Thursday, February 14, 2019

When the Conservatives insisted on Churchill's demotion before they would join a wartime coalition

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Yesterday we were debating Theresa May's habit of scraping the mould of the top of a jar of jam and then using it.

Today it is "Winston Churchill: Hero or villain?"

For what it is worth, I suspect May is right. We are too squeamish about food these days.

And Churchill? He was in many ways a flawed character, but I am glad he was there in 1940. Without him, it is unlikely that Nazism would have been destroyed.

Churchill, of course, was a Liberal for a while and at the forefront of the Asquith government's social reforms.

Those Conservatives who have been claiming a monopoly on him today should remember what happened in 1915, when Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty and Asquith wanted a coalition government to prosecute the war:
A new coalition was needed to bolster confidence. But the Conservatives were deeply hostile to Churchill and demanded his resignation. Backed into a corner, Asquith had no choice but to agree, and on the 15 November the resignation was confirmed. 
Demoted to the ceremonial position of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the hurt and demoralised Winston resigned from the government altogether and left for the Western Front.
Talking of Conservatives who do not understand Churchill, here is Richard Evans' magisterial demolition of Boris Johnson's biography of the great man.

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