Thursday, May 22, 2014

Quote - Paul Eddington

Paul Eddington (1927-1995) was an English actor best known for his role as politician Jim Hacker in Yes, Minister and later in Yes, Prime Minister.  Eddington’s autobiography So Far, So Good was published in 1995, the year of his death. Five days before his death of cancer he made an appearance on television interview program Face to Face, where he discussed his life, career and nis battle with lymphoma. He said in that program:

"A journalist once asked me what I would like my epitaph to be and I said I think I would like it to be 'He did very little harm'. And that's not easy. Most people seem to me to do a great deal of harm. If I could be remembered as having done very little, that would suit me."

Eddington’s autobiography records his visit to Sydney, Australia where he had lunch with politician Barry Cohen, who was Minister for Home Affairs and the Environment from 1983 to 1984 under the Hawke government and Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Environment until 1987.

Paul Eddington

Barry Cohen

The extract from So Far, So Good:

When we were all back in Sydney Barry invited me to lunch, with his wife Rae, at their home in Gosford, about one and a half hours’ drive north. The ministerial limousine collected me, we picked up an Australian Senator and swept up the Pacific Highway to Barry’s constituency – which Australians confusingly call an ‘electorate’.

Barry’s house was set on a wooded hillside. The steep garden was filled with the silvery sound of bellbirds and two young wallabies were playing in it. We saw where they slept, in a shelter slung from a beam in two sacks made in imitation of their mothers’ pouches.

Social distinctions are happily blurred in Australia and Barry’s driver, Kerry Ternen, joined us for pre-lunch drinks.

‘Oh, by the way, Kerry.’ Said Barry, ‘after lunch would you take the Senator back to Sydney and then come back here and collect Paul, who’s staying for supper?’

Kerry registered incredulity. ‘Fuck me, Barry,’ He said, ‘that’s a three-hour drive, man. Jesus Christ!’

‘Please don’t mind me,’ murmured the Senator.

‘Oh, alright,' said Barry, and we all stayed and went out that evening for a Chinese meal.

The Palace of Westminster seemed a long way away.

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