Neubooterdammerung, 4: Simon Barraclough

Santa Teresa a Firenze

But I want to repeat to the 600,000 Italians in the UK – and indeed to all EU citizens who have made their lives in our country – that we want you to stay; we value you; and we thank you for your contribution to our national life.—Theresa May (Florence, September 22, 2017)

 

Is that a contribution to our national life in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me?

I’m not saying my mother-in-law’s fat; I’m thanking you for your contribution to our national life.

A contribution to our national life in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Don’t put all your contributions to our national life in one basket.

An Irishman, a Slovenian, and an Italian walk into a bar; the barman says, ‘Why the contribution to our national life?’

 

Fools rush in where angels fear to make a contribution to our national life.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, and try again to make a contribution to our national life.

One might as well be hanged for a sheep as a contribution to our national life.

Better to have loved and lost than never to have made a contribution to our national life.

 

Don’t put off till tomorrow the contribution to our national life you can make today.

Don’t count your chickens before they’ve made a contribution to our national life.

When the going gets tough, the tough make a contribution to our national life.

A friend in need is a friend who has made a contribution to our national life.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it make a contribution to our national life.

 

Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what contribution you can make to our national life.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall make a contribution to our national life.

 

On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call’d fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to make a contribution to our national life.

 

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things and I made a contribution to our national life.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters and made a contribution to our national life.

 

[Originally written for the Festival of Italian Literature in London, 2017. With thanks to Livia Franchini.]

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