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April 28, 2016

“A week is a long time in politics.” (Especially for voters!)

Harold Wilson week in politics quote 1960s

THE MODERN POLITICAL PROVERB:

“A week is a long time in politics.”
       Harold Wilson
(1916-1995)
       British Labour Party politician; Prime Minister 1964-970 & 1974-1976
       A political saying widely credited to Wilson
       Like any savvy politician, Wilson was willing to take credit for this oft-cited and still oft-used saying when credit was given to him. However, it’s not clear whether he actually used the line before reporters and quotation researchers began asking him when he first used it.
       The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs says “no record of him using it can be found from earlier than 1968, and Wilson himself is on record saying he cannot remember when he first uttered it.” In his book Sayings of the Century, quote maven Nigel Rees speculates that “the phrase was probably first uttered at a meeting between Wilson and the Parliamentary lobby in the wake of the Sterling crisis shortly after he first took office as Prime Minister in 1964. However, Robert Carvel...recalled Wilson at a Labour Party conference in 1960 saying ‘Forty-eight hours is a long time in politics.’” At any rate, after people began attributing “A week is a long time in politics” to Wilson, he seems to have accepted the attribution and used the saying on a number of subsequent occasions.

       It has come to be used most frequently as a comment on the rapid changes that can occur in voter attitudes toward candidates during the course of political campaigns.


RENTOUL’S COUNTERQUOTE:

“A week is not a long time in politics; much more stays the same than changes. People do not vote for hope and vision, but for the lesser evil. And nobody really minds a divided party. Division, managed properly, can convey vitality while draining opponents of a reason to exist.” 
       John Rentoul 
      Chief Political Commentator for the UK newspaper The Independent 
      In his column in the October 20, 2015 issue of The Independent

Joseph Chamberlain

CHAMBERLAIN’S PRECURSOR:

“In politics, there is no use looking beyond the next fortnight.” 
       Joseph Chamberlain (1836-1914) 
      British Liberal politician 
      According to A.J. Balfour, the 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, Chamberlain made this remark to him in a conversation in 1886. 
      Cited in a letter Balfour wrote on March 24, 1886, reprinted in his book Chapters of Autobiography (published in 1930).

term limits button

ONE REASON FOR TERM LIMITS:

“The weak are a long time in politics.”
       Neil Shand
       British journalist and writer for BBC comedy shows 
       A quip Shand made that could apply to a long list of career politicians. 
       Shand said it about the long-serving British Conservative politician John Gummer. (Cited in the book Political Wit: Quips and Quotes from the Back Benches and Beyond.)

Kid addicted to TV

THE VANISHING CHILD’S PLAY VARIATION:

“Two hours is a long time in a child's day, and when you add the two to three hours that American children typically spend watching TV, you can see that at an ever younger age, children are losing the opportunity to experience the joys and benefits of traditional play.”
         Dr. Lawrence E. Shapiro
and Robin K. Sprague
       An observation in their book The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook for Kids

CBS News anchor Dan Rather got "scooped" on his second to last day as anchor of the CBS EVENING NEWS.  Ben and Jerry's created a new flavor called "A Farewell Scoop" as a tribute to the newsman's numerous news scoops during his 24-year career as anchor of the CBS EVENING NEWS.  The Vermont ice cream company sent their newest flavor to the Broadcast Center in NYC.  "We thought it fitting for a newsman whose fed us so much information over the years," Ben and Jerry wrote on the label.  "May your ice cream bowl always runneth over." Cr: John P. Filo/CBS copyright 2005 CBS Broadcasting Inc. all rights reserved

DAN RATHER’S UPDATE FOR THE 24-HOUR NEWS ERA:

“Overnight is a long time in politics; a week is forever.”
       Dan Rather
       American TV journalist
       According to a post on quotation expert Barry Popik’s “Big Apple” website, Rather began using this saying and variations of it in the 1980s and has repeated it many times since.

Trump Cagle cartoon - Full disclosure

MY 2016 UPDATE OF RATHER’S UPDATE:

“A week seems like an even longer long time in politics this year, thanks to the 24-hour news coverage, Facebook posting and Tweeting about every mind-numbing absurdity of the 2016 presidential campaign.”
       Robert Deis
       Editor of QuoteCounterquote.com and ThisDayinQuotes.com
       (Cartoon by R.J. Matson via Cagle.com)

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