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John Major

Geburtstag: 29. März 1943

Sir John Major, KG, CH ist ein britischer Politiker und Angehöriger der Konservativen Partei. Vom 28. November 1990 bis 2. Mai 1997 war er als Nachfolger von Margaret Thatcher Premierminister des Vereinigten Königreichs. Wikipedia

Zitate John Major

„Fifty years on from now, Britain will still be the country of long shadows on county grounds, warm beer, invincible green suburbs, dog lovers and pools fillers and, as George Orwell said, 'Old maids bicycling to holy communion through the morning mist' and, if we get our way, Shakespeare will still be read even in school.“

—  John Major

David Butler and Gareth Butler, "Twentieth Century British Political Facts", p. 296
Speech to the Conservative Group for Europe, 22 April 1993. http://www.johnmajor.co.uk/page1086.html The reference to George Orwell is to his 1941 essay "The Lion and the Unicorn".
1990s, 1993

„It is time to return to those core values, time to get back to basics: to self-discipline and respect for the law, to consideration for others, to accepting responsibility for yourself and your family, and not shuffling it off on other people and the state.“

—  John Major

Nicholas Wood, Jill Sherman, Sheila Gunn, "Major gives seal of approval to Tories' right-wing agenda", The Times, 9 October 1993
Conservative Party conference speech, 8 October 1993. The phrase was associated with personal morality and backfired when a succession of senior Conservatives fell to scandals that winter.
1990s, 1993

„George Foulkes: Will the Prime Minister tell us what word he would legitimately use to describe those Cabinet Ministers who, while professing loyalty to him, are setting up telephone lines in campaign offices for the second round of the election?
John Major: I have no knowledge of that. I can say that the speed at which these matters can be done is a tribute to privatisation.“

—  John Major

Prime Minister's Questions http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm199495/cmhansrd/1995-06-29/Orals-2.html, 29 June, 1995.
It was rumoured that Cabinet member Michael Portillo had installed telephone lines in the event of his standing in the Conservative leadership election.
1990s, 1995

„We will do precisely what the British nation has done all through its history when it had its back to the wall — turn round and fight for the things it believes in, and that is what I shall do.“

—  John Major

Michael White, Patrick Wintour, "Hanley set to carry the can as defiant Major vows to fight on", The Guardian, 6 May 1995.
Public statement following poor showing in local elections, 5 May 1995. Major's mixed metaphor (if your back is to the wall and you turn round, you are then facing the wall) was remarked upon.
1990s, 1995

„…so unpopular, if he became a funeral director people would stop dying“

—  John Major

Tony Banks, "The wit and wisdom of Tony Banks" http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4593562.stm, BBC News, 8 January 2006

„I am walking over hot coals suspended over a deep pit at the bottom of which are a large number of vipers baring their fangs.“

—  John Major

Nicholas Wood and Michael Prescott, "Major threatens general election if he fails to win Maastricht vote", Sunday Times, 25 October 1992.
1990s, 1992

„Something I was not aware had happened suddenly turned out not to have happened.“

—  John Major

Joe Joseph, "Elementary lessons in logic for enquiry's bemused counsel", The Times, 18 January 1994.
Evidence to the Scott Inquiry, 17 January 1994. Major was speaking of his time as Foreign Secretary in 1989 when the guidelines for arms exports to Iraq had been relaxed, although he had not been told. At one point, when the decision to relax the guidelines was criticised, it was decided to defend the Government by claiming that the guidelines were changed only in wording and unchanged in effect.
1990s, 1994

„Summers simply won't be the same without him.“

—  John Major

Frank Keating, "Tributes flow as Johnners, voice of English cricket, dies at 81", The Guardian, 6 January 1994.
Tribute on the death of cricket commentator Brian Johnston.
1990s, 1994

„If the answer is more politicians, you are asking the wrong question.“

—  John Major

Attributed to Major by Vernon Bogdanor, " Why the Lords doesn't need more politicians http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2007/02/11/do1104.xml", Sunday Telegraph, 11 February 2007
Attributed

„A soundbite never buttered any parsnips.“

—  John Major

Contemporary version of English proverb "fine words butter no parsnips". Attributed to Major in The Guardian, 31 January 1998, p. 13m, and on Have I Got News For You, 1 May 1997
Attributed

„The man who ran away from the circus to become an accountant“

—  John Major

Linda Smith, 'I see myself as Russia's true believer' http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,1745490,00.html, The Guardian, 3 April 2006

„If the implication of his remarks is that we should sit down and talk with Mr. Adams and the Provisional IRA, I can say only that that would turn my stomach and those of most hon. Members; we will not do it. If and when there is a total ending of violence, and if and when that ending of violence is established for a significant time, we shall talk to all the constitutional parties that have people elected in their names. I will not talk to people who murder indiscriminately.“

—  John Major

Hansard, HC 6 ser, vol 231 col 35 (1 November 1993).
In reply to a question from Dennis Skinner concerning peace talks in Ireland. This reply caused Major some embarrassment when it was revealed on 29 November 1993 that at the time government officials (although not Ministers) were in negotiations with Sinn Féin and the IRA.
1990s, 1993

„John Major: What I don't understand, Michael, is why such a complete wimp like me keeps winning everything.
Michael Brunson: You've said it, you said precisely that.
Major: I suppose Gus will tell me off for saying that, won't you Gus?
Brunson: No, no, no … it's a fair point. The trouble is that people are not perceiving you as winning.
Major: Oh, I know … why not? Because…
Brunson: Because rotten sods like me, I suppose, don't get the message clear [laughs].
Major: No, no, no. I wasn't going to say that - well partly that, yes, partly because of S-H-one-Ts like you, yes, that's perfectly right. But also because those people who are opposing our European policy have said the way to oppose the Government on the European policy is to attack me personally. The Labour Party started before the last election. It has been picked up and it is just one of these fashionable things that slips into the Parliamentary system and it is an easy way to proceed.
Brunson: But I mean you … has been overshadowed … my point is there, not just the fact that you have been overshadowed by Maastricht and people don't…
Major: The real problem is this…
Brunson: But you've also had all the other problems on top - the Mellors, the Mates … and it's like a blanket - you use the phrase 'masking tape' but I mean that's it, isn't it?
Major: Even, even, even, as an ex-whip I can't stop people sleeping with other people if they ought not, and various things like that. But the real problem is…
Brunson: I've heard other people in the Cabinet say 'Why the hell didn't he get rid of Mates on Day One?' Mates was a fly, you could have swatted him away.
Major: Yeah, well, they did not say that at the time, I have to tell you. And I can tell you what they would have said if I had. They'd have said 'This man was being set up. He was trying to do his job for his constituent. He had done nothing improper, as the Cabinet Secretary told me. It was an act of gross injustice to have got rid of him'. Nobody knew what I knew at the time. But the real problem is that one has a tiny majority. Don't overlook that. I could have all these clever and decisive things that people wanted me to do and I would have split the Conservative Party into smithereens. And you would have said, Aren't you a ham-fisted leader? You've broken up the Conservative Party.
Brunson: No, well would you? If people come along and…
Major: Most people in the Cabinet, if you ask them sensibly, would tell you that, yes. Don't underestimate the bitterness of European policy until it is settled - It is settled now.
Brunson: Three of them - perhaps we had better not mention open names in this room - perhaps the three of them would have - if you'd done certain things, they would have come along and said, 'Prime Minister, we resign'. So you say 'Fine, you resign'.
Major: We all know which three that is. Now think that through. Think it through from my perspective. You are Prime Minister. You have got a majority of 18. You have got a party still harking back to a golden age that never was but is now invented. And you have three rightwing members of the Cabinet actually resigned. What happens in the parliamentary party?
Brunson: They create a lot of fuss but you have probably got three damn good ministers in the Cabinet to replace them.
Major: Oh, I can bring in other people into the Cabinet, that is right, but where do you think most of this poison has come from? It is coming from the dispossessed and the never-possessed. You and I can both think of ex-ministers who are going around causing all sorts of trouble. Would you like three more of the bastards out there? What's the Lyndon Johnson, er, maxim?
Brunson: If you've got them by the balls their hearts and minds will follow.
Major: No, that's not what I had in mind, though it's pretty good.“

—  John Major

Andrew Culf, "What the `wimp' really said to the S-H-one-T", The Guardian, 26 July 1993.
'Off-the-record' exchange with ITN reporter Michael Brunson following videotaped interview, 23 July 1993. Neither Major nor Brunson realised their microphones were still live and being recorded by BBC staff preparing for a subsequent interview; the tape was swiftly leaked to the Daily Mirror.

„The Conservative Party must make its choice. Every leader is leader only with the support of his party. That is true of me too. That is why I am no longer prepared to tolerate the present situation. In short, it is time to put up or shut up.“

—  John Major

Michael White, "Major's ultimate gamble", Guardian, 23 June 1995.
Statement in the garden of 10 Downing Street announcing his resignation as Conservative Party leader in order to seek re-election, 22 June 1995.
1990s, 1995

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