I remember

As the election dominates news and continues to bore the pants off everyone, we feel a kind of early silly season coming on. Therefore, a propos of nothing:

Former Australian Prime Minister the late Gough Whitlam was not a wit on a par with David Lloyd George, Winston Churchill or Dennis Skinner. In fact he couldn’t even match George (Gideon) Osborne or Andy Burnham in the witty banter department. But one Whitlam one liner is worth recalling.

Accused of uttering a profanity in the Australian Parliament, Whitlam replied:

“Never in the House did I use the word which comes to mind. The nearest I came to doing so was when Sir Winton Turnbull, a member of the cavalleria rusticana, was raving and ranting on the adjournment and shouted: ‘I am a Country member.’ I interjected, ‘I remember.’

He others said that he could not understand why, for the first time in all the years he had been speaking in the House, there was instant and loud applause from both sides.

Another Country Member ?

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg (yes, he’s still alive), currently the deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, declared it would be “hugely unjust” if people with depression were prevented from working as airline pilots. I’m sure we all see his point: the risk that a pilot suffering from depression might deliberately crash his plane, killing 150 people on board, weighs very lightly in the balance against the need to make a sanctimonious statement that will win applause from mental health lobbyists.

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