Divided Loyalties

Decision-makers always face a twin temptation.  There is the tendency to give the ephemeral a permanence it does not warrant, to lend the anxieties of the day a consequence they do not deserve; the other, equally seductive, is to regard real and lasting changes as sudden and transient incidents.  Part of the skill of the decision-maker lies in his capacity to distinguish rightly between the volatile and the durable.  If he must avoid interpreting ‘every chance event’ to use Freud’s phraseology, ‘as a premonition of evil’ and ‘exploiting every uncertainty in a bad sense . . . .’ he must know and take to heart General de Gaulle’s warning: ‘The future lasts a long time.’

Kolinsky, Martin, ed.  Divided Loyalties: British regional assertion and European Integration.  Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1978, 212.

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