Friday, June 01, 2007

Quotes of the Day

"Clement Attlee had as much charisma as a mouse. He was absolutely monosyllabic. People say conversation is supposed to be like a game of tennis, but with Attlee it was like tossing biscuits to a dog" - Former MP Tony Benn on Britain's first post-war Prime Minister.
"I am still that Welsh windbag" - Labour's former leader Lord (Neil) Kinnock, apologising for having been too garrulous during an interview.
"There are too many busybodies in this world running around complaining. There are too many whiners and whingers" - Tory MP Anthony Steen after being "shopped" for parking his car in a bay for the disabled.
"David Cameron and his closest allies have been flying by the seat of their well-tailored pants and it is beginning to show" - Lance Price, former Downing Street press officer, saying that the appointment of the former News of the World editor - Andy Coulson - as the Tories' press supremo, has not come "a day too soon".
"Any third-rate politician - and we have scores of them - can pretend a problem does not exist until it goes off like a landmine" - Best-selling author Frederick Forsyth.
"I am not at all discreet. I am deeply open. I am quite incapable of keeping a secret" - Lord (Robin) Butler, former Cabinet Secretary, denies his reputation as a man who kept everything close to his chest.


Anonymous said...

I have just sent Anthony Steen an e-mail telling him that I think he is an arrogant, pompous idiot. If anyone wants to do likewise his e-mail address (which appears to have been deleted from his constituency website) is

Harlsbottom said...

Strange, Atlee was a professional rabble-rouser (chief rabble-rouser, even) and became Prime Minister. Tony Benn's been doing it for 50 years and he'll never be PM. Do I detect sour grapes from the former 2nd Viscount Stansgate?

Anonymous 6:54, thank you for that. Steen is totally out of line and deserves all the criticism he gets.

Machiavelli's Understudy said...

Why's he an arrogant, pompous idiot?

There're far too many disabled parking bays... And 'mother and children' bays, too. So what if you've bought a car too big for a parking space? That's your own fault for i) being stupidly dimensionally-challenged or ii) not putting the withdrawal method in to practise quick enough.

I myself park in the many empty ones by the store front- preferably across two spaces, if they are available. Diagonally.

Anonymous said...

"Clement Attlee had as much charisma as a mouse. He was absolutely monosyllabic" - Former MP Tony Benn

Tony Benn is wrong about Attlee. I met Attlee and heard him speak and he was an excellent communicator in the style of those who really mattered to him and who loved him - his Walthamstow constituents. The people of Walthamstow thought Attlee had buckets of working class charisma.

It's not hard to imagine though that Attlee would have been completely overawed by an aristocratic boffin like Sir Anthony Wedgwood-Benn - who's background makes him an impressive speaker.

Benn's an interesting character. Though I dislike his far left politics, I've great respect for his principled stand against Blair and his illegal invasion of Iraq.

When Benn spoke in my town a few years ago, I saw an audience with very mixed political allegiances hushed in awe by the man's quiet authenticity and obvious love of democracy. This gave his speech such charismatic power.

How many politicians would be given a standing ovation by an audience of Labour, Lib Dem and Conservatives supporters as Tony Benn was that day?

Anonymous said...

Forgot to add:

Very few politicians will ever receive the standing ovation I saw an audience of Labour, Lib Dem and Conservatives give Tony Benn - but I believe David Cameron will be one of them.

When David Cameron listens to and trusts his own, freedom loving instincts - and ours - when he ignores those who tell him he's Blair's control freaked heir and that's the image he must project, when he speaks straight and from the heart, without mixed messages and with the humility and authenticity that good leaders always have, he has that same charismatic power to draw support from across a broad political spectrum.

Anonymous said...

"has not come "a day too soon"."

There's PREMATURE ejaculation and there's IMMATURE ejaculation!

Voyager said...

Considering Benn's father was in the Government I doubt Attlee was too worried - he had after all been at Gallipoli, in Mesopotamia and on The Western who've been there fear little

Although nearly sixty-three at the outbreak of the Second World War, Benn enlisted in the Royal Air Force as a pilot officer. Over the next four years he flew on several operational missions. Given the rank of Air Commodore, Benn worked for a while as Director of Public Relations at the Air Ministry. In 1944 he became a member of the Allied Control Commission that had the responsibility of reconstructing a democratic government in Italy.

In December 1940, Benn was asked by Clement Attlee to become a Labour member of the House of Lords. At that time all peerages were hereditary and meant that on his death, the title would be transferred to his eldest son. He therefore discussed it with Michael, his eldest son, telling him that "If you don't want to go to the House of Lords, I shall turn it down." Michael had already decided he wanted to be an Anglican clergyman and replied that he could argue for socialism in the House of Lords while Tony, the younger brother, could do the same in the House of Commons. Benn took the title Lord Stansgate.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting post about Tony Benn, voyager, so I was wrong in styling him 'Sir' Anthony Wedgwood Benn. Not surprised I got it wrong though as I believe he's had three names or titles over the years.

There's a story about Benn in Wikipedia which states that he proposed to a young woman on a bench in an Oxford park 9 days after meeting her. Some time after their marriage, he bought the bench from Oxford council and had it installed in their garden.

Chris Paul said...

Steen didn't park there to run in and buy his Torygraph did he. He hogged a space for all day and he is what anon 6:54 said, and the rest.

Being Iain's blog I'll not swear.

Chris Paul said...

Benn is however a huge star. Good company whether marching, meeting or munching.

And Benn Jnr has time to grow into it.

Voyager said...

Benn's cousin was the very eccentric Margaret Rutherford whose father lived in Broadmoor after murdering his own father

sniper said...

Kinnockio and the truth. Whatever next?

Oh, and Benn (when energy minister) was heckled off the platform of my local Labour Club (since closed) for his "right wing" views. I didn't read that in his diaries - strange.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

June 01, 2007 6:54 PM

100% agree - talk about Steen digging himself into a deeper hole....

Voyager said...

Speaking of Attlee...I bet those wartime Cabinet meetings were fun when Attlee mentioned his time as a young subaltern at Gallipoli.....and his Cabinet colleague explained why it had been such a brilliant operation......rarely can a Prime Minister have had the good fortune to have a sounding board who had experienced the consequences of poorly executed military plans

Sea Shanty Irish said...

Isn’t it ironic that Steen’s is quoted as saying “There are too many whiners and whingers” when his ONLY comment on his own outrageous conduct – richly deserving of an ASBO - is to whine and whinge, when anyone with a shred of decency would apologize and repent?

Once knew a wonderful lady who was severely disabled (from the collateral damage of systemic lupus) for over twenty years. Yet she was always reluctant to use handicapped parking . . . even when she could hardly walk thirty feet without exhausting herself . . . because she worried she might be depriving someone worse off. If she were still alive, am sure she’d be feeling very sorry for Steen (and also for MU above if he’s serious).

As for me, I’m not as good a person as she was. Poster above says that Steen is digging himself into a deeper hole. I'd go a step farther. With all due respect, allow me to state my own humble & most sincere opinion: that Steen (and MU above if he's serious) IS a hole . . . and should use the fat between his ears to plug the gap.