The Blog

Five Principles and 38 Influential Quotations for the Modern Politician

With the Sochi Winter Olympics well under way and the conduct of our global leaders and their policies firmly in the spotlight, I thought it'd be helpful to produce a guide to some abiding political principles, quotations and notes that aspiring politicians and politicos can use to make sense of the madcap crazy political world we live in. Enjoy.

With the Sochi Winter Olympics well under way and the conduct of our global leaders and their policies firmly in the spotlight, I thought it'd be helpful to produce a guide to some abiding political principles, quotations and notes that aspiring politicians and politicos can use to make sense of the madcap crazy political world we live in. Enjoy.


1. Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies

Groucho Marx

Well that sounds cynical

2. I myself know some people who are gay. We're on friendly terms.

Vladimir Putin, Russian President, on 'anti-gay' legislation to protect children

Oh, I see your point Groucho

3. The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries

Winston Churchill

I dare not say that this is connected to the previous statement

4. Suffer little children and come unto me

Evita Peron, Argentine First Lady

Eva extends an arm of optimism to the children

5. Blessed are the young for they shall inherit the national debt

Herbert Hoover

Herbert takes it away again

6. Please do not touch the kids

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak's advice to gay Winter Olympic athletes

As I said, I see your point Groucho

7. When I was poor and I complained about inequality people said I was bitter, now I'm rich and I complain about inequality they say I'm a hypocrite

Russell Brand

I'm tempted to say they just don't like you Russell but I hear your point

8. I live in a neighbourhood so bad that you can get shot while getting shot

Chris Rock

9. I went to Zimbabwe. I know how white people feel in America now; relaxed! Cause when I heard the police car I knew they weren't coming after me!

Richard Pryor, on race, profiling and the perks of afro-American Zimbabwean tourism


10. Politics, noun. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

11. The president has kept all the promises he intended to keep

George Stephanopolous, Communications Director to Bill Clinton

Never let virtue get in the way of semantics

12. Now, I know that he's taken some flak lately but no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than The Donald. And that's because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter like where are Biggie and Tupac?'

President Obama, on Donald Trump at the 2011 White House Correspondents' Dinner

13. We don't do God!

Alastair Campbell, Communications chief, quickly reminds Tony Blair not to mention his faith

I only wanted to know where Biggie and Tupac were

14. It's pity there isn't a hell for him to go to

Christopher Hitchens, Atheist, of a particular journalist

Not of Alastair Campbell although some in the British media have uttered similar. Adam Boulton?

15. I don't make predictions. I never have and never will.

Tony Blair, predicts he won't be making a prediction anytime soon

16. He can compress the most words into the smallest ideas better than any man I ever met

Abraham Lincoln, referring to a lawyer

The fact this appears below former lawyer Tony Blair is innocently unfortunate

17. The penalty of success is to be bored by people who used to snub you

Nancy Astor, on the joys of being the first female Member of Parliament

Eyes on the prize Nancy


18. Now is not the time for sound-bites. I can feel the hand of history on my shoulder

Tony Blair, signing the Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement, April 1998

The media made sure this would haunt him for years to come

19. If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: 'President Can't Swim'

Lyndon Johnson

20. We don't do God!! [again]

Alastair Campbell, on walking on water

21. Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to realise that it bears a very close resemblance to the first

Ronald Reagan

Reagan hated courting

22. The first time Adam had a chance, he laid the blame on women

Nancy Astor

When the cameras are rolling there is no gallantry Nancy

23. Television has made dictatorship impossible, but democracy unbearable

Shimon Peres, Israeli President laments

Unless you're a dictator that likes the limelight...


24. The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don't have to waste time voting

Charles Bukowski, US Writer

25. In the past months the people of Uganda have been following with sorrow the alarming economic crisis befalling on Britain

Dictator Idi Amin Dada, offers parcels of food and compassion to depression-hit Britain, 1974

26. Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt

Abraham Lincoln

Seems simple

27. I love to bring people into the Oval office and say, this is where I office

George W. Bush

OK, point taken Abraham


28. Democracy is the process by which people choose the man who'll get the blame

Bertrand Russell, British philosopher

29. Despise the enemy strategically, but take him seriously tactically.

Chairman Mao Zedong

Mao, never far from killing something

30. An ideal form of government is democracy tempered with assassination

Voltaire, French writer


31. The difference between a misfortune and a calamity is this: If Gladstone fell into the Thames, it would be a misfortune. But if someone dragged him out again, that would be a calamity

Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister considers the assisted drowning of the opposition

32. In waking a tiger, use a long stick.

Mao Zedong

33. If God had intended us not to eat animals, how come he made them out of meat?

Sarah Palin, US politician evaluates Mao's words

34. One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.

Plato, Greek philosopher

See above. Must see Russell Brand about this...

35. Amigo! Amigo!

George W. Bush hails Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in Spanish at G8 summit

36. A fool and his money are soon elected

Will Rogers

See above

37. If ignorance goes to $40 a barrel. I want drilling rights to George Bush's head.

Jim Hightower, US political activist on George Bush Snr

See above

38. A man may fight for many things. His country, his principles, his friends. The glistening tear on the cheek of a golden child. But personally, I'd mud-wrestle my own mother for a ton of cash, an amusing clock and a sack of French porn.

Edmund Blackadder on the art of selflessness and expenses filing

That just about covers it.

Happy Politicking.

Cartoon images under creative commons licence from DonkeyHotey

Other images adapted by author from publicly available WikiCommons Images.