1990s >> 1990 >> no-1025-january-1990

They said it in 89

  • The industry has been drawn by commercial motives to reduce the crew on flights, with two pilots and sometimes no engineers. It’s a headlong pursuit of commercial gain at the expense of passenger safety—Terry Middleton, International Federation of Airline Pilots’ Associations, on the British Midland crash.
  • I am a great attender of second-hand sales for charities in my constituency. You can get very good bargains—Peter Lloyd, Under Secretary for Social Security.
  • Twenty years after the war on poverty was abandoned, this crippler of human potential again stalks the nation . . .  over half a million of our children are homeless, living in alleyways and anguish, eating out of dumpsters and selling their bodies to stay alive in an underworld of fear and exploitation—Mary Futrell. President of the USA National Education Association.
  • There will always be the needy and distressed, but not in large numbers—Baroness Phillips. Chair, Association for the Prevention of Theft in Shops.
  • I have learned not to talk to the press— Edwina Currie.
  • All is fair in love, war and parliamentary politics—John Smith. Labour Shadow Chancellor.
  • We must learn to avoid crises, since we cannot depend on our ability to manage them once they develop—Robert McNamara. US Secretary of Defence under Kennedy.


  • Does God care whether England has a goal-scoring striker?—Bishop of Liverpool.
  • I’m an Australian. I believe in equality— Rupert Murdoch.
  • Many people cannot get money from banks and with the money they would get from selling a kidney they can start a new life—Count Rainer Rene Adellmann. a trader in kidney transplants.
  • It’s a shame, really, that people feel it necessary to criticise the Thatcher government after ten years’ Conservative rule— Roseanne Serelli, Young Conservative
  • How can we escape the logical conclusion of the market-place that for the elderly and the chronically sick the most economic solution is death—Dr Iona Heath North London GP
  • It’s just called “The Bible” now—we dropped the word “Holy” to give it more mass market appeal—Judith Young, publishers Hodder and Stoughton.
  • I am a socialist, I always will be—David Owen.
  • Since I became a Christian. I have got a much bigger house and three cars. Isn’t God wonderful? Praise the lord!—American TV evangelist.


  • Space is almost infinite. In fact it is infinite. There’s a lot of uncharted water in space—US Vice-President Dan Quayle.
  • I think we have attacked the Royal Family too much. We could destroy the social fabric—Lord Stevens. Chairman, United Newspapers.
  • We, as professionals, said it was just too bad that we lost the Belgrano—Rear-Admiral Gualto Allara. commander of the Argentinian sea forces, Falklands War.
  • From my knowledge of South Africa, it is made up of many and varied peoples— Margaret Thatcher.
  • She’s the most marketable leader ever—Peter Fluck, Spitting Image, on Thatcher.
  • It can’t get any worse. When it rains here we put buckets in the corridors. This is a big. dirty hospital we can’t afford to clean. The food is poor, the laundry is rotten. We work enormously hard only to be told “cut down, we can’t afford you “—Robert Johnson, consultant surgeon, Royal Infirmary. Manchester.
  • I have done nothing wrong. I don’t know why people are after me—Pamella Bordes.


  • I’ve never had a job in my life—Rob Walker, of the Johnny Walker whisky family.
  • The new development is going to bring a lot of employment to the local community. Think of all the cleaning ladies that are going to be needed—Estate agent. Docklands.
  • After I met working men, I became a totally and completely changed person. These men from the Gorbals impressed me. because they were prepared to fight and die for British society and what had it done for them? It had done a great deal for people like me. but what had it done for them?—Lord Whitelaw.
  • The wages of sin is increased circulation—Lord Ardwick, ex-newspaper editor, on the press.
  • We are only now beginning to use the techniques Hitler was using 50 years ago—Harvey Thomas, public relations consultant.
  • These days a lot of people out here are mentally sick and should be hospitalised, but money is the factor that keeps them here. If you have money, no matter how mad you are. you could be in a good place—Joseph, one of London’s homeless.
  • I see things in black and white—Terry Dicks. Tory MP.


  • It’s difficult to get a lot of pleasure out of material things—Property millionaire Stuart Goldenberg.
  • I am a glutton for punishment—Ex-Tory MP Harvey Proctor.
  • What about the poor, what about the oppressed? Well, if you carry on like that, we will always have them—Bob Payton, millionnaire “Pizza King “.
  • In a bad week, we pay the bills or we buy food. We always try to meet the bills first, then we see what is left—Norman Goodwin, Social Security claimant.
  • Money does give you more choice in certain areas—Property millionaire Stuart Goldenberg.
  • She was a Cordon Bleu cook and about to learn flower arranging—Andrew Neil on Pamella Bordes.


  • We want to be good citizens in countries where we invest—Sultan of Brunei, the world’s richest man.
  • A third of the total budget goes on storing and moving the food surpluses. It’s shameful when much of the world is going hungry—Michael McGowan, MEP for Leeds.
  • This is more fascist rather fascism— Peking worker, on the massacre there.
  • I may not even vote, for all the good they do. Politicians are all the same, aren’t they?—Lilian Hurley, secretary of a residents’ association in Lambeth.
  • The more extreme a politician’s views, the fewer actual points he tends to make in an argument—Professor Guy Cumberbatch.
  • You know this committee talks rather like the Bank of England. When something fails, we say it has limited success— Nicholas Budgen, Tory MP, member of the Treasury Select Committee.
  • You must be awfully busy— The Queen, to President Bush.
  • Like other Old Etonians, his problem is that he’s never had to argue with a woman before—Tam Dalyell on Paul Channon, then Minister of Transport.
  • Airports are not very good at giving out information because information dissemination is not very profit-making—John Boyle chairman Tour Operators’ Council
  • For all supermarkets to reduce chill cabinet temperatures to 5°C would cost £250 million. It is unnecessary—Dr Richard Pugh, chief quality controller, Tesco Stores, on the listeria outbreak.
  • A lot of our success in war is because we have this restrained aggression in us. and it comes out if we take too much alcohol—John Dore, British Consul for Benidorm on the Costa Brava, on British lager louts.
  • We would rather have hooligans than empty beds—Pedro Terpault, President Costa del sol Hotel Owners’ Association.
  • Your strength is our strength. And your victory is our victory—Enoch Powell, to Russia.
  • We were in a terrible mess at that time—Denis Healey on his spell as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
  • One’s not surprised by anything in politics—Judy Steel. David Steel’s wife.
  • What we really need is rain, sleet or snow until September so that the children go back to school with new shoes—Ian Ritchie, shoe manufacturers C & J Clark, on the hot summer.
  • Lumps of sewage are not very pleasant aesthetically—Malcolm Gunton, Assistant Director of Environmental Health for Havant, on the state of Hayling Island’s beaches.
  • It is totally unacceptable to lie in advertisements but, like all industries, estate agents want to make their goods look as attractive as possible—Trevor Kent, President National Association of Estate Agents.
  • I love it. It’s just like combat. It’s the real thing—Wall Street investment broker on his job
  • It’s just the scale that’s different—Multi-millionaire Malcolm Forbes on his 70th birthday party, which cost him at least £l million.
  • Nobody has previously taken the road that leads from socialism to capitalism. And we are setting out to do just that— Lech Walesa.
  • Cricket is a business, not a sport: it’s about balance sheets—Simon Hughes, Middlesex fast bowler.
  • I know very little about apartheid—Mike Gatting, captain of the rebel cricket tour to South Africa.
  • You’ve got to be a bit like a cockcroach to run your own business—Professor Paul Burns.
  • The company’s not a charity. It’s there to make a profit—Redundant BP worker.
  • I suppose I spend around £100,000 a year on polo excluding the cost of the horses and they can cost anywhere from £500 to £15,000 each. I hope it doesn’t get too expensive—Polo player Brod Munro-Wilson.
  • Trade unions do not cause inflation, governments do—Tory MP Terry Dicks, on the ambulance crews’ pay claim.
  • My politics are those of bewilderment— John Cleese, on his switch from the SDP to the Green Party.
  • How many times has there got to be appalling accidents at sea before companies stop putting commercial considerations before safety?—Judge Jonathon Crabtree. Beverley Crown Court.
  • I hope I never get so old I get religious— Ingmar Bergman.
  • It’s a dialogue of the deaf and it’s not good enough—Tom Sawyer, chairman of Labour Party Home Policy Committee, on their annual conference
  • There is a huge financial investment in the cholesterol scare—Dr Michael De-Bakey, heart surgeon.
  • Nobody will ever believe me but I have never been that interested in promoting myself—Edwina Currie.
  • I can come to terms with the idea that my son might die because of his illness, but not because of a shortage of money— David McKenna, whose six-year old son had cancer treatment postponed because of a cash-caused shortage of beds at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.
  • And remember fear and greed are the prime incentives—Peter Wheeler of Corporate Charisma, a company advising MPs on their TV image.
  • Shabby suits, sweaty faces and dated hairstyles could cost some MPs their seats at the next general election—Letter to MPs from TV image consultants.
  • Women, with certain exceptions, have little to offer the House of Commons—Tory MP John Carlisle.
  • Its not very encouraging, is it, to know that one of your neighbours is on the dole and from a foreign country?—Yee-Chong, Docklands resident, on local council tenants.
  • A decade ago Mrs Thatcher said she was going to transform my life, and by golly she has. I have dreams of getting my hands round her throat—Mary Martin, widow and lifelong Tory voter.
  • You can’t just turn up and join, like the local Conservative Association, you know—Ray Dinnis, huntsman, on membership of the Hunt.
  • If Dickens came back he would be quite shocked. He would think: “This has a nasty familiar ring about it. I remember things like this”—Brian Redhead, on Crisis at Christmas.
  • Why can our children not be taught about England’s heroes, instead of vague subjects like social trends?—Tory MP John Stokes.
  • I love spending money and it’s nice to have restraints and constraints—Olga Polizzi, millionairess daughter of Charles Forte, head of Trusthouse Forte.
  • Policy is important yes. but these are things over which people’s perceptions change with the state of the economy—Conservative backbencher.
  • I think he’s very lucky to get away with all English gentleman balls—Tory minister, on Anthony Meyer.
  • This is a capitalist country after all—Paul McCartney.