1990s >> 1991 >> no-1037-january-1991

They said it in 1990


  • Packaging a politician is not like selling a can of beans, spiritually it’s more like selling condoms—Alfredo Marcanantonio, “creative director” of advertising agency WCRS Mathews Marcantonio.
  • There is no slick definition—Neil Kinnock, asked to define socialism on the David Frost show.
  • Maybe we will turn out to be a party, but maybe we will be part of a movement, with others or even a club within the Labour Party—Nina Temple, General Secretary of the Communist Party.
  • Our duty is not to run a service that is desirable, it is to run a service which will be profitable—Sir Robert Reid, chairman of British Rail.
  • It was a question of trade—Frank Haynes, Labour MP about trip to Rumania in 1985 to improve relationships with dictator Ceausescu.
  • We have a Vietnamese family living near us. They’re quite nice people. It’s the MPs who are dickheads—Alan Richards, Northampton resident, on the warning by his Tory MP, Tony Marlow, about the “holocaust” threatened by the settlement of Hong Kong Chinese in Britain.
  • Blacks make good soldiers except they can’t swim—Corporal Gordon Muirhead, instructor in the Parachute regiment denying that colour prejudice exists in the Regiment.
  • It is very difficult to be rich today— Japanese billionaire.
  • It comes as a form of relaxation to me— Billionaire Armand Hammer on his art collection.
  • I admit I have money—Y.K. Pao, Hong Kong billionaire.


  • I sound pompous sometimes—Nigel Lawson.
  • Politics is no longer about ideas, it is about clothes and dandruff and hair patches—Teresa Gorman, Tory MP.
  • The battle for the mind of Ronald Reagan was like trench warfare in World War One. Never have so many fought so hard for such barren terrain—Peggy Noonan, former presidential speech writer.
  • It’s like the coming of civilisation to Moscow—Yuri Tereschchenko, eating a Big Mac at the Moscow MacDonalds.
  • I think the issue of inherited wealth is an entirely different issue. It is many things held in trust, isn’t it—Canon Grimwade, chaplain to the Queen.
  • This year will be like Gallipoli—Tory MP.


  • If you give it away you can’t sell it— Lord King, chairman of British Airways.
  • A house, a car and a college education must become the natural aspirations of all people—Lord Prior, in the House of Lords.
  • Above average perinatal mortality rates are likely to be associated with above-average levels of social, economic and housing deprivation—National Audit Office report on the Maternity Services.
  • There are women who hate their husbands and do it once a month so their Amex cards don’t get cancelled—Pamella Bordes on sex.
  • This place is not the real world—Geoffrey Finsberg, Tory MP, on the House of Commons.
  • Most Conservative Associations don’t really have views. What my colleagues tell you are their views is only what the chairman told them—Tory MP.
  • I do not feel low or defeated—David Owen.


  • Basically, I am not a materialistic person at all—Adnam Khashoggi, millionaire arms dealer.
  • God is on my side—Ali Jalali-Farhani. ex-millionaire hotelier, now bankrupt.
  • The City is much more crooked than anything I was ever involved in—Charlie Richardson, ex-London gangster.
  • If I am asked to send someone to prison for breaking into a property and using it as a squat, I would say that the Minister connected with housing should serve a similar sentence alongside him—Judge Derek Clarkson, Guildford Crown Court, sentencing a squatter.
  • The expense of having monkeys and maintaining their upkeep is becoming prohibitive. In contrast the human embryo is readily accessible and relatively inexpensive—Tory MP Trevor Skeet on embryo research.
  • If you have the money you can buy a kidney—Transplant “organ broker” Atanur Kunter.
  • I played by the rules of politics as I found them— Ex-president Richard Nixon.
  • What I cherish most is my reputation— Adnam Khashoggi.


  • We’ve lost faith in the government. The only thing we believe in now is god—Moscow woman on the food shortage in Russia.
  • Nobody wants to invest here if they can’t employ blacks—Hannes Naude, hotel owner in the South African “white township ” Morgenzon.
  • You get a long way by nagging—Margaret Thatcher.
  • Just because something is in public ownership doesn’t mean it is being managed for the benefit of the public or those in the industry—Frank Dobson MP, Labour Front Bencher.
  • The company wants to encourage balanced employees because they are more productive. It is for completely mercenary reasons—David Seddon, personnel director, on workaholics.
  • I’ve never felt poor and I’ve never felt rich. I am what I am—Adnam Khashoggi.
  • We do realise we have certain advantages—Eric Anderson, headmaster of Eton.


  • The market is not an invention of capitalism. It has existed for centuries. It is an invention of civilisation—Mikhail Gorbachev.
  • Look, nobody ever said academic qualifications are necessary to be prime minister—Neil Kinnock.
  • I would have liked to be prime minister, of course—David Owen.
  • You can assume anything you like, except that I am a papist—Ian Paisley.
  • The best-run economies are usually those where the views of economists are ignored—Alan Walters, economic adviser to Thatcher.
  • I get so tired listening to one million dollars here, one million dollars there, it’s so petty—Imelda Marcos.
  • There are few more repulsive sights than a well-fed politician posing for a photograph with a starving child—Sunday Times.
  • It’s no expense spared—Worker at the 50th birthday party of ex King Constantine of Greece, which cost £250,000.


  • If it is of any comfort to others. I have never found it easy to believe in God— George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury- elect.
  • If a pupil wishes to chat with a schoolmate of the opposite sex, an application form must be filled out—Rulebook Tokyo school.
  • You are talking about a lot of money— Jim Greenwood, chief executive Everton EC, on the re-admission of English football clubs to Europe.
  • We know the value of a wallet—Barry Morris, director of tourism Blackpool.
  • No one was sufficiently perceptive to forecast the state of the market in 1989, 1990 and possibly 1991—Nick Newmarch, Chief Executive of the Prudential on the closure of a quarter of its estate agencies.
  • Mrs Thatcher is a very tough lady—you could bounce golf balls off her and she wouldn’t notice—Rhodes Boyson, Tory MP.
  • The function of the Savoy is to make people happy—Hugh Wotner. owner of the Savoy.


  • They promise everything but give us absolutely nothing. Nobody here will ever vote Labour again—Kathy Wood, Liverpool council tenant.
  • If people are seeking to get maximum profit, they will not care about service— Professor Bradshaw, former senior manager of British Rail on British Rail.
  • If he had found his way to the House of Lords rather than at the Old Bailey it would not have been surprising—Michael Sherrard. one of the counsel in the Guinness trial, on Ernest Saunders.
  • I’m sure it would be hard to get used to being poor, but I’d have to—Kuwaiti student. son of an oil millionaire, in London after the Iraqi invasion.
  • If Kuwait grew carrots, we wouldn’t give a damn—Lawrence Kolb, former Assistant Defense Secretary. US government.
  • King Hussein of Jordan went to one of our public schools and to Sandhurst. Why then, does he apparently not know right from wrong?—Letter in the Evening Standard.


  • If anybody says money is unimportant, that’s a lie—Irvana Trump.
  • If we start throwing grenades at each other, this market is going down 200 points—Edward Shopkorn, Wall Street trader.
  • They don’t like Arthur’s attitude, they say he’s a Marxist—Member of NUM executive, on the attitude of Russian miners’ leaders to Arthur Scargill.
  • If the food industry is faced with a conflict between safety and profit I believe it will go for profit every time—Professor Richard Lacey.
  • The entire cancer war is geared up towards finding profitable, patentable entities for treating cancer that can be sold and marketed in a mass way—Ralph Moss, former assistant director of public affairs at the Memorial Sloan! Kettering Cancer Center, New York.
  • I know of farmers who have been forced to let their animals die because requests for short term credit to feed them have been turned down—T. B. Pain, former sheep farmer.
  • People have started to see through advertising—that it’s lying, basically—Alan Young, one of the top advert writers.
  • We know that an extra two inches of space for each passenger would cost between £50 million and £100 million a year in lost revenue—Ian McComas, British Airways sales executive.
  • It’s like a prison—Imelda Pitt Rogers, mother of three, about her bed and breakfast accommodation.
  • Mummy, it is a prison—Her nine-year- old son.
  • I am an old age pensioner—Robert Maxwell.


  • By and large unity has broken out. Though, no doubt, we’ll have the odd debate—Larry Whitty, Labour Party General Secretary, on their annual conference.
  • I don’t think we should go around expelling people just because they’ve got silly views. Otherwise there wouldn’t be anyone left in the party—Danny Nicol, delegate to the Labour Party conference.
  • Even the applause is stage-managed— Another Labour delegate.
  • It was not a pretty sight—Labour MP Eric Heffer, about the Labour conference.
  • Like the Jesuits, we say get them young and you’ve got them for life—Geoff Hamilton Jones, advertising executive, on ads for children.
  • A lot of my friends have been alcoholics and drug addicts—The Duchess of York.
  • If I tighten my belt further I shall suffer a severe pelvic injury—Daily Mail reader.
  • At best there are tough times ahead; at worst a slump—Economist Will Hutton.
  • How nice to be in a country where views dismissed in England as Wimpish prejudices put the speaker at the very centre of fashionable opinion—Peregrine Worsthone on his visit to Moscow.
  • British people like to sec their rulers enjoying themselves—Tory MP John Stokes.
  • I simply can’t get domestic staff any more. I spend my entire life in the laundry—Marchioness of Aberdeen and Tamar.
  • Of course there are still class divisions, but it all comes down to good manners and being a lady or a gentleman—Barbara Cortland.
  • Shirley Porter does not talk about her money for good or bad—Senior Adviser to Lady Porter.
  • I am perfectly ready to give up politics— David Owen.


  • Cannot these people keep a stiff upper lip and think of the country as a whole instead of their own personal concerns?— Tory MP John Stokes on the hostages in Iraq.
  • The Treasury’s ability at forecasting inflation is less than awesome. In fact it’s awful—John Banham. Director General of the CBI.
  • The Sun has become a great British institution—Margaret Thatcher on The Sun.
  • The Sun believes she is far and away the best champion of our countryThe Sun on Margaret Thatcher.
  • I heard John Major say he wanted to build a classless society. I thought that was a good thing for him to say—Sir Tom Arnold. Tory MP for Hazel Grove.
  • If this were horse-racing there would be a dope test—Bookie on Tory leadership contest.
  • I am not everlasting—Margaret Thatcher.
  • It would have been all right if she’d been a man—Tory woman in Billericay on Thatcher’s fall.


  • We have to prepare the British public for a particularly unpleasant war— Brigadier Patrick Cordingley, infantry commander in the Gulf.
  • It’s oil, right, we’re here for oil?—Private first class Elizabeth Shoemaker, US Army in the Gulf.
  • We want prisoners to enjoy living and working here. It makes sound financial sense—Gerald Skene, project director at Belmarsh, the new London prison.
  • If you lived in this town, would you be happy if a nigger from Birmingham came and settled down—Bill Galbraith. Cheltenham Tory on the adoption of a black Tory candidate there.
  • I will never vote for a black man. They should give them freedom, but not in government circles—Richard Barden. Cheltenham Tory.
  • Death does not pay well—Steven Jonas, solicitor, on the West Midlands police payment of compensation for the death of Gail Kirchin.
  • You get the impression that all children are in despair—Poet Laureate Ted Hughes, after judging a children’s essay competition.
  • I have done pretty well out of being Mrs Thatcher—Mrs Thatcher.
  • I’d rather they cancelled Christmas this year—Woman doing the shopping.