“Events”

Another snippet from my forthcoming book…

The British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan once observed that his biggest problem was “events”. Predicting anything is a recipe for failure and frustration but politics is almost impossible due to such events. Indeed, the only thing that you can say with any degree of certainly about politics is that if you take a long enough timeframe almost anything is possible. Predictions about the end of history now seem as ridiculous as Thomas Jefferson saying that “History, by apprising (people) of the past, will enable them to judge the future: it will avail them of experience of other times and nations”. But if this were true then why did United Nations officials decide to cover up a copy of Picasso’s Guernica, which hung outside the entrance to the UN Security Council, on the very day that Colin Powell addressed the UN about the case for war in Iraq? We are, it seems, destined to repeat past mistakes.

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