Honest Opinions

Interesting article in today's Times. Centred around the tradition of British diplomats penning valedictory letters on retirement. Quite pithy, and mildly amusing, comment, but the custom was stopped by Civil Service kill-joys 3 years ago.


There is, I fear, no question that the average Nicaraguan is one of the most dishonest, unreliable, violent and alcoholic of the Latin Americans,”


Lord Moran, who ended a 39-year diplomatic career in 1984 as high commissioner to Ottawa, summed up Canada with a dismissive tone.

“One does not encounter here the ferocious competition of talent that takes place in the United Kingdom,” he wrote. “Anyone who is even moderately good at what they do — in literature, the theatre, skiing or whatever — tends to become a national figure. And anyone who stands out at all from the crowd tends to be praised to the skies and given the Order of Canada at once.”


Sir David Hunt, the high commissioner to Nigeria, claimed in 1969 that the country’s inhabitants had “a maddening habit of always choosing the course of action which will do the maximum damage to their own interests”.

He continued: “They are also not singular in this. Africans as a whole are not only not averse to cutting off their nose to spite their face; they regard such an operation as a triumph of cosmetic surgery

Slightly baffled as to the Times comment that "some of the letters verge on racism and risk causing offence" - sign of the times I suppose. Reinstitute this practice is what I say - nothing but bland, censored, humourless comment for future historians otherwise.

Talking of quotes, I heard a cracking one today on BBRCR4. Churchill was reputedly renowned for not washing his hands after visiting the toilets, and was challenged by a teacher from Eton. The conversation apparently went something like this:

"At Eton we wash our hands after visiting the toilets"

Churchill's reply:

"At Harrow, we learnt not to piss on our hands!" :D

If it's not true, it should be.

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