The Last Word

An eclectic collection that made us pause for thought.

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This is worse than a divorce.
I’ve lost half my net worth and I still have a wife.

— From a trader on a BBC website

An example of ambiguous drafting or mis-spelling? –
“The management does not except responsibility for loss of contents or damage to vehicles whilst left in this car park. Vehicles are left entirely at the owners risk.

— The Horse & Groom, Charlton

Yes we can.

— Barack Obama, US President

Why did nobody notice?

— Her Majesty the Queen’s pithy question on the credit crunch to the director of research at the London School of Economics, Simon Jenkins’ excellent article in The Guardian

I have a new philosophy. I’m only going to dread one day at a time.

— Charles M. Schulz

Some silver linings will come out of this cloud.

— Sir John Parker, chairman of National Grid and of the Court of the Bank of England, Interview with Judi Bevan for The Spectator

In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

— Attributed to Yogi Berra, With thanks to Robert Arnott, FT

If you sweep Mother Nature out of the door with a broom, she will come back through the window with a pitchfork.

— Old Russian proverb

Christmas is when kids tell Santa what they want and adults pay for it. Deficits are when governments tell adults what they want, and their kids pay for it.

— Mark Boland (in the Financial Times)

When presented with a miniature jar of honey at a guest house where he was staying, Jimmy Shand asked the landlady:
“Do you keep a bee?”

— With thanks to Brian Groom, FT.

The best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debauch the currency.

— John Maynard Keynes, With thanks to ThinkExist.com Quotations Online

The art of cross-examination is not to examine crossly.

— Sir John Mortimer QC

Energy saving at the Treasury:
It is rumoured that Treasury officals are considering a new scheme: until further notice the light at the end of the tunnel will be switched off.

— With thanks to Sue Cameron, Financial Times

I am convinced it will almost always be in our strategic interest to act multilaterally, not unilaterally, when using force around the world. By this, I don’t mean that…. the UN Security Council should have a veto on our actions. Nor do I mean that we round up the United Kingdom and Togo and then do as we please.

— Barack Obama – from his book “The Audacity of Hope”

High finance is just a game of noughts and crosses. The market adds a lot of noughts to your fortune, then it comes back and crosses them off!

— Sir James Goldsmith, With thanks to Paul Johnson, The Spectator

The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.

— African proverb – quoted by Dambisa Moyo in her book ‘Dead Aid’

I am called Spiderman, not because I am lithe and active, but because I find it difficult to get out of the bath!

— Gary Richardson, The Today Programme

The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.

— Margaret Thatcher

The financial world is stumbling blindly through a cognitive fog.

— Gillian Tett, assistant editor, Financial Times

It was far better than being psycho-analysed. It gave me a completely new idea of myself.

— Edith Evans, on posing nude for a sculpture by Dora Gordine in 1938

Stores don’t like customers, they like credit cards!

— Richard Gere in Pretty Woman

My fear is we are substituting public debt for private debt.

— Henry Kissinger (24 March 2009)

Never let a good crisis go to waste.

— Rahm Emmanuel, Pres. Obama’s Chief of Staff, With thanks to Richard Reeves, Prospect magazine

Does anyone ever know what he needs to know until he has the opportunity to know it?

— Brian Sewell on art in the Evening Standard

I take full responsibility. That’s why the person who was responsible went immediately …

— Gordon Brown, interviewed on the Damien McBride affair

There are two ways of doing everything, and the wrong one always comes first.

— Anon

If I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you.

— Attributed to Sam Goldwyn

Defintion of Derivatives:
“Financial weapons of mass destruction”

— Warren Buffet

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

— Lord Macaulay writing in 1831

A superintelligent machine could be the last invention humans ever make.

— Martin Rees in his book, Our Final Century

It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonoured by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

— Oliver Cromwell, addressing the House of Commons on 20th April 1653

It would be a great reform in politics if wisdom could be made to spread as easily and as rapidly as folly.

— Winston Churchill

Felix qui potuit cognoscere causas rerum. (For those who do not know Latin, it means Happy is the man who could know the causes of things.)

— Virgil, With thanks to Tim Broome

I’m truly sorry man’s dominion,
Has broken Nature’s social union.

— Robert Burns, in a poem to a mouse, With thanks to John Lloyd, Financial Times

I know little about art, and I don’t even know what I like.

— Simon Hoggart, The Guardian

War is organised murder, and nothing else.

— Harry Patch, the last surviving soldier from of the First World War, who died at the age of 111 on 25 July 2009

When your wife is quiet, don’t interrupt!

— Paul Bailey on BBC Radio 4

It is very fascistic. You take out the weak and the strong remain. It’s like ethnic cleansing.

— Lars von Trier, on vegetable gardening, From an interview with the Danish film director by Peter Aspden for the Financial Times

Birthdays are good for you – the more you have, the longer you live!

— Anon

Never under-estimate the power of a large gold frame.

— Banksy -from one of his works (in a large gold frame) on show at the Bristol Museum

The Constitution does not just protect those whose views we share; it also protects those with whose views we disagree.

— Senator Edward Kennedy

When you want to drain a marsh, you don’t consult the frogs…

— President Mitterand on large infrastructure projects, With thanks to Rowan Moore, Evening Standard

You have to decide even to hesitate.

— Stanislaw Lec, More on Oxymoron by Patrick Hughes

In the English system you’re innocent until proved Irish.

— Michael Mansfield QC, Interview in The Guardian by Aida Edemariam

Churchill never doubted his own genius, though subordinates sometimes wished he would.

— Max Hastings, From his new book ‘Finest Years: Churchill as Warlord 1940-45’

Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.

— Mark Twain

Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is thought necessary.

— Robert Louis Stevenson

I have nothing to complain about when I get home from a hard day’s work, because I do not work hard, and I am already home.

— Tim Dowling, Guardian Weekend (24 Oct. 09)

It would be as wise to set up an accomplished lawyer to saw wood as a business as to condemn an educated and sensible woman to spend all her time boiling potatoes and patching old garments.

— Sarah Grimke

Millionaires are often millionaires because they had no other option.

— Theo Paphitis, Interview in Building magazine 13.11.09
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