Oxford Dictionary of Political Quotations

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The dictionary is strong on quotes from current or recent politicians, but opinion formers of previous ages also have their place. ...

‘There are two kinds of chancellor: Those who fail and those who get out in time.’ This is a quotation attributed to Gordon Brown and, of course, included in the new paperback edition of the Oxford Dictionary of Political Quotations. The last edition was in 2006, and since then we have seen a spectacular financial collapse which perhaps makes the Gordon Brown quote even more apposite.

The dictionary is strong on quotes from current or recent politicians, but opinion formers of previous ages have their place. Take, for example 19th century economist Walter Bagehot with a quote that might raise a few eyebrows today: ‘Capital must be propelled by self-interest.’

The great thing about political quotations is that, whatever subject you are writing about, you can usually find a useful quote to support your argument or enliven your theme. If your theme is success, for example, you can go back to Roman Emperor Augustus for: ‘He inherited it brick and left it marble.’