By Katie Engelhart - Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 0 Comments
The much-quoted British politician still makes headlines—47 years after his death
When Winston Churchill was a young boy, he was convinced of his imminent importance. The late British prime minister “had a very strong sense that he was going to make his mark on history,” says Natalie Adams, an archivist at the Churchill Archives Centre in Cambridge, England. “So he kept everything. And we have everything.”
That includes drafts of speeches and correspondence with monarchs—as well as damning school reports, letters to his mother, and a stern warning from the security service that Cuban cigars received as gifts could be poisoned or rigged with explosives.
In October, Churchill’s personal papers were made available on the Internet. The archive is “the closest the U.K. has to a presidential library,” said Jonathan Glasspool, managing director of the publisher Bloomsbury Academic. “Its publication online will become a landmark in 20th-century historical studies.”
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, October 9, 2012 at 4:57 PM - 0 Comments
With the release of the Broadbent institute’s first report it seems an appropriate time to repeat a time tested truth perfectly articulated by Sir Winston Churchill. “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”
By Michael Petrou - Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 10:56 PM - 8 Comments
The invitation had been “dangling” for months but, British sources say, plans for British Prime Minister David Cameron’s first bilateral visit to Canada — and the first by a British prime minister since Tony Blair in 2001 — only got under way two weeks ago.
It was then something of a scramble to prepare statements and speeches. Quoting Churchill is always a reliable crowd pleaser on these occasions, and both sides were soon eyeing the great wartime leader’s “Some chicken! Some neck!” speech delivered in the House of Commons in December 1941. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, September 6, 2011 at 11:55 AM - 26 Comments
Roland Paris considers the Prime Minister’s comments on soldiers and arguments.
Turning back to Libya, it is true that Gaddafi needed to be confronted, because he had paid little heed to international demands that he stop attacking Libyan citizens. But Harper’s remarks yesterday went further. Indeed, he came close to lampooning the idea of diplomacy itself. Who needs a “mouthful of arguments” if you can land a good punch? It doesn’t take much imagination to hear the snickering behind that quotation.
Nor does it take much imagination to think of alternative quotations Harper could have used in his speech. Here’s one, for example, from a man who certainly knew how to land a punch, and whom the prime minister himself has described as “incomparable”: Winston Churchill. The incomparable Churchill famously said this: “To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.” That comes from someone who understood the terrible price of war.
By Andrew Potter - Sunday, May 9, 2010 at 8:41 AM - 7 Comments
At one time, grumpy and misanthropic was close to a job description for British PMs: Thatcher and Churchill were cheerful?
“To be sincere,” said Oscar Wilde, “is such a difficult pose to keep up.” Just ask Gordon Brown.
According to the experts on these things, the turning point in the just-ended British election campaign was the moment when the Labour leader and (for the time being) prime minister sat back in his Jaguar and, with his television lapel microphone still live, berated his staff for sending him on an agonizing meet-and-greet in the northwestern English town of Rochdale. He was particularly irritated by his chat with a local widow named Gillian Duffy, a long-time Labour voter who had pressed him on his government’s policies on economics and immigration. “That bigoted woman,” he called her.
The ultimate effect of the encounter on Brown’s political fortunes remains to be seen (polling at press time had the race too close to call), but what is certain is that it marked the full and final emergence of British politics into a political realm that we in North America have long known as bulls–t. Today’s successful candidate is less interested in telling the truth than in being seen as sincere, as he tries desperately to provide the best possible representation of himself to his audience.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, August 24, 2009 at 11:40 AM - 61 Comments
The economy’s looking up, and so is the PM’s approval rating
“Ladies and gentlemen,” he said, summoning all the passion this was due, “I am pleased to formally announce today the creation of the Federal Economic Development Agency for southern Ontario.” He held for applause. “Or,” Stephen Harper continued, “as it will be known by its short title, FedDev Ontario.”
After a few more sentences on this bureaucratic achievement—of the sort that must feel unnatural to a man once so suspicious of government intervention—he reached for meaning with the aplomb of an inspirational office poster. “As Winston Churchill once noted,” the Prime Minister said, “ ‘Difficulties mastered are opportunities won.’ ” Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, February 18, 2009 at 4:32 PM - 31 Comments
Relations with the U.S. still depend on how our leaders get along
In August 1943, two years before the end of the Second World War, president Franklin Delano Roosevelt stood at the base of Ottawa’s Peace Tower and addressed his “good friends and neighbours of the Dominion.” The crowd, reportedly numbering 27,000, covered even the rooftops of the capital.
Roosevelt, who had summered as a boy and, later, as president at Campobello Island, New Brunswick, spoke stridently of the Nazi menace in Europe and confidently of what would come from the meetings in Quebec City between himself, prime minister William Lyon Mackenzie King and British prime minister Winston Churchill. “Mr. King, my old friend,” Roosevelt said, “may I, through you, thank the people of Canada for their hospitality to all of us. Your course and mine have run so closely and affectionately during these many long years that this meeting adds another link to that chain. I have always felt at home in Canada, and you, I think, have always felt at home in the United States.”
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, February 9, 2009 at 1:22 AM - 14 Comments
Michael Adams discusses his most recent polling on who Canadians admire most. Pierre Trudeau comes first, by a fairly wide margin, with 121 mentions.
Adams doesn’t include a complete list of the other 442 people named, but the standings for those he does cite are as follows. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, August 6, 2008 at 1:40 AM - 802 Comments
Back, for a moment, to David Foster Wallace’s take on John McCain.
Near the end of that little book Foster Wallace arrives at his definitive division of political leadership—laying out a distinction between “leaders” and “salesmen.”
“A real leader,” he writes, “isn’t just somebody who has ideas you agree with, nor is it just somebody you happen to believe is a good guy. A real leader is somebody who, because of his own particular power and charisma and example, is able to inspire people, with ‘inspire’ being used here in a serious and non-cliche way. A real leader can somehow get us to do certain things that deep down we think we are good and want to be able to do but usually can’t get ourselves to do on our own … In other words, a real leader is somebody who can help us overcome the limitations of our own individual laziness and selfishness and weakness and fear and get us to do better, harder things than we can get ourselves to do on our own…
“There is a difference,” he continues later, “between a great leader and a great salesman. There are similarities, of course. A great salesman is usually charismatic and likable, and he can often get us to do things (buy things, agree to things that we might not go for on our own, and to feel good about it. Plus a lot of salesmen are basically decent people with plenty about them to admire. But even a truly great salesman isn’t a leader. This is because a salesman’s ultimate, overriding motivation is self-interest—if you buy what he’s selling, the salesman profits. So even though the salesman may have a very powerful, charismatic, admirable personality, and might even persuade you that buying is in your interests (and it really might be)—still, a little part of you always knows that what the salesman’s ultimately after is something for himself.”
This leads to a consideration of whether John McCain (circa 2000) could quite literally sell himself as a real leader, without, in the process, becoming a salesman. (see also, Barack Obama circa 2008).
But, for the moment, let’s consider something else. Namely, when was the last time Canada had a real leader? Continue…