Matthew Parris & Phil Mason
A collection of quotations by politicians, things that they really ought not to have said, either because they (the quotations) are unbelievably stupid, apparently dishonest, later proven incorrect, or display an astonishing quality of misjudgement by the speaker ~ or some combination of these. The title, of course, sets the tone for the book, as it is what was displayed behind the second President Bush on the occasion of his visit to an aircraft carrier to declare that the Iraq War was over: The sheer presumption, arrogance, stupidity even, of that phrase was noted by numerous commentators at the time, and has been held in ridicule ever since; while many of the quotes in the book are of a similar level of immediately apparent absurdity, there are a large number which have only through the passage of time revealed the truth.
This is the second edition of the book, apparently, and includes many which were not available to the first for precisely the delay in full revelation, that their absurdity had not yet come to light. One imagines that, as long as politicians continue speaking, and events continue happening, and historians continue investigating, there will be the possibility of many further editions. Rather a sad prospect, in a way. One would like to think that politicians, like the best of trainable animals, could learn, but that does not seem to be the case. All one can do, then, is assume that there will be further chances for amusement at their continuing to speak.
I must point out that i am a little disappointed in Matthew Parris; i enjoy listening to him on the radio occasionally, when he seems quite cogent and intelligent. He was, however, a politician previously, which makes him eligible for inclusion in this book ~ and, as a politician he doubtless, by definition, said things worthy of inclusion ~ and yet he is nowhere to be found. A little more self-examination, or honesty, might have been refreshing from a man who used to feed at the public trough.