Monday, 30 October 2006

whipped into a frenzy of moderation

Another quote from David Langford, from an article on HG Wells:
Returning from fiction to real life in the wake of these novels: Wells was now a literary success. A tangible result of the resulting affluence was that in 1899-1900, he had a fine new home built specially for himself and Jane: Spade House at Sandgate, Kent. His recurring utopian dream of a socialist World State inevitably led him into politics, and in 1903 he joined the gently socialist Fabian Society (which, as unkind people remarked and Wells happily agreed, had plenty of nubile female members). The Fabians had named themselves for Fabius Cunctator, the Roman general who used shrewd tactics of delay. They wanted a gradual, almost imperceptible introduction of socialism into English politics. A traditional gibe was the supposed Fabian rallying call as the crowd was whipped into a frenzy of moderation:

"What do we want?"
"Gradual change!"
"When do we want it?"
"In due course!"

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