Quote of the Day: April 10th

Previous quotes of the day

  • What do you mean funny? Funny peculiar or funny ha ha?


  • A prophet or an achiever must never mind an occasional absurdity, it is an occupational risk.


  • To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.


  • The best time to plant a tree was 25 years ago. The next best time is today.


  • I do not see why I should break my neck because a dog chooses to run after a nasty smell.
    [on why he did not hunt]


  • How hard it is to break with somebody we have ceased to love.


  • Idleness is only the refuge of weak minds.


  • Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame.

    Anger, Shame

  • The subjunctive move is in its death throes and the best thing to do is put it out of its misery as soon as possible.


  • Oratory is the masterful art. Poetry, painting, music, sculpture, architecture please, thrill, inspire - but oratory rules. The orator dominates those who hear him, convinces their reason, controls their judgment, compels their action. For the time being, he is master.


  • Greater love have no man than this, that he lays down his friends for his life.
    [on Harold MacMillan’s cabinet re-shuffle]

    Friend, Friendship

  • Half of the harm that is done is this world is due to people who want to feel important.


  • You can start late, looked different, be uncertain and still succeed.

    Difficulties, Success

  • There are no solutions, only trade-offs.


  • So Poetry, which is in Oxford made,
    In London only is a trade.


  • No, but I think I may have stepped in some.
    [when asked if he had conducted any Stockhausen]


  • There’s no reason to bring religion into it. I think we ought to have as great a regard for religion as we can, so as to keep it out of as many things as possible.


  • Euphemisms are unpleasant truths wearing diplomatic cologne.

    Euphemisms, Pretence

  • In the Soviet army, it takes more courage to retreat than advance.


  • A friendship founded on business is better than a business founded on friendship.


  • What a pity it is that we have no amusements in England except vice and religion.


  • I never drink water because of the disgusting things that fish do in it.


  • What matters is not whether you put your fork or knife together because you've finished your meal, or something like that. What matters is that you don't offend people, or hurt their feelings by mistake by saying the wrong thing or doing the wrong thing.


  • To Americans, English manners are far more frightening than none at all

    America, USA

  • A saint is a person whose life has been under-researched.


  • I always invest in companies an idiot could run because some day, one will.


  • No, you never get any fun out of the things you haven't done.


  • I am between the devil and the Holy See. My task is to prevent the californication of Ireland.


  • Only a mediocre person is always at his best.


  • The only good Government is a bad one in a hell of a fright.


  • My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition.


  • Contempt for happiness is usually contempt for other people’s happiness, and is an elegant disguise for hatred of the human race.


  • Women over thirty are at their best, but men over thirty are too old to recognise it.


  • The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.


  • Did God who gave us flowers and trees also provide the allergies?


  • Of course I lie to people. But I lie altruistically - for our mutual good. The lie is the basic building block of good manners. That may seem mildly shocking to a moralist - but then what isn’t?


  • He who writes badly, thinks badly.


  • Authors are judged by strange capricious rule. The great are thought mad, and the small ones fools.


  • Of all forms of fiction, auto- biography is the most gratuitous.


  • In former days everyone found the assumption of innocence so easy; today we find fatally easy the assumption of guilt.


  • Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal

    Ambition, Application, Direction, Drive

  • The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served nothing but leftovers. The original meal was never found.


  • Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet.


  • In the struggle between yourself and the world, back the world.


  • Our government must forever be a kind of war of about one half of the [people against the other.

    America, USA

  • In exceptional circumstances it is necessary to say something that is untrue in the House of Commons.


  • I love living. I have some problems with my life, but living is the best thing they’ve come up with so far.


  • You're going to face adversity. It's not if - it's when.


  • The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.

    Doubt, Uncertainty

  • There are two ways of getting into the Cabinet- you can crawl in or kick your way in.


  • If someone has a point to make, we talk about it for 20 minutes and then we decide what I said.

    Debate, Discussion

  • Happiness is pretty simple – someone to do it with, something to look forward to.


  • Dr. Donne’s verses are like the peace of God; they pass all understanding.


  • Never kick a man when he’s down? Name me a better time.


  • My mother wanted me to be a nice boy. I didn’t let her down. I don’t smoke, drink or mess around with women.


  • The dance can reveal everything mysterious that is hidden in music, and it has the additional merit of being human and palpable. Dancing is poetry with arms and legs.


  • The worst Government is often the most moral. One composed of cynics is often very tolerant and humane. But when fanatics are on top there is no limit to oppression.


  • A bachelor has to have inspiration for making love to a woman – a married man needs only an excuse.


  • An intelligent woman who reads the marriage contract, and then goes into it, deserves all the consequences.


  • I've been at the bottom. I've been at the top. Both places are empty.

    Ambition, Celebrity, Fame, Success

  • What is the point of wars and warships and glittering statues if the men who build them are not happy?

    Glory, Greatness

  • If you give him meat no woman in London would be safe.
    [of vegetarian George Bernard Shaw]


  • Reality is a cliché from which we escape by metaphor.


  • A dead sinner revised and edited.


  • Whatever care a man takes to veil his passions with appearances of piety and honour, they always show through.


  • All my shows are great. Some of them are bad, but they are all great.

    Self Confidence

  • The most dangerous absurdity of elderly persons who have been attractive, is to forget that they are no longer so.


  • I never wonder to see men wicked, but I often wonder to see them not ashamed.


  • Fortunately the army has had much practice in ignoring impossible instructions.


  • The secret of success is to be ready when your opportunity comes.


  • A man who insists on seeing with perfect clearness before he decides, never decides.


  • All wars are fought twice, the first time on the battlefield, second time in memory.

    Memory, War

  • I have kleptomania, but when it gets bad I take something for it.


  • Life - a spiritual pickle preserving the body from decay.


  • The thing about getting old is the number of things you think that you can’t say aloud because it would be too shocking.


  • Every age gets the lunatics it deserves.


  • The fatal law of gravity: when you are down everything falls on you.


  • Work isn’t to make money; you work to justify life.


  • Life is always a tightrope or a feather bed. Give me the tightrope.


  • In the sphere of thought, absurdity and perversity remain the masters of the world, and their dominion is suspended only for brief periods.


  • Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.


  • Heralded by a sprinkling of glitter-dust and much laying on of microphones, Godspell is back in London at the Young Vic. For those who missed it the first time, this is your golden opportunity; you can miss it again.


  • Even I don't wake up looking like Cindy Crawford.

    Appearance, Style

  • Expenditure rises to meet income.


  • He was one of those human hors d'oeuvres that stimulate the public appetite for sensation without giving it much to feed on.


  • Anyone who wants the presidency so much that he will spend two years organising and campaigning for it, is not to be trusted with office.

    America, USA

  • Custom reconciles us to everything.


  • Safe is spelt D-U-L-L Politics has got to be a fun activity.


  • The trouble with this business is the dearth of bad pictures.


  • Any fool can tell the truth, but it requires a man of some sense to know how to lie well.


  • It is in the power of every hand to destroy us and we are beholden unto everyone we meet, he doth not kill us.


  • Actually I think Art lies in both directions - the broad strokes, big picture but on the other hand the minute examination of the apparently mundane. Seeing the whole world in a grain of sand, that kind of thing.


  • I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with pleasure.


  • Old Cary Grant fine. How are you?


  • I was sued by a woman who claimed that she became pregnant because she watched me on television and I bent her contraceptive coil.


  • Have you ever seen a candidate talking to a rich person on television?


  • One must have some occupation nowadays. If I hadn’t my debts I shouldn’t have anything to think about.


  • Musical people are so absurdly unreasonable. They always want one to be perfectly dumb at the very moment when one is longing to be absolutely deaf.


  • Not so ducking fusty, well brushed. Cockney response to how are you ?

    Reply, Response

  • You can’t learn too soon that the most useful thing about a principle is that it can always be sacrificed.


  • I am all for morality now and shall confine myself henceforward to the strictest adultery- which you will please recollect is all that virtuous wife of mine has left me .


  • He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.


  • It is the job that is never started that takes longer to finish.


  • I can never keep my rabble together if I were not above the human weakness of an apology. Never explain. Never apologise.


  • What’s going on? I have big meetings with important gentiles.


  • Continental people have love lives. The British have hot water bottles.


  • A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find such a man.


  • A liberal is a man who leaves the room before a fight begins.


  • I think it's better to be overly ambitious and fail than to be under-ambitious and succeed in a mundane way. I have been very fortunate. I failed upward in my life!


  • Money won’t buy happiness but it will pay the salaries of a large research staff to study the problem.


  • There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.


  • It was a night.
    [on the best day of her life]


  • Don’t drink other people’s poison, or let it foul your mind

    Confusion, Involvement, Poison

  • Marriage is the only war where one sleeps with the enemy.


  • If I knew then it might spoil the purity of my hatred.
    [on why he avoided meeting MPs]


  • As Lord Chesterfield said of the Generals of his day, ’I only hope that when the enemy reads the list of their names, they tremble as I do.’


  • My career must be slipping. This is the first time I have been available to pick up an award.


  • Only intuition can protect you from the most dangerous individual of all - the articulate, incompetent.

    Incompetence, Intuition, literature

  • In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing and the worst thing you can do is nothing.

    Decision, Indecision, Right, Wrong

  • One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.


  • Claret is the liquor for boys, port for men but he who aspires to be a hero must drink brandy.

    Alcohol, Alcoholics

  • Little fly upon the wall, Ain’t you got no shirt at all? Ain’t you got nothing on? Poor little fly. That’s all.


  • Like sunshine, music is a powerful force that can instantly and almost chemically change your entire mood.


  • The hardest thing about any political campaign is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning.


  • You can observe a lot by watching.


  • Reality is now a kind of huge advertising campaign, selling television’s image of what life is about.


  • A perfect tragedy is the noblest production of human behaviour.


  • If a woman never lets herself go, how will she ever know how far she might have got?


  • I am a sundial and I make a botch,
    Of what is done much better by a watch.


  • I can tolerate without discomfort being waited on hand and foot.


  • When man wanted to make a machine that would walk he created a wheel, which does not resemble a leg.


  • No matter how dirty your past is, your future is still spotless.


  • Women dress alike all over the world. They dress to be annoying to other women.


  • That branch in the art of lying which consists in very nearly deceiving your friends without quite deceiving your enemies.


  • The rain it raineth on the just
    And also on the unjust fellah
    But chiefly on the just because
    The unjust steals the just’s umbrella.


  • We all know that prime Ministers are wedded to the truth, but like other married couples they sometimes live apart.


  • What we must look for here is first religious and moral principles; secondly gentlemanly conduct; thirdly intellectual ability.


  • Weakness, even more than vice, is the enemy of virtue.


  • Imagination and fiction make up more than three quarters of our real life.


  • A Government without the courage to tell the public the reality, will end up making that reality far worse.


  • If you don’t like your job, you don’t strike.You just keep going every day and doing really half assed. That’s the American way.

    America, USA

  • The rich are not like us – they pay less taxes.


  • Literature is strewn with the wreckage of those who have minded beyond reason the opinion of others.

    Criticism, Critics

  • People too much taken up with little things usually become incapable of big ones.


  • Most of my friends seem either to be dead, extremely deaf, or living in the wrong part of Kent.


  • Boxing is show business with blood.


  • It's all absurd, you know.I think if a man picks himself up and comes to another country, you must meet it halfway.

    Culture, Immigration, Integration

  • We are lazier in mind than in body.


  • Youth might be wasted on the young but university is definitely wasted on students.


  • How can a Bishop marry? How can he flirt? The most he can say is ‘I will see you in the vestry after service’.


  • Happy is the man who finds a true friend, and far happier is he who finds that true friend in his wife.


  • Politics is the diversion of trivial men who when they succeed at it, become important in the eyes of more trivial men.


  • He may be a horrible, racist, misogynist idiot, but he is our kind of idiot.


  • Behind every successful man stands a surprised mother-in-law. Hubert Humphrey


  • Intelligence has nothing to do with politics.


  • Beulah, peel me a grape.


  • Curses are like processions. They return to the place from which they came.


  • Practical politics consists in ignoring facts.


  • The first duty in life is to assume a pose. What the second is no-one has yet discovered.


  • In women complete unresponsiveness always goes with dislike.


  • I couldn’t bat for the length of time required to score 500. I’d get bored and fall over.


  • In appearance, Dior is like a bland country curate made out of pink marzipan.


  • No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.


  • Already at four years of age I had begun to apprehend that refinement was often an extenuating virtue, one that excused and eclipsed almost every other unappetising trait.


  • Nearly every great discovery in science has come about as the result of providing a new question rather than a new answer.


  • Child psychologists generally do a good job, but I tend to find they are more helpful once they are a bit older.

    Children, Experience, Psychology

  • God will pardon me. It is his trade.


  • Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.

    inertia, Mistakes, Passivity

  • Writing a book of poetry is like dropping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo.


  • The report of my death was an exaggeration.


  • Young people making their debut in society, should be bashful or scatter-brained, for an efficient or assured manner looks like impertinence.


  • The only way of catching a train I discovered is to miss the train before.


  • The first obligation of the demonstrator is to be legible. One cannot sympathise with a cause whose signs you cannot make out even with glasses on.

    Demonstrations, Protests

  • Art, like some beautiful plant lives on its atmosphere and when the atmosphere is good it will flower everywhere and when it is bad, nowhere


  • Satan probably wouldn’t have talked so if God had been his wife.


  • Such a word as "hero" need to be cherished as carefully as any other endangered species.


  • No German can see a plat brought in for someone else without being possessed of a great fear that it represents a more toothsome morsel or better money’s worth than what he has ordered for himself.

    Envy, Food, Germany, Restaurants

  • It is exciting to have a real crisis on your hands when you have spent half your political life dealing with humdrum issues like the environment.


  • Fly fishing may be a very pleasant amusement; but angling or float fishing I can only compare to a stick and a string, with a worm at one end and a fool at the other.


  • We had a lot in common. I loved him and he loved him.


  • The virtues lose themselves in self-interest like rivers in the sea.


  • The books I have not written are so much better than the ones my friends have produced.

    Authors, Writers

  • For reasons unknown, your atoms will close you down then silently disassemble and go off to be other things.And that's it for you.

    Death, Life

  • Treason, Sire, is a matter of dates.


  • It is a pity that the composer did not leave directions as to how flat he really wanted it sung.


  • I’m not going to make the same mistake once.


  • There are decades when nothing happens and there are weeks when decades happen.


  • True terror is to wake up one morning and realise that your high school class is running the country.

    Peer group

  • If your man says of some picture ‘Yes but what does it mean?’ ask him and keep on asking him, what his carpet means or the circular pattern on his rubber shoe soles.


  • Never judge a book by its movie.


  • In oratory the will must predominate.


  • The effect is of a womble taking Cerberus for a walk.
    [on Roy Hattersley]


  • Laddie, you can’t expect to believe everything you write in a newspaper.
    [to a junior colleague]


  • The average millionaire is only the average dishwasher dressed in a new suit.

    Money, Richness, Wealth

  • A Lexicographer-a writer of dictionaries, a harmless drudge.


  • Certainly there are things in life that money can't buy, but it's very funny - Did you ever try buying them without money?


  • The absence of physical exertion in the business of killing a novelty of today.

    Kill, War

  • I wonder if there are enough traffic cones for every student to have one in their bedroom?


  • For in all adversity of fortune, the worst sort of misery is to have been happy.


  • Liberal intellectuals have always moved in an aura of self-congratulation.They sustain themselves by flattering themselves with intentions and they dismiss as reactionary whoever questions them.

    Intellectual, Liberals, Self delusion

  • Fortunately there is that about hope. It is never satisfied. It is met sometimes, but never satisfied.


  • A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.


  • The orgasm has replaced the cross as the focus of longing and the image of fulfilment.


  • A nation is not governed which is to be perpetually to be conquered.


  • Politics should be the art of the impossible.


  • You can pretend to be serious; you can’t pretend to be witty.


  • A memorandum is written not to inform the reader but to protect the writer.


  • No man goes further than he who knows not where he is going.


  • Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.


  • Two such wonderful phrases ‘I understand perfectly’ and ‘That is a lie’ -a precis of life, aren’t they?


  • And there was that wholesale libel on a Yale Prom. If all the girls attending it were laid end to end, Mrs Parker said she wouldn’t be at all surprised.


  • Knowledge comes by taking things apart – analysis. But wisdom comes by putting things together.

    Knowledge, Wisdom

  • Early to rise and early to bed, makes a male healthy, wealthy and dead.


  • You can tell a lot about a fellow’s character by the way he eats jelly beans.


  • To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.

    Reading, Reflection, Thinking, Understanding

  • No pleasure is worth giving up for the sake of two more years in a geriatric home at Weston-super-Mare.


  • Democracy is more important what it prevents than for what it provides.

    Democracy, Governance, Politics

  • Anagnorisis, was what Aristotle termed the desire to connect us to something like the spirit of religion, or that thrill of recognition which grants you the sense of having just caught up with the truth was always waiting for you.

    Excitement, Passions, Serendipity, Stimulation

  • A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.


  • Several excuses are always less convincing than one.


  • They start with all that sucking and blowing and then you lose your house.
    [comparing divorce with a Florida hurricane ]


  • If you would be loved, love, and be loveable.


  • With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another.

    Belief, Commitment, Fanaticism

  • Inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened.


  • All men have an equal share of pride; the only difference is in their ways and means of showing it.


  • The critical period in matrimony is breakfast time.


  • Love’s supreme miracle is to cure coquetry.


  • A great country can have no such thing as a small war.


  • I haven’t spoken to my mother-in-law for 18 months. I don’t like to interrupt her.

    Jokes, Marriage, Prolixity

  • Women do not find it difficult nowadays to behave like men but they often find it extremely difficult to behave like gentlemen.


  • I’m not a saint unless you think of a sinner that keeps on trying.


  • Yes dear Frank we believe you. You have dined in every house in London, once.


  • I practice when I am loaded.
    [when asked how he could play so well when loaded]


  • Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.


  • As I take my shoes from the shoemaker and my coat from the tailor, so I take my religion from the priest.


  • How haughtily he lifts his nose to tell what every schoolboy knows.


  • Art is so wonderfully irrational, exuberantly pointless, but necessary all the same. That is hard for a puritan to understand.


  • Every fear hides a wish.


  • The natural man does not feel that he is aggregating at all unless he aggregates against something.He refers to himself to the tribe; he is loyal to the tribe quite inseparably he fears or dislikes those others outside the tribe.

    Society, Sociology, Tribes

  • Earnestness can ferment into sentimentality.


  • The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists. That is why they invented Hell.


  • This film cost $31 million. With that kind of money I could have invaded some country.


  • No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up.

    Cynicism, Striving

  • In the sick room, 10 cents worth of understanding equals 10 dollars worth of medical science.


  • I write one page of masterpiece to 91 pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.

    Authors, Writers

  • Sincerity is openness of heart. It is found in very few and what is usually seen is subtle dissimulation designed to draw the confidence of others .


  • Moderation in times of good fortune is merely dread of the humiliating aftermath of success or gear of losing what one has.


  • It’s cold, mechanical, conceptual bullshit.


  • The early bird may catch the worm. But it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese.


  • He has one of those terribly weak natures that are not susceptible to influence.


  • Only the shallow know themselves.

    Conceit, Self delusion

  • The nice thing about being a celebrity is that, if you bore people, they think it’s their fault.


  • Philosophy triumphs easily over past and over future evils, but present evils triumph over philosophy.


  • I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to a size where I can drag it in to the bathroom and drown it in the bath tub.


  • There is only one inborn erroneous notion: that we exist in order to be happy.


  • The most wasted of all days is that on which one has not laughed.


  • Secrets with girls, like loaded guns with boys
    Are never valued till they make a noise.


  • Egad! I think the interpreter is the hardest to understand of the two.


  • When I was nine I remember one of my most secret vices was to wait till everybody had gone out and listen to the last scene of Siegfried again. I was so worried about this I didn’t want anyone to know.


  • Do I feel any better? How do I know? I feel too sick to tell.


  • Eloquence is logic on fire

    Eloquence, Oratory, Speeches

  • Jack Warner has oilcloth pockets so he can steal soup.


  • No one gossips about other people’s secret virtues.


  • I don’t like Switzerland. It has produced nothing but theologians and waiters.


  • We betray more often through weakness than through deliberate intention to betray.


  • Old age is the most unexpected of all things that happen to a man.


  • Confidence is not about believing you will win. It’s about being comfortable with the fact that you might lose.


  • Nations are defined by not only what they remember, but what they forget.


  • Your idea of fidelity is not having more than one man in the bed at the same time.


  • Love conquers all things except poverty and toothache.


  • The more people one has to love, the more one's capacity to love stretches.


  • I don’t know how long a child will remain utterly static in front of the television, but my guess is that it could be well into their 30’s.


  • The only infallible rule that we know is that the man who is always talking about being a gentleman, never is one.


  • Going to court is just an expensive habit.


  • We know of no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodic fits of morality.


  • Children with Hyacinth’s temperament don’t know better as they grow older, they merely know more.


  • Women are not forgiven for ageing. Robert Redford’s lines of distinction are my old age wrinkles.


  • The limits of my language are the limits of my world.


  • Children enjoy the present because they have neither a past nor a future.


  • Martyrdom, the only way a man can become famous without ability.


  • You can only hold your stomach in the so many years.

    Appearance, Pride, Self awareness

  • The history of the world is none other than the progress of the consciousness of freedom.


  • A chair is a piece of furniture. I am not a chair because no-one has ever sat on me.
    [on Jack Straw’s announcement that Parliamentary language would be ‘gender neutral’]

    PC, Political Correctness

  • The chief trick to making good mistakes is not to hide them –especially not from yourself


  • Even hooligans marry, though they know that marriage is for a little while. It is alimony that is for ever.


  • All men make mistakes, but married men find out about them sooner.


  • The reason that technology so often disappoints and betrays us, is that it promises to make easy things that, by their intrinsic nature, have to be hard.Tweeting and trolling are easy.Mastering the art of conversation and measured debate is hard. Texting is easy.Writing a proper letter is hard Looking stuff up on Google is easy.Knowing what to search for in the first place is hard.Having 1000 friends on Facebook is easy.Maintaining six or seven close adult friendships over the space of many years is hard.Swiping right on Tinder is easy.Finding love and staying in it, is hard.

    Difficulties, Relationships, Social Media, Technology

  • We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.


  • I took a speed reading course and read War and Peace in 20 minutes. It involves Russia.

    Reading, speed

  • When I was 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around, but when I got to be 21, I was amazed at how much he had learnt in seven years.


  • There aren't more lady songwriters for the same reason that there aren't more lady doctors or lady accountants or lady lawyers; not enough women have the time for careers.

    Feminism, Women

  • All liaisons between homosexuals are conducted as though they were between a chorus girl and a bishop. In some cases both parties think they are bishops.


  • The thing with hi tech is that you always end up using scissors.

    Hi Tech

  • The basis of democracy is the willingness to assume well about other people.


  • To perceive evil where it exists is a form of optimism.


  • Men marry because they are tired, woman because they are curious; both are disappointed.


  • It is better to be roughly right than precisely wrong.


  • Not knowing what one is doing is no prohibition on doing it.

    Action, Ignorance

  • Let Shakespeare do it his way, I’ll do it mine. We’ll see who comes out better.


  • Personality is only ripe when a man has made the truth his own.


  • Who overcomes by force, hath overcome but half his foe.
    [in Paradise Lost ]


  • The Achilles heel which has bitten us in the backside all year has stood out like a sore thumb.


  • I do not believe that friends are the people you like best; they are merely the people who got there first.


  • Television is for appearing on, not looking at.


  • Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30ft tall.


  • The old English belief that if a thing is unpleasant it is automatically good for you.


  • The Universe is not complicated, there’s just a lot of it.


  • Never, never will I do another play where a guy writes with a feather.
    [on a failed play about Napoleon]


  • The follies which a man regrets most in his life are those which he didn’t commit when he had the opportunity.


  • In America, anyone can become president. That's the problem.


  • I hate these reality TV shows where people walk off Big Brother and think they're A-list celebrities when they've done nothing in their lives, it really does my head in.


  • Progress means bad things happen faster.


  • It is a good rule in life never to apologise. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort take a mean advantage of them.


  • Oh to be back in Hollywood wishing I was back in New York.


  • Being a woman is a terribly difficult task since it consists principally in dealing with men.


  • If the world should blow itself up, the last audible voice would be that of an expert saying it can’t be done.


  • Now that the House of Commons is trying to become useful, it does a great deal of harm.


  • A person whom we know well enough to borrow from but not well enough to lend to.


  • If you want to understand what an expanded consciousness looks like, all you have to do is have tea with a four-year-old.

    Consciousness, Ideas

  • Never check an interesting fact.


  • Happy accidents are real gifts, and they can open the door to a future that didn't even exist. It's kind of nice sometimes to set up something to encourage or allow happy accidents to happen.


  • They will call me ‘Pat’. I can’t stand it. The ‘Pat’ is the last straw that breaks the Campbell’s back.


  • I think ‘waiter’ is such a funny word. It is we who wait.


  • God in his wisdom made the fly. And then forgot to tell us why.


  • Political correctness never rears its ugly head independently. It always shows up as a series of actions designed, to this observer, to crush the souls of those blessed with common sense.

    PC, Political Correctness

  • We met Dr Hall in such very deep mourning, that either his mother, his wife or himself must be dead.


  • What my mother believed about cooking is that if you worked hard and prospered, someone else would do it for you.


  • A page of my journal is like a cake of portable soup. A little may be diffused into a considerable portion.


  • They’re both on drugs, they both detest you and neither of them has a job.


  • The National Debt is a very good thing and it would be dangerous to pay it off for fear of Political Economy.


  • Education with socialists is like sex- all right as long as you don’t have to pay for it.


  • Question everything. Learn something. Answer nothing.


  • Holland lies so low they’re only saved by being damned.


  • From birth to eighteen a girl needs good parents. From eighteen to thirty five she needs good looks. From thirty five to fifty five good personality and from fifty five onwards she needs good cash.


  • If you can’t fix it, it ain’t broke.


  • Most new ideas can be stopped in their tracks by deploying one, or sometimes both, of two arguments: `the thin end of the wedge’ and `the time is not ripe’.


  • Fame is like VD. Everyone wants to fuck you until they see what they get.


  • Major Yammerton was rather a peculiar man inasmuch as he was an ass without being a fool.


  • Men get laid, but women get screwed.


  • There are no true friends in politics. We are all sharks circling and waiting for traces of blood to appear in the water.


  • There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.


  • I never deny; I never contradict; I sometimes forget.
    [on dealing with Queen Victoria]


  • I do not object to people looking at their watches while I am making a speech. But I strongly object when they start shaking them to make certain they are still going.


  • I don’t mind how much my Ministers talk, so long as they do what I say.


  • The essence of culture is its inner moral meaning, while the superficial forms have only entertainment value.


  • True friends stab you in the front.


  • Fur is a subject that makes sensitive toes curl in their leather shoes.


  • Make a women laugh and you are better off than any rich, smoothy Adonis.


  • The things of the night cannot be explained in the day.


  • If you think that nobody cares if you are alive, try missing a couple of car payments.


  • But it up- grades despair so beautifully.


  • Literature is mostly about having sex and not much about having children; life is the other way round.


  • The reason why friendship means so little to most women is that it is insipid once they have tasted love.


  • The richer your friends, the more they will cost you.


  • But think how early I go.
    [on being criticised for continually arriving late for work]


  • We’re having a philosophical discussion about the yob ethics of professional footballers.


  • Friendship is born at the moment when one person says to another: ‘What? You too? I thought I was the only one.’


  • God can stand being told by Professor Ayer and Marghanita Laski that He does not exist.


  • Listening to a speech by Chamberlain is like paying a visit to Woolworth’s. Everything is in its place and nothing above sixpence.

    Prime Ministers

  • Worth seeing but not worth going to see.
    [on the Giant’s Causeway]


  • Message ? Message? What the hell do you think I am, a bloody postman?
    [on being questioned on ‘The Hostage’]


  • Hell is full of musical amateurs. Music is the brandy of the damned.


  • Justice is what is established; and thus all our established laws will necessarily be regarded as just without examination, since they are established.

    Establishment, Justice, Laws, Normality

  • The first requisite to happiness is that a man be born in a famous city.


  • No dictatorship can tolerate jazz.


  • Besides death, constipation is the big fear in hospitals.


  • Parsifal is the kind of opera that starts at six o’clock. After it has been going three hours you look at your watch and it says 6.20.


  • Computers are useless. They only give you answers.


  • I am 46, and have been for some time past.


  • Faith is believing something you know ain’t true.


  • Never let a fool kiss you, or a kiss fool you.


  • Since when was genius found respectable?


  • Never speak ill of yourself; your friends will say enough on that subject .

    Self Criticism

  • Fame is like a river that beareth up things light and swollen and drowns things weighty and solid.


  • History repeats itself; historians repeat one another.


  • The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking. The solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker.

    Atomic Power

  • Bombazine would have shown a deeper sense of her loss.


  • Those who oppose the most widely held opinions more often do so because of pride than lack of intelligence. They find the best places in the right set already taken and they do not want back seats.


  • Love is what happens to men and women who don’t know each other.


  • Husbands are like fires. They go out when unattended.


  • Seek not happiness too greedily.


  • A bachelor's life is no life for a single man.


  • Growing old is like being increasingly penalised for a crime you haven’t committed.


  • As a sensitive, civilized man you are bound to do your duty without fuss, but do not ever expect gratitude.


  • It’s a naïve domestic Burgundy without any breeding, but I think that you will be amused by its presumption.


  • We don’t have a plan and when we discover people who do have plans, we take vehemently against them.


  • Finance is a gun. Politics is knowing when to pull the trigger.


  • British actors are renowned for being great villains in movies, like Bond films, all the rest of it.


  • A person of low taste more interested in himself than in me


  • Where love is, no disguise can hide it for long; where it is not, none can simulate it.


  • Economy is going without something you want, in case you should, one day, want something you probably won’t want.


  • What is robbing a bank compared with owning one?


  • Many people’s tombstones should read, ‘Died at 30. Buried at 60’.


  • In the depths of that dusty soul is nothing but abject surrender.
    [on Neville Chamberlain]

    Prime Ministers

  • There is a weight of intellect behind my comedy.


  • Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.


  • When I hear somebody sigh that life is hard, I am always tempted to ask, compared to what?


  • Politeness is a sign of dignity not subservience.

    Dignity, Manners, Politeness

  • The only sport where you can get your brain shook, your money took and your name in the undertaker book.


  • An ideal wife is one who remains faithful to you, but tries to be just as charming as if she weren’t.


  • Hypochondria’ is Greek for men.


  • If money doesn’t bring you happiness, it does at least help you be miserable in comfort.


  • We saw Queen Mary looking like the Jungfrau, white and sparkling in the sun.


  • In colleges throughout America, students are taught to have disdain for the white race. I know this sounds incredible, or at least exaggerated. It is neither.


  • The height of cleverness is to conceal it.


  • Science isn’t a catalogue of known facts; it is the discovery of new forms of ignorance.


  • Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.


  • Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana.


  • Conservative ideal of freedom and progress: everyone to have an unfettered opportunity of remaining exactly where they are.


  • Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.


  • Architecture is the will of an epoch translated into space.


  • My first rule of travel is never to go to a place that sounds like a medical condition and Critz is clearly and incurable disease involving flaking skin.


  • Never drink to feel better; only drink to feel even better.


  • You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.


  • You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realised how seldom they do.


  • To see him, (Stephen Spender) fumbling with our rich and delicate language is to experience all the horror of seeing a Sevres vase in the hands of a chimpanzee.


  • Let the Dean and Cannons lay their heads together and it will be done.
    [on the proposal to surround St Paul’s with a wooden pavement]


  • A writer needs to be doubtful. I believe in not quite knowing.


  • In general, I do not draw well with literary men. Not that I dislike them but I never know what to say to them after I have praised their last publication.


  • If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.


  • Through perseverance, many people win success out of what seemed destined to be certain failure.


  • What are compliments? They are things you say to people when you don’t know what else to say.


  • Marriage to many people appears to be nothing but a necessary preliminary step towards being divorced.


  • The nationalist not only does not approve of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.


  • The quickest way to start a punch up between two British literary critics is to ask them what they think of the poems of Sir John Betjeman.


  • We have in England a particular bashfulness in everything that regards religion.


  • Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.


  • One of the stages of life that Shakespeare missed out in his Seven ages of Man is that moment when one decides that one is terribly good at one’s job and everyone else is hopeless.


  • Behind every successful man there stands a surprised woman.


  • How good bad music sounds when we march against an enemy.


  • A king without power is an absurdity.


  • Put all your eggs in one basket - and watch that basket.


  • The problem with living life to the full is that you're not actually living life at all – you're just careering from one thing to another in the hope of finding meaning in it all.

    Indulgence, Life, Living

  • Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts.


  • Desire for sympathy and admiration is usually the main reason for our confiding in others.


  • A king may make a nobleman, but he cannot make a gentleman.


  • If markets were rational, I’d be waiting tables for a living.


  • Almost everyone who didn’t know what to do, did philosophy. Well, that’s logical.


  • Stop worrying about your identity and concern yourself with the people you care about, ideas that matter to you, beliefs you can stand out by, tickets you can run on.

    Integrity, Self Confidence, Self possession

  • Luggage left alone unloaded
    Will be immediately exploded.


  • It is generally accepted that a man should discuss his wife as little as possible, but not generally understood that he should discuss himself even less.


  • Be content with your lot; one cannot be first in everything.


  • A feeling of confidence does more for conversation than wit


  • When you have nothing to say, say nothing.

    Conversation, Talk

  • When the vices give us up we flatter ourselves that we are giving them up.


  • We would be delighted if you send in your payment on time. However, if you don't, YOU will be delighted.


  • Wild horses on their bended knees would not get me out there.


  • Let us all be happy and live within our means, even if we have to borrow the money to do it with.


  • All that makes earlier times seem simpler is our ignorance of their complexities.


  • I don’t at all like knowing what people are saying about me behind my back. It makes me far too conceited.

    Rumours, Scandal

  • Fancy meeting someone and forgetting you’ve slept with them. It’s not good is it?


  • If a scientist were to cut his own ear off no-one would take it as evidence of enhanced sensibility


  • It is sometimes less distressing to be deceived by the person one loves than to be undeceived.


  • My problem was that I was always missing. Miss World, Miss England, Miss UK…


  • When you first become a public figure, make sure you wear the right hat because it will be glued on to you and you will never be allowed to take it off.


  • Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.


  • It's no good running a pig farm badly for 30 years while saying, 'Really, I was meant to be a ballet dancer.' By then, pigs will be your style.


  • The avoidance of taxes is the only intelligence pursuit that carries any rewards.


  • Writers, like teeth, are divided into incisors and grinders.


  • Sex is one of the most wholesome, beautiful and natural experiences - that money can buy.


  • Most critics are educated beyond their intelligence.


  • All bachelors love dogs and we would love children just as much if they could be taught to retrieve.


  • In the mind as in the body, there is the necessity of getting rid of waste and the man of literary habits will write for the fire as well as for the press.


  • Punctuality is the virtue of the bored.

    Boredom, Bores

  • There are more flaws of temperament than of mind.


  • There are various forms of curiosity; one based on self-interest, makes us want to learn what may be useful; another, based on pride, comes from a desire to know what others don’t.


  • It has more strings than a philharmonic orchestra.
    [on the Communication. Workers rejecting a pay deal]


  • When I want a peerage I shall buy one like any honest man.


  • Whatever disgrace we have brought on ourselves, it is almost always in our power to recover our good name.


  • Elderly people’s knowledge, the thing that made them the most revered and listened to social group, is now mostly considered the stuff to be stored in the attic.


  • A nickname is the heaviest stone that the devil can throw at a man.


  • An Englishman’s real ambition is to get a railway compartment to himself.


  • A child is a sort of vicious, innately cruel dwarf.


  • Only those with real strength of character can have real gentleness; the very people who think they possess it are, for the most part, only easy going or weak and weakness easily goes sour.


  • Courtesy of the mind consists in thinking kind and delicate thoughts.


  • If you had to define humour in a single phrase, you might define it as dignity sitting on a tintack.


  • Anger and gravest suspicions about everybody has kept her young and on the boil.


  • Weapons are like money. No-one knows the meaning of enough.


  • My final word before I’m done
    Is ‘cancer can be rather fun’.
    Thanks to the nurses and Nye Bevan
    The NHS is quite like heaven
    Provided one confronts the tumour
    With a sufficient sense of humour.

    Disease, Sickness

  • The main problem with getting old is the future’s not what it used to be.


  • Change happens by listening and then starting a dialogue with the people who are doing something you don’t believe is right.


  • A man can measure out his life in the dogs he has loved.


  • There are probably more annoying things than being lectured about African development by a wealthy Irish rock star in a cowboy hat, but I can’t think of one at the moment.

    Anger, Annoyance, Irritation

  • Every intelligent boy of sixteen is a socialist. At that age one does not see the hook sticking out of the rather soggy bait.


  • Whatever tears one may shed, in the end one always blows one’s nose.


  • Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those we cannot resemble.

    Absurdity, Envy

  • Never get involved with someone who wants to change you.


  • A narcissist is someone better looking than you are.


  • All progress is based on a universal innate desire on the part of every organism to live beyond its income.


  • Happiness is less important than trying to live in the right way.


  • No caparisons, Miss, if you please! Caparisons don’t become a young woman.


  • A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is a bone shared with the dog when you are just as hungry as the dog.


  • If if power corrupts the reverse is also true; persecution corrupts the victims, though perhaps in subtler and more tragic ways.

    Persecution, Power, Victims

  • Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.


  • The purpose of a lawsuit is to harass and discourage, rather than win.


  • The comfort of the rich depends upon an abundant supply of the poor.


  • Some men just want to watch the world burn down.


  • The certainties of one age are the problems of the next.


  • Money as it turned out, was exactly like sex. You thought of nothing else if you didn’t have it and thought of other things if you did.


  • President George W. Bush overcame an incredible lack of obstacles to achieve his success.


  • Bi-sexuality? It immediately doubles your chances for a date on Saturday night.


  • Many years ago I chased a woman for almost two years, only to discover that her tastes were exactly like mine; we were both crazy about girls.


  • Good intentions are invariably ungrammatical.


  • Most things are praised or decried because it is fashionable to praise or decry them.


  • You see, astrology is like fortune-telling. If you can't get it right, you say, "Well, if Venus was doing something peculiar in the background, that would alter your prognostication--because, of course, astrology is rubbish.


  • Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people only once a year.


  • When you hear Bach or Mozart, you hear perfection. Remember that Bach, Mozart and Beethoven were great improvisers. I can hear that in their music.


  • No plagiarist can excuse the wrong by showing how much of his work he did not pirate.


  • There are few more impressive sights in the world than a Scotsman on the make.


  • The surest sign of being born with great qualities, is to be born free from envy.


  • Forethought is lauded without stint, yet it can give us no guarantee about the slightest turn of events.


  • Basic research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.


  • If it’s them, we feel we should know all about it – that’s transparency. But if it’s us, we feel we should have the right to stop them finding out about it – that’s privacy.


  • Mothers all want their sons to grow up to be president, but they don’t want them to a become politicians in the process.


  • Patience is a minor form of despair disguised as a virtue.


  • When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.


  • Let your credo be this; let the lie come into the world; let it even triumph. But not through me.


  • A diplomat these days is nothing but a head waiter who’s allowed to sir down occasionally.


  • The quality of our lives depends not on whether or not we have conflicts, but on how we respond to them.


  • If the highest aim of a Captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port for ever.

    Self –preservation

  • There’s been a colour clash –both teams are wearing white.


  • All our life…..is but a mass of habits.


  • Don't stand there and be hungry; come on in and get fed up.


  • The triumph of sugar over diabetes.
    [of J.M.Barrie]


  • Censorship like charity should begin at home, but unlike charity should end there.


  • A minor operation is one performed on somebody else.


  • Such a clever actress. Pity she does her hair with Bovril.


  • On an occasion of this kind, it becomes more than a moral duty to speak one’s mind. It becomes a pleasure.


  • The promise given was a necessity of the past; the word broken is a necessity of the present.


  • There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.


  • Any Man who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


  • Father had a secret of making inanimate objects appear to possess malevolent life of their own and sometimes it was hard to believe that his tools and materials were not really in a conspiracy against him.


  • All the passions cause us to make mistakes but love is responsible for the silliest ones.


  • A Consumer’s Guide to Religion; The Best Buy –Church of England. It’s a jolly friendly faith. If you are one, there is no onus to make everyone else join. In fact, no-one need ever know.


  • To know how to say what others only know how to think, is what makes men poets or sages; to dare to say what others only dare to think, is what makes men martyrs or reformers – or both.


  • Even peace may be purchased at too high a price.


  • You would have thought that our first priority would be to ask what the ecologists are finding out, because we have to live within the conditions and principles they define. Instead, we've elevated the economy above ecology.


  • Sincerity in society is like an iron girder in a house of cards.


  • It is when you reach 60, that you suddenly realise that time is much, much more precious than money.


  • Hollywood is bounded on the north, south, east and west by agents.


  • Genes are so obviously very complex as to defy any profound understanding of how they work.

    Experiments, Genetics, Science

  • If we had no faults we should not find so much enjoyment in seeing faults in others.


  • Elizabeth Taylor is wearing Orson Welles designer jeans.


  • A seed is essentially a very small plant in a box.


  • Mr Knox was a fair, spare young man who looked like a stable boy among gentlemen and a gentleman among stable boys.

    Social Class

  • Solitude is a condition best enjoyed in company.


  • A young Scotsman of your ability let loose upon the world with £300 what could he not do? It is almost appalling to think of . Particularly if he went among the English.


  • The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.


  • Diplomacy - lying in state.


  • I don’t understand why one should look for sermons in stones when the inability to preach is so attractive a feature of stones.


  • If young women do not wish to appear coquettish and elderly men do not wish to be ridiculous, they should never refer to love as something with which they could be personally concerned.


  • Politics are, like God ’s infinite mercy, a last resort.


  • A professor is one who talks in someone else’s sleep.


  • Conquering the world on Horseback is easy. It is dismounting and governing that is hard.


  • Age doesn’t matter unless you are a cheese.


  • Our ignorance of history causes us to slander our own times.


  • ‘He isn’t; I am and you’re not.’
    [to a criminal in the dock]


  • Beauty in distress is much the most affecting beauty.


  • This is a free country madam. We have a right to share your privacy in a public place.


  • One does not deceive oneself about the consequences of one’s acts; one deceives oneself about the ease with which one can live with those consequences.

    Conscience, Integrity

  • The only safe pleasure for a parliamentarian is a bag of boiled sweets.


  • Death is nature’s way of telling you to slow down.


  • Fashions of thought, as well as the fortunes of the world, come round on the whirligig of time.


  • Of course I believe in the devil. How else would I account for the existence of Lord Beaverbrook?


  • Being a husband is a whole time job. That is why so many husbands fail. They cannot give their entire attention to it.


  • Politics are almost as exciting as war and quite as dangerous. In war you can only be killed once, but in politics many times.


  • The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.


  • Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.


  • Good sense is the best of burdens. While travelling, it is better than gold.

    Common Sense

  • Some crimes become innocent and even glorious by their sheer impudence, number and enormity. This is why public thefts become skilful moves and annexing provinces without justification is called conquest.


  • As soon as a politician tells you that decent, law-abiding citizens have nothing to fear from a particular measure, you can be sure that someone, somewhere is losing a part of their freedom.


  • Well, meretricious and a happy new Year to you too!
    [to a critic of his book on Lincoln]


  • Intrepidity is unusual strength of soul which raises it above the troubles , disorders and emotions that might be stirred up in it by the sight of great danger. This is the fortitude by which heroes keep their inner peace and preserve clear use of their reason in the most terrible and overwhelming crises .


  • The worst thing in politics is to tell the truth at the wrong time.


  • Warriors are unfashionable people in democratic societies during periods of peace

    Peace, Popularity, Society, War

  • Wine is bottled poetry.


  • It’s television you see. If you are not on the thing every week, the public think you are either dead or deported.


  • It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.

    Self –preservation

  • The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.


  • An economist is someone who when he finds something that works in practice wonders if it would work in theory.


  • It time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be the greatest prodigality.


  • Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.


  • Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.


  • It useless to hold a person to anything he says while he’s in love, drunk or running for office.


  • I had an interest in death from an early age. It fascinated me. When I heard ‘Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall’, I thought did he fall or was he pushed.


  • No woman marries for money; they are all clever enough, before marrying a millionaire, to fall in love with him first.


  • Wealth and power are much more likely to be the result of breeding than they are of reading.


  • We repair what your husband fixed.


  • An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have. The older she gets the more interested he is in her.


  • Outrage is the necessary stuff of politics: only the topics vary.


  • When in doubt, don't.


  • Without the aid of prejudice and custom, I should not be able to find my way across the room.


  • Do the duty that lies nearest thee, which thou knowest to be a duty. The second duty will already have become clearer.


  • Class is the most difficult subject for American writers to deal with and the most difficult for the English to avoid.


  • The humour of Dostoyevsky is the humour of a bar loafer who ties a kettle to a dog’s tail.


  • An organization's ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.

    Advantage, Gain

  • There are worse occupations in this world than feeling a woman’s pulse.


  • Never interrupt your enemy when he’s in the process of destroying himself.


  • A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past; he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future.


  • Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.


  • We cannot get over being deceived by our enemies and betrayed by our friends, yet we are often content to be so treated by ourselves


  • The education of a doctor which goes on after he has his degree, after all, is the most important part of his education.


  • Reality is something the human race doesn’t handle very well.


  • Life’s a curse, love’s a blight, God’s a blaggard, cherry blossom is quite nice.
    [on A.E.Housman]


  • In any country there must be people who have to die. They are the sacrifices any nation has to make to achieve law and order.


  • Most of what matters in our lives takes place in our absence.

    circumstances, Life

  • There are people who are very resourceful, at being remorseful,
    And who apparently feel that the best way to make friends
    Is to do something terrible and then make amends.


  • I have to listen to a lot of boring speeches, but I have discovered that there is nothing so boring as not listening to a boring speech.


  • The single most exciting thing you encounter in government is competence, because it’s so rare.


  • If you are going through hell, keep going.


  • Any stigma will serve to beat a dogma.


  • Man works to stand out, but not too far out and on the contrary, he wants to merge himself with a group, with some larger body, but not altogether

    Personality, Society

  • Pretend to be completely in control and people will assume that you are.


  • From a worldly point of view, there is no mistake so great as that of being always right.


  • There is nothing so bad or so good that you will not find Englishmen doing it; but you will never find an Englishman in the wrong. He does everything on principle.


  • Television has brought back murder into the home – where it belongs.


  • All the world’s a stage, and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.


  • Reviewers are usually people who have been poets, historians, biographers etc, if they could; they have tried their talents at one or the other and have failed. Therefore they turn critics.


  • Income tax has made more liars out of the American people than Golf.


  • The art of public life consists to a great extent of knowing exactly where to stop and then going a bit further.

    Daring, Government, Politics, War

  • Some people think that football is a matter of life and death. I can assure them it’s much more serious than that.


  • A modest man who has much to be modest about.
    [on Clement Attlee]

    False Compliments

  • However glorious an action may be, it must not be deemed great unless there is a great purpose behind it.


  • America - one of the finest countries anyone ever stole.

    America, USA

  • The officers of this branch of the force, the Obscene Publications Squad, have a discouraging club tie on which a book is depicted being cut in half by a larger pair of scissors.


  • Student; Did Hamlet actually have an affair with Ophelia?
    Manager; In our company always.


  • If Botticelli were alive today he’d be working for Vogue.


  • Many a man in love with a dimple makes the mistake of marrying the whole girl.


  • Millions long for immortality - who don’t know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

    Boredom, Bores

  • Better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.


  • The essence of immorality is the tendency to make an exception of one’s self.


  • We risk being the first people in history to have been able to make their illusions so vivid, so persuasive, so ‘realistic’, that they can live in them.


  • No individual word was decipherable, but with a bold reader, groups could be made to conform to a scheme based on probabilities.


  • Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving in words evidence of the fact.


  • It is better to have written a damned play than no play at all – it snatches a man from obscurity.


  • Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.


  • Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them.


  • Protestant women may take the pill. Roman Catholic women must keep taking The Tablet.


  • Work as if you were to live a hundred years. Pray as if you were to die tomorrow.


  • If a little knowledge is dangerous, where is the man who knows so much as to be out of danger?


  • A town and country soprano of the kind often used for augmenting grief at a funeral.


  • My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people.

    Fat, Gluttony

  • The Greeks said God was always doing geometry, modern physicists say he is playing roulette. Everything depends on the observer, the universe is a totality of observations. It’s a work of art created by us.


  • Great men are almost always bad men.


  • An actor’s a guy who, if you ain’t talking about him, ain’t listening.


  • An American is a man with two arms and four wheels.

    America, USA

  • I am the Roman Emperor and am above grammar.


  • It’s an odd job making decent people laugh.


  • The charm of novelty is to love as the bloom is to fruit. It gives a lustre that is easily rubbed off and never comes back.


  • Character is much easier kept than recovered.


  • He has passed from rising hope to elder statesman without any intervening period whatsoever.
    [On David Steel, Leader of the Liberal Party]


  • Fortunate people seldom mend their ways, for when good luck crowns their misdeeds with success, they think it is because they are right.


  • Football is popular because stupidity is popular.


  • It is sometimes possible to be a fool with brains, but never to be a fool with discrimination.


  • The role of mythology is to shield us from history.

    History, Myths, Stories

  • The asylums of this country are full of the sound of mind disinherited by the out of pocket.


  • A fool and his money are soon parted. What I want to know is how they got together in the first place.


  • Drive carefully. We'll wait.


  • People don’t talk in Paris. They just look lovely and eat.


  • Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets.


  • Everything considered, work is less boring than amusing oneself.


  • For God’s sake give me the young man who has brains enough to make a fool of himself.


  • The good of the people is the chief law.


  • We are never so generous as when giving advice.


  • No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without final getting bewildered as to which may be true.

    Realism, Reality

  • To you I’m an atheist; to God, I’m the loyal opposition.


  • Go ahead; try defeatism. It won’t work.


  • The difference between men and boys, is the price of their toys.


  • Be the first to not do what nobody has ever thought of not doing before.


  • Why, Sir, there is every possibility that you will soon be able to tax it!
    [when asked by Gladstone on the usefulness of electricity]


  • Forgetting is the only vengeance and the only forgivenesss.


  • In the face of such overwhelming statistical possibilities, hypochondria has always seemed to me to be the only rational position to take on life.


  • No one takes himself more seriously than a comedian.


  • The poor object to being governed badly; the rich to being governed at all.


  • Always remember the golden rule of politics; never kick a man until he is down.


  • I have long been of the opinion that if work were such a splendid thing the rich would have kept more of it for themselves.


  • A desk is a dangerous place from which to watch the world.


  • A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.


  • Even the greatest poets need something to cling to. Keats had Beauty; Milton had God; T.S.Eliot’s standby was Worry.


  • If everybody contemplates the infinite instead of fixing the drains, many of us will die of cholera.


  • It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid.


  • When a man is wrapped up in himself he makes a pretty small package

    Ego, Egotism

  • Many have built their careers buttressing the status quo, reinforcing what they've already accomplished, and resisting the radical thinking that can topple their legacy - not exactly the attitude you want when trying to drive innovation forward.


  • An egotist is a person of low taste, more interested in himself than me.


  • It is easier to fall in love when you are out of it than to get out of it when you are in it.


  • Camping is nature’s way of promoting the motel business.


  • A camel is a horse designed by a committee.

    Bureaucracy, Camel, Committee

  • He really is terribly heavy going. Like running up hill on roller skates.


  • That which seems the height of absurdity in one generation often becomes the height of wisdom in another.


  • You can’t find any true closeness in Hollywood, because everybody does the fake closeness so well.


  • A bore is one who has the power of speech but not the capacity for conversation.

    Boredom, Bores

  • I’ve absolutely no idea if God exists. It seems unlikely to me, but then – does a trout know that I exist?


  • In the little world in which children have their existence, there is nothing so finely perceived and finely felt as injustice.


  • My position on cake is pro-having it and pro-eating it.


  • Frankly speaking it is difficult to trust the Chinese. Once bitten by a snake you feel suspicious even when you see a piece of rope.