Tag Archives: winston churchill

Reflections on the Tory Party Revolution – part two

Conservative Party logo
Part 2: from the 1940’s generational change to the growing hostility to Europe
Reading Alan Clark’s history of the Tories 1922-1997 (Phoenix/Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1999), and Alan Sked and Chris Cooks “Post-War Britain” (Penguin, London, 4th. ed., 1993), you see how in 1940-51, while party leader Churchill was concentrating on foreign affairs (winning a war until ’45, then uniting Europe in his “interlocking circles”: Europe, the Commonwealth, and NATO), the other parts of the Tory party reacted to more domestic modernising trends and proposals. (See about Churchill’s priorities: Clark, Tories, p. 321-22; Sked & Cook, Post-War, p. 77-78).

Alongside the “Post-War Problems Central Committee” (PWPCC) formed at Tory party HQ in 1941 under Education Secretary “Rab” Butler, there emerged a progressive “Tory Reform Group” (TRG) of “Young Turks”. Clark says Food minister Lord Woolton (Tory from 1945) was the only Cabinet minister caring about “Post-War Problems”.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

The EU Referendum – Don’t believe UKIP, believe Sir Winston (and his fellow Liberal Democrats)

Current soundbites aren’t doing this vote justice…

The arguments are well rehearsed by now. Boris’ land of milk, honey from Canada and ‘Nike tick growth’ versus Cameron’s doom, despair and economic shock. The land of Farage and UKIP freedom fighters versus job-destroying years of negotiation on separation terms (Canada’s EU trade deal: 7 years and counting).

The EU is fairly imperfect, and EU free movement makes immigration policy that much more difficult (although over 50% of migration to the UK comes from outside the EU). Cameron’s renegotiation, grand tour of Europe, and media-focused town halls are a fair attempt to address issues. But they don’t quite do it for me. (Why not travel the UK instead, to better understand people’s concerns and bolster the renegotiation?) As for UKIP, forget them: they have become the damn establishment, and their MEPs don’t even turn up for UK interests (see FT 2014 analysis).

There’s one statesman, however, I would go into battle with. So, what would Churchill have said?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 14 Comments

20th century support for eugenics by Churchill, Beveridge, Keynes etc – what to make of it?

This week, a couple of LDV commenters mentioned the support of eugenics by Beveridge and Keynes in the 1930s and early 1940s. Such support was widely shared by members of the Fabian society and notables such as George Bernard Shaw, Marie Stopes, Harold Laski – even Winston Churchill (earlier in the 20th century).

Debate of this point was not possible on unrelated threads this week, so this article is posted to allow discussion of this interesting, and somewhat disturbing, historic phenomenon.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 12 Comments

The crisis in the Middle East – Is this the ‘end of the beginning’?

 

As the tide of war turned in 1942 following the second battle of El Alamein, Winston Churchill spoke about “the end of the beginning” of the fight back against fascist oppression. I have to confess that these words went through my mind as I sat through many hours of TV parliamentary debate last Wednesday on whether or not to bomb Daesh in Syria. For those who are cynical about the goings on at Westminster, this was an occasion that illustrated perfectly how important our parliamentary democracy really is.

There were some cracking speeches on both sides. Tim Farron rose in my estimation with his contribution, as did Margaret Beckett and Alan Johnson and, as for Hilary Benn, could this be the end of the beginning of his march to the leadership of his party? I noticed that one critic claimed it was short on facts; but there are times when “fight them on the breaches” carries more emotional and symbolic weight than the practicality of fighting on sand. I just  wonder whether the reaction to his speech had anything to do with the shoring up of Labour’s majority in the Oldham by-election.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 20 Comments

The Conservatives are trampling on Churchill’s legacy

Winston Churchill once said that the “mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of the civilisation of any country”. A “calm, dispassionate recognition of the rights of the accused, and even of the convicted criminal” was a symbol of “the stored-up strength of a nation and sign and proof of the living virtue in it”.

Under this government, however, we as a nation are increasingly departing from the values espoused by Churchill, and enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which made Britain a leading light on a global scale in the field of civil liberties. The Conservative government’s attack on the Human Rights Act, its lack of conviction in defending our membership of both the European Union and the ECHR and the stance it has taken in the face of the current humanitarian crisis created by the flow of refugees into Europe all illustrate the deeply concerning path onto which this government is leading our country. All of these developments in the brief period since a new majority Conservative government was formed in May have demonstrated more clearly than ever why this country needs the Liberal Democrats.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 13 Comments

The vintage image on one of those new photo membership cards – Churchill and Lloyd George as Liberal colleagues

There has been considerable interest in the series of new photo party membership cards. When you sign up these days, you can choose from a range of around a dozen cards featuring photos of Liberal and Liberal Democrat heroines and heroes, past and present.

Posted in Party policy and internal matters and Photo feature | Also tagged and | 24 Comments

Good on Damian McBride – making the case for coalition government

damian+mcbrideI’ve met Damian McBride only once, in February this year. Two things struck me.

First, how much healthier (and happier) he looked than he did in 2008 when his role in a dirty tricks campaign against the Tories was exposed. He was only 34 when that furore flared, yet in pictures from the time he looked at least a decade older.

Secondly, he is seriously smart. A career civil servant promoted to Head of Communications at the Treasury he retains a deeply impressive knowledge of the knottiest tax policies. It makes …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 7 Comments

Enjoy Europe Day? Churchill would have done

Last Wednesday, 9 May, was Europe Day.  If celebration of this day here in Britain passed you by then you might enjoy Winston Churchill’s Zurich Speech in 1946, calling for a United States of Europe.

You can read the full text here and can listen to the former Liberal Home Secretary delivering the speech in two parts here and here.

Council of Europe

In this seminal speech, Churchill said,

“If Europe were once united in the sharing of its common inheritance, there would be no limit to the happiness, to the prosperity …

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

Winston Churchill: Tory or Liberal?

Winston Churchill“I am an English Liberal. I hate the Tory Party, their men, their words and their methods.” So said Winston Churchill in 1903.

As a Liberal, Churchill held high government office and, along with Lloyd George, was regarded as one of the driving forces of Asquith’s reforming administration. Was Liberalism his true political ideology? Or should we judge his position from his re-ratting in 1924 and his long association and later leadership of the Conservatives?

Those were the questions posed in the latest Liberal Democrat History Group meeting, held at the party’s spring conference. In case you were not at conference, or were there but not able to make it into the standing room only venue!, you can now watch the meeting online:

Posted in Lib Dem TV | Also tagged and | 15 Comments

David Cameron says trust Winston Churchill – but only when it suits

Earlier this week, David Cameron made a speech against AV in which he invoked Winston Churchill’s views on electoral systems – and saying, “If in doubt, trust Winston”.

Now it’s true Winston Churchill didn’t like AV. But can you guess what electoral system this quote from Churchill was about?

The present system has clearly broken down. The results produced are not fair to any party, nor to any section of the community. In many cases they do not secure majority representation, nor do they secure an intelligent representation of minorities. All they secure is fluke representation, freak representation, capricious representation.

Yup, that …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 13 Comments

Forgotten Liberal heroes: Clarence Henry Willcock

Listen to Liberal Democrats make speeches and there are frequent references to historical figures, but drawn from a small cast. Just the quartet of John Stuart Mill, William Gladstone, David Lloyd George, David Penhaligon corner almost all of the market, especially since Bob Maclennan stopped making speeches to party conference. Some of the forgotten figures deserve their obscurity but others do not. Charles James Fox’s defence of civil liberties against a dominating government during wartime or Earl Grey’s leading of the party back into power and major constitutional reform are good examples of mostly forgotten figures who could

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , and | 4 Comments

Labour Election Campaign Quotations

A few quotes from Labour’s Campaign Quotations book from the 1951 General Election.

Back in the days before the Internet (yes, young people, it didn’t always exist), Labour published this 300 page book of quotes from friend and foe to help its eager activists.

Socialism is a system of national co-operation. It is based upon the principle of co-operation, as opposed to the principle of competition. It is based on the principle of collectivism as opposed to the principle of individualism. It is union as against disunion, order as against anarchy. It means each for all and all

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 5 Comments

Book review: Saving the European Union

Andrew Duff’s book Saving the European Union: The logic of the Lisbon Treaty, written early in 2009, has an endearingly open comment about his own political views compared with those of his colleagues:

My party, the UK Liberal Democrats, and group, the Alliance for Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), have been amazingly tolerant of finding a militant federalist in their midst.

Although an enthusiast for a closer European Union, Andrew Duff recognises the need for pro-Europeans to make their case and starts with the roots of the EU in the ruins of post-1945 Europe. He quotes Winston Churchill saying:

Posted in Books and Europe / International | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

Winston Churchill: your Lib Dem Voice reader

Unsuspecting reader, you may be thinking that Winston Churchill was a fine Prime Minster, a great wartime leader, a patriotic Englishman and an inspiration to millions of Britons and generations of tabloid newspaper editors.

You would, of course, be quite wrong.

For if we apply the standards of tabloid newspaper editors to Winston Churchill, you find that the shocking truth is:

Churchill disgracefully insulted wartime heroes (by not dotting the letter i properly – just as The Sun criticised Gordon Brown for).

Churchill outrageously mocked our history (by removing any trace of Christianity or winter from the cover of his Christmas cards).

And, …

Posted in News | 5 Comments

Prime Minister removes all Christmas imagery from official Christmas cards

In a move sure to get Christians and tabloid newspaper journalists up in arms, the Prime Minister has removed all Christian imagery from his Christmas cards.

The picture on the front of his cards does not contain any sign of angels, crosses or any other Christian imagery.

But it’s not only Christianity that has been removed, so too has all trace of winter. In a move some will suspect is making the cards a tool in the political battle over global warming, the “Christmas” cards paint a picture of a spring or summer day.

“This is an appalling case of political correctness gone …

Posted in News | Also tagged | 13 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarMichael BG 19th Jul - 12:57am
    Peter, I can’t imagine a Labour controlled or Lib Dem controlled council setting a poll tax in their own currency. Why would Lancashire Council want...
  • User AvatarDavid Raynes 18th Jul - 9:19pm
    The argument about legalisation of Cannabis, in the UK anyway, has been overtaken by events. Apart from the mental ill health it causes, it is...
  • User AvatarMichael 1 18th Jul - 9:14pm
    @katharine Pindar I was not making light of poverty. Indeed I have consistently said that I support more generous benefits etc. I *was* quoting Paul...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 18th Jul - 9:05pm
    @ Michael BG, "Do you think the supermarkets would accept lots of local currencies?" Say my local council imposed a poll tax of say 20...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 18th Jul - 8:44pm
    @ Michael BG, If you could imagine yourself as the Supremo of an island economy you'd want the residents of the island to work for...
  • User Avatarexpats 18th Jul - 5:44pm
    Michael 1 17th Jul '19 - 9:55pm.............The 50p highest rate of tax was – wait for it – effective for one whole month of Labour’s...