1914: No English writer knows more of German ways than Mr. Dawson, and his large book upon public administration in towns is a mass of information. It is his misfortune to have produced it at a moment when Englishmen are not likely to be eagerly receptive of the German methods that he praises, or very patient of his unfavourable comparisons of British municipal activities with those which Prussia has adopted and encouraged other States to accept. It is as unnecessary to emphasize the fact that German machines, military or municipal, are efficient for the purposes at which they aim as it is to impress upon any one that we dislike some of those purposes. But honesty demands that we should admit not only the efficiency and discipline with the complementary vices, servility and illiberal authoritarianism, but also a virtue genuinely to Germany’s credit: for the great body of German officials, to whom such horrible power over their fellow- creatures must offer great temptation, are not a corrupt class. Many people might prefer to be governed by a light-hearted and even light-fingered Latin, and shrug their shoulders at the thought of his feathering his nest at their expense, rather than submit to the heavy-handed, omnipresent Teutonic official whose income is strictly limited to his salary; but we cannot withhold due respect.
- Henry Fielding on who gives a fack where [Columbus] was born (answer: not [Columbus])
Past performance is no guide to future performance, my dears.
- The state’s your friend
As long as you work for it.
- Spanish local politicians, actually quite reasonably priced?
Potential earnings of Spanish mayors and executive councillors were the Dutch system to be adopted.
- Peasants who don’t know how to cross themselves
Apparently we anglocabrones used to think that crossing oneself was prerequisite to being Spanish. Here’s Juan Goytisolo in La Guardia, a short story written in the early 1950s, partly available in GBS:
From the window I saw a group of conscripts in parade dress. It was Sunday and the officers’ room was deserted. Its furniture consisted