This week saw the 50th anniversary of Churchill’s funeral. An opportunity like this to ram home ruling class propaganda, via one of the Brit establishment’s most revered totems, was never going to be passed up. Especially with those uppity Greeks getting all left wing, recently, and sticking two fingers up to the bosses’ austerity measures. Why, you can almost feel poor Winnie burling in his grave.
Here’s a wee reminder of the real nature of the man. An excerpt from my book Look Back in Anger: The Miners’ Strike in Nottinghamshire 30 Years On.
Winston Churchill, not yet airbrushed by revisionist history as the valiant defender of British freedom and implacable foe of Nazism, was responsible for a key part of the Government’s propaganda offensive [during the 1926 General Strike]. And who better? His CV included ordering troops into Tonypandy in 1910 when, as Home Secretary, he broke the resistance of striking miners in the Rhondda, the creation of the brutal and sectarian Black and Tans in Ireland and, predating Hitler by some years – a man upon whom he would lavish fulsome praise and admiration*– advocated the enforced sterilisation of the poor and their incarceration in purpose-built labour camps.
Under Churchill’s editorship, the Government’s official strike bulletin, The British Gazette, was, frankly, unhinged in its attacks on the TUC, entirely consistent with the establishment’s fervent belief that the General Strike was merely a precursor to outright Bolshevik insurrection. Churchill immediately grasped what the General Strike meant for Britain’s ruling class: “Either the country will break the general strike, or the general strike will break the country.” The hysteria continued. The Communist Party General Secretary, Harry Pollitt, was jailed for ‘seditious intent and incitement to mutiny,’ Churchill cranked-up the attacks in the Gazette and the BBC was conscripted as a partisan arm of the Conservative Party, point-blank refusing to broadcast any alternative view, from either the TUC or the Labour Party, that might counter the avalanche of disinformation and outright untruths raining down from the Government. “I do not agree that the TUC have as much right as the Government to publish their side of the case and to exhort their followers to continue action. It is a very much more difficult task to feed the nation than it is to wreck it,” he remarked with a notable absence of that fabled British sense of fair play.
*”Those who have met Herr Hitler face to face have found a highly competent, cool, well-informed functionary with an agreeable manner, a disarming smile, and few have been unaffected by a subtle personal magnetism. Hitler and his Nazis have surely shown their patriotic ardour and love of country.”
“One may dislike Hitler’s system and yet admire his patriotic achievement. If our country were defeated, I hope we should find a champion as admirable to restore our courage and lead us back to our place among the nations.”
Moving away from my book, here’s a few more examples of Winnie’s thinking and world-view.
“I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poisonous gas against uncivilised tribes.”
Writing as president of the Air Council, 1919
“It is alarming and nauseating to see Mr Gandhi, a seditious Middle Temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well known in the east, striding half naked up the steps of the viceregal palace, while he is still organising and conducting a campaign of civil disobedience, to parlay on equal terms with the representative of the Emperor-King.”
Commenting on Gandhi’s meeting with the Viceroy of India, 1931
“I do not admit… that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America, or the black people of Australia… by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race… has come in and taken its place.”
Churchill to Palestine Royal Commission, 1937
“We must rally against a poisoned Russia, an infected Russia of armed hordes not only smiting with bayonet and cannon, but accompanied and preceded by swarms of typhus-bearing vermin.”
Quoted in the Boston Review, April/May 2001
“The choice was clearly open: crush them with vain and unstinted force, or try to give them what they want. These were the only alternatives and most people were unprepared for either. Here indeed was the Irish spectre – horrid and inexorcisable!”
Writing in The World Crisis and the Aftermath, 1923-31
“The unnatural and increasingly rapid growth of the feeble-minded and insane classes, coupled as it is with a steady restriction among all the thrifty, energetic and superior stocks, constitutes a national and race danger which it is impossible to exaggerate… I feel that the source from which the stream of madness is fed should be cut off and sealed up before another year has passed.”
Churchill to Asquith, 1910
“You are callous people who want to wreck Europe – you do not care about the future of Europe, you have only your own miserable interests in mind.”
Addressing the London Polish government at a British Embassy meeting, October 1944
!So far as Britain and Russia were concerned, how would it do for you to have 90% of Romania, for us to have 90% of the say in Greece, and go 50/50 about Yugoslavia?”
Addressing Stalin in Moscow, October 1944
“This movement among the Jews is not new. From the days of Spartacus-Weishaupt to those of Karl Marx, and down to Trotsky (Russia), Bela Kun (Hungary), Rosa Luxembourg (Germany), and Emma Goldman (United States)… this worldwide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilisation and for the reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested development, of envious malevolence, and impossible equality, has been steadily growing. It has been the mainspring of every subversive movement during the 19th century; and now at last this band of extraordinary personalities from the underworld of the great cities of Europe and America have gripped the Russian people by the hair of their heads and have become practically the undisputed masters of that enormous empire.”
Writing on Zionism versus Bolshevism in the Illustrated Sunday Herald, February 1920