Friday, 13 January 2012

Swift on Prime Ministers

A great little quote from Gulliver's Travels
....First or Chief Minister of State, the description of which, as far as it may be collected not only from their actions, but from the letters, memoirs, and writings published by themselves, the truth of which has not yet been disputed, may be allowed to be as follows: that he is a person wholly exempt from joy and grief, love and hatred, pity and anger; at least makes use of no other passions but a violent desire of wealth, power, and titles: that, he applies his words to all uses, except to the indication of his mind: that, he never tells a truth, but with an intent that you should take it for a lye; nor a lye, but with a design that you should take it for a truth; that those he speaks worst of behind their backs, are in the surest way to preferment; and whenever he begins to praise you to others or to your self, you are from that day forlorn.  The worst mark you can receive is a promise, especially when it is confirmed with an oath; after which every wise man retires, and gives over all hopes.

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