Friday 7 February 2020

Quotations read today

Since 2008, the Labour Party has struggled to define its purpose beyond the desire to increase public spending. Philip Collins

For many voters Jeremy Corbyn was as toxic north of the Border as in the south, so floundering Scottish Labour was denied any chance of making a comeback. The Tories, perennially unpopular in Scotland, were identified as representing Brexit in a Remainer country. So, Scottish voters lent their support to the SNP to send a message. They defiantly signalled majority opposition to Brexit and tried to dissuade Boris Johnson from pursuing a “hard” withdrawal from the EU with the implied threat to break up the Union. 

The deceptive surge in support for independence in opinion polls has the same roots. Gerald Warner

The radical vote is big enough to block Biden, a shadow of the crafty, nasty politician who crushed Paul Ryan in the 2012 vice-presidential debates, a pathetic figure who says what his handlers made him memorize when you pull the string at the back of his neck. David Goldman

The Iowa caucus is essentially the perfect example of systemic racism. 91% of the voters in Iowa are white. The reason why you see a drop in turnout, I’m just speculating here, it could be perhaps that white children are not in the cages. Zerlina Maxwell

(This, by the way, is the future of politics in every multiracial democracy.)

I think there’s a very good argument for scrapping the licence fee, and instead funding the Beeb through income tax, but as media becomes more diffused and therefore extreme the need for the BBC has grown stronger. Without it, we’d just develop the American pattern and have a Left-leaning broadcasting media flattering their mostly urban liberal audience by reaffirming their prejudices, and a shouty conservative alternative media full of troglodytes and weirdos, with no neutral institution hosting any sort of national conversation at all. Ed West

If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favour you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy. Dorothy Parker, quoted today in The Times


  1. O Britons! now so brave and high,
    How will ye weep the day
    When Christ in judgment passes by,
    And calls the Bride away!

    Your Christmas then will lose its mirth,
    Your Easter lose its bloom:
    Abroad, a scene of strife and dearth;
    Within, a cheerless home!

  2. We complain of the mediocrity, or even sub-mediocrity, of our leaders and their bureaucratic hangers-on, but we do not see that our system does much, perhaps everything, to guarantee the rise of such people to the top. Power, or at least its simulacrum, is the consolation prize of those who want to be outstanding but lack the talent for anything except manipulation, plotting, dissimulation, and betrayal. Such types are encouraged in a polity that describes itself as both democratic and meritocratic.

    Theodore Dalrymple
    The Lessons of Richard II

  3. Donald Trump received thin applause when he appeared at Davos, but he pointed out that the U.S. is the only country which has more jobs to be filled than unemployed and where the disparity between the highest and lowest income-earners is narrowing.