The fine art of political phrase-making

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Antony Jay’s Oxford Dictionary of Political Quotations – entitled Lend Me Your Ears – is now in its fourth edition.

To mark its publication, I went to interview Antony – perhaps best known as the co-author of the “Yes, Minister” series – at his home in Somerset. You can hear the whole interview by clicking here; or you can listen to highlights by clicking on the links below.

  • My first question was: what makes a quotation a political quotation? Click here.
  • Politics is a field more prone than most to misquotation. Antony Jay discusses a notorious quote attributed to James Callaghan, which he never in fact said. Click here to find out what it was.
  • What are the challenges of pinning down who said what in the modern world of 24-hour news, blogs and soundbites? Click here.
  • Was there such a thing as a Golden Age of political phrase-making? Click here to hear Antony Jay’s view.
  • Who are some of Tony’s personal favourites among the many thousands of writers and politicians in the book? Click here to find out.
  • Finally I asked Tony about the origins of the phrase “Yes, Minister”. Click here to discover which politician first recorded it.

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