Loose cannons

January 26, 2000

Service with a smile

"This is not about liabilities — this is a customer service program." — Mobile's fuels marketing manager, Paul Wherry, explaining the company's $15 million relief fund for aviators affected by the fuel contamination crisis.

Flash of insight?

"There is nothing more ridiculous than the notion that socialism is inexorably dying ... The world we face today makes a socialist approach all the more relevant ... The '90s will not see the continuing triumph of the market, but its failure." — British Labour PM Tony Blair in the London Review of Books, October 29, 1987.

The connection's obvious

"... if Mr Clinton hadn't been distracted by his own rather messy personal affairs, public policy might not have been as badly corrupted as it was." — National Party leader John Anderson blaming the US president's sex life for his decision to restrict lamb imports from Australia.

Not to mention the future

"We always ask people if there is anything in their past that would embarrass the party — that's standard National Party practice." — Anderson again, explaining why a candidate's private life is relevant to the preselection process.

Serves Rupert and Kerry

"We have not been a government that has been beholden to any one section of the Australian community." — Prime Menzies John Howard.

No vision like hindsight

"With the passage of time, the complicity of TNI has become clearer and clearer to us." — John Dauth, deputy secretary of Foreign Affairs, on the Indonesian military's role in violence in East Timor.

Trust me

"An investment can be both a good buy and a good sell depending on the circumstances of the party." — Financier Rene Rivkin, who was selling a stock at the same time his newsletter advised subscribers to buy it.

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