March 05, 2007

Politics, 1921–style

How times have changed (or not):

[Winston Churchill] then, and subsequently, delivered himself of a number of well-phrased and semi-contradictory aphorisms. “The British government is the greatest Moslem state in the world,” he said at the time, “and it is well disposed to the Arabs and cherishes their friendship.” Then, three months later, he told a Manchester cotton audience: “In Africa, the population is docile and the country fruitful; in Mesopotamia and the Middle East the country is arid, and the population ferocious.”1

You could get away with a lot before broadcast news was invented. It makes you wonder whether, under relatively constant scrutiny, Blair et al are doomed to fail.

1. Churchill by Roy Jenkins, p.360

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