— Hartley Shawcross, Baron Shawcross British politician 1902 - 2003
Statement made in a 1946 debate to repeal the Conservatives' "Trade Disputes Act" of 1927 (following a quotation from Through the Looking-Glass in which Humpty-Dumpty observed that the question of definitions of words depended upon who was master: "'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master—that's all.'") The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, Third Edition, gives the quotation in this form: "We are the masters at the moment, and not only at the moment, but for a very long time to come." This has often been misquoted as "We are the masters now." His obituary in The Times (11 July 2003) states "even if in its authentic form it was intended as a factual description rather than a boast, it did Shawcross a good deal of harm. It was certainly uncharacteristic, for he was neither a bully nor a zealot... he was hardly a fierce party warrior." The Independent [London] (11 July 2003) in its obituary states "he accepted that it was one of the most foolish things he ever said." However, an article http://www.newstatesman.com/200307280001 in the New Statesman disputed the Times' obituary, citing eyewitness Lord Bruce in support of the wording, "We are the masters now", and noting a third version http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1946/apr/02/trade-disputes-and-trade-unions-bill#column_1213 in Hansard.