Political Clangers

George W Bush is famous for his "Bushisms". But he isn't the first politician to mangle the English language, and he won't be the last. This page provides examples of unconsciously funny political statements and speeches collected from Walter Jerrold's Bulls, Blunders, and Howlers.  The extracts are reproduced for readers in countries where the book is in the public domain, which, to the best of our knowledge, includes Australia. For other countries, please check your local copyright laws.

Joseph Devlin MP:

"I and my colleagues are the only people who can come to this House and speak with clean hands"

Lord Balfour, House of Lords:

"The noble lord shakes his head, and I am very glad to hear it"

A Parliamentary candidate, answering a question about his religious beliefs:

"My great-grandfather was baptised in the Church of England, married in the Church of England and buried in a Church of England graveyard. And so was I."

Sir Boyle Roche:

"I don't see, Mr Speaker, why we should put ourselves out of the way to serve posterity. What has ever posterity done for us? By posterity, sir, I do not mean our ancestors, but those who are to come immediately after them."

Sir Boyle Roche:

"I smell a rat, I see it floating in the air. But mark me, I shall yet nip it in the bud".

Sir Boyle Roche:

"Mr Speaker, the profligacy of the times is such that little children, who can neither walk nor talk, may be seen running about the streets cursing their Maker".

Sir Boyle Roche:

"I would give up half — nay, the whole of the constitution to preserve the remainder".

When debating the union of the English and Irish Parliaments, Sir Boyle Roche declared his love for them was so great that he:

"would have the two sister countries embrace like one brother"

An impassioned speaker during a General Election campaign:

"Our opponents are trying to win this election with a campaign of lying; but, thank Heaven, we have a candidate who can beat them at their own game"

An Irish MP:

"Since the Government have let the cat out of the bag, there is nothing to do but take the bull by the horns"

An unnamed MP:

"I wish the motion was at the bottom of the bottomless abyss"

A commentator, on the state of political affairs:

"It's enough to make a man commit suicide or perish in the attempt"

A voter, on the state of his country:

"Her cup of miseries has been for ages overflowing, and it is not yet full"


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