A supreme case of tact in politics is the secret meeting between Alvaro Cunhal, the leader of the Portuguese Communist Party, and Ernesto Melo Antunes, a pro-democracy member of the army grouping responsible for the coup that overthrew the Salazar regime in 1974. The situation was extremely tense: on one side, the Communist Party was ready to start the real socialist revolution, taking over factories and land (arms had already been distributed to the people); on the other, conservatives and liberals were ready to stop the revolution by any means, including the intervention of the army. Antunes and Cunhal made a deal without stating it: there was no agreement between them – on the face of things, they did nothing but disagree – but they left the meeting with an understanding that the Communists would not start a revolution, thereby allowing a ‘normal’ democratic state to come about, and that the anti-socialist military would not outlaw the Communist Party, but accept it as a key element in the democratic process. One could claim that this discreet meeting saved Portugal from civil war. And the participants maintained their discretion even in retrospect. When asked about the meeting (by a journalist friend of mine), Cunhal said that he would confirm it took place only if Antunes didn’t deny it – if Antunes did deny it, then it never took place. Antunes for his part listened silently as my friend told him what Cunhal had said. Thus, by not denying it, he met Cunhal’s condition and implicitly confirmed it. This is how gentlemen of the left act in politics.