10 April 415 B.C: Many of those who spoke in the assembly against the campaign said it was reckless and foolish to go sailing off into distant lands while our own borders remain insecure. But one of the most fundamental rules of politics is that you should never strike where the enemy expects you to. That’s why I endorse this expedition against Syracuse. The choice of three generals with entirely different strategies to lead the expedition is a brilliant one. When decisive leadership is required, establish a committee!
3 January 49 B.C: My latest assignment is proving to be a real delight. Rome’s a fascinating town, and I have been deeply impressed with the way the governing classes in this Roman Republic conduct themselves. The men of the Senate are vexed by Caesar’s demands, but I have assured them they have nothing to worry about. Caesar will not dare cross the Rubicon into Italy, because if he does so he will be at war with the Roman state. His men will desert him, rather than be crushed by Pompey’s armies. Caesar may be a useful general, but he has neither the courage nor the tactical nous of his opponent.
1 January 43 B.C: That Cicero fellow’s a genius. He’s not just a great orator and writer, but a perceptive and clever politician. He’s got that foolish upstart boy Octavian wrapped around his finger, and Mark Antony is running scared. I predict a long and glorious future for the Roman Republic, under the wise stewardship of Marcus Tullius Cicero.
28 May 1588: I pity the English, but they had it coming.
15 September 1801: There is always some fool predicting a new fad. Steam power? Don’t make me laugh. Nothing will come of it.
20 July 1789: Those troublemakers causing so much bother in Paris ought to be ashamed of themselves. They need to take a deep breath and take a good look at themselves in the Hall of Mirrors. They want to change the world, but they’re just stupidly naive. We all want reform, but most people know that slow and gradual progress is the only way to go. Thank God the French have a sensible ruler at this difficult time, a man who understands what needs to be done.
1 June 1876: Just appointed to the staff of Lieutenant Colonel George Custer. I have already drawn up a battle plan, and I’m confident of a swift victory.
June 25 1876: Although Custer and his men are now all dead, everything has gone largely to plan, which proves that my strategy was the correct one. The most effective way to defeat your enemy is to identify his greatest strength and then turn it into a weakness. After today’s efforts we’re halfway there!
5 April 1931: Now is not the time to be throwing money about. Times are tough for everyone, but there’s no public appetite for reckless spending. We all have to tighten our belts, and that means the government too. Especially the government. Being on the left doesn’t mean we should be fiscally irresponsible.
29 September 1938: I told Neville just to sign the damn piece of paper. Nobody wants to go to war over a small central European country with a name nobody can spell, least of all the Germans. It will keep them quiet, and we can be assured of gloriously ruling the waves for another fifty years. Neville demurs, and worries that the Germans may simply demand more territory; but where would they go? The Polish cavalry will overrun them if they move east, and if they attack France they’ll be broken on the Maginot Line. I had to remind Neville that our staunch allies, the French, have the most powerful army in the world.
12 August 2012: Those were some times, I tell you! Now it’s time to get back to work. I’ve got some great ideas to share with David and the team.