Tag Archives: british prime ministers

Lord Salisbury Quotes

“By a free country I mean a country where people are allowed, so long as they do not hurt their neighbours, to do as they like. I do not mean a country where six men may make five men do exactly as they like.

That is not my notion of freedom”.

“A gram of experience is worth a ton of theory”.

“The days and weeks of screwed-up smiles and laboured courtesy, the mock geniality, the hearty shake of the filthy hand, the chuckling reply that must be made to the coarse joke, the loathsome, choking compliment that must be paid to the grimy wife and sluttish daughter, the indispensable flattery of the vilest religious prejudices, the wholesale deglutition of hypocritical pledges”. (Lord Salisbury on electoral canvasing. No politician would, I feel sure venture to publicly express such views as regards the electorate of the United Kingdom today).


“Nothing matters very much, and few things matter at all”

I am a great lover of quotations. I recently came across the below quotation by Arthur Balfour, which struck a chord with me:

“Nothing matters very much, and few things matter at all”.

In his work “The Conservative Party from Peel to Churchill”, the late Lord Robert Blake writes of Balfour in the following terms:

“The new Prime Minister was a person of immense charm, great intellectual power, and much political sagacity. Like his uncle, he took it for granted that parliamentary democracy would only work—if it could work at all—as long as “the masses” continued to elect their leaders from “the classes”. Not that he was himself, any more than Salisbury, a typical member of the order to which he belonged. He was too clever, too cool and too detached to be thus categorised …”.
(“The Conservative Party from Peel to Churchill”, by Lord Robert Blake. Eyre and Spottiswoode (publishers) LTD. Chapter 5, Tory Democracy and the rule of Lord Salisbury 1881-1902).

For anyone interested in finding out more about the enigmatic Balfour, the following article may be of interest, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Balfour.

Benjamin Disraeli

I must confess to nurturing a soft spot for the novelist and politician Benjamin Disraeli https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Disraeli.

The second of the 2 quotes is, I believe correctly attributed to Disraeli. There is, however some dispute regarding the first, with some attributing it to Disraeli, while others attribute this witticism to Moses Hadas. I, personally like to think that Disraeli was responsible for both witticisms, although the consensus of opinion is in favour of Hadas as regards the first one.

“Thank you for sending me a copy of your book – I shall waste no time in reading it”.

“A member of Parliament to Disraeli: ‘Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease.’

That depends, Sir,’ said Disraeli, ‘whether I embrace your policies or your mistress.”