Great British Prime Ministers

avon

Forum Staff
May 2008
14,253
#11
Except Churchill didn't start the war, Chamberlain did.

Whether Chamberlain should have is a whole new post.
Chamberlain didn't start the war, Hitler did. Chamberlain was dragged almost kicking and screaming into the war. Remember that Chamberlain pursued a policy of appeasement for the previous two years (not to mention the years before he became PM). As for Churchill, it would seem appropriate to note that had he had his way, the war would've started in 1938 (in sync with Hitler, oddly enough!!).
 

Chookie

Ad Honorem
Nov 2007
7,628
Alba
#13
Britain was very lucky to have possessed Winston Churchill during the War. If not for him, Britain could very easily have made an individual deal with the Reich. Not to mention his outstanding leadership and courage.
In common with Avon, I don't buy into the Churchill mthyos. I question his "leadership" and I don't accept that he had any courage.

I question his leadership because of this previous record. He it was who caused the Dardanelles campaign in WW1, the invasion of Norway and the loss of Crete, the Dieppe fiasco etcetera etcetear ad nauseum.

I question his courage because while he was working as a war correspondent (while wearing army uniform) in South Africa during one of the Boer wars - I forget which one - he was captured, gave his parole and proceeded to break it.

This isn't mentioned in any of his publications. I wonder why?
 

avon

Forum Staff
May 2008
14,253
#15
I question his courage because while he was working as a war correspondent (while wearing army uniform) in South Africa during one of the Boer wars - I forget which one - he was captured, gave his parole and proceeded to break it.
Well ... that's an interesting point that I've never heard made in connection with Churchill. Churchill is noted by many if not most commentators as being courageous almost to the point of foolhardiness. He was awarded for valour (so far as I can recall) and was probably one of the most famous soldiers in the British Army at the turn of the century. This, of course, helped in no small measure in securing him his destined seat in Parliament. By 1926 he found himself being introduced by Mark Twain (again, so far as I can recall) as having fought in 5 wars and having written 6 books. He was reputed to always wanting to be where the action was and, according to his bodyguard (Thompson or Thomson), caused numerous problems by placing himself in needless danger whenever the opportunity arose. None of this would appear to be consistent with your calling his courageousness to question.

But that merely provides food for thought, does it not?? There's an oft-quoted line from the end of The Gathering Storm concerning his becoming PM that goes something like:
'I felt as if I were walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial.'
He once wrote to his mother from South Africa saying 'We are all worms, but I am a glowworm.' His self-image, going by these measures, is nothing short of extreme. He was special; he was destined to be special; he was the descendant of heroes (and he knew that because he had written them to be so.) This then, combining my take on things with yours, might suggest that he was something of a nihilist ... destined to being a tragi-heroic figure ... ready to die fighting for his beliefs and his empire. Was it courage or self-interest that drew him towards courting danger?? Was it nihilism that allowed him to invite the portended disaster of dying under the onslaught of a German invasion that would, at least within his colourful imagery, see the end of Britishness and and his greatness?? Possibly. As I say, its food for thought ... and rather palative at that!!
 

avon

Forum Staff
May 2008
14,253
#16
Well, I always liked Palmerston and Disraeli.
Palmerston: the 'gun-boat' diplomat.

It ma come as something of a surprise,:rolleyes: but I would be willing to forward both Baldwin and Chamberlain as candidates. Both had rather keen political acumen. Together, though with greater credit to the latter, they saw Britain through a troublesome period that could have turned out much, much worse under the supervision of lesser figures. Both have suffered greatly at the hands of historiography and popular opinion starting with 'Cato'. Both were responsible for a good number of social policies that, althought they were both Conservatives, did no small measure to help the less fortunate. Chamberlain bequethed an economy that was fundamentally strong enough to allow Britain to 'stand alone' (alongside the Dominions etc.) in 1940 and 1941. Had the 1930s been left to the likes of MacDonald et al., this might not have been the case at all.
 

Toltec

Ad Honorem
Apr 2008
7,923
Hyperborea
#17
There's always Churchill's alter-ego Clement Atley who ran the country while Churchill drank his way through the war and then became arguably the finest PM we ever had after it.
 

avon

Forum Staff
May 2008
14,253
#18
There's always Churchill's alter-ego Clement Atley who ran the country while Churchill drank his way through the war and then became arguably the finest PM we ever had after it.
I would agree to that (Attlee, that is!!). Besides, you got to hand it Churchole, if you're gonna do, best do it in style.
 

galteeman

Ad Honorem
Apr 2008
2,198
Sodom and Begorrah
#19
What about Tony Blair?
Will he be credited for reinventing Labour and moving it to the centre and in doing this forcing the Conservatives to do the same, helping to heal and end a great division in society?.
 

Chookie

Ad Honorem
Nov 2007
7,628
Alba
#20
What about Tony Blair?
Will he be credited for reinventing Labour and moving it to the centre and in doing this forcing the Conservatives to do the same, helping to heal and end a great division in society?.
No, I think not, in my opinion he will be remembered as the blithering idiot who destroyed the link between the Labour Party and socialism. He should also be remembered as the incompetent clown who dragged the UK into a totally illegal war because he was so far up Bush 2s arsehole.

On the other hand, I could be wrong...........
 

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