Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Quote of the day 29th October 2014

"No Government can be long secure without a formidable Opposition. "

(Benjamin Disraeli, from his novel 'Coningsby')

4 comments:

Jim said...

Does that mean that the current government is just about as insecure as any could ever be?

My current favourite saying along the same lines is:
"I'm not saying I'm Batman, I'm just pointing out that no one has EVER seen me and Batman in a room together"

Chris Whiteside said...

In a sense, though when you look at the saying in context Disraeli was not so much suggesting that a strong opposition reinforced the position of the people who form the current administration within the government as that the whole system of goverment does a better job if it includes a formidable opposition.

And he listed ways that a strong opposition helps the system of government do its' job better, such that it "employs the energies of aspiring spirits."

That, at least is the obvious way to make sense of it.

However, reading the longer quote I must confess to some doubt about whether Disraeli, who had a strong sense of irony and used it repeatedly in the novel "Coningsby" from which this quote is taken, actually meant the entire thing as an ironic comment - like the previous day's quote about "Tory men and Whig measures."

Jim said...

To me the basic simplicity is that the better the opposition the better the government has to be. Quite obviously, if there is a strong solid opposition then its in the interest of the government to be brilliant.

The problem of course with the current system is the simple fact the government does not have to brilliant, it does not have to even be mediocre, it only ever has to be "better than the other lot". Which, lets face it, could currently be managed by Ant and Dec.

The security aspect, at least to me, comes not from the opposition but indeed from the voters (or none voters), who eventually get fed up with it all.

Chris Whiteside said...

Exactly - I think your words "the better the opposition is the better the government has to be" put it perfectly.