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Why can't politicians act like this.

by Rob_Boyter / January 27, 2014 2:28 PM PST

" And so, on May 8th, Churchill found himself making the speech winding up the debate for the Government. It was probably the most difficult performance of his career. Churchill had spent his life opposing the sort of policies that Chamberlain personified, and now he was making the key speech to defend the man and his policies. But, as First Lord of the Admiralty, he was responsible for many of the misjudgements that brought [about] the Norwegian fiasco, and caused the widespread rage that was threatening to topple the government. After the two day recital of German triumphs, and the resulting atmosphere of impending doom, his speech "amused and dazzled everyone with his virtuosity. One of his secretariat later wrote:

'He was constantly heckled by the Labour opposition, and he tore into them vehemently and often angrily ... Churchill knew that he was defending positions that were, in many respects, indefensible. He knew that if the bitterest critics had their way Chamberlain would probably resign. He knew, that in that case he would probably become Prime Minster himself. But throughout the entire political crisis he never spoke or acted except in absolute loyalty to his Prime Minister.' "

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(NT) I'd rather them just be honest
by James Denison / January 27, 2014 5:18 PM PST
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"Politician" he was, but also called "statesman"
by drpruner / January 28, 2014 5:55 AM PST

by some. There's your difference, I think.
Anyway, still not perfect governance, which is what I wait for. Mt 6:10. And most assign blame to him for the Commonwealth blood running into the bay at Gallipoli. In the previous World War.
BTW, do you have a cite for the quote?

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Happy to, Doug. The quotation is from Len Deighton's
by Ziks511 / January 28, 2014 8:21 AM PST

Blood, Tears, and Folly, his 650 page anecdotal history of the Second World War. It's clear his powers were fading, and the book jumps around quite a bit, but it is quite good, though not linked well into a single narrative.

Churchill made quite enormous mistakes. Both Gallipoli and Narvik can be laid at his door, he was such a maverick generally that he spent more than a decade on the back benches from 1928 to Sept 3rd, 1939 with no Cabinet post. When he was nominated First Lord of the Admiralty for the second time on Sept. 3, 1939 the signal went out to all RN ships. "Winston's back". In response to someone's comment about the "traditions of the Navy" he said "The only traditions of the Navy with which I am familiar are Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash."

The quotation is from the bottom two paragraphs on pg 180 The first is all Deighton, the second is from John Peck's unpublished manuscript Bull and Benediction, and is also quoted by Michael Gilbert in Their Finest Hour.


Herbert Morrison a member of the War Cabinet was a famous wet (i.e. emotional, fearful, and easily stampeded). He had been the head of the London County Council, and his decisions were uniformly bad. If you read his wartime record, you'd be amazed at the truly stupid decisions he made. Fortunately they were all countermanded by Winston and others. Winston dressed him down in front of everyone for failing to give the people of London credit for fortitude in the face of bombing.

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Churchill on the House of Lords
by Rob_Boyter / January 29, 2014 6:48 PM PST

" The non elected members of the upper House remembered him saying that their chamber was "filled with doddering peers, cute financial magnates, clever wire pullers, big brewers with bulbous noses, all the enemies of progress are there." "

The other candidate for Prime minister was Lord Halifax, a very tall rather lugubrious man who may well have been willing to make peace with Hitler. He became the British ambassador to Washington.

On May 9th, when Chamberlain had finally accepted the fact that he was completely crippled as a leader, he directly asked Churchill whether Lord Halifax could be Prime Minister. Chamberlain loathed Churchill (the feeling was mutual) and Halifax was much more to his taste as Prime Minister.

"Winston," Chamberlain said. "Can you see any reason why in these days a Peer should not be Prime Minister?"

Churchill stood up from his chair and walked to the window. He looked out upon the Horse Guards Parade and did not say a word. An awkward silence filled the room for over a minute and then Lord Halifax spoke.

"If I were to become Prime Minister, I would be nothing but a cipher. I could not sit in the House of Commons where the business that is the life blood of this nation takes place. Winston would be the better choice."

Chamberlain sighed. "Very well," he said. "I shall speak to the King tomorrow."


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