Thursday 7 June 2007

Advice From Niccoló Machiavelli (1469-1527)


"Oh, they met in a house, a very big house, in the city..." - Talks between GP and FF continue.

Before, during, and since university I have read quite a number of books on the subject of politics, yet there is one tome of the realpolitik to which I constantly return: Machiavelli's The Prince. The man simply understood the machinations of politics. The realities as opposed to the ideologies. If such an opposition even exists. Some advice then:

To the Green Party:

"One must be a fox in order to recognise traps, and a lion to frighten off wolves."

To Bertie and Fianna Fáil:

"To keep his minister up to the mark the prince, on his side, must be considerate towards him, must pay him honour, enrich him, put him in his debt, share with him both honours and responsibilities. Thus the minister will see how dependent he is on the prince; and then having riches and honours to the point of surfeit he will desire no more; holding so many offices, he cannot but fear changes. When, therefore, relations between princes and their ministers are of this kind, they can have confidence in each other; when they are otherwise, the result is always disastrous for one or the other of them."

A tad cynical perhaps, but not without its relevance even today. Democracy? Pah.
"Blow, blow me down. I am so sad, I don't know why..."