Quote of the week

Johnson used to at least be able to give a passable imitation of being Boris Johnson. Now he can’t even manage that. The gags and the mannerisms that used to be his calling card, now just fall flat. A one-trick pony whose one trick everyone knows. The surface has been stripped bare to reveal a core of molten need. Someone who craves attention and fears he wouldn’t exist without it. Someone whose narcissism leaves him devoid of empathy. Incapable of either giving or receiving love.

John Crace
The Guardian
4 October 2012

Millions of poor people do want a better life. But that does not mean they will demand changes the fiscus can’t afford — research shows that, because the poor are engaged in a battle for survival, they are pragmatic and aware of the limits to change. Poor people have been on the streets protesting for eight years and the demands that emerge are hardly extravagant. Often protesters simply want politicians to listen. Or they want tarred roads or better housing or that officials leave people to live and trade where they please. The militant voices are not those of the poor but of the organised middle class. The poor are not organised — this is why the grass-roots protests don’t produce detailed demands. Protests are often organised by ambitious local politicians who know people are unhappy but are not interested in bargaining to improve their lives. They are often a symptom of a lack of organisation. – Steven Friedman in Business Day

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