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Thought for the Day
"Politics is the art of the possible."

Otto von Bismark

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Or, principles, what principles?


Leni is talking about meeting up for dinner some time when she's over. I'm out of town till the erm 3rd I think.

I believe that all of Leni's possible dates are after the 3rd. I don't think we're booked on any of them so far.

If you need to contact us directly, e-mail us. (If Ina hasn't already given you our address you can get us on lilandina at aol.com.

Another quote from von Bismarck,

“Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.”

What do you bet they screw it up, even so? Will be interesting to watch - since I have no sixpences at stake.

In my experience, when people use that expression, it's always to justify their refusal to challenge a serious wrong. I hadn't known it came from Bismarck, but that doesn't surprise me.

In this case I was using it as I think Bismark intended - whatever you would like to have, this is restrained by what is possible.

In this case, I was speaking of our new coalition government - each partner has gone for what is possible, rather than what they really, really want.

Or: Politics is the art of doing what is expedient, not what is right and true. Who was it that I think I am quoting? I can't remember.

And it is completely true.

Politics, as someone else once said, is a filthy business. And as for what is 'right' and 'true'... well, that is a matter of opinion, too. My right and true may not be yours - and I'm not sure it can be judged objectively, even centuries after the event.

I mean, look at the Richard III society opposed to most historians of the period...

Government is force packaged up nicely so it looks attractive. That's why I'm a libertarian. There are times when force is needed (mostly in answer to force), but they should be kept to an absolute minimum.

I will admit to thinking such a coalition impossible. I wish Osborne wasn't at the treasury, though.

Oh, so do I! There are a lot of things I don't like about the joint agenda, but then there are a lot of things I do.

One good thing, out goes Chris Grayling - though it had to be said that all the in-the-know predictions were that he wouldn't have been in even if the Tories had won by a landslide.

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it, and then misapplying the wrong remedies.”

Groucho Marx

Not that this makes any sense, but it was the best reply I could drum up at 7:08 am without caffeine.

Go and get your caffeine!

It seems that 'progressive' is the new thing that all the parties want to be. I remember when it was 'radical'.

Did you know that the phrase 'hung parliament', which is what we are now supposed to have, was only introduced a few years ago? It isn't even a UK English phrase, but one composed in imitation of your 'hung jury' which we only knew about from TV shows...

"Did you know that the phrase 'hung parliament', which is what we are now supposed to have, was only introduced a few years ago?"

Well 1974 in the Guardian (22nd June in an article by Simon Hoggart) and 1978 in Hansard speech made by Kevin McNamara). It doesn't feel that long to me either, but it is over thirty years ago.

*Pedantic word geek runs and hides in the corner*

But we haven't had a so-called 'hung parliament' until now...

Very true!

I am watching with interest and not a little amusement at the maneuvering going on...

I'm beginning to have high regard for the political acumen of Cameron and Clegg.

With respect, the result of the first 1974 election was a hung parliament. Labour won the most seats, but did not have an overall majority, even with the addition of the 14 seats won by the then Liberal party under the "Lib-Lab pact", and had to rely on the goodwill an co-operation of various independents. Not a god way to govern a country, which is why we had another general election a few months later.

I can't remember whether we actually used the term "hung parliament" back then, which I assume is the point you were making. :)

See: http://www.worldwidewords.org/topicalwords/tw-hun2.htm

Apparently the expression came into the British political vocabulary with the result of the February 1974 election.

(I think I'll take off my anorak. :D)

In the short-term, maybe. But if we abandon principles to the altar of "pragmatism", that leaves us trapped in, well... nothingness, with a side of personality politics (that's not the term...).

I'm desperate for politics to become something more than a squibble over one issue, set inside a narrow, narrow frame, not accepting any challenge to the dominant... egh. I'm rambling.

Then again, maybe that's just me. We'll see if it's a phase.

I've waited over 50 years for that to happen, and the only time it did - i.e. when we had a true conviction politician in Number 10, it was disastrous for most of what I personally hold dear.

Do the words Margaret Thatcher mean anything?


How far have we moved since then, though? New Labour just continued deregulation, private/public partnerships, privatisation. So even worse, we're actually trapped in a narrow frame dominated by Thatcher.

Again, pretty sure I'm rambling. Sorry. :P

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