Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko Churchill | September 8, 2017

What Would Winston Churchill Do? (Chapter 31)

Here are some excerpts from Winston Churchill’s stronger speeches during the year 1909… that fully demonstrate his Compassionate Conservatism from his Liberal and Libertarian perspective…

What a unique political animal he was — is clearly evident here.

All of these speeches were mostly delivered inside the House of Commons, or on the campaign trail, stumping for votes and political advantage.

Let’s start with the one delivered on the 4th of May 1909:

“The chief burden of taxation is placed upon the main body of the wealthy classes of this country, a class which in number and in wealth is much greater than in any other community, if not, indeed, in any other modem State in the world; and that is a class which, in opportunities of pleasure, in all the amenities of life, and in freedom from penalties, obligations and dangers, is more fortunate than any other equally numerous class of citizens in any age or in any country. That class has more to gain than any other class of His Majesty’s subjects from dwelling amid a healthy and contented people, and in a safely guarded land.”

Another one was delivered in Edinburgh, on the 17th of July:

“We say that the State and the municipality should jointly levy a toll upon the future unearned increment of the land. A toll of what?

Of the whole? No.

Of a half? No.

Of a quarter? No.

Of a fifth…

That is the proposal of the Budget.

And that is robbery, that is plunder, that is communism and spoliation, that is the social revolution at last, that is the overturn of civilized society, that is the end of the world foretold in the Apocalypse. Such is the increment tax about which so much chatter and
outcry are raised at the present time, and upon which I will say that no more fair, considerate, or salutary proposal for taxation has ever been made in the House of Commons.”

In Norwich, on 26th of July:

“Is it not an extraordinary thing that upon the Budget we should even be discussing at all the action of the House of Lords? The House of Lords is an institution absolutely foreign to the spirit of the age and to the whole movement of society. It is not perhaps surprising in a country so fond of tradition, so proud of continuity as ourselves, that a feudal assembly of tied persons, with so long a history and so many famous names, should have survived to exert an influence upon public affairs at the present time. We see how often in England the old forms are reverently preserved after the forces by which they are sustained and the uses to which they are put and the dangers against which they were designed have passed away. A state of gradual decline was what the average Englishman had come to associate with the House of Lords. Litde by litde,
we might have expected, it would have ceased to take a controversial part in practical politics. Year by year it would have faded more completely into the past to which it belongs, until, like Jack-in-the-Green or Punch and Judy, only a picturesque and fitfully lingering memory would have remained.”

“And during the last ten years of Conservative government, this was actually the case. But now we see the House of Lords flushed with the wealth of the modern age, armed with a party caucus, fortified, revived, resuscitated, asserting its claims in the harshest and in the crudest manner, claiming to veto or destroy even without discussion any legislation, however important, sent to them by any majority, however large, from any House of Commons, however newly elected.
We see these unconscionable claims exercised with a frank and undisguised regard to party interest, to class interest, and to personal interest. We see the House of Lords using the power which they should not hold at all, which if they hold at all, they should hold in trust for all, to play a shrewd, fierce, aggressive Party game of electioneering and casting their votes according to the interest of the particular political Party to which, body and soul, they belong.”

In Leicester, on the 5th of September:

“Formerly the only question asked of the tax gatherer was “How much have you got?” We ask that question still, and there is a general feeling, recognized as just by all parties, that the rate of taxation should be greater for large incomes than for small. As to how much greater, parties are no doubt in dispute. But now a new question has arisen. We do not only ask today, “How much have you got?” we also ask, “How did you get it? Did you earn it by yourself, or has it just been left you by others? Was it gained by processes which are in themselves beneficial to the community in general or was it gained by processes which have done no good to anyone, but only harm? Was it gained by the enterprise and capacity necessary to found a business, or merely by squeezing and bleeding the owner and founder of the business? Was it gained by supplying the capital which industry needs, or by denying, except at an extortionate price, the land which industry requires? Was it derived from active reproductive processes, or merely by squatting on some piece of necessary land till enterprise and labour, and national interests and municipal interests, had to buy you out at fifty times the agricultural value? Was it gained from opening new minerals to the services of man, or by drawing a mining royalty from the toil and adventure of others? Was it gained by the curious process of using political influence to convert an annual license into a practical freehold and thereby pocketing a monopoly value which properly belongs to the State. So pray tell, how did you get it? That is the new question which has been postulated and which is vibrating in penetrating repetition throughout the land.”

In this last speech, Churchill made some opening remarks which roused
the Tory press to a storm of anger. The Daily Express printed a few of
them under a heading ‘HIS OWN RECORD FOR ABUSE OUTDONE.’ Churchill had begun by complaining that the Tories had no effective speakers to answer the Liberal charges. He referred to “the small fry of the Tory party splashing actively about in their proper puddles” then to Mr Balfour “who aims to lead who has been meaning to lead for six years if he only could find out where on earth to lead to” then finally to the fact that in lieu of anything else “the Tory Party was forced to fall back on their dukes.” These unfortunate individuals, who ought to lead quiet, delicate, sheltered lives, far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife, have been dragged into the football scrimmage, and they have got rather roughly mauled in the process.” … “Do not let us be too hard on them. It is poor sport almost like teasing goldfish.”

“These ornamental creatures blunder on every hook they see, and there is no sport whatever in trying to catch them. It would be barbarous to leave them gasping upon the bank of public ridicule upon which they have landed themselves. Let us put them back gently, tenderly in their fountains; and if a few bright gold scales have been rubbed off in what the Prime Minister calls the variegated handling they have received they will soon get over it. After all, they have got plenty more.”

Much laughter ensued after these remarks of Winston…

Although this was very mild commentary in comparison with Lloyd George’s attacks, the very fact that Churchill, member of a ducal family himself, had dared to cast aspersions caused widespread indignation. Councillor Howell, Tory candidate for one of the Manchester seats, declared with great pomposity that what was “neither excusable nor permissible was the lack of common decency shown by vulgar abuse of the dukes on the part of a man who was the grandson of one duke, the nephew of another, and the cousin of a third; who belonged to a family which had produced nine dukes; who figured in Debrett as boasting a dozen titled relatives; and who owed every advantage he possessed over those whom he contemptuously called “the small fry of public life” to his ducal and aristocratic connections.”

Councillor Howell was not the only opponent who hit back. During the years 1908 to 1911 Winston Churchill was subjected to a steady stream of personal abuse. Tories described him as “utterly contemptible.”

“Here he was betraying his class and belittling the institutions that had made his country great, merely to gain a sordid political advantage. Of course, they went on, for it was not really surprising, because the Churchills were noted for their bad blood. Indeed they were one of the few powerful families in England that had never produced “a true gentleman” since everyone knew that the first Duke was a blackguard, and that in his day, Lord Randolph Churchill, was a sad cad, a fag, and a bounder.”

“Sadly then, Winston Churchill must have inherited the worst qualities of both of his progenitors, inside his DNA and the Social mavens all assumed that he spend all his life striving to dam this river of ugliness rearing it’s head in his blood, and instead making his mission to rise above this perceived ugly station of life.”

And indeed it is rather difficult for the present generation of readers, leaders, and politicians, to understand the furious resentment that the mere presence of Winston Churchill aroused in the unusually mild mannered English psyche, because of the sins of his forebears. Even today, many English people remember hearing their Conservative, Apolitical, Liberal, Socialist, or even Communist and Fascist Mothers and Fathers, calling Winston Churchill an evil man, and a monster to boot…

He was hated universally, by all and sundry, and even the aristocratic infants had learned to hate Churchill as their mothers would frequently invoke his name, in order to make the children eat all of their food. Still regardless of political spectrum association, or family situation and society strata — all castes of British society had one thing n common: They were all united in their hate for Winston Churchill. And that is why one after another, the doors of Society closed against him, same as the gates of the Royal Court and the edifices of the “Crown” had closed against him far earlier and for far different reasons, because in those days, all the fashionable society world, was controlled by the Tory aristocracy.

Winston Churchill was a black swan and was not invited anywhere, and when he even attended public functions, many people, some of them old family friends, were careful to look the other way. As a matter of fact, one famous Duke — who will go unnamed because his progeny is now friends of mine — had announced publicly, that he would like to put Lloyd George, and especially Winston Churchill, squarely, “in the middle of twenty couples of fox hounds” and bid the dogs to hunt the two men. A polite way of saying to let the dogs hunt the men… or rather sic the dogs upon them. Today, you could put things in some perspective if you consider that although Lloyd George was cordially disliked for his positions — he did not arouse anywhere near as much animus against him, as his younger colleague Winston Churchill managed to inspire, through no fault of his own, but because of his strong and corrosive rhetoric against the positions of the politically immature opponents of his well constructed thesis.

And indeed Winston being an empath, felt the hate fully. Yet he avoided it intentionally and thus “succeeded in failing” to embrace all of this illogical, unwarranted, and malicious “hate & rancor” targeted against him for purely political reasons. Yet throughout all that, he stayed steadfast and held on to his principles and moral foundations. He used the time well, as he studied the subject deeper, and he went ahead and used his ample intelligence, with plenty of sangfroid, and with a healthy dose of black humor, and a serious stiff upper lip, overlaying his crooked and somewhat appearing as sinister smile… to rhapsodize upon his well constructed arguments and thus completely demolish his opponents inside the Parliament, same as he was known to do, in the halls, in the theaters, and on the public Speaking circuit…

Yet in due course, he also accepted his fate, and saw the beautiful upside, in being the black swan of British politics, and he indeed came to see this as an advantage that distinguished him form all the others. And thus Winston gave himself the Liberty, to be a perpetual thorn on the side of those who were his enemies and who were indeed tyrannical in nature, and he railed against those who were behaving in a fully anti-democratic and fascist way against the working classes and against the other citizens. And in due time, he was able to overcome the heaviness of the situation, by seeing the humour of the whole thing, and he stopped minding not being liked by his peers, and colleagues, and he learned to float above the fray — not ending their petty insults.

Indeed he jokingly likened his critics, to barking dogs, and he went on saying that he had not got the time to stop and throw stones at every barking dog along his way, because if he were to do that — he could never make it home for a hot lunch…

 

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And so Winston Churchill, “retaliated” against his lamentable critics by stocking the pond of his Chartwell home in the Kentish countryside, with a smattering of real black swans… These were real black swans, who reminded everyone who saw them of the Churchillian fame as the “Black Swan” of the British Parliament, and as the “Black Adder” of the House of Commons.

And perhaps that he was, and he took some measure of pride on it…

But at least nobody ever called him a Black Guard.

Thank God for small favors.

Still, his adoption of the black swans for his duckpond, was not appreciated as an act of levity and lightness of humor, but was instead criticized as tantamount to treason, and was roundly seen as an a violent anathema of the English Aristocracy. Imagine now that Donald Trump had done something similar, by placing black swans in the White House’s pond, and you can understand the duplicity and the lying nature of the deep state aristocracy, because their own duckponds were always stuffed with the purest, and the whitest, amongst the requisite white swans, as a sign of nobility, purity, and grace — but mostly in order to hide the blackness of their sorry and always dark souls.

So Winston opted for black swans, having a trulls white and pure Soul, as a Great Man — instead of becoming like all those precocious and pretentious “Constipe Conserve” upper class exhibits of white & pure humbug swans. Here is also when Winston Churchill, for the first time, humorously stuck two fingers, jauntily up into the air, his hand facing himself, and formed the now famous “up yours” V, and then he went home to feed his black swans whom he loved till the end of life. This happened when he was asked by a “fake news” journalist if he simply loved the black swans for what themselves represented, or because he was thinking that they truly represented him, or maybe because he didn’t care about collecting any more “likes” on Facebook, and thus he clearly didn’t see what value there is, in people necessarily “liking him” in order for him to fulfill his dreams and achieve his world changing goals…

George Smalley, the American journalist who moved widely in the upper Aristocracy of the London Society, explained this in a quaintly Conservative way: “Mr Lloyd George was from the beginning an unregenerate Radical, in whom all the natural and acquired vices of Radicalism were fully developed at an early age. Nothing, therefore, but Radicalism in its most extreme, socialistic form, was ever expected of him.
But Winston Churchill was born into the world a Conservatives, and a Conservative he remained till Mr Balfour, then Prime Minister, rejected his application for Cabinet office.
Then he crossed the floor of the House and has ever since acted with the Liberals, who knew the value of their recruit and gave him what Mr Balfour had denied. That is what the Conservatives tell you, and that is why their dislike of Mr Churchill is so extreme.
It does not stop short of something like social ostracism.”

So Winston Churchill became the chief target of the Tory Opposition, and within the House of Commons was attacked tirelessly as a cynical careerist.

Bellow are a few samples of the repetitious and sanguine phrases used by Members of Parliament to describe Winston Churchill during the year 1909.

On the 16th of January, Austen Chamberlain declared that “his conversion to Radicalism coincided with his personal interests.”

On the 13th of February, Alfred Lyttelton said: “One might as well try to rebuke a
brass band. He trims his sails to every passing air.”

On the 14th of September, Evelyn Cecil said: “He has an entire lack of principle,” and
“He is ready to follow any short cut to the Prime Ministership.”

On the 10th of December, Keir Hardie declared he “we all knew how to trim his sails to
catch votes.”

On the 14th of June, 1910, A. B. Markham said: “Whenever the Churchills “ratted”
they thought it was going to be of benefit to themselves.”

And much more fierce and virulent invective was hurled against Winston Churchill, the long, yet haughty & liberal Parliamentarian, the black swan, of his time. Unfortunately, all that “muck” is so strong that it is unprintable in this book, or in a newspaper, or even in a public broadsheet, blogpost, or even FB and Twitter post. Yet in passing if we ever meet — I will share some of the choicest charcoals that were thrown at him.

Indeed the House of Commons was not the only place in which he was abused.
Their lordships went for him as well, right in the midst of the House of Lords. The following item — rather comic in its seriousness – was printed in The Times of London, on the 4th of November, of the year 1909. This is the sort of report which frequently appeared in print, and this one is from the well known fascist Lord St. Oswald, and was delivered when he was opening a Conservative Bazaar at Golcar, in the Colne Valley. Oswald said that he belonged to a House which had got into very bad repute lately in some quarters: “We may be called blackguards — but I don’t think that we are. We have got men just as good as Mr Lloyd George, Mr Winston Churchill, and a lot more Ministers like them. As a matter of fact, I have known Mr Winston Churchill since he was so high, and I don’t think he has improved since then, and I think many people think the same as I do. The longer he lives the more he will go back, in my opinion. In a few years the people of this country will realize what an outsider he is.”

 

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The outcome of the quarrel with the Lords long ago became part of history. They fell into Lloyd George’s trap and rejected the Budget. Today, historians are almost unanimous in declaring it one of the most stupid and inept political acts of the century. Ever since 1860 when all the taxes of the year, for the first time, were centred in a single Finance Bill, it had been an understood practice that the Lords did not amend or reject it. King Edward VII foresaw the crisis such an action would provoke and strongly urged Lord Lansdowne to secure the passage of the Budget, but the latter was too weak to stand up against the hot-headed reactionaries in the Party.
Peers from all over Britain, known as “the backwoods men” because they lived on their country estates and rarely attended the House of Lords — arrived on the great day to register their votes. The story soon circulated that most of them had to ask strangers for directions, in order to find their way towards the Houses of Parliament…

The Liberals promptly went to the country with the slogan of “the People versus the Peers.” Without this battle cry there is no doubt that the Liberals would have been soundly beaten. The middle classes were worried by “socialist” talk. Perhaps Lloyd George was trying to establish a one Chamber Government, perhaps even a dictatorship. The Budget was not too severe, but maybe it was only a beginning. First taxes on the land, and then, who knows, maybe gradual confiscation of the land. Besides this, there was still the German menace. Could this party of Radicals and pacifists be trusted to make Britain safe? These were some of the doubts and fears. “The People versus the Peers” was strong enough to return the Liberals to power, but with a majority reduced by a hundred seats and a majority that was now dependent on the Irish nationalists.

The new Liberal Government set about drafting a Bill for the reform of the Upper House. Then King Edward died. Since the issue was a constitutional one, and the new King was bound to be involved, a moratorium was declared and both parties agreed to sit on a committee in an attempt to work out a compromise.
The months dragged on, however, and the committee could not agree; finally the Liberals came out with their own solution.
First, the Lords’ veto was to be abolished on bills certified by the Speaker as money bills; second, any Bill passed by the House of Commons in three successive sessions was to become law despite the Lords’ veto.
The Liberals went to the country again to ask for a mandate for this reform. It was the second election in the same year and the result was almost identical to the first one.

There was no doubt now that the Parliament Bill asking for a reform of the Upper House was “the will of the people.” However, the Lords were still obstinate and resentful. The term diehard, a regimental nickname, came into currency for the first time to describe their attitude. They drastically amended the House of Commons Parliament Bill and returned it triumphantly in its emasculated form. But the Prime Minister, Mr Asquith, had a trump card up his sleeve. He wrote a letter to Mr Balfour making it known that the King had agreed, if the Lords refused to pass the Bill, to swamp the Upper House by creating two hundred and fifty new Peers who would out-vote the present Conservative majority. This knowledge finally forced the Lords to capitulate, but even so, it was a close affair. The Bill was passed by only 131 against 114 parliamentary votes.

During these tempestuous years two important events took place in Winston’s personal life. The first was the beginning of his friendship with F. E. Smith, later Lord Birkenhead, Lord Chancellor of England.

Mr F. E. Smith was a Tory who began his political career as a dark horse. He had neither connections nor wealth to help him. His grandfather was a miner and his grandmother was a gypsy. The miner would not allow his son to go into the pits and consequently F. E’s father became a barrister.
However, his father died when F. E. was only sixteen, leaving the boy to make his own way in life. The latter won a scholarship to Oxford, took his bar examinations, and five years later was earning six thousand pounds a year.

He entered Parliament in 1906 and decided to stake everything on his opening speech. Most maiden speeches are modest and uncontroversial, but F.E.’s was a fierce attack on the Government, full of lightning shafts and humorous but stinging invective. When he rose to speak Members looked at the tall, languid figure with the black patent-leather hair and the sallow unsmiling face, and asked who he was. An hour later the lobbies were ringing with his name. Never before had a newcomer scored such a triumph with a single speech. He was acknowledged at once as one of the new forces within the Tory Party. His merits continued to be recognized and soon he was famous throughout the country for his brilliant repartee and merciless wit.

At first F.E. refused to meet Winston. He did not like what he had heard of him and disapproved strongly of his desertion from the Tory Party.
But one night, in 1906, the two men were introduced in the smoking-room of the House of Commons. “From that hour our friendship was perfect” wrote Winston.
“It was one of my most precious possessions. It was never disturbed by the fiercest Party fighting. It was never marred by the slightest personal difference or misunderstanding. It grew stronger as nearly a quarter of a century slipped by, and it lasted until his untimely death.”

This friendship was perhaps even more remarkable than Winston Churchill’s relationship with Lloyd George, for it had to stand the stress and strain of bitter Party strife, with the two men facing each other from opposite camps and doing battle on almost every important issue of the time. Both men, however, possessed the rare capacity to divorce politics from personal feelings. They argued hotly, but they never allowed their differences to hinder the mutual enjoyment derived from each other’s company.
Often they treated the House of Commons to a fierce verbal duel which
their enemies liked to suggest had been carefully rehearsed beforehand.
Once F.E. Smith remarked that ‘Winston Churchill had devoted the best years of his life to his impromptu speeches.’

On another occasion Churchill showed F.E. a cartoon in which both of them appeared. The artist had drawn his characters comically, but so cleverly that there was no mistaking them. F.E. was dressed in a bearskin hat with a slightly sardonic expression on his face; Winston Churchill was short and round like a happy bulldog. “What a wonderful caricaturist” said Winston Churchill cheerfully. “He gets you to a nicety. It’s astonishing how like you are to your cartoons.” F.E. gazed at the picture a moment then handed it back, saying solemnly: “You seem to be the only one who’s flattered.”

The Conservatives disapproved of F.E.’s friendship with Winston Churchill and warned him that it would do his career no good. But F.E. paid no attention. The two men met regularly; they spent week-ends together; they went on summer cruises; they served together in the Oxfordshire Hussars; they even founded a dining dub, known as ‘The Other Club” to enable politicians of opposite Parties to meet and exchange views. “Never did I separate from him without having learnt something, and enjoyed myself besides.” Thus wrote Winston about his friend…

Many years later these two men sat in the same Cabinet together.

The second personal event of these memorable years was the greatest happening of Winston’s life. In 1908 he was married. He met his bride, appropriately enough, in the smoke of an election battle. When he went to Scotland in 1908 to contest the Dundee election, he was introduced to a beautiful young lady, Miss Clementine Hozier. She was the daughter of the late Colonel EL. M. Hozier and Lady Blanche Hozier, and a granddaughter of the Countess of Airlie, a staunch and powerful Liberal supporter.

Miss Hozier was just twenty-three. The pictures of her published at this time show a charming oval face, hair parted in the middle, finely cut classic features and large wide set eyes. As far as Winston Churchill was concerned, it was love at first sight. Miss Hosier was not only beautiful but she was high spirited, intelligent, liberal minded, and passionately interested and amused by politics herself. Up to this time Winston Churchill had taken little interest in the female sex. Once or twice he had fancied himself enamored, but the spell had been of short duration, because politics were so much more exciting than women.

Besides, Winston Churchill himself being devilishly handsome — was rather choosy. He was only smitten, by the most beautiful specimens of the female sex, and was indeed very hard to please.

This is how Mr George Smalley described the visit that Winston Churchill made to New York when he was twenty-six years old, and when the matchmakers had their eyes on him: “He met everybody, but would sit in the midst of the most brilliant and delightful people, totally absorbed in his own thoughts.”

“He would not admire the women he was expected to admire. They must have not only beauty and intelligence, but the particular kind of beauty and intelligence which appealed to him; if otherwise, he knew how to be silent without meaning to be rude. … It was useless to remonstrate with him. He answered: “She is beautiful to you, but not to me.””

Miss Hozier’s mother approved of Winston Churchill as a future son-in-law. “He is gentle and tender, and affectionate to those he loves, much hated by those who have not come under his personal charm” she wrote to Wilfrid Blunt. The wedding took place at St. Margaret’s, Westminster. Lord Hugh Cecil, the ardent Tory, was best man. Wedding presents were received from Winston’s three most formidable opponents, Balfour, and the two Chamberlains. The church was packed. The newspapers were interested and reported the whole event n detail. And Wilfrid Blunt wrote in his diary: “The bride was pale, as was the bridegroom. He has gained in appearance since I saw him last, and has a powerful if ugly face. Winston’s responses were clearly made in a pleasant voice, Clementine’s inaudible.”

“The marriage, as everyone knows, proved to be one of the great marriages of the century. The bride was not a partier. Indeed, Mrs Sidney Webb wrote approvingly in her diary: ‘On Sunday we lunched with Winston Churchill and his bride a charming lady, well-bred and pretty, and earnest withal but not rich, by no means a good match, which is to Winston’s credit. It was also to Winston’s enduring advantage for Clementine Churchill will go down in history as a wife who loyally shared her husband’s political vicissitudes and enjoyed his complete devotion for over forty years. She is a woman of courage, character and shrewd political judgment. Winston Churchill always carefully considers her opinions, and if he does not always follow her advice he is at least very much aware of what the advice was. Although Mrs Churchill would never allow any disagreement to arise between herself and her husband in public, she does not hesitate to argue with him at home. Often her attitude towards him is protective, like a mother with a precocious, unruly child; his towards her is attentive and devoted.”

The first years of their marriage were not easy for a young, pale and beautiful bride. Mrs Churchill was not only taking on a husband, but the wrath of Society as well. Docility, however, was not part of her character and far from regretting the circumstances she welcomed them as a challenge. By instinct she was more of a Liberal than Winston. She had been brought up to distrust Tory politics, and she had a natural interest in reform. She regarded Conservative ostracism as something of a compliment and soon had created an agreeable existence for herself and her husband among a small circle of intimate friends. Blenheim was the only Tory house open to them, and in order to please Winston Churchill, who was deeply sentimental about his family ties, she occasionally accompanied him to Blenheim palace on family occasions and recreational or sporting visits, and to all the annual balls of his extended Ducal family.

And although Churchill was censored by the Tories for being disrespectful to the dukes — his cousin — the Duke of Marlborough, managed to overlook his jibes and political tirades and loved Winston as a true skin of the family tree. Sadly & consequently, Winston Churchill, the PM, was criticized by his own Liberal political side, for seeing too much of his own relative: “The fact that Winston Churchill thoughtlessly went to Blenheim for Christmas [1910],” writes E. T. Raymond, one of Lloyd George’s biographers. This “somewhat diminished the effects of his comrade’s oratory.” However, on one occasion, when the Duke of Marlborough made disobliging remarks about Mr Asquith, Mrs Churchill packed her bags and left; and she could not be induced to go there for many months afterwards.

The fact that the Churchills began their life together cut off from Society and dependent on their own resources, gave their marriage a surest and far stronger foundation, than if they were the darlings of the dinner party circuit that London had become for some…

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But although Winston Churchill was hated more than Lloyd George — the Welshman
Radical politician, was the undisputed Master of collecting Malice, Hate and Rancor. As Chancellor of the Exchequer he held the Radical leadership firmly in his hands, because he made the decisions, and he conceived the strategy to be followed while he played his trump cards. And while Winston Churchill was almost as great a figure in the public eye, behind the scenes he acknowledged Lloyd George as his leader. Contemporary people who saw them working together always said, that Lloyd George was the only man to whom Churchill ever deferred. The quick witted Welshman, knew how to charm and control his high-spirited subaltern as nobody else had ever succeeded in doing before or since. Indeed the relationship of the master and the pupil, continued throughout the years, long after Churchill ceased to be under Lloyd George’s political influence in any way.

Robert Boothby, a Tory M.P., who was Winston’s Parliamentary Private Secretary when the latter became Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Conservative Government of 1924, says that for a time Churchill and Lloyd George drifted apart. Then one day Winston Churchill asked Boothby to make an appointment for him to see Lloyd George. This is what Mr Boothby wrote: “He came to his room in the evening, and remained there for about half an hour. When he had gone, I waited for the summons. None came, so I went in and found the Chancellor sitting in his armchair before the fire, in a brown study. Churchill observed: “It is a remarkable thing, but L.G. hadn’t been in this room for three minutes before the old relationship was completely re-established.” I was delighted. He then looked up with a twinkle in his eye, and added: “The relationship of master and servant.””

What was unusual about the association of these two titans was an almost total lack of jealousy. Once Lloyd George remarked: “Sometimes when I see Winston Churchill making these speeches I get a flash of jealousy and I have to say to myself, “Don’t be a fool. What’s the use of getting jealous of Winston?”” And occasionally Winston Churchill felt a twinge of envy over the limelight Lloyd George won with the Budget. When he was not asked to speak in the Commons on the third reading of the Bill he was annoyed but made up for it by airing his views on the public platform. “You see” he said to Lloyd George, “in spite of your trying to keep me out of the Budget, I made a show after all.” “I like that” said Lloyd George. “I offered to hand you over the whole of Part II, the income tax.” “Oh, that’s detail,” said Winston Churchill scornfully: “This man is not going to do detail.”

Mrs Masterman goes on to tell how amusing they were together “with their different weaknesses and their different childishnesses.” She describes them one night at dinner. “At one point Winston Churchill said “I am all for the social order.” George, who had had a glass of champagne, which excites him without in the least confusing him, sat up in his chair and said: “No! I’m against it. Listen. There were six hundred men turned off by the G.W. works last week. Those men had to go out into the streets to starve. There is not a man in that works who docs not live in terror of the day when his turn will come to go. Well, I’m against a social order that admits that kind of thing.” And he made a beckoning gesture I have seen him use once or twice. “Yeth, yeth,” said Winston, hurriedly, subdued for a moment, and then rather mournfully: “I suppose that was what lost us Cricklade.” “Yes, and Swindon,” said George. Winston cocked his nose in a way he does when he knows he’s going to be impertinent. “That’s just what I say — you are not against the social order, but against those parts of it that get in your way” and George crumpled up with amusement.

Although Churchill was constantly attacked, in conjunction with Lloyd George, as the wicked inspiration of the “class war” and nobody would deny that his speeches were formidable assaults against the fortress of privilege behind the scenes he was a moderating influence. Indeed, it is obvious from reading the memoirs and diaries of the time that from the middle of 1910 onwards, Winston Churchill’s Radicalism began to diminish. Mrs Masterman quotes Lloyd George as declaring that Winston Churchill was not in favour of the heatedly controversial Land Tax which probably encouraged the Lords to reject the Budget more than any other item. Winston Churchill was eager for reform but did not want to impose any unnecessary penalties on the ruling class. What he called ‘revolutionary talk’ upset him, and Mrs Masterman describes an evening she spent with Winston, Lloyd George and her husband. When the last two began talking in fun “of the revolutionary measures they were proposing next: the guillotine in Trafalgar Square; the nominating for the first tumbril.” Winston became more and more indignant and alarmed, “until they suggested that this would give him a splendid opportunity of figuring as the second Napoleon of the revolutionary forces, when, still perfectly serious, Winston, as George put it, seemed to think there was something in it.” “It is extraordinary,” said George, “I had no idea anyone could have so little humour.” “That night Winston walked home with Masterman. He was still very much perturbed by the conversation. “If this is what it leads to, you must be prepared for me to leave you” Winston said solemnly.”

Winston, it appears from this diary, was not in favour of abolishing the Lords’ Veto. He was willing to reform the Upper House but he did not wish to lessen their powers, and on more than one occasion he had heated arguments with Lloyd George on the subject. Mrs Masterman describes a dinner which she and her husband had with Lloyd George, in the course of which the latter said: “Winston was up here last night and he got just as he did that time in the spring. You remember, Masterman, he began to fume and kick up the hearth rug, and became very offensive, saying: “You can go to Hell your own way, I won’t interfere. I’ll have nothing to do with your policy,” and was almost threatening until I reminded him that “no man can rat twice.” Mrs Masterman commented on this by writing: “Winston, of course, is not a democrat, or at least, he is a Tory Democrat.” He cursed Charlie one night when they dined together, swearing he would resign sooner than accept a Veto policy again, and spend four years with Sir Ernest Cassel, getting rich: “Then again and again repeating: “No, no, no; I won’t follow George if he goes back to that damn Veto.” Three weeks afterwards he was making passionate speeches in favour of the Veto policy. He became cantankerous and very difficult, and, said George, “for three weeks while he is at a thing, he is very persistent, but he always comes to heel in the end,” which is a very true description.

Once in the spring he made a quite excellent speech on the Veto in the House of Commons, although that very morning he had been abusing the Government policy uphill and down to Charlie. “If we,” said George, “put a special clause in the Budget exempting “Sonny (the Duke of Marlborough)” from taxation, Winston would let us do what we liked.””

Although Winston Churchill argued and fought with Lloyd George behind the scenes — in public he presented an absolutely united front. He never stooped to intrigue, or allowed himself to belittle his leader in any way. He was completely loyal; and the reward of this loyalty was a friendship unique among politicians.

Winston’s deflection from the Radical and Isolationist line he had adopted for four years began with his appointment as Home Secretary in 1910, and was completed by the time he was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911. During the year he spent as Home Secretary he accomplished important prison reforms. But he also took actions which were most bitterly resented by the Leftist and Labour circles and are held against him to this day.

As Home Secretary Winston Churchill was responsible for the maintenance of law and order. The years 1910 to 1911, heralded an epidemic of serious strikes, and his task was neither easy nor enviable. First came a bitter coal strike in South Wales in which his actions were misunderstood and deeply resented by the miners. As recently as the 1950 General Election Welsh Socialists revived the events of that time, now generally grouped together and referred to as “Torypandy” declaring that he had sent soldiers to attack the miners. Churchill hotly denied the charge, and informed a Cardiff audience that the allegation was a “cruel lie.”

Here are the facts. The coal strike broke out during the first week in November. There were riots and a number of mines were partially flooded. On the morning of 8 November Churchill received a telegram from the Chief Constable of Glamorgan declaring that the local police were incapable of maintaining order and that he had applied for troops
from Southern Command. The Liberal Party was facing a General Election and Winston Churchill at once realized the undesirability of using the military against miners.

He prevented the War Office from sending troops on a large scale, and quickly made plans to reinforce the Welsh police with 850 Metropolitan police. At the same time, however, after a consultation with Mr Haldane, the Secretary of State for War, Churchill agreed to send a limited number of troops as a safeguard. Churchill asked that both soldiers and police be placed under the command of a high Army officer, General Macready, and made it clear that the latter must be responsible, not to the War Office, but to himself as Home Secretary.

On that same morning, 8th of November, he sent a telegram to the Chief Constable of Glamorgan, informing him that 250 constables of the London Metropolitan Police would arrive at Pontypridd that evening:
“Expect these forces will be sufficient, but as further precautionary measure, 200 cavalry will be moved into district tonight and remain there pending the cessation of trouble. General Macready will command the military, and will act in conjunction with civil authorities as circumstances may require. Military will not, however, be available, unless it is clear that police reinforcements are unable to cope with the situation.”

In relating the events to the House of Commons on February, of 1911, Churchill said that shortly after this message was sent he was able to get into telephonic communication with the Chief Constable who told him that he believed the Metropolitan Police would be sufficient, and that there was very little accommodation for soldiers as well as police at Pontypridd. Churchill then sent a message, through the War Office, for the cavalry to detrain at Cardiff. “But orders were also sent to General Macready (he continued in his speech to the House of Commons) who was also travelling to Cardiff, that if any further request of special emergency reached him from the Chief Constable, on the spot he could use his own discretion about going forward with the cavalry that night. . . .
About eight o’clock telephonic communication was received that there was rioting in progress, and we immediately telegraphed to General Macready to move into the district with his squadrons, only one of which had up to that time arrived at Cardiff. He had already received authority to do so, and had, in fact, acted in anticipation of that message half an hour earlier.

Macready had strict instructions that the soldiers were to be kept apart from the strikers, and used only to guard mine premises in conjunction with the police, unless the latter found themselves unable to deal with the situation. He meticulously observed his orders, and in most cases police proved equal to the task, and troops were not brought into direct contact with the miners.

On two or three occasions, however, he found it necessary to call out the military to prevent the police from being heavily stoned. “In order to counter these tactics on the part of the strikers on the next occasion when trouble was afoot, (wrote General Macready), small bodies of infantry on the higher ground, keeping level with the police on the main road, moved slowly down the side tracks, and by a little gentle persuasion with the bayonet drove the stone throwers into the arms of the police on the lower
road. The effect was excellent, since no casualties were reported, though it was
rumoured that many young men of the valley found that sitting down was
accompanied by a certain amount of discomfort for many days afterwards. As a
general instruction the soldiers had been warned that if obliged to use their
bayonets they should only be applied to that portion of the body traditionally held by trainers of youth to be reserved for punishment.

No matter how ‘gentle’ the ‘persuasion’ of the bayonet — the very fact that this weapon was used, and men were hurt by it, aroused the miners to fury. Wild and exaggerated stories spread throughout South Wales.

And thus Winston Churchill fell between two stools.

His desire to avoid the use of the military, successful in 99% of the instances, was not appreciated by anyone.

As a result for nearly forty years he has been accused of “sending troops to attack the miners.” Keir Hardie, one of the founders of the Labour Party and a Member of Parliament, contributed to this interpretation by publishing a powerful little booklet entitled “Killing No Murder” in which he wrote:
“One of the riots that took place on the evening of 8 November was in Tonypandy Square. The strikers attempted to attack the colliery in protest against the owners’ lock-out notices, and were driven away by the local police. On their way back they smashed and looted the shops in Tonypandy Square in what The Times described as ‘an orgy of naked anarchy.” In view of the many erroneous accounts given of this well known incident, it is absolutely necessary now, to emphasize that neither London police nor troops arrived in the district in time to take any part in the scene of disorder and general mayhem. Indeed the order was restored fully and bravely by the local police, acting alone.

When Keir Hardie asked in the House of Commons on 15th of November, 1910, “at whose instance the troops had been sent to Wales?” Haldane replied: “They were sent at my instance after careful consultation with my rt. hon. Friend, the Home Secretary.”
This is how Keir Hardie described the events in Parliament: “Once more the Liberals are in office and Asquith is Prime Minister, and troops are let loose upon the people to shoot down if need be, whilst they are fighting for their legitimate rights. They will give you Insurance Bills, they will give you all kinds of soothing syrups to keep you quiet, but in the end your Liberal Party, just like your Tory Party, is the Party of the rich, and exists to protect the rich when Labour and Capital come into conflict.”

In the House of Commons Winston Churchill took full responsibility for the presence of troops in the Welsh valleys, declaring that they would be withdrawn when he decided they were “no longer necessary.” In the light of after events it seems clear that it would have been wiser if Churchill had not stationed them in South Wales at all, but had held them in reserve in a neighbouring county. However, the ironical part of the story is the fact that Churchill was strongly criticized in the House of Commons for exactly the opposite reason by the powerful Conservative Opposition, which was eager to prove Liberal inefficiency at the imminent General Election. The Tories argued that he should have sent troops a week earlier to take charge of the situation, and if this had been done all damage to property would have been prevented. But General Macready in a fair and unbiased account praises Churchill for having sent the London police. ‘It was entirely due to Winston Churchill’s foresight in sending a strong force of Metropolitan Police directly he was aware of the state of affairs in the valleys that bloodshed was avoided, for had the police not been in strength sufficient to cope with the rioters there would have been no alternative but to bring the military into action.

Next came the dock workers and the longshoremen strikes, and the railway strikes, of August 1911. The anger the “Tonypandy incident” had aroused among the working class people had not fully impressed itself on Churchill, for this time he did not hesitate to call upon the military in force. He declared that the nation was on the brink of a national  railway strike and dispatched troops in all directions, without even waiting for the local authorities to ask for them.

Once again he was furiously attacked by Labour Members in the House, and defended himself by saying: “The task which was entrusted to the military forces was to keep the railways running, to safeguard the railways, to protect the railwaymen who were at work, to keep the railways running for the transportation of food supplies and raw materials. And it was necessary, if they were to discharge that task, that the General commanding each area into which the country is divided, the General responsible for each of the different strike areas, should have full liberty to send troops to any point on the line so that communications should not be interrupted. That is how it arose, of course, that on Saturday the soldiers arrived at places to protect railway stations and signal boxes, goods yards, and other points on the line without their having been requisitioned by the local authorities.

There was a feeling in Parliament, however, that Churchill revelled in strong measures; that in this case instead of using troops as a last resort his first instinct has been to turn to the military. Ramsay MacDonald reminded him in biting tones that these were not the sort of methods that the average Englishman liked, whether his party was Liberal, Tory, or even Socialist.

“This is not a mediaeval State, and it is not Russia. It is not even Germany. We have discovered a secret which very few countries have hitherto discovered. The secret this nation has discovered is that the way to maintain law and order is to trust the ordinary operations of a law abiding and order inclined people If the Home Secretary had just a little more knowledge of how to handle masses of men in these critical times, if he had a somewhat better instinct of what civil liberty does mean, and if he had a somewhat better capacity to use the powers which he has got as Home Secretary, we should have had much less difficulty in the last four or five days in facing and finally settling the very difficult problem we have had before us.”

Indeed, the sending of troops was so deeply resented by the labour ranks it nearly resulted in a General Strike. “This military intervention” (wrote Elie Halevy) “was not always successful. If in London the dispute was peaceably settled by an agreement concluded on August, it was not so at Liverpool where the presence of the Irish element no doubt gave the strike a peculiarly violent character. One day the offices of the Shipping Federation were burnt down. Another day the soldiers used their rifles and there were casualties. They were, to be sure, local disturbances. But by the indignation they aroused throughout the working class they provoked, or came within an ace of provoking, another social crisis of a more formidable character.”

At this point Lloyd George stepped in with permission from the Cabinet to act as a negotiator. He was completely successful. He not only brought the railway strike to an end, but left the impression that if his tact and persuasiveness had been employed sooner labour relations would never have reached such a pitch. Winston Churchill on the other hand had merely widened the deep antagonism which was now firmly established between himself and the working class.

In January, before the railway strike and after the Welsh coal stoppage, an incident took place which provided the country with a certain amount of comic relief, but at the same time gave further ammunition to Winston Churchill’s enemies. It was known as “The Siege of Sidney Street.” In January 1911 the police telephoned the Home Secretary and informed him that they had cornered a gang of desperadoes, among whom was “Peter the Painter” an anarchist, responsible for recent murders of the police in Houndsditch. The men were entrenched in a house in Sidney Street in Stepney. No one knew how many there were but they appeared to have plenty of ammunition and probably some home-made bombs. Churchill could not resist the excitement. Dressed in a top-hat and a fur lined overcoat with an astrakhan collar, and accompanied by the Chief of the C.I.D., the Commissioner of the City Police, and the head of the political section of Scotland Yard, he hurried to the scene. The house was surrounded by several hundred armed police reinforced by a small file of Scots Guards, equipped with a Maxim gun, who had been summoned from the Tower. The Guards were firing on the house and occasionally from the broken windows a bullet answered back. One policeman had been wounded.

Hugh Martin, a journalist who was present at the scene, described Mr Churchill as “altogether an imposing figure.” “Peeping round corners he exposed himself with the Scots Guards to the random fire of the besieged burglars, or consulted with his “staff” in tones of utmost gravity. He agreed that it might be an excellent thing to have in reserve a couple of field guns from the Royal Horse Artillery depot at St. John’s Wood, and that a party of Royal Engineers from Chatham might be useful if mining operations had to be undertaken against the citadel. He even suggested that casualties might be avoided if steel plates were brought from Woolwich to form a portable cover for the military sharpshooters an early version of one of his ideas, first utiized during the Great War.”

Soon wisps of smoke began to rise from the windows, and half an hour later the house was burning fiercely. Fire engines arrived and quickly got to work. When the police finally entered the ruins, instead of a formidable gang, they found only two charred bodies; and neither belonged to Peter the Painter.
The Conservatives made as much fun of the story as they could. They ridiculed Churchill for the troops and the field gun, for the false excitement and self advertisement. Arthur Balfour commented sarcastically in the House: “We are concerned to observe photographs in the Illustrated Papers of the Home Secretary in the danger zone. I can understand what the photographer was doing but not the Home Secretary.”

Winston’s Liberal colleagues were also sarcastic. The soldier seemed to be much more prominent these days than the Radical. Were the Tories right? Was he purely an adventurer at heart? In 1912 A. G. Gardiner published a character sketch in the Daily News which showed how far Liberal feeling had changed towards him:

“He is always unconsciously playing a part an heroic part. And he is himself his most astonished spectator. He sees himself moving through the smoke of battle triumphant, terrible, his brow clothed with thunder, his legions looking to him for victory, and not looking in vain. He thinks of Napoleon; he thinks of his great ancestor. Thus did they bear themselves; thus in this rugged and awful crisis, will he bear himself. It is not make-believe, it is not insincerity; it is that in this fervid and picturesque imagination there are always great deeds afoot, with himself cast by destiny in the Agamemnon role. Hence that portentous gravity that sits on his youthful shoulders so oddly, those impressive postures and tremendous silences, the body flung wearily in the chair, the head resting gloomily in the hand, the abstracted look, the knitted brow. Hence that tendency to exaggerate a situation which is so characteristic of him the tendency that
sent artillery down to Sidney Street and during the railway strike dispatched the military hither and thither as though Armageddon was upon us. “You’ve mistaken a coffee-stall row for the social revolution” said one of his colleagues to him as he pored with knitted and portentous brows over a huge map of the country on which he was making his military dispositions.”

This paragraph was often gleefully quoted by Winston’s Tory opponents during the next few years. But once World War I had begun, they found it convenient to omit the three sentences that followed. Gardiner had gone on to say: “Hence his horrific picture of the German menace. He believes it all, because his mind once seized with an idea works with enormous velocity round it, intensifies it, makes it shadow the whole sky. In the theatre of his mind it is always the hour of fate and the crack of doom.”

The year 1911 marked a turning point in Winston Churchill’s life. In July, a German gunboat, the Panther, suddenly stationed itself off the obscure Atlantic port of Agadir on the North African coast. This was a direct threat to French expansion in the Mediterranean. The Chancelleries of Europe were electrified and for three months the western world hovered on the brink of war. Winston Churchill’s eyes opened with a start as he at last became conscious of the peril that threatened England. For eleven years he had followed first in his father’s footsteps, and then in Lloyd George’s, as an apostle of “Peace, Retrenchment and Reform.” The championing of these ideas had cast him in the strangely incongruous role of “The Little Englander” the opponent of a strong Army and Navy, the darling of the pacifists, the provincial reformer so engrossed in tidying up his house, that he could not see the approaching tornado.

Overnight Winston Churchill abandoned retrenchment. His ardour for prison reform
died as his powerful mind swung on to world affairs. For the first time since he had become a Member of Parliament he began to think independently. And although neither he nor anyone else realized it at the time, he had finally veered onto his true course, “as a champion of the might and right of Britain.”

The Agadir incident, as it became known, was a highlight in a series of events which began at the beginning of the century when Germany decided to build a large Navy.

Germany was young and virile.

She was already the strongest military power on the Continent. This fact had worried the French for some time, but it had not aroused much concern among the English who believed they could remain safely aloof in their island fortress with their Navy the undisputed ruler of the sea lanes of the world. But when Germany published a new Fleet Law in 1900 revealing that the Emperor not only wished to control the greatest army in Europe but to rival English sea power as well, the British Foreign Office became
alarmed. The preamble of the “Fleet Law” stated: “In order to protect German trade and commerce, under existing conditions, only one thing will suffice, namely, Germany must possess a battle fleet of such strength that, even for the most powerful naval adversary, a war would involve such risks as to make that Power’s own supremacy doubtful.”

Why did Germany want this vast Navy?

Against whom was it intended?

The British could find only one answer: and that was the beginning of the fear that led to protective alliances; and the alliances that involved them in the subsequent war. Throughout her history Britain had always allied herself with the second strongest power on the Continent, gathering to her banner small states eager to maintain their independence. It therefore seemed natural to the English that in 1904, when the Kaiser in a flamboyant speech was proclaiming himself “The Admiral of the Atlantic,” that Britain should be making an entente with France.

The entente proved of mutual advantage to both countries. The French agreed to give the British a free hand in Egypt and the British agreed to help France round off her North African Empire by the acquisition of Morocco. In the minds of both nations was the belief that it would be a good thing to keep Germany out of the Mediterranean. The Kaiser was indignant. In 1905 he paid a visit to Tangier, in Morocco, and made a speech declaring that his friend, the Sultan, must remain absolutely independent. The result was a twelve months’ cold war, but Britain stood steadfastly by France, and in the end the Germans sulkily backed down.

It is well to remind the reader that in those days diplomacy was for the few and the very few. The British public had little say in Foreign Affairs. And when one speaks of ‘the Government’ deciding this or that, one means the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary, and perhaps one or two other leading Ministers, but by no means the whole of the Cabinet. With this in mind it does not seem so strange that while ‘the Government’ was
strengthening its relations with France and keeping an anxious eye on Germany, the Cabinet also decided, in 1906, to cut down Britain’s shipbuilding programme. Winston Churchill and Lloyd George led the attack on naval armaments, while Sir Edward Grey, the Foreign Secretary, quietly went on his way building up a diplomatic bulwark against Germany.

In 1907 Sir Edward made an alliance with France’s ally, Russia, which led to another ‘cold war’ scare in 1908. Germany’s ally, Austria, stole a march on Russia by proclaiming the annexation of Bosnia, a Turkish province which Russia regarded as within her ‘sphere of influence.’ Russia was compelled to forgo her authority, but British public opinion was stirred; and that was the year that the clamour for eight new warships
reached its height.

Meantime France went ahead with her conquest of Morocco, offering Germany as compensation a part of French Equatorial Africa. When the German gunboat was sent to Agadir in 1911, in order to enforce French generosity, the situation reached its third climax. Once again the Anglo-French entente held firm and once again Germany retreated from her stand. Lloyd George played a sudden and surprising part in the crisis, making it clear that Britain was in no mood to be bullied.

Up to this time there had been a cleavage between Sir Edward Grey as leader of the Liberal Imperialists, and Lloyd George as leader of the Liberal pacifists. Churchill relates in The World Crisis how he met Lloyd George several weeks after Germany had shown her “mailed fist.” Lloyd George was due to make a speech to the City bankers that evening, at an annual dinner at the Mansion House. He evidently saw quite clearly the course to take. During the speech, he pointed out that “Germany was acting as if England did not count in this matter, in any way. Germany behaved as if she had completely ignored our strong representation, while she was proceeding to put the most severe pressure on France claiming that a catastrophe might ensue, and that if the great War, is to be averted, we must take the decision to speak with great ferocity, and act at once.”

Consequently Lloyd George’s speech contained a passage that fell on German ears like a thunderbolt. He said this: “If a situation were forced upon us, in which peace could only be preserved by the surrender of the great and beneficent position Britain has won by centuries of heroism and achievement, by allowing Britain to be treated where her interests were vitally affected, as if she were of no account in the Cabinet of nations, then I say emphatically that peace at that price would be a humiliation intolerable for a great country like ours to endure.”

The Germans were not only astonished but furious. The German Ambassador was recalled in disgrace for portraying Lloyd George as a “Pacifist” and once again after three agitated months, the crisis passed. “People think” complained Lloyd George, “that because I was a pro-Boer, I am anti-war in general, and that I should faint at the mention of a cannon.”

The Agadir episode was a turning point in Winston Churchill’s life. As a matter of fact it was his Epiphany, if not his Paulian Damascus moment of salvation, and a return to Jesus.

Some men are so exhilarated by a sense of danger that a sudden surge of new power seems to rise within them. Winston Churchill was one of these. The prospect of a great conflict obsessed him and he could think of little else.

How could he keep his mind on Home Office matters when life and death were
in the balance? How could he interest himself in labor strikes, employers industrial actions, and Suffragettes, when at any moment Germany might strike at Britain and war would descend upon all?

Indeed Winston had always believed himself to be a Man of Destiny.

His colossal self-confidence, which some people unkindly referred to as egotism, and his almost superstitious attitude towards life had led him to analyse his position a hundred times.

Sometimes, he even dwelt on the chance encounters, the narrow escapes, the impulsive decisions, and the rewarding risks, that had carried him so far along the road to power.

Therefore he reckoned — it must all be for some definite purpose.

As for his own personal purpose, meaning of Life, and Mission of his career when he was placed upon this God’s good Earth — first he had thought his destiny lay in avenging his father and spreading the message of Compassionate Conservatism,that Lord Rqndolph Churchill had first broached to the World.

Later, and after his introspective and experimental with apocryphal religions period, he experienced his Epiphany that brought him squarely to the fold of the Christian Religion — and he felt that his destiny lies in helping the poor.

Yet now after the discovery of the imminent war signals and after hearing the jungle drums of German nihilism overshadowing Europe once again — he became absolutely convinced that he ought to shift his attention in order to save England from annihilation.

AS it always happens — it all came full circle and in the middle of August, a few weeks after the Agadir incident, he went to the country and sat on a hilltop looking over the beautiful green fields and the valley of Kent, while meditating about the perils of war, and how to possibly avoid it.

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But most importantly, he thought abut how to preserve the Peace through his wits, through the networks of commercial interests and familiar trade routes, and also through the sheer genius of British diplomacy, and the use of Soft power…

Soon enough, it seemed that he would have his hands full.

As a footnote, it seems important to add that many years later this Man who was born inside the Blenheim palace in Oxfordshire — Winston Churchill who had been itinerant for more than half his life —  when he did decide to put down roots for the second time in 1922, he was delighted to rediscover Chartwell, virtually on Kent’s western boundary, and the scene of the spectacular vistas that he had come to love. The tranquillity of the place had captivated him in these earlier visits, and he was often found looking out over the Weald of Kent…

Indeed, many years later, he was want to say to visitors and strangers alike, when they found him walking or idling along the ridges: “I bought Chartwell for that view.”

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To be continued:


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