Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Spotlight
  2. Elections
10 May 2010updated 27 Sep 2015 2:21am

Tory MP subverts Blair’s “hand of history” line (and betters it)

Quote of the day.

By Jon Bernstein

Most Conservative MPs are reluctant backers of what they see as a grubby deal with the Liberal Democrats when they should be enjoying unfettered power, but none has put the dilemma they face better than this:

We feel the hand of history on our gonads, squeezing very hard.

The line comes courtesy of Gary Gibbon, who reports that senior Tories think an informal agreement (not a coalition) will be reached today, and the framework of a government tomorrow.

Tony Blair, you will recall, used a similar — if less vulgar — formulation in April 1998, ahead of the talks that led to the Good Friday Agreement. Blair said then:

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

A day like today is not a day for soundbites, really. But I feel the hand of history upon our shoulders. I really do.

Content from our partners
How do we secure the hybrid office?
How materials innovation can help achieve net zero and level-up the UK
Fantastic mental well-being strategies and where to find them

Special offer: get 12 issues of the New Statesman for just £5.99 plus a free copy of “Liberty in the Age of Terror” by A C Grayling.