They said it . . . in 1987

  • Britain is no more equal a society today than it was a hundred years ago. (Roy Hattersley, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party)
  • The technical possibilities for increasing safety are almost limitless. But safety is normally expensive. (Guardian summary of the Layfield Report on the Sizewell B reactor)
  • I have to accept that I may well be used by god in this way. (James Anderton, Greater Manchester Chief Constable)
  • Civilisation is in peril of we do not tackle homelessness. (Lord Scarman, launching International Year of Shelter for the Homeless)


  • I’m not upset by being tapped, but I don’t like inept tapping. (John Golding, General Secretary of the National Communications Union, on his phone being tapped during the British Telecom engineers’ strike)
  • We have a higher standard of living now than this country has ever known. (Margaret Thatcher)


  • I made a lot of money. (Michael Heseltine, in interview with Terry Coleman)
  • A television interview is no place for original thought. (Alan Watson, Liberal candidate for Richmond on Thames)
  • One third of the nation is ill-fed, ill clothed and ill-housed. (Ian Wrigglesworth, SDP MP)
  • We are in business to make money. (Merrick Roocroft, British Rail Area Manager)
  • As a market researcher, I’ve been trained to meet all arguments with a bland smile. (Rosie Barnes, SDP MP)


  • I am amazingly tired. (Taunea Tagaki, Neiwado Trading Company, after paying nearly £2 million for a diamond ring once owned by the late Duchess of Windsor)
  • I think I have spent some £2 million but if it is much more that’s a problem for my bank manager. (Sam Moussaieff, who spent nearly £6 million at the Windsor auction)
  • It’s a marvellous way of getting to know people. (Prince Charles, on working on a building site)
  • We are all capitalists. The only difference is that for you it’s the state that invests, while for us it’s private individuals. (Thatcher to Gorbachev)
  • There is something in it for everybody. (Gary Hart, on his abortive election programme)
  • You can’t go too far to catch votes. (Denis Healey)
  • Islington is like a walled city. The issues here are housing, housing and housing. (George Cunningham, SDP candidate, Islington South and Finsbury)
  • I’m Labour. I’m just am. (Girl in a pub, talking to New Society)
  • When we had a Labour government last time . . . they had to slash public expenditure left, right and centre. (Nigel Lawson, Chancellor of the Exchequer)
  • In my lifetime your party had a go at it four times and made a fuck-up each time. (Willesden ‘bus worker to Ken Livingstone, Labour candidate, Brent)
  • There is no activity, no idea, superior to that of securing victory at the next election. (Neil Kinnock)
  • Nearly everybody enjoys it. It’s a pretty useful job. You get to work with nuclear missiles. You get to work with the most sophisticated intercontinental ballistic missile in the world. It’s accurate and it works first time every time. I’ve been working with missiles for 12 years and I’ve enjoyed it. It’s a lot of fun. (Major General Fisk, US Air Force at the Cheyenne nuclear missile base)
  • I didn’t trust the Liberal Party at all. (David Owen)
  • I thought we had freedom of the press in this country. (Nicholas Browne-Wilkinson, judge at a Spycatcher hearing)
  • A low profile is not my style. (Edwina Currie)
  • Money is the cog that keeps the wheel of life turning. (Midland Bank brochure)
  • If you can do this job and come out of it with your playing intact, your health intact and a little dignity – it’s a minor miracle. (Michael Davis, leader of the London Symphony Orchestra)
  • We are seeing in our cities, the growth of new slums which defy public health regulations, fire regulations, safety regulations. (Lord Scarman)
  • Actually I felt as if I was dead. (Clement Freud, on losing his parliamentary seat at the general election)
  • There is some opposition to thought in the Conservative Party. (Alfred Sherman, former political advisor to Thatcher)
  • If we’re not going down the yuppie path, I don’t know where we are going. (Dennis Skinner, Labour MP on his party’s “review” of policy after the election)
  • The police service responds to situations. It doesn’t create them. (Chief Superintendent David Ibbs, Wolverhampton police)
  • It’s a nice clean job. (Father of a fitter at Sellafield nuclear power plant)
  • We’re making so much money we don’t give a damn what they are saying about us. (Director of a merchant bank)
  • He does not talk to the press. (Aide to Kelvin MacKenzie, editor of the Sun newspaper)
  • It’s like Holloway prison. (Labour MP Dawn Primarolo on the House of Commons)
  • I like looking at gardens but I don’t actually get down on my knees and plant things myself. (Lady Rothermere)
  • They are using antiquated methods and putting safety at risk in the interest of profit. (Robert Adley, Tory MP on overloading on Sealink cross-Channel ferries)
  • What does (Prince) Andrew actually do? (Tory MP)
  • It’s like working for an advertising agency but only promoting one product. (Country vicar, on his job)
  • After all the money was given last time, after all the personnel and equipment that was put into Ethiopia, after the establishment of effective early-warning systems – after all this, why are things no better? (Bob Geldof on another outbreak of famine in Ethiopia)
  • Some 90 per cent of the population should hear the sirens which will warn of an impending nuclear attack. (Written reply by Douglas Hogg, Home Office Minister)
  • Unfortunately, the babies don’t realise how important budgets are and they keep on being born. (ITV News At Ten, on the hospital cuts)
  • Things are getting worse. People are suffering or dying while waiting for operations. (Consultant surgeon – Bristol Royal Infirmary)