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What they said in '92

Compiled by Andrew Calcutt

Bosnians 'tortured with batons and fed to dogs'.
Times front page, 7 August

She may have had a gentle face and been a pretty young woman, but the 18-year old Serbian would laugh in pleasure as she used broken bottles to gouge the eyes from Bosnians at the Luka concentration camp in Brcko.
First sentence of Guardian story, 7 August

Almost all massacre reports in Bosnia's ethnic conflict have come from second-hand sources or from individual refugees and have been difficult or impossible to verify independently.
Oh, by the way...last line of Guardian story, 12 August

Scores of hungry Bosnians queuing for bread in Sarajevo were killed or wounded yesterday when mortars fired from Serb-held positions overlooking the city slammed into a crowded marketplace.
Guardian, 28 May

UN officials and senior Western military officers believe some of the worst recent killings in Sarajevo, including the massacre of at least 16 people in a bread queue, were carried out by the city's Muslim defenders - not Serb besiegers - as a propaganda ploy to win world sympathy and military intervention.
Independent, 22 August

Belsen '92
Daily Star on Serb camps

To call the camps 'concentration camps' is a minimisation of Nazi concentration camps, because not even the gulag camps could be compared with the Nazi camps.
Veteran Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal

Pouring in food to relieve immediate distress will prolong the pain of adjusting to free market economics.
Advice from the Times on famine in Africa

We have to do away with the old idea that strikers are national heroes, fighting for a free Poland against communism. Poland is now a normal country. Strikers' right to wave the national flag really ended with the first free elections.
Polish deputy premier, Henry Goryszewski

The Stasi were guarantors of social peace.
Peter Michael Diestel, leader of Brandenburg Christian Democrats

In South Africa rioters regard the cool water as welcome relief.
Lieutenant-General J Swart (Internal Stability) on the joys of being water-cannoned

The market system is in fact characterised by a highly developed but decentralised planning system, which successfully manages productivity processes and service functions within the chosen area of activity.
The ANC discovers capitalist planning

As the troopers of the 18th cavalry took back the streets of Los Angeles street by street and block by block, so we must take back our cities, and take back our culture, and take back our country.
Republican Pat Buchanan declares 'cultural war'

The lawless social anarchy we saw in Los Angeles is directly related to the breakdown of family structure, personal responsibility and social order.
Dan Quayle

As you know, I planned a trip out there for some time, so it fits in very nicely.
George Bush on his post-riots visit to Los Angeles

I have opinions of my own, strong opinions, but I don't always agree with them.
George Bush

If people don't work, if they can work, they shouldn't eat.
Bill Clinton

A man who can smile in your face while he pisses down your leg.
Bill Becker, head of the AFL-CIO, on Bill Clinton

It has been an honour to be your grain of sand in this process.
Ross Perot on 19 per cent of the presidential vote

We both have our problems.
Princess Diana empathises with a male client at a counselling centre

The freedom to which these 'hippies' aspire is not the freedom of mankind in a civilised society. It is the freedom of bandits or wild animals.
Auberon Waugh

Fear of damnation was a message reinforced through attendance at church each week. Loss of that fear has meant a critical motive has been lost to young people when they decide whether to try to be good citizens.
Education secretary John Patten

We shall fight and win this election....
It is time for Labour.

Neil Kinnock launching his election campaign

John Major last night caught the unmistakable whiff of election defeat and the looming prospect of a Kinnock government.
Guardian political editor Michael White, April-fooled by the polls, 1 April

So long John. It was nice knowing you.
Sarah Baxter in the New Statesman, which came out the day after the election

He should have been a candidate...in Wolverhampton, where his colour would have been more appropriate.
Former Tory mayor Dudley Aldridge endorses Cheltenham's doomed black Tory candidate John Taylor

The Revolutionary Communist Party has produced its analysis of the general election. Working on the good old Marxist principle that every cloud has a silver lining, it concludes that the Tories are facing 'a major crisis of confidence' and will be hit by 'fragmentation' as the recession turns to slump. Oh dear.
Sunday Times, May

Oh, what a shambles!...[the government's] authority was shaken and its lack of political astuteness laid bare. For three days last week, effective power passed to the 1922 executive committee of Tory backbenchers....Not a single minister challenged the Sunday Times survey that said recession was turning into depression.
Sunday Times, October. Oh dear

This department is about the people who are currently in work.
Employment secretary Gillian Shephard shuns the jobless

With the election behind us, with confidence coming back, Britain's economic future is certainly brighter.
Norman Lamont, 13 May

John Major has embarked on an economic strategy designed to see the British pound replace the German mark as the hardest and most trusted currency in the European Community.
Sunday Times, 2 August

There are going to be no devaluations, no leaving the ERM.
Norman Lamont, 26 August

It's a cold world outside the ERM.
John Major, 10 September, less than a week before Black Wednesday

There is no question of any change in the central parity of the pound against the Deutschmark.
Norman Lamont, 13 September, three days before Black Wednesday

Lamont pound victory: the chancellor won a spectacular victory over the Germans last night...should ease pressure on the pound in currency markets...a major boost for Mr Lamont.
Daily Express, 14 September, two days before Black Wednesday

Consumers and businessmen can now wake from that nightmare and start getting on with the job again, confident of eventual recovery.
Times, 15 September, the day before Black Wednesday

The government has concluded that Britain's best interests would be served by suspending our exchange rate membership.
Norman Lamont, 16 September, Black Wednesday

History is just a series of unique events.
Norman Lamont, October

The Sun salutes John Major as he heads back to Downing Street.
10 April

The Sun salutes John Major, 28 October

If the royal family doesn't change many aspects of its style, it will simply disappear, like its relations did across the Continent.
Harold Brooks-Baker of Burke's Peerage

Our minds are not closed and the mines are not closed.
John Major postpones the cutting of 30 000 miners' jobs

Against the background of the market, we are quite clear that unless the market changes, these collieries will close.
British Coal chairman Neil Clarke tells a commons committee what the result of the government's 'full and open' inquiry will be

We can't afford to have people lingering around [in hospital] for a recuperative holiday.
Health minister Virginia Bottomley

A cheap and cheerful service at one moment in the day for typists, and perhaps a more luxurious service for the civil service and businessmen.
Transport minister Roger Freeman's plans for railways in the classless society

Waiting for the world economy to recover is beginning to feel like waiting for Godot.
Barclays Economic Review

No, I have no regrets....My method and evidence have not been discredited.
Dr Frank Skuse, home office forensic scientist whose evidence helped convict Judith Ward and the Birmingham Six

The blokes would go the full whack of eliminating these people if they could get away with it.
Former British paratrooper on Irish people in Coalisland

Shoot first, ask questions later.
Sun editorial after the arrest of five Irish people later released without charge

It's always difficult making predictions, especially about the future.
Sir Charles Powell, former adviser to Margaret Thatcher

One does not wish to have homosexuality in the armed forces, particularly across the ranks.
Andrew Robathan, Tory MP

It's all about saving human life.
Merseyside chief constable Jim Sharples on police use of guns

Economical with the truth...shot through with corner-cutting and expediency.
Chief Inspector of Police Sir John Woodcock on police procedures

I can't see the sense in it really, as it makes me a Commander of the British Empire. It would have been more sensible to make me a Commander of Milton Keynes. At least that exists.
Spike Milligan

That's fine phonetically, but you're missing just a little bit.
Dan Quayle tells a schoolboy to spell 'potato' with an 'e'

These filthy books don't do any good.
Barbara Cartland on Madonna's Sex

Fuck off.
Paul Gascoigne's 'message to the Norwegian people'
Reproduced from Living Marxism issue 50, December 1992



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