History

‘Your horse is gay’: The Noughties in quotes

When writing a book, I accumulate a lot of quotes, not all of which get used in the final text. Here are some leftovers from All in It Together: England in the Early 21st Century, in a brief history of the Noughties.


‘The prejudices of a smug, self-selecting, metropolitan elite have been imposed ruthlessly on a largely unsuspecting public.’ – Sun columnist Richard Littlejohn (2001)

‘If we, as a group, were black or gay, we would not be victimised or picked upon.’ – Prince Charles defends farmers and country-dwellers (2002)

‘I’m a male lesbian. I don’t only fancy women, I want to be a woman.’ – comedian Eddie Izzard (2002)

‘It is about time a transvestite potter won the Turner Prize.’ – potter Grayson Perry, winner of the 2003 Turner Prize (2003)

‘I was amazed when I came to this country at the way the women here behave. From London to Newcastle to Leeds to Manchester I saw women vomiting in streets. It is disgusting the way they behave.’ – French footballer David Ginola (2003)

‘We employ Muslim women refugees, use unionised factories, run a “fair trade” project in Brazil, and our wooden dildos are made from naturally felled trees.’ – Sam Roddick, founder of sex-shop Coco de Mer (2003)


‘A woolsack without a lord chancellor resplendent in his wig will be like Ascot without the hats and morning coats.’ – 15th Viscount Falkland, Liberal Democrat peer (2003)

‘It is so sad to learn, as a lifelong Labour voter, that our home secretaries are worse than Conservative ones.’ – playwright John Mortimer (2003)

‘The Labour Party has been hijacked and the passengers must try to take back control of the plane.’ – Labour MP George Galloway, shortly before being expelled from the party (2003)

‘Tony Blair is no longer prime minister of Britain, he is the foreign minister of the United States.’ – Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa (2003)

‘I have no doubt that we are doing the right thing. I have no doubt that our cause is just.’ – Tony Blair on the eve of the invasion of Iraq (2003)


‘Malcolm, who teaches in the village primary school, recounted how he found himself teaching a class of six children watched over by three OFSTED inspectors who were, in turn, watched over, by three of Her Majesty’s Inspectors.’ – Labour MP Chris Mullin (2004)

‘Political correctness is, in essence, about power. It is someone telling someone else what to do, how to behave, how to think.’ – Conservative Party leader Michael Howard (2004)

‘We must reconnect with the patriotic working class, who have left their crosses of St George on their semi-detached houses and white vans. Policies on immigration, Europe, crime need to be toughened up.’ – Tory MP Michael Spicer offers his advice to Michael Howard (2004)

‘I have no ambitions, I have no intentions. I have no desire to be the leader of UKIP.’ – MEP Robert Kilroy-Silk, shortly before launching his bid to become UKIP leader (2004)


‘A certain ruthlessness is a feminine quality.’ – Stella Rimington, first female director general of MI5 (2004)

‘We did find evidence of the Mediterranean diet in Scotland – albeit in the form of deep-fried pizza.’ – Medical Research Council (2004)

‘What enjoyment does a 21-year-old single mother of three living in a council sink estate get? The only enjoyment is a cigarette.’ – health secretary John Reid (2004)

‘David Beckham today is beginning to look like an Iron Maiden album cover.’ – broadcaster Jeremy Clarkson on the footballer’s tattoos (2004)

‘They could rap about the trials and tribulations of being royalty. They went to Eton, didn’t they? So their English skills must be amazing.’ – rapper Dizzee Rascal on Princes William and Harry (2004)

‘Do you realize your horse is gay?’ – an Oxford student to a mounted police officer; he was subsequently prosecuted for making homophobic comments (2005)


‘Life isn’t like coursework, baby. It’s one damn essay crisis after another.’ – Boris Johnson (2005)

‘The Tories’ main problem is that they don’t have anyone you’d want to go to bed with.’ – television presenter Anne Robinson (2005)

‘At the conference everybody was watching the cricket! Nobody was watching the television of the conference. So it shows the real English nature is sport rather than politics.’ – Tony Benn (2006)

‘It’s like an impossibly beautiful Iago goading a simple lumbering Othello.’ – playwright Alan Bennett on Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney in the England-Portugal World Cup quarter-final (2006)

‘This skunk is unbelievably powerful. It’s completely different to… I think I’ll stop there.’ – Conservative leader David Cameron (2007)

‘You thought Tony Blair was a cunt? Watch this!’ – comedian Frankie Boyle on Gordon Brown becoming prime minister (2007)

‘The people of this nation have never gone in for flag-waving at the behest of those in political power.’ – Daily Express editorial (2007)

‘We are not a nation of Alf Garnetts.’ – immigration minister Liam Byrne (2007)

‘MigrationWatch denies accusations of racism. But its central message – that immigration has reached unsustainable levels – carries a whiff of xenophobia, to say the least.’ – editorial in the Independent (2007)


‘Capitalism is seen to have failed and the left is on the attack.’ – shadow chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne (2008)

‘Welcome to the first 5 Live Sport of the Obama era. We’re coming to you live from Washington and Old Trafford…’ – BBC Radio 5 Live presenter (2009)

‘There is a guy with a gun standing outside our front door. I wonder sometimes how that must affect our kids.’ – foreign secretary David Miliband on the price paid by politicians’ families (2009)

‘The taxpayer will not be taken for a goostrumnoodle for a second time.’ – Baron Myners, financial services secretary on bankers (2009)

‘The biggest political crisis in my lifetime.’ – Liberal Democrat MP Vince Cable on the expenses scandal (2009)

‘There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.’ – atheist advertising campaign (2009)



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