The Sir Winston Churchill Memorial Trust has decided to remove the great man’s first name from the trust’s title because they say his views on race are now “unacceptable”.
What attitude to race has to do with Churchill’s first name blows me away, but the trust wanted to remove his photo from its website as well. It has now deteriorated. The image remains.
If the trust really wants to hold its nose, it must return the millions of pounds that people in Britain and abroad donated after Churchill’s death.
The trust was established in 1965 with the support of Churchill’s family to be the chief memorial to the war leader. Those thousands of generous people from all over the world thought Churchill was a hero. Their money has enabled the trust to make investments that make it rich enough to fund generations of Churchill Fellows.
But no, the trust will not return the money that the alleged racist has attracted. Instead, it wants to keep the money, but insult Churchill’s memory.
I know about the trust and its money. Early in my career I was a Churchill Fellow. I also know about Churchill and what the race-obsessed leftist is now calling his racism.
But then I would. I am Irish.
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in November 1941
If you think Churchill was hard on Indians, Muslims and Africans, brace yourself for what he said about the Irish and their desire to be independent from the Empire. Any list in Ireland of the ten most hated people always includes Oliver Cromwell and Winston Churchill.
As Ireland fought for its independence 100 years ago, Churchill told the House of Commons that allowing a nation across the Irish Sea to become a republic was like offering a land to a miserable band of human beings. leopards in West Africa. He said Ireland was nothing but “a small, poor, sparsely populated island, lapped by British naval forces.”
In 1920, while the Irish were fighting for freedom, Churchill, Secretary of State for War, unleashed the paramilitary police known as Black and Tans on the Irish. Ireland recognized them as ‘the scum of the British Army’. They slaughtered at will and committed atrocities.
Churchill didn’t stop them. His policy was that when the Irish resisted Empire, they should be regarded as ‘savages, rascals and rapscallions’. I am an Irish patriot. But if you want to know what I think about all that, I think, “So what?”
Churchill was a man of his time. I declare no outrage for a man born in 1874. Nothing he believed to be out of the ordinary for his generation.
The awake warriors need to park their adolescent outrage and understand that. Otherwise, 100 years from now, they themselves will be considered nothing better than a 21st century version of Salem’s witch hunters.
As for Churchill and Asians, Africans, Muslims, the Irish and the rest, the permanently outraged need to grow up and roll with it. I did.
When I was a young reporter for the Daily Telegraph, I was encouraged to apply for a grant from the Churchill Memorial Trust so that I could study the European Economic Community for eight months on a journalist course in Paris. I applied and was invited to the trust’s headquarters for an interview.
One of the panellists was Lady Soames, Churchill’s daughter.
The problem was that just before the interview I had read some detailed stuff about fellowships and realized they were only for UK citizens.
When I arrived for the panel I started by explaining that, sorry I wasn’t British, I was Irish. Lady Soames smiled sweetly. “We count them as British,” she said.
I paused. I felt my rebel heart skip a beat in County Cork.
I could have stood up and walked away and said I was offended by such a neo-colonialist view. I could have told Lady Soames that Ireland had shed blood for centuries to gain its independence from the British Empire. We have not remained a branch of Britain.
That’s what today’s race hunters, the vigilant warriors who search history for reasons of being “offended,” would have done. But I didn’t.
I just smiled back at Lady Soames. I won my fellowship. Because I am an adult who has read history.
I know what Churchill did, other than being insulting about Muslims and the rest of us. When I put him in the balance of virtue against the German and Japanese war machines, Churchill always wins, and in such an overwhelming way that I have to forgive his previous sins.
I say that because the Irish still have a lot of sins that need forgiveness, so I’m not in a position to say Churchill should be canceled.
Churchill fought for his country. I respect that, even if it wasn’t my country.
Only an intellectual teenager with an outrage problem wouldn’t do that.
Great men judge their own time. The point of studying history is to learn how they thought and why they thought that way. It’s not to track down a list of white men – it’s always white men – to condemn. That is what the awake warriors must learn. At least if they want to learn something. Most of them seem determined to destroy alone.
As for Churchill and what the trust is now calling his ‘unacceptable’ views, Julia Weston, the £100,000-a-year chief executive, must tell us which historical figure could pass her purity test, as Winston Churchill doesn’t. In other words, who in Ms Weston’s opinion is historically pure enough to have a trust named after him?
Obviously not Cromwell. None of the Tudor monarchs. Not Nelson. Not Francis Drake. Not Sir Thomas More. Not Henry V, if one of the awake warriors knows who he was.
Maybe Wellington. But then he was Irish.