So Jeremy Corbyn is being asked to intervene with some activists who object to a Churchill themed cafe in London, he should not.
It appears that 9 activists burst into the Café and called Churchill a ‘racist’, how this is Jeremy Corbyn’s problem I don’t know as they are not identified as Labour Party members but there you go. There has been an up-surge in Britishness since the Scottish Referendum in 2014 and the EU Referendum in 2016, plus the fact that a Windsor is either getting married or popping out a child every two minutes it’s been a Union Jack fest the last few years, they are even trying to write Scottishness out now with the eradication of Saltire labels replaced by the butchers apron.
The new Churchill movie has been lauded as a good movie, about a great man, portrayed by a great actor in Gary Oldman, but let’s be honest, Churchill was no great man. The history we are taught at school was mostly bullshit, Churchill was deeply flawed and regarded as a racist by many. His own biographer John Charmley described him as being “of the right”, that is being far too nice. Churchill once said of Mahatma Gandhi, describing him as a “nauseating” figure who “ought to be lain bound hand and foot at the gates of Delhi, and then trampled on by an enormous elephant with the new Viceroy seated on its back.” Churchill was happy for famine to be the norm in India and wholeheartedly supported the British Empire and all that it entailed, which for millions of people was death and misery.
On the mentally ill Churchill wrote “rapid growth of the feeble-minded and insane classes” was a danger to civilisation, and argued that those deemed mentally unfit should be sterilised “so that their curse died with them”, isn’t that what Hitler thought. On using gas as a weapon during his days in service he said of tear gas “I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas,”. “I am strongly in favour of using poisonous gas against uncivilised tribes.” There is the alternative picture of Churchill though, Max Hastings wrote of Winston Churchill “It was his inspiration that prevented Britain from joining the rest of Europe in surrendering to the might of Nazi Germany.” How true that is I don’t know but he has his fans.
As always history will judge a man based on how we record it and how we teach it. I have written in this blog in the past that I have never considered myself British, or proud that my passport and the law says I am. Times move on and Churchill was a product of the Victorian Age and of the Empire, should that be taken into context, maybe but it doesn’t mean we have to excuse or forget about the other side of Britishness and of people like Churchill.
You hope that you learn from the past, that the things that were acceptable then are not acceptable now but in Britain we know that is not the case. We live in a country that still believes that empire and people like Churchill are things to aspire to, for others necessary evils, for me something to be ashamed of and something never to repeat.
Winston S. Churchill was basically a nasty upper class snobbish arsehole who deliberately did some very nasty things, including starving hundreds of thousands of Indians to death. He was also, lest we forget, the idiotic architect of the Gallipoli campaign in WW1…. And much else that is unforgivable about the British State,
His role in WW2 is according to legend untouchable, but real recorded history suggests much more ambivalence.
If you express these views among his acolytes and unthinking admirers you will be vilified. He is considered untouchable and immune to criticism. I do not deny that he was a man of erratic talent and charismatic bravura, but this was often used to either evil or self serving ends.
He deserves credit for seeing the Nazis for an even greater evil than himself, and saying so over an extended period, but his long life needs more careful examination, and often execration.
I await the tide of disapproval……
I never knew all that much about him at all until reading bits here and there and I remember my Dad thought he was a maniac. The more I have found out the more I am convinced he was not a nice person at all, he loved himself and didn’t care much for others, esp those of a different colour. I just can’t see anything worth celebrating about him but it’s Britain and just look at some of the nutters this country celebrates, murdering nut jobs like Cromwell.
Thanks for commenting.
Apart from a couple of funny come backs and prophetic stirring speeches I don’t like Churchill at all. He was just as the protesters claimed, a racist.
More worrying though than the Churchill themed cafe is the Little Englanders sentiment behind it and how our current political situation has given people carte Blanche to express it.
No I don’t like Churchill at all but I like Little Englanders even less
Yeah they are certainly getting brazen doon south, Churchill was a maniac to my mind.
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As someone who is very interested in history and sorting out the truth from propaganda (which most history teaching in this country is), I found this post really fascinating.
One fact conveniently forgotten is that Hitler admired the British Empire and didn’t actually want to fight it. He saw it as a good example of the superiority of aryans over other races.
His real target was always the Soviet Union. I don’t doubt the bravery of the British forces in WWII, but if Nazi Germany had hit ud with the ferocity that it hurled against Russia, we would have been overrun.
One of the last decent series made by the BBC, the Nazis- A warning from history, explains this well.
Although he had many faults, the Irish leader Eamon de Valera gave a dignified response to Churchill in a radio broadcast after Winston had threatened to invade Ireland. You can hear it on you tube, it is well worth a listen and shows how small countries can stand up for themselves when they govern themselves.
I’ll try and check it out. I like history too but not a huge reader of it. I didn’t know much until I started to read sites like crimes of Britain which is a good site and a real eye opener. My Dad would rarely talk about the war, he was navy 39 to 46 and used to say , when he had a drink, that those who glorified the war effort never saw any of it because if they had they wouldn’t glorify it. He also hated Churchill, he thought he was a maniac and no hero. My Dad became very cynical of it all and in the late 70s started to hate Labour who he thought should have all been strung up as traitors to the working class. He passed away 26 years ago but he was a lovely man. That’s the thing really, ordinary people pay for the crimes of bastard politicians and the elite. They all make me sick now but at least the SNP is mostly a decent party and I am liking them more now that they are taking a harder line on things, not hard enough but they are getting there.
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