Quotes of the day

Since I skipped yesterday, you get two quotes today:

“Don’t worry about the polls, but if you do, don’t admit it.” - Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter

“Aha, militaristic metaphor! Fortune is armed and aggressive. Clearly, Hamlet is a potential terrorist. And indeed he was. Or tried rather ineffectually to be. But the writer who conjured him up? Probably not.” - Michael Rosen, “Shakespeare: the metaphorical terrorist“, The Guardian, 30 May 2011

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Quote of the day

In Australia we no longer have a democracy, we have an elected dictatorship. We elect a political party one day every three years and the rest of the time, it dictates to us. - Sir Marcus Oliphant, Governor of South Australia from 1971-1976.

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Quote of the day

The United Kingdom seems to be in the middle of that sort of constructive quarrel now. Usually when I travel from Washington to Britain I move from less gloom to more gloom. But this time the mood is reversed. The British political system is basically functional while the American system is not. – David Brooks, “Britain is a picture of how politics should work,” The Guardian, 24 May 2011

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Quote of the day

Once politics became a contest pitting one identity group against another, it was no longer possible to compromise. Everything became a status war between my kind of people and your kind of people. Even a small concession came to seem like moral capitulation. Those who tried to build relationships across party lines were ostracised. Among politicians, loyalty to the party overshadowed loyalty to institutions like the Senate or the House. Politics was no longer about trade-offs, it was a contest for honour and group supremacy. Amidst this partisan ugliness, public trust in government and political institutions collapsed. – David Brooks, The Social Animal (as quoted in this Guardian article)

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Quote of the day

What to call indigenous groups is intensely political in Canada, reflecting the power struggle over land, resources and government funding between these groups and the government and also among the groups themselves. Complicating the matter is a lack of consistency on naming that makes the area a minefield for non-indigenous Canadians who may not be up to date on what is and is not an acceptable term. In this way it is similar to shifting terminology in America for African-Americans. – The Economist, 19 May 2011

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Quote of the day

But do you sack ministers for doing the sort of thing lots of voters do – or tolerate – in their own private lives, financial or sexual misconduct as well as other misdemeanours? It’s not as if we look up to them – quite the opposite these days – yet voters expect them to behave much better than they do, don’t we? – Michael White, “When is it right to sack a minister?“, The Guardian, 10 May 2011

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Quote of the day

Constitutional reform is a waste of time, pure and simple. It never actually achieves its avowed end of reconnecting the voters with democratic institutions. Across the world, when measures are brought in to increase transparency and accountability, they invariably lead to a further fall in the reputation of politicians as a class. – John McTernan, “David Cameron hasn’t got a grip on Tony Blair’s most important lesson“, The Telegraph, 11 May 2011

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