep through, the great break through, and the middle-sized are alone entangled in.
Prince Charles has observed this, so perhaps Merkel has taken his advice:
The less people know about what is really going on, the easier it is to wield power and authority
Boris, on Tony Blair, but he could just have been talking about his “boss”:
Tony Blair, a mixture of Harry Houdini and a greased piglet. He is barely human in his elusiveness. Nailing Blair is like trying to pin jelly to a wall.