Munir Butt

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Dr Munir Butt KCMG PhD (10 July 1940 – 20 February 2015) was a British diplomat who was an economic and foreign policy advisor to prime ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major.


  • Young man the simple answer is: land, land and land. No-one gives up land. Ever.
    • Source: On answering the question "Why can't the Kashmir question be resolved?" Yale Daily News, Review of Guest Speaker Dr Munir Butt, 1994
  • The Indians and Pakistanis exchange insults and beat their chests in order to inflame a 60 year old rivalry, and claim that their respective countries can offer the people they have occupied—and make no mistake, it is an occupation, and an illegal one to boot—a better future than their enemy can. But far from wanting to offer, and indeed being able to offer the Kashmiri people economic security, all that they are supplying the ordinary people of Kashmir are untold war crimes and misery. It is a sickening example of murderous aggression against a whole peoples for the sake of pride, and one that was being largely overlooked by the world until the spectre of nuclear holocaust came over the continent.
    • Source: Speech to the American-Kashmiri Alliance, New York, 2002.[citation needed]
  • I joined the Conservatives at Oxford. I didn't consider it a particularly important decision at the time. I was a young Indian boy at a university many in my country would have dreamed to go to, but very few would have fitted into. I became a Conservative, therefore to gain entry into this new elite world. I felt justified in my decision slightly later on when Harold Macmillian gave his Winds of Change speech in South Africa, a speech I thought was very brave. Later on the the 1980s I gave up my membership because of disagreements with the parties views, and I remain a Liberal Democrat voter to this day. Though, I don't see them as very much better.
    • Source: Interview in The Cherwell, Oxford University newspaper, 1997.
  • Politics these days is a disgusting game of mud-slinging, filled with selfish people with selfish aims. I'm very glad I've retired away from the hustle and bustle of Whitehall.
    • Source: Countryside Alliance Magazine interview, 2006.
  • There's nothing like spending other peoples money, Gordon and Tony discovered this very quickly, and have been going crazy, ordering off the menu ever since. Tony quickly exited the restaurant, leaving Gordon footing the bill, and thats why we're in the mess we're in now. Meanwhile Tony's laughing all the way to the bank where his £14 million is sitting pretty. It's just disgraceful behaviour and ordinary people are suffering because of the megalomania of those two crooks.
    • Speaking bluntly at a conference at the World Economic Forum, Davos, 2009.[citation needed]
  • Sack the entire management of RBS, Lloyd's and Northern Rock. That would send a message that the government is not pussy-footing around. Then, if at all possible, bring criminal charges against the management responsible for the reckless gambling they all took part in, and benefited from. Instead Messrs Darling and Brown [choose to] award them bonuses and allow them to carry on their merry ways.
    • As above.
  • He is the most intelligent, intellectually curious, and charming man I have ever had the pleasure of meeting
    • Speaking about Bill Clinton, Source: The Times, 1997.
  • London used to be reasonably priced, clean, and a decent place to live. These days it's polluted and utterly unbearable
    • Source: The Business (magazine), 2006.
  • It seems as though he...has more of an interest, and more of a cultural capacity to reach out across the aisle in America, and to the world as a whole. As a wise man said once, you campaign in poetry and govern in prose...let's now see if he can deliver. Though I think he will soon find out that the vested interests of Washington are too stubborn for a relatively inexperienced politician such as himself to navigate. (Speaking about new U.S. President Barack Obama)
    • Source: Diplomat Magazine profile, 2009.
  • I've found him to be a disappointment. Wonderful speech in Egypt, and good intentions aside, foreign policy needs to be firmly grounded in reality, and understanding of a sort of chaos theory...[that is to say] it needs to be part good intention, part political intelligence, and part political savvy and knowledge of international interests and national burdens. President Obama has been extremely short-sighted in this sense, and if he fails, it will be a tragic blow for peaceniks and multilateralists the world over, and a manna from heaven for the Republican party.
    • Source: Foreign Affairs. 2009
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