Oxford Dictionary of Political Quotations

Fourth Edition

Antony Jay

Oxford Dictionary of Political Quotations

Fourth Edition

Antony Jay






30 Jul 2012


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The power of words in politics is well known and the fourth edition of the Oxford Dictionary of Political Quotations brings together both words of wisdom and things that might have been better left unsaid. This unique reference book not only charts the most influential political events of recent times via the things people said about them - including an international financial crisis and a watershed in American presidential politics - but also digs deeper than ever into the rich heritage of political history from around the world.

A mouth-watering collection for anyone with an interest in history and politics, Antony Jay (co-author of the famous TV series Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister) has assembled both a crash course in political wisdom past and present and a treasure trove of politicians' cock-ups and put-downs, with more than 300 new quotations and over 90 new authors, from Sarah Palin to David Cameron by way of Silvio Berlusconi. The dictionary also includes an essay by the political journalist Matthew Parris and keyword and subject indexes to help in tracing just the right quote.

Quotations include:

'The inherited and permanent fact that North America speaks English.' Otto von Bismarck, when asked what was the greatest political fact of modern times

'British jobs for British workers.' Gordon Brown

'If I misspoke that was just a misstatement.' Hillary Rodham Clinton

'You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.' Rahm Emanuel

'A prince never lacks legitimate reasons to excuse his failure to keep his word.' Niccolò Machiavelli

'We are not going to give up our country for a mere X on a ballot. How can a ballpoint pen fight with a gun?' Robert Mugabe

'We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.' Barack Obama


From Rhetoric to Soundbites by Matthew Parris
Introduction to Fourth Edition
Introduction to First Edition
How to Use the Dictionary
Keyword Index
Selective Subject Index
UK General Election 2010


Edited by Antony Jay

Antony Jay has spent 50 years travelling in the realms of government and politics as a television writer and producer. The journey has included the editorship of Tonight, writing the two royal TV documentaries Royal Family and Elizabeth R, and many programmes with Sir David Frost, including the twelve interviews with Harold Wilson in A Prime Minister on Prime Ministers. He was a senior executive in BBC TV, and a member of the government's Annan Committee on the Future of Broadcasting. In the 1980s he wrote the hugely successful comedies Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister.


`Review from previous edition Excellent.' Daily Express

`There is something on every page to make you sit up with interest, chuckle, or reconsider what you thought you knew.' Mail on Sunday

`This is not merely an excellent work, but it fills a serious gap. ' Financial Times

`It is hard to stop browsing once you start... ' Daily Mail

`I've been reading Antony Jay's Oxford Book of Political Quotations. It's quite excellent. ' Simon Carr, The Independent

`Treasure trove of cynicism, shrewdness and gaffes.' The Herald [Glasgow]

`burbles with political bon mots from across the continents and the centuries' Washington Post

`great value and an excellent choice' Library Journal