Category Archives: Politics

I look at the politics of the UK mainly. I express right wing views, euroscepticism and libertarian views.

Mohammed Ali Jinnah. super advanced course lesson 8


super advanced course lesson 8


Jinnah was born in Karachi. The city lay in the province of Sindh which was part of British India. He was brought up a Muslim in the Shia denomination. The Jinnah family were prosperous merchants. They spoke the Kutchi language. Mohammed Ali had one sister Fatima to whom he was very close. He had several other siblings but he was not to close to them.

The family later shifted to Mumbai which was then called Bombay. M A Jinnah did very well at school and acquired absolute fluency in English.  He briefly attended the University of Bombay. It was decided that he should be called to the bar. He set sail to England and enrolled at the Inns of Court in London. Jinnah studied law. M A Jinnah chose Lincoln’s Inn out of the four inns. Why? Because there was a depiction of the Prophet Mohammed there as a lawgiver. Jinnah later said he saw the name ‘Mohammed’ written on a wall in Lincoln’s Inn to honour the Prophet as a magnificent lawgiver. M A Jinnah did not want to tell Muslims elsewhere that there was an image of the Prophet in London because most Muslims consider it an abomination to fashion such an image. He had to sit exams some of which were in Latin. Whilst in London it was decided that he should wet. He agreed. Jinnah married in Mumbai.  He spent only a few weeks with her before setting sail. Later that woman died without Jinnah having any children.

After being called to the bar Jinnah returned to India. He practised law in Bombay and did extremely well for himself. He soon amassed a fortune. He spoke only English and his native language. The Muslims of North India mostly spoke Urdu which is Hindi with some Persian words. He never learnt that language.

Mr Jinnah met a young lady named Rutti Petit who was Parsee. The Parsees are a religion which only has 100 000 adherents. This miniscule minority achieved a most mind blowing degree of success in many fields in India. In business, law, politics, science, music and military affairs the Parsees are worth their weight in gold. Rutti Petit whom Jinnah fell in love with was the daughter of a colleague. A Parsee can only be a Parsee if both the mother and father are Parsees. The child who has one Parsee parent and one non-Parsee parent is not a Parsee. Jinnah and the woman decided to marry. They informed her father Mr Petit. He was apoplectic with rage! Mr Petit would never consent to his daughter marrying a non-Parsee. Petit’s grandchildren would not be considered Parsee. Despite this the 18 year old Rutti Petit bravely chose to wed the middle aged Jinnah. Her father never spoke to her again. Rutti converted to Islam.

Dina was Jinnah’s only child. She was raised in Islam. When Dina was only 11 her mother died of an illness. Jinnah did not marry again.

Jinnah was a slim, effete, calculating and aloof man. He was very self-assured but desiccated. He never did anything without reason. Jinnah was also a chain smoker. Observant Muslims disapproved of smoking.

The Indian political party called Congress was making waves in the early 20th century. Jinnah joined it. He was very anglophile and wore British clothes. He drank alcohol and made little attempt to practise Islam. He did not socialise with Muslims all that much.

The Muslim League broke off Congress and Jinnah went with it. Jinnah was not concerned about pushing for Indian independence.

Some Muslim intellectuals like the poet Allama Mohammed Iqbal and Chaudhry Rehmat Ali said their ought to be a homeland created for the Muslims of India. What should this be called? Ali said ‘Pakistan.’ How did he come up with the name? ‘P’ for Punjabis, ‘A’ for Afghans, ‘K’ for Kashmiris and ‘S’ for Sindhis and ‘tan’ for Baluchistan. In Urdu ‘Pakistan’ means ‘Land of the Pure.’

Muslims predominated in the north-east and north-west of India. The Muslims in the north-east were mostly Bengalis. There is no ‘B’ in Pakistan. What about the Bengalis? For some reason Ali only identified with Muslims in the west of India. Why was there letter ‘A’ for Afghans in the name Pakistan? Afghanistan is a separate country. By ‘Afghans’ and Pathans. These people often speak Persian or Pashto which are the languages of Afghanistan.

In the 1930s the notion of establishing Pakistan seemed far-fetched. Jinnah called it, ”an impossible dream”. Some Muslims said in an independent India they would be treated unfairly. The activities of some hardline Hindus made this seem plausible. The Hindu Mahasabha organisation said that an independent India must be zealously Hindu and the law of the land must reflect that. They wanted Muslims to become Hindu. They wished to make killing cows a felony. The Hindu Mahasabha noted that Indian Muslims had converted from Hinduism centuries before. The Hindu Mahasabha wanted these Muslims to reconvert. The Hindu Mahasabha recalled that Muslims had destroyed hundreds of Hindu temples in the 16th and 17th century. A few Hindus said it would be payback time once independence came!

At that time Jinnah was more worried about his only child. His daughter Dina fell in love with a Parsee. She requested her father’s approval to marry him. Jinnah refused to consent to her marrying outside the faith. She left and married the man anyway. Jinnah never spoke to her again. He was hypocritical since she was doing exactly what her mother had done with Jinnah.

Congress campaigned ardently for ‘Swadesh’ or independence. The Muslim League was preoccupied in securing the wellbeing of Muslims and was not het up about independence. Congress were being sent to prison for illegal protests. The Muslim League never broke the law. They were allowed to continue their activities.

The Second World War broke out in 1939. Congress resigned for the provincial governments it was running. This was a protest at the UK bringing India into the war without the agreement of Indians. The Muslim League took over some of these provincial governments. Astonishingly they sometimes went into coalition with the Hindu Mahasabha.

It seemed that the British Empire was living on borrowed time. Jinnah turned his mind to the post-British era. He decided that creating a new country for Muslims was a must. In the meantime the Muslim League adopted a posture of neutrality towards the Second World War. They neither encouraged nor discouraged men from joining the Indian Army.

In 1940 Jinnah addressed a crowd in Lahore.  M A Jinnah spoke in English for the benefit of foreign journalists. He could not speak the languages of the local people – Punjabi or Urdu. He issued the Lahore Declaration. He said that when British rule in India ended a new homeland must be created for Muslims in the north-east and north-west of India. His statement did not make it clear if there were to be two separate Muslim homelands or one united Muslim homeland. He later said he meant one Muslim homeland. There as a big problem. What about the 1 000 miles of Hindu majority territory in between the two Muslim majority areas? Jinnah said the two Muslim areas could still be a single country despite not being geographically contiguous.

The Lahore Declaration did not contain the word ‘Pakistan’. It has since been given the misnomer ‘the Pakistan Declaration’. Pakistan has the Minar i Pakistan (Tower of Pakistan) in the park where the declaration was made.

The war ended in 1945. Congress leaders were let out of prison. For six years Congress had not been running any provinces. In those 6 years the Muslim League had become popular in areas where Congress had been strong in the 1930s. Congress perhaps made a grave mistake in their Non-Cooperation campaign. Congress had once had been strong in places like the North-West Frontier Province.

A lot of Congress disliked the Muslim League. It had done nothing to end British rule but was going to reap the reward. Jinnah had only campaigned legally for his ideal.  Jinnah had never been arrested. If Congress had not broken the law then the British Raj would not be drawing to a close or certainly not so soon.

The idea of Pakistan was gaining ground. Jinnah demanded Partition. The British did not want this nor did Congress nor did the Sikhs nor did the Hindu Mahasabha. But Jinnah’s will was inflexible. He argued that the Muslims of India were a nation. Muslims and Hindus were different in clothing, cuisine, music, law and architecture. He said that the new India would be Hindustan and run for Hindus.

In 1946 Jinnah found out he his tuberculosis was fatal.  M A Jinnah had been suffering from this disease since the 1930s. He knew he was dying. But this was a closely guarded secret. Lord Mountbatten and others tried to talk Jinnah out of the idea of partitioning India. Could the Muslim provinces not band together to form mega-provinces in India? Muslim rights would be guaranteed. They could have a lot of autonomy within India. But Jinnah was not to be moved. He demanded that Pakistan must become a totally separate country. He said that Muslims had ”nothing in common with Hindus but their slavery to the British.” That was the only time he referred to the British Raj as ”slavery.”

Jinnah started wearing traditional Muslim clothing. Until that point he had been completely anglicised. He started to sport a Kashmiri cap.

Lord Mountbatten became viceroy in 1947. He had a number of one on one meetings with Jinnah. He tried to talk sense into Jinnah – as Mountbatten saw it anyway. The two did not form a rapport. His lordship found Jinnah desiccated, false and distant. By contrast he had an excellent working relationship with Nehru. Nehru got along with the vicereine very well indeed.

Mountbatten subsequently said that if he had known Jinnah was dying he would have stalled and stalled. The Pakistan Movement was based around his personality. If Jinnah had died he movement might have run out of steam. Partition could have been avoided.

Jinnah wanted the whole of the Punjab. Muslims made up just over 50% of the Punjab. But Jinnah said that a Punjabi is a Punjabi first and foremost. That matters more than religion. Mountbatten said that showed how ridiculous partition was. If religion did not determine nationality then do not divide India. Jinnah wanted the whole of Bengal too despite Muslims only being about 55% of the people. Again he said a Bengali is a Bengali before he is Muslim or Hindu. Mountbatten said that Jinnah was contradicting himself. It was as though Jinnah was eloquently pleading his opponent’s cause. Jinnah said he did not want ”a moth eaten Pakistan”.

Punjab is the homeland of the Sikhs. Almost all Sikhs lived there. They did not want their homeland being cut in two. There was a lot of bad blood between Muslims and Sikhs.

With a heavy heart Lord Mountbatten and Congress agreed to Partition. But where was the boundary to be? A British judge called Sir Cyril Radcliffe was brought out. Sir Cyril had never been to India before. He worked in uttermost secrecy. He had to give as many Muslims to Pakistan as he could without taking more Hindus and Sikhs than absolutely unavoidable. He asked for submissions from both sides. The Indians wanted to give Pakistan almost nothing. Contrarily, the Muslim League claimed huge swathes of land that contained almost no Muslims. The border he drew is called the Radcliffe Award. When it was announced amazingly both sides accepted it.

When it was announced that Pakistan would come into being Jinnah made a speech on the radio in English. He ended with ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ – in Urdu that means ‘Long Live Pakistan!’  He hardly spoke any Urdu. Many people believed that he was speaking English even at the end and had said ‘Pakistan’s in the bag!’

Lord Mountbatten thought that having a country with two wings that were not connected by land was crazy. West Pakistan and East Pakistan were separated by 1 000 miles of India. He said with incredible prescience that this arrangement could not last 25 years. It lasted 24.

On 14 August 1947 Pakistan was born. Lord Mountbatten went to Karachi with Jinnah for the celebrations. Jinnah became the Governor-General of the Dominion of Pakistan. The Prime Minister was Liaquat Ali Khan. There was said to be a Hindu fanatic in the crowd who wanted to assassinate Jinnah. Jinnah and Lord Mountbatten drove very slowly in an open car through the crowded streets. In the end the would be assassin did not try to kill M A Jinnah.

The next day India became independent.

Millions of Hindus and Sikhs fled Pakistan. Many were waylaid and slaughtered. Many women were subjected to a heinous crime. Millions of Muslims moved to Pakistan. Many of them were killed too. About 14 000 000 people moved. Many people had to leave all their property behind.

Had Jinnah caused catastrophe? He laid the blame on his opponents. But if he had not called for Partition none of this would have happened. Pakistanis say that had Partition not happened then Muslims would have been killed en masse and those who survived would have been forced to to change to Hinduism. The Government of India said this is nonsense. There are more Muslims in India than in Pakistan. There are countless mosques in India and Muslims worship freely.

There were many teething problems for the new country. There were millions of refugees to accommodate. Many of them arrived wounded or ill. What would Pakistan do about the property of Hindus and Sikhs who fled? There were lots of missing people and orphaned children. The country was in chaos.

All the property of pre-1947 India was divided on a 70:30 basis. 30% of the property went to Pakistan. This was true of armaments, furniture, money in the bank and so forth. This all required a huge amount of reorganisation.

Pakistan had to set up its army. These were made up of former Muslim regiments of the Indian Army. The Pakistani Navy was established and so was the Pakistani Air Force. The civil service also had to be established.

Pakistan was still using the Indian Rupee. It stamped the notes with a ‘P’ for Pakistan. In time the country printed its own currency.

There were Dalit Hindus in Karachi who ran the sewage system. They were attacked for their religion. Jinnah issued them with special bands to indicate that they were Dalits and not ordinary Hindus. They were vital to the running of the city.

Christians and Parsees in Pakistan were left unmolested.

In October 1947 Pakistani tribesmen attacked Kashmir. This was a huge Muslim princely state run by a Hindu. The Maharajah of Kashmir then asked to join India. The Indian Army was airlifted to Kashmir. Pakistan made war on India. The UN brokered a ceasefire the next year. It is a frozen conflict to this day.

Jinnah said Pakistan must be a secular country. Though it was a home for Muslims it was not to be an Islamic state. Sharia was not to be the law of the land. People were free to practise any faith. There are Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Jews and Parsees in Pakistan. Jinnah said they must have equality. They were guaranteed representation in the National Assembly (parliament).

In September 1948 Jinnah died of tuberculosis. He is remembered as ”Qaid i Azam” meaning ”The Great Leader”. He has a mausoleum in Karachi. His house in Mumbai still stands. His descendants do not still live there. His birthday is 25 December. Therefore it is a public holiday in Pakistan not because it is Christmas Day!


  1. In which city was Jinnah born?
  2. What was his religion?
  3. Which denomination of Islam did he belong to?
  4. What was his father’s trade?
  5. Which city did M A Jinnah grow up in?
  6. What does ‘ M A’ stand for in the name  M A Jinnah?
  7. What was his profession?
  8. Why was his marriage controversial?
  9. What was his personality like?
  10. Which party did he first join?
  11. What did the Muslim League do with regard to its place within Congress?
  12. Who invented the name Pakistan?
  13. What is the etymology of Pakistan?
  14. What did the Lahore Declaration say about Pakistan?
  15. Why was Jinnah never imprisoned by the British?
  16. Why did Jinnah say Muslims were a nation in India?
  17. What did Jinnah prefer to call India post 1947?
  18. When did he die?
  19. What is your opinion of him? Five marks.
  20. Was the Partition of India good or bad? Five marks





trump exacerbates coronavirus =========================


Trump said do not make cure worse than disease . this crisis taxes even and alpha mind.

lie after lie. wrong predicton after wrong prediction

evidential reason. statements with no evidentiary basis

anti-enlightenment. encylopiedists. hypothesis. test. anti science.

he has over reached himself

it will go away. miracle. like peter pan. I believe in fairies. wishful thinking. he has outdone himself for overrationality

a personal best for malice.

trump notorous for his poor competence in logical reasoning. maths. nous.  business failures. ungrammatical untterances.

Trump turned down WHO offer of tests. take firm action. that will also save economy

a stitch in time saves nine

nurses without kit . plastic bags.

tell it to people straight. straight talking. runs away from reality

many weeks of sacrifice.

disease which kills.

cure which makes us slightly less rich.

corona is picking up speed. multiplying. swamp the healthcare system

26 February trump. 15 people had corona. in 15 days number would be close to zero.

trump knew it would be a massive killer. intelligence briefings. world experts counselling him

grossly neglectful. attenion span of a may fly

open at Easter. beautiful time/ death and resurrection

churh. when 2 or 3 are gathered in my name

not Jesus and Lazarus.

like a war. vacilating.

we need unequivocal crystal clear and consstent advice

reasons for instructions. obey. wash hands 20 seconds lather.

work cancelled £ 240. life wirth more

UK 75% of wages.

stock market matters more

”near the end f our hustoric battle with the invisible enemy”.

stimulus packahe. government intervention can help the market ad peopel/ wow? GET Government off the backs of the people

single payer healthcare would save lives . tests, treatment

doctors nurses not recognises in other states. over regulation. litigious.

does not care a fig for people/ priorities

privileges money over lives. kill customers.

ethically sub optimal

indifferent to suffering of others.

total dearth of empathy.

trump lacks intellectual ability and temperament to cope with this

face up to the trtuh

”do not sacrifice the country” Dan Patrick lieutenant governor of Texas said on Fox.  i e kill them?

larry kudlow. people should go to work

”wouldnt it be great to have churches packed at easter”?

cups. handshakes.

when 2 or 3 are gathere din my nmame

he has set so much store by stock market

”I would love to have it open by easter”. 3 weeks

UK. 12 weeks. we can beat it.

battle has hardly begun

#highly irresponsible.

denying reality.

growing assault on truth and ibjectivity. abetted by fox, republicans and evangelical christians.

does not have cognitive faculty to cope

mind malfunctioning. tirades. non sequiturs pepper his speeches.

workers dying. health spending. no tourism. people leave the cpuntry. some refuse to work and to buy.

peter pan. I believe in fairies.

ostrich stick head in the sand.

magical thinking

said it was going down not up

when warm miraculously go away

devin nunes. go to restaurant

oklahome governor in restaurant

new york . california. internationall engaged coasts

Trump does not care about democrats. two states that he will lose again

10% of NYC cops infected. cannot get tests.


sky ricket like italy. contagion.

do not trust the government . federal versus state

v strict measure in chian and W europe to keep it under contorl. only just stabilising it

lift restriction too soon ti will spread like wildfire.

if we are lucky has peaked in italy. pinnacle in spain?

6 weeks of severe measures in wuhan.


in USA only the beginning.

fact based decision making. study data projections. educated guess

uneducated guess.  USA is lucky in ebing one of last seriously affected

the sleep of reasos brings forth monsters. spansih artist. franciso Goya

there’s a silver lining through the dakr

air quality. we can be happy without shopping. no commute.

prof haseltine former harvard medical school. 2004 warning. SARS. develop drugs against coronavirus. pandemic war plan.

drug companies did not find it protfitable

US Government made drugs against bioweapons. bill gates said it would come.

coronavirus ====================


rationale proportional fear. tranquil. soberly reflect on the severity of the situation.

pandemic. not epidemic

film outbreak.

rand paul . poetic justice.

fix the roof whil the sun is shining.

measures that would make draco of athens blush.

NI, Wales, Scotland

england most impacted . particularly london

firday PM order

M and S. wetherpsoons. barbers. geriatrics

cull the senior generation. respiatory

prophents of doom. jeremiad.

4 000 ventilators

5 000 cases


coute de coute.  quarantine

south korea

singpaore. warmth

police state.

france police and gendarmeria. .

fear is a friend

racist gargoyle.

USA. deny, deflect, disinform

mendacious ignorant ghoul.

economy going to hell in a handcart.

pants on fire. hoax. insurance paying for more.

kung flu. pander to sinophobia.

nativism. xenophobia


this does not resolve issue

underlying issues. health insurance.  seema verma. ventilators. testing.

paid sick leave. devin nunes. governor of oklahoma

mega churches. trumpsters. snake handlers. providentialist view. anti vaxxers.

reduce life expectancy.

trump would end debt.  make drugs way cheaper and far better.


worst equipped president

lacks the cognitive ability. the temperament or the empathy. problems needs to be examined unemotionally.

No sussex royal ===================


after 44 days no royal.

no prostitutiing it

still prince and duke

security. house debt

statement on instagram. others are allowed employment. sniffy


compassion. no feeling for thomas markle. mental health


not filial. undutiful. self-obsessed. egomania.


intrpsection. navel gazing

vanitas vanitatam .

complaining about media. but will be heartbroken if the papparazzi are not there.

like sailos complaining about the sea.

greed conquers all

The Autobiography of a thief – a review



The Autobiography of a Thief is the self-explanatory title of Bruce Reynolds’ memoir. As the late Reynolds would like you to know he was the mastermind of the Great Train Robbery of 1963. 

This is a straightforward yet rewarding read. The prologue is from the most dramatic and memorable event in Bruce Reynolds’ regrettable life: the night he and his mates stole GBP 2.5 million from a train. That passage is one of the few that he seems to have put some work into. He wrote it with verve and colour. Thereafter the book becomes a chronological biography.  

The details of his childhood need not detain us. He was born into a Cockney ( working class London) family in 1931. His mother died when Bruce was 4. His father remarried and Bruce did not get along with his stepmother. Even then he was a miscreant – stealing from her purse. Bruce was evacuated to the West Midlands of England during the Second World War. The stripling got a hard time from the Brummies. 

According to Reynolds he performed creditably in school. His writing suggests he is a man of just above average intelligence. He certainly did nothing to further his education during his many years of incarceration. Bruce left school at 14 as was the norm. He did various odd jobs. As an adolescent an older boy led him into crime. His larcenies became bigger and more audacious. Reynolds was given a few chances. His first few scrapes with the law saw him let off. But he pressed his luck and ended up in borstal. This juvenile delinquent does not seem to be at all fazed by being locked up. He escaped easily enough. His accounts of running away from the young offenders’ institute repay the reading. He was idiotic as he was daring and was easily recaptured. His sentences got longer and his crimes became better planned and more lucrative. 

Reynolds was eventually called up for National Service – i.e. compulsory army service. He deserted from that a couple of times. He was so incorrigible that the army decided not to use him. He had made himself all but unemployable by the age of 21. Who would hire a young man who would be called up by the military at any point? He ought not have been set at liberty so soon. He was irredeemable and had evinced no intention of going straight. Had he been kept incarcerated then dozens or even hundreds of people would have been spared his depredations.

The author claimed to have been convinced by Marx. He also said he had left wing convictions. He certainly bore a grudge against the Establishment. This did not result in any empathy for the working class. He seldom stole from them but that was solely because they rarely had high value movables to steal. Reynolds never gave away any of his ill gotten gains to the needy. 

Some of his accounts of thieving are banal. This is not always a racy book. It is at times perfunctory in its description. There are other passages he has put more thought into particularly the highlight of the autobiography: the Great Train Robbery. There he endeavours to be literary.

The conditions in prisons in the 1950s seem severe by today’s standards. Yet these were not sufficient to put off a determined enemy of society like Reynolds. The cells were fairly cold in winter. They had slopping out. That meant they had to relieve themselves into a bucket it was emptied once a day. The stench was horrid. 

Bruce and his pals frequently used violence in their robberies. They whacked people over the head with iron bars. He never expresses remorse about this. Reynolds boasted that he and his gang never carried guns or ”shooters” as he calls them. This was not due to humanitarianism. If someone was murdered in the course of a robbery then the death penalty was mandatory for all concerned. Under the law of common purpose (”the law of parties” for American readers) any member of a criminal conspiracy which resulted in murder was guilty of murder. The Derek Bentley case was an example of his. Reynolds’ decision not to use firearms was entirely self-serving. 

Reynolds boasts about his womanising. He had a girlfriend named Rita. His relationship ended with her and he then embarked on a liaison with Rita’s younger sister Angela. This may have led to some moments of gaucherie at family events. When Angela became pregnant he was minded to demand an abortion. Because he had recently survived a car crash he chose not to ask for his baby to be killed. I suspect that on earlier occasions he had done that. He was sexually active from the age of 16 – according to himself. He became a father aged 30. It is hard to believe that no pregnancies arose from his relationships. He was often two timing. 

Bruce Reynolds describes his goals. He was chiefly motivated by avarice. He also craved recognition. Respect from his peers among thieves also mattered to him. He seems to have been driven by a horrific sense of inadequacy. This is what moved him to buy flash clothes and dine in swanky restaurants. These are not the things that would actuate someone who cared for the working class. He detested the upper class but strove to ape it.

The most scintillating aspect of the book is when he writes about his tactics. He strategised carefully. He would reconnoitre possible targets. Bruce used informants to fill him in on where to find high value chattels. The thief writes about when to steal, where to steal and how to sell stolen goods to a fence. Crime was his career so he devoted a lot of time to surveillance, counter-surveillance and planning. He is patently proud of the artistry and audacity of his crimes.

Bruce Reynolds is notorious as the brains behind the Great Train Robbery. As with all major thefts this required inside information. The operation was painstakingly planned. His meticulous planning paid off. The particulars of this heist are too well known to require repetition. The plan did not go off without a hitch. One of the gang hit the train driver Jack Mills twice over the head with an iron bar.  Reynold’s train driver could not drive the train. They had to use British Rail’s man Jack Mills to do so. 

Reynolds’ tried to minimise Mills’ injuries. A blow with an iron bar to the skull could kill someone. If Reynolds’ really felt sorry for his victim he could have given him some of his wealth. He could have surrendered to the police. 

One of the men arrested in connection with the Great Train Robbery was Mr William Boal. Reynolds’ had never heard of William Boal and claims that Boal was totally innocent. Despite this Boal was found guilty and given a long sentence. Boal died in prison. Reynolds’ said the Establishment was responsible for Boal going to prison. Boal was found guilty in a court and his conviction still stands. Reynolds’ confesses to hundreds of crimes in his book. It is hard to trust him but on the other hand why would he falsely claim that the long dead Boal was innocent? Without a Great Train Robbery there could have been no wrongful conviction for the crime. To spare Boal the other robbers could have pleaded guilty and then said that Boal was blameless.

Bruce had to go into hiding after the Great Train Robbery. This is one of the most fascinating parts of the book. How did he hide in a city where he was very well known. He only went out at night and even then in disguise. He was trapped inside all day. He ate tonnes and drank like a fish. His weight ballooned. His child had been left with the grandparents. Brucie on the run was one of the more enthralling episodes. He went through various aliases. He obtained a passport in the name of another man. At that time it was staggeringly easy to attain a passport in the name of another person.

He later made it to Mexico. He and his wife and child lived it up. He felt compelled to live in luxury. What was the point in stealing millions if not to enjoy oneself? Had he been sensible the money would have lasted a lifetime.

It was an insight to see how Reynolds’ felt about the police. He respected and even liked some of them. He was their quarry and saw evading them as an honourable sport. Tommy Butler was the main detective on the trail of Bruce. Reynolds wrote of T Butler ”I never had anything but the uttermost respect and admiration for Butler”.  Among the Criminal Investigation Department there seems to have been some regard for him. He noted the irony that petty thieves were treated with disdain and even brutality by the coppers but an elite thief like him was handled gently.

Money ran low in Mexico because Reynolds had lived an extravagant lifestyle. His wife was lonely and missed her own country. Reynolds then returned to the United Kingdom under a false identity. He contacted some of his old pals in the underworld. This was with a view to returning to ‘work’ which meant theft. He was involved in some minor thefts. The police were in touch with villains. The police had informants inside different firms. The law could only keep crime down by striking a deal with felons. The police would let some crimes go in return for being kept abreast of developments in the criminal fraternity. As in all areas of life one must prioritise. Reynolds’ had been the honcho of the biggest robbery in British history. He was therefore a top priority for the Old Bill. One of their sources among the villains told them where Brucie was holed up. The cops nicked Bruce in Torquay. 

When Tommy Butler arrested Bruce he said ‘long time no see Bruce’. Reynolds the criminal said ‘c’est la vie.’ As Bruce was led handcuffed through a police station car park Butler had a proprietorial arm around him. Bruce wrote ‘I had had my day of triumph and this was his. I would not deny him his day of victory.’ In public B Reynolds called Butler ‘detective inspector’ or else ‘Mr Butler.’

Butler told Bruce ‘You have got to go away for a long time and that is the way it has got to be. But your wife and boy do not.’ He exhorted Bruce to plead guilty. If Bruce did not then the police would charge his wife Angela with receiving stolen goods. Every time her husband bought her something she knew this was the proceeds of crime. She could have been sent down for several years. Their son could have been put in an orphanage. Bruce agreed to plead guilty. The beak on the bench awarded him twenty-five. Reynolds confessed he had hoped for only twenty.

The philosophical aspect of the book is how towards the end of a 25 year sentence Reynolds was content in prison. His life there was humdrum but being a large scale thief he was near the top of the pecking order in prison. He was released in 1978. That was only 9 years after he was incarcerated. He was then doing minimum wage jobs. His marriage had broken down.

After some years his son asked him to meet his wife again. Angela and Bruce met and got back together again. Bizarrely he and his wife felt happy with their meagre existence. It demonstrates yet again that money does not guarantee happiness.

Reynolds felt so sorry for himself due to his self-inflicted travails. His self-pity is one of the most loathsome of his characteristics. In public he strove to maintain a front – an image of being a hard man. He confessed to weeping in his cell. Yet he never spared a thought for all the anguish he had inflicted on others. The material loss, the stress, the injuries and the economic loss to society did not bother him one whit. He felt aggrieved at the way he was treated  in prison. Overall he seemed to get along well with prison officers and sometimes with the police. Even he admitted he deserved to serve 9 years for the Great Train Robbery. This means that in reality he deserved at least twice as long to actually serve – not just to be sentenced to.

Bruce was a contemptible and disgustingly selfish criminal. This fiend did not suffer half enough for all the harm he inflicted on others. There is no expression of remorse for all the grief he caused to other. Had he written of his contrition in his book it would presumably have been self-serving and disingenuous.

Reynolds avoided crime after the 1980s. He said he did not wish to see the inside of a prison cell again. This proves that sufficiently long sentences do deter recidivists like him. The likelihood of serving 10 years for the Great Train Robbery was not enough to deter him. The probability of serving 20 years or more will put off all but the most irrational criminal. 

The prose is sparse but lucid. This book has pace and verve. It is a more enjoyable and substantial read than How to rob a train by his accomplice Gordon Goody.

my politics ========================================


classical liberal.

semi libertarian

health and safety.

#less compulsion. fewer restrictions

tobacco advertising.


gambling. prostitution.


tax . unemployment

public services.

school. NHS


low regulation.

death penalty


public transport.


green belt

switzerland. denmark. netherlands.


The conservative case against Churchill


The conservative case against Churchill


Sir Winston Churchill is so often help up as the incarnation of conservatism. The mention of his name is seen as a conservative trump card. The majestic sweep of his uniquely colourful and accomplished life holds unparalleled appeal to romantic right wingers. He is one of the lares ac penates of British conservatism along with Thatcher, Wellington and Pitt. 

Whenever the United Kingdom or even the US argues for military action a leader will liken himself to Churchill. The man is regarded as Britain’s national hero. There is a Cambridge college named in his honour. None of the other 75 colleges at either Oxford or Cambridge are named after a prime minister. There is even a Churchill Institute in the United States. A school in Serbia is named Chartwell after Churchill’s country estate. There is a Korean hagwon in New Malden named after Winston S. The village of Churchill in Oxfordshire, incidentally, is where the family took its name from. It is not the village that is named after the family. Any criticism of Churchill however mild or reasoned is met with the retort ‘he won the war!’. This boast is much exaggerated and an example of less than honest self-laudation on the part of Britishers. As we shall see Britain’s contribution to Allied victory was about 5%. It was the Soviets who saved the British and not the other way around. The United Kingdom being rescued by communists does not sit well with conservative mores nonetheless it is the unvarnished truth.

Yes, Churchill had his manifold virtues and accomplished some splendid things about which more later. Nevertheless, his reputation is as much overblown as his own bombastic and sententious oratory. The importance of his rhetoric and his ebullience in sustaining British morale should not be diminished.  Winston Churchill is on a pedestal. Indeed, he is bizarrely on a pedestal for British Conservatives whether they are small ‘c’ or capital ‘C’ conservatives. His place as one of the household gods of international conservatism is also puzzling. Some people behave as though a quotation from Winston can settle any argument. However, the cult of Churchill among conservatives is often based on a misrepresentation of the man’s deeds and words. Winston was in some regards unconservative. His de-canonisation is long overdue. We also need to demythologize him as someone who belongs in the Tory pantheon, as someone who was a military genius or even as a man of moral backbone. It is said that idols have feet of clay. Never was this truer than of the orotund and rotund orator who was Winston.

The wartime leader is so often depicted as the embodiment of the bulldog. His indomitable will throws out the challenge to us all. Be worthy of him! His flabby features grace the obverse of the five pound note. As the man himself said: all babies look like me. Winston is so often described as is he were the knight in shining armour. If he is St George then his foe must be the dragon. W L S Churchill is often treated as if he is more than human. Lesser mortals can but stare awestruck at this colossal figure. It is as though any scrutiny of his actions and words is somehow indecent. Churchill is limned as though he were the deliverer of his nation. This supposed saviour of liberty is a much more flawed figure than his numerous parisans will allow. Any protagonist in political controversies ought to be subject to sceptical inquiry.

Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was born into a noble family. This scion of the Duke of Marlborough’s house is not exactly a poster boy for equal opportunities. He came from a cadet branch of the family therefore he was not in line to inherit the dukedom. Winston was a shameless name dropper, an indefatigable self publicist and always one to exploit an unfair advantage in terms of establishment contacts. Looking back at his ancestors there were those who fought for obscurantism and absolutism in the English Civil War. The Churchill family had been Cavaliers. Winston was to be cavalier in the broader sense. His most illustrious ancestor Sir John Churchill defended James II against the Duke of Monmouth in 1685. Only three years later Sir John turned his coat and ousted James II. That was despite Sir John’s sister being the king’s mistress. None of this was Winston’s fault. But he took the most intense interest in his forbears and was forever dining out on their manly virtues and deeds of derring do. He was an incessant name dropper! He ought to have recognized that other bearers of the Churchill name were not always honourable or moral.

There are many achievements and talents that Churchill had. He is rightly adulated for his oratorical ability, his closely argued articles, his elephantine memory, his sesquipedalian lexis, his many magnificent tomes his formidable agility at political manoeuvring, his fencing prowess, his winning of a declamation prize as well as his numerous wise and just political judgments. This article does not propose to rehash the countless hagiographies of Churchill. Once in a while you ought to read a corrective of the excessively glowing coverage of Churchill. Those who take up cudgels against Churchill are invariably left wingers. Once in a while it is instructive to come across as conservative who will criticise and even upbraid Winston.

None of this criticism of Churchill is supposed to rehabilitate his enemies. His foes particularly in the Third Reich were often wicked beyond belief. Just because his nemeses were ogres it does not automatically follow that he was sagacious or even righteous.

What is a conservative supposed to cherish? Monarchy, religion, freedom of speech, fair trials, personal autonomy, national sovereignty, the free market, property rights, low taxation, capitalism and in his day imperialism. Churchill did much to undermine these values.  At best he failed to halt the onward march of socialism and anti-imperialism. At times he even actively advanced these movements that were utterly antithetical to all that he cherished. What drove him was grandiosity.

At Harrow School Winston did not like being near the last in the alphabetical procession. Therefore, he dropped the first half of his double barrel surname. He went from Spencer-Churchill to Churchill. Never trust a man who cannot even tell the truth about his own name. Winston was so immiserated at Harrow that he sent his only son Randolph to Eton where Churchills have been schooled ever since.

As a young officer Churchill served in India. The headstrong arrived there totally incurious about India and certain that India had nothing to teach him. This closed minded and chauvinistic attitude is contemptible. From his extensive reading in Hindustan he decided that he was a Liberal. However, as his family connections to Conservative Party were impeccable he chose to be a Tory. His father Lord Randolph Churchill was a Conservative politician and had been Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Incidentally it was whilst in India that the young Winston served in the Malakand Field Force. He battled tribesmen along the North-West Frontier in today’s Pakistan. He wrote an account of the campaign in which he included some exceedingly disobliging comments about Muslims. They are seized on with relish by American Islamophobes to this day.

Whilst a soldier Churchill proved himself time and again to be have huge reserves of physical courage. Even his most implacable foes (and they were legion) never doubted his gallantry in battle. His valorous deeds are attested to by numerous mentions in dispatches. He was almost suicidally brave. Was he impatient for death? As he said himself he was plagued by ”the black dog” or depression. Like another magnificent wartime permier Pitt the Elder he appears to have suffered from bipolar disorder.



Winston was a shameless showboating charlatan, opportunist, jingoist and warmonger. No wonder Boris Johnson perceives him as a role model. If you say you are a conservative people will automatically presume that you are a Churchill fan. A true conservative is driven by a wish to act for the common weal, yet with individual liberty preserved. That is the core conundrum that informs all conservative nostra. Winston was motivated solely by a wish to ‘climb the greasy pole’ in the words of that other faux Tory Benjamin Disraeli. Unlike Disraeli this man was notable for his unwisdom and emotional incontinence.

Churchill was a rat. Who called him that? Churchill did. This soi-disant rat started out as a Conservative and ‘ratted’ in his own word to the Liberals in 1904 before ‘re-ratting’ (again his own choice of word) to the Conservatives in 1922. It is doubtful that Winston was ever really a Conservative with a capital ‘C’ or even a small ‘c’. That is not to say he was a liberal, libertarian, socialist or anything else. Winston regarded a political party as a vehicle for his own advancement. It was in the blood. His father Lord Randolph Churchill had invented the concept of ‘Tory democracy.’ Asked to define it he said ‘opportunism, mostly’. Quite so. Furthermore, Lord Randolph had taken up the cause of opposing Home Rule for Ireland. ‘Please God it will be the ace and not the two’ he wrote. The syphlitic Randolph Churchill sided with the unionists in Ulster solely because he considered it would redound to his advantage and not because he believed or disbelieved in that cause or any other. He said ‘If Gladstone goes for Home Rule the Orange card will be the one to play. Please God it will be the ace and not the two.’ In this wise Winston was a chip off the old block. He would say and do anything to speed his way along cursus honorum.

Winston soon regretted joining the Liberals. He reflected that had he only stayed in the Tories a few more years he would have been their leader. His supposed reason for crossing the floor was his horror of tariff reform. Oddly enough this was Conservative policy in the late 1920s when Winston was in the cabinet and went along with that policy.

In the Second South African War 1899-1902 Churchill had fulminated against David Lloyd George. Lloyd George was called a Judas by many Conservatives since he said that the UK was wrong to fight against the Transvaal Republic and the Orange Free State. Yet only a few years later Winston was bosom buddies with Lloyd George on the Liberal front bench. In Winston’s defence it can be said that he was broadminded. He absolved the utterly unrepentant Lloyd George for the Welsh Wizard’s previous ‘pro-Boer’ attitude.

Winston was a functioning alcoholic. This is not a moral judgment. A righteous person can be a dypsomaniac. Winston never got drunk but then he never got sober either. He steadily boozed through the day. His alcohol dependency makes him a problematic icon for conservatives of a puritanical bent.

As Home Secretary Winston sent troops into Tonypandy. This is an issue that suppurated in Wales for decades. This was the death knell of trades union support for the Liberal Party. But let us clear out of the way the notion that there was any massacre at Tonypandy. Sometimes the accusations levelled against Winston are preposterously false.

Winston was keen to reduce the incarceration rate. He introduced probation. Having been a prisoner in South Africa himself he felt the liveliest sympathy for the incarcerated. He may have been an angel of mercy for felons. But his lenity was hardly conservative. Of course at the moment he mitigated the severity of the penal code this political shape shifter was a Liberal. However, he remained a stalwart advocate of the efficacy and rectitude of the supreme sanction throughout his life.

At the Sidney Street Siege Churchill went along with a gun. He was keen to take a photo opportunity. He was an exhibitionist. It was a bit like his penchant for showing himself naked to other men.

Winston had opposed Irish Home Rule when he first entered the House of Commons. A few years later he advocated for it. He even addressed a Home Rule rally in Belfast at what is now Casement Park GAA Stadium. But do not tell that to Sinn Feiners! A loyalist mob tried to tip his car into the River Lagan. It can be entirely honourable to change your mind. But Winston was only doing so for electoral calculation.

Eugenics is now regarded with horror. Winston was a stalwart advocate thereof as were a great many other people of various points of view. It is an opinion that will disturb pro-Lifers.

In 1914 the Liberal Cabinet had a meeting to discuss the situation in Europe as German troops poised to invade Belgium. Prime Minister H H Asquith and most of the others were convinced that the United Kingdom could stand aloof from the conflagration that was about to engulf Europe. Yet Churchill and a couple of others cajoled  and harangued Henry Herbert Asquith and the rest of the cabinet into saying that war must be declared on Germany. It speaks volumes about Churchill’s powers of suasion that he was able to win over many much more seasoned politicians against their better judgment. Why was the British Empire going to lock herself into a death struggle with a kindred nation? It was because the neutrality of Belgium had been violated. Belgium was not the first nation in the world to be invaded. What difference did it make? The UK had taken no action against many other invasions. London too had abrogated treaties and invaded unoffending nations. As for respecting neutrality: Churchill advocated seizing some islands of the neutral Dutch even before Belgium had been invaded! There was no logic or morality to his madcap determination to engulf his nation in a torrent of bloodshed. Germany had no designs on an inch of British loam. Germany had not fired one shot at Britain. Germany had admitted it had lost the naval race four years earlier. Churchill himself had told Parliament several years earlier that embroilment in a European war could not fail to be as devastating for the victor as for the vanquished. 

A war against the mightiest industrial power in Europe was a very serious undertaking indeed. Until 1914 the UK had taken care for a century to fight only against countries over which is had a distinct technological advantage. Even Gemany’s worst foe would acknowledge that Germany was no pushover. This war was always going to be very bloody indeed. Some said that the war would be over by Christmas 1914. Kitchener was the first to say it would take at least three years. He warned the government that the UK was utterly underequipped for such a war. As he commented caustically ”the government is very brave to fight the biggest army with the smallest.” The British Army was not the smallest in the Europe but it was the puniest of the major powers; Austria, Italy, Germany, France, Russia and the Ottoman Empire. Unlike the others, half the British Army was overseas and thus far from the principal theatre of operations. 

Eagerness to get his nation embroiled in a mortal struggle against a superpower reveals perhaps the core flaw in Churchill’s psychology. He was injudicious. Flightiness is not what you want in a leader. He was overly combative. Was this small man syndrome? Or was it occasioned by another incurable sense of inadequacy? He was an academic disaster at school and a disappointment to his father.

Churchill considered himself a military expert. He ought to have known from the American Civil War and the South African War that technology was prolonging war and not foreshortening it. Even if the war had been over by Christmas 1914 by that time at least two million people had been killed. It is true that Churchill did not start that war. The Second Reich could have heeded Britain’s warning and withdrawn from Belgium but did not. The question is whether Belgium’s independence was worth the lives of two million people? Belgium had a population of four million at the time. Many other countries had been invaded and Britain had not declared war. The UK had often been the invader. Other countries including the United Kingdom had broken treaties sometimes. Why was the Treaty of London 1839 sacred when others were not?

As First Lord of the Admiralty Churchill was in charge of the Royal Navy. It was his responsibility to see that the United Kingdom was more than a match for the German Navy. Despite that the German Navy scored some early victories against the Royal Navy at the Battle of Dogger Bank and the Battle of the Coronel. When the Germans started to build more U-boats the UK found much of its merchant fleet sent to Davy Jones’ locker.

The UK started to blockade Germany before Germany did this to the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom declared almost all goods even foodstuffs contraband of war. This was morally questionable to say the least. This malnourished the German civil population. Absolute starvation would have been more human. Then the victims would at least have died quickly.

By starving the German civil population Churchill was storing up untold acrimony among the Germans. The slow and calculated killing of so many non-combatants was not easily forgiven.

The use of Q ships was another Churchill innovation. In 1914 U boats would surface and order Allied merchant sailors to get into their lifeboats. The merchant seamen would be given five minutes to abandon ship before the craft was sunk by the U boat’s gun. Churchill had merchant ship carry big guns under boxes on the deck. When a U boat surfaced and gave the merchantmen five minutes to get into their lifeboats the merchant seamen (in fact Royal Navy in mufti) would reveal their deck guns and send the U boat to the bottom. Churchill had exploited the humanity of the Germans. He had turned the war into a more ruthless one. The corollary was unrestricted U boat warfare. It seems likely that he withheld a warning about U boats off Old Head of Kinsale from the Lusitania in 1915. He wanted that civilian passenger ship to be torpedoed by the Kriegsmarine since it would have a most pleasing effect on American popular opinion.

The Dardanelles Campaign was a Churchill’s brainchild. The Royal Navy had thrice investigated the possibility of forcing the straits and twice concluded it was impossible. Once they had arrived at the conclusion that it was possible just very difficult and likely to cause very high casualties. Mindlessly optimistic as ever Churchill insisted on going ahead. We all know of the calamitous consequences. But even if the Allies had seized control of the Dardanelles that would probably not have knocked the Ottoman Empire out of the war. It would not have assisted Russia much. Attacking the Ottomans was not knocking away the props from Germany. It was a largely wasted effort. Churchill had a weakness for cronyism. He saw to it that his old mucker Sir Ian Hamilton was in charge of this fiasco. Hamilton had the decency to get himself killed in action.

The death toll caused many to blanche. Even Winston said that the slogging match on the Western Front was ”fighting machineguns with the breasts of brave men.” Even stout-hearted soldiers asked if there was not a better way forward? Should they negotiate? Some people wanted to put out peace feelers to the Central Powers. Churchill was having none of it. As in South Africa his attitude had been to fight to the finish and then offer lenient terms. Why not offer the lenient terms sooner and spare both sides untold agony? 

Protracting the war led to more deaths. It led to the October Revolution and the advent of communism which was the bugbear of the rest of Churchill’s life. If peace had been negotiated in 1916 there would have been not Stalin, no Hitler, no Second World War and no Cold War.

Churchill was not prime minister in the First World War. Therefore, he is not alone in carrying the blame for mutton headed decisions.

In 1920 the Royal Irish Constabulary Special Reserve war formed. The RIC Special Reserved was tasked with fighting the IRA. Churchill was a prime mover behind this. This unit did not always behave inculpably.

During the first Troubled Times in Ireland 1919-21 Churchill denounced the IRA especially one of its head honchoes Michael Collins. By December 1921 Churchill literally embraced Collins. When Collins was killed by the IRA he received a glowing elegy from Churchill ‘the gallant leader of a valiant race.’ Winston performed a volte-face on Collins as on so many other people.

In 1918 the Russian Civil War broke out. A few British soldiers were dispatched to help the White side and to recover or destroy the tonnes of arms that the UK had shipped there to help Russia fight the Germans. London inquired of the British officers in Russia whether intervention could enable the Whites to defeat the Reds in Russia. The message came back that the war was winnable for the Whites but only if there was massive intervention. The UK must either send hundreds of thousands of troops or none at all. Churchill Colonial Secretary at the time. He was one of those who decided on half measures. Several thousand troops were sent. It was enough to infuriate the Bolsheviks but not to change the outcome of the war. It was the worst of both worlds. Russo-British relations were soured for generations due to this.  Churchill would cross the street to start a fight. Who were the White Russians whom Winston proposed to assist? Some were reactionaries who wished to restore the tsar to despotic and untrammeled power. There were others who were far left. The Social Revolutionaries (SRs) were these far leftists who were not revolutionaries in name only. They had often essayed to assassinate the tsar. Neither pole of politics should have been supported by the United Kingdom. Had the Whites won the war there most assuredly would have been a second conflict between the different factions among the Whites.

Had the United Kingdom stood aloof from the Russian Civil War then Anglo-Soviet relations could have at least started out being not unfriendly. Ironic then that Churchill was to rest his masterplan for saving his nation on securing succour from his erstwhile mortal foe.

Churchill railed against Bolshevism as ‘animalism’ and said that the communist state ‘should be strangled in its cradle’. You might agree with these sentiments but intervening in a foreign civil war is hardly conservative. It is all the more bitterly ironic that his actions did so much for the furtherance of communism in the 1940s.

Winston was a cabinet minister in 1917 when the Balfour Declaration was issued. He was an a philosemite and that is laudable. His Zionism does not endear his memory to Palestinians who were dispossessed as a result of Winston’s belief that the did not deserve to live in their homeland.

As Chancellor of the Exchequer in the 1920s he decided to go back on the gold standard. Many experts urged him to do so. It turned out to be a disaster. But as Churchill was chancellor the responsibility is his. He had the right to reject the advice. His decision had to be reversed a few years later. The gold standard caused unemployment to remain obstinately high.

In 1919 the Glasgow area as convulsed by strikes. The Red Clyde was the seat of trades union agitation. Winston ordered tanks onto the streets. Socialists regarded this as a gross abuse of state power in a bid to cow the labour movement. People campaigning for a living wage were being overawed by military might. Perhaps it was a conservative thing to do? Or was it denying people their liberty? Everyone has the right to demonstrate about public grievances.

In January of the year of grace some nineteen hundreds and nineteen Winston was party to  decision to suspend Glasgow City Corporation. This was an unjustified intrusion on the city’s autonomy.  Conservatives are supposed to value local government and subsidiarity. Whatever happened to keeping government close to the people. The second largest British city was placed under the control of the army.  The incident is not triviality to be brushed aside with the plea of ‘necessity’. This ought to perturb even the most blinkered admirer of Spencer-Churchill. It would be deeply wrong to ignore the tanks on George Square.  People were stopped and questioned by soldiers as they went about their lawful and quotidian business. Nobody was killed. A plea in mitigation was that this was only 18 months after the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. The Bolsheviks openly preached revolt in all capitalist lands. British Bolshevists avowed their intention to bring about a Marxian proletarian paradise in the British Islands.

In 1926 Churchill was heavily involved in defeating the National Strike. He set up a newspaper called the British Gazette to help this objective. In this respect at least he served a cause that all Conservatives and even most Liberals approved of.

By the early 1930s Winston was on the backbenches. He was cantankerous and reactionary. Many believed that his best days were behind him and he would never get near the backbenches again. He took up the cause of the Tory diehards. As Colonial Secretary in the early 1920s Winston had been party to the decision to allow political reform in India. By the 1930s Winston was adamantine in his opposition to further political development in India. His backward-looking attitude lost him a lot of credibility. This one time Liberal had embraced whalebone corseted conservatism. Because of his immoderation on the Indian Question his doomladen prognostications on Germany were regarded as the ravings of a semi-senile teutonophobic curmudgeon.




People often hold a candle for Churchill due to his opposition to appeasement. It is an irefrangible rule for some that appeasement was wrong and that Churchill was right to set his face like flint against it. Appeasement of whom? He was an ardent appeaser of Italian fascism. He went further. Churchill traveled to Italy in the 1920s and addressed a fascist rally. He revealed that if he were an Italian he would have been amongst the fascisti. Winston also lauded Mussolini as a great lawgiver. In fairness to Winston at that time Mussolini was nothing like as bad as he became later. Mussolini was still fairly popular in Italy and abroad. Many people considered communism to be the real threat. The cruel oppression in the USSR made the misdeeds of Mussolini pale into insignificance by way of comparison. As we shall see Churchill was the number one appeaser of the USSR in the 1940s.

In 1935 Italy invaded Abyssinia. The League of Nations could have played a crucial role in preventing this. Roy Jenkins, a highly sympathetic biographer of Churchill, wrote that Winston regarded the League as ‘a namby pamby organisation’. Winston excoriated the Italians for the annexation of Abyssinia. But this was inconsistent with his wish to build a coalition against Nazism.

If the United Kingdom really wanted to prevent German expansionism then it would pay to keep Italy sweet. Until the late 1930s there was some chance that Italy would be on the side of France and the UK against Germany. Even if Italy were not a co-belligerent of theirs in a future war then the Italians could at least be kept neutral. Alienating both Italy and Germany at the same time was asinine. It was also immoral since it made war more likely. Italy and Germany aligned were emboldened. 

The British Armed Forces were much weaker in the early 1930s than they had been in 1914. Why was that? Churchill was one of those who in 1919 had pushed through the 10 year rule. This was an assumption that the United Kingdom would fight a major war in the next ten years. This allowed for severe austerity in military spending. Such retrenchment was good with the public finances. But such parsimony meant that the UK’s armed forces were feeble compared to those of Germany or the USSR by the mid-1930s. The military was starved of new hardware. 

We often hear that Winston was a day one abominator of Adolf Hitler. In 1932 Churchill was in Germany researching a biography of his ancestor the first Duke of Marlborough. Winston arranged to have luncheon with the leader of the National Socialists. Hitler had to cancel at the last minute so the two never met. Asking to have lunch with Hitler suggests that Churchill’s principled opposition to Nazism did not start as early as we are led to believe. It is true that in politics people have to deal with those they detest. But Hitler was an opposition politician at the time and Churchill was a backbencher at the time. Moreover, in 1937 Churchill published an article praising Hitler.

People often write about how oppressive the Third Reich was. It was a very ugly regime and had dismantled German democracy within 18 months of the Nazi Party becoming the government. But in the 1930s the USSR was even more cruelly oppressive than the Third Reich. Millions of people had been killed in the USSR through execution, slave labour in the gulag and through deliberately created famines. This is not what aboutery. Nazi crimes are not made acceptable because of communist crimes and vice versa. Two wrongs do not make a right. The German Government was not the most villainous in Europe at the time. The Third Reich certainly was brutal but the brutality of the USSR towards its own people was of a different order of magnitude. There was moral equivalency between the two regimes. Why did the UK have to defend dictatorial Poland against Germany but not against the USSR? Why did the UK not have to defend democratic states such as Lativa, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland or Romania against the USSR? Answer comes there none. The USSR was sworn to annihilate the United Kingdom and all democracies. Germany bestial desires lay only to the east. Conquering a few lands is not as bad as conquering all. 

Winston never saw a war he did not like. Appeasers are execrated now. But could it not be that they were actuated by humanitarian motives? Most of them were men who had fought gallantly in the First World War. These men can hardly be called cowards. They had no wish to see a repeat performance of such butchery. On the other hand Churchill never saw a war that he did not like. 

Who was Britain’s foremost appeaser in the 1930s? It was Edward VIII who was later known as the Duke of Windsor. The Duke of Windsor was a close friend of Churchill’s. Indeed, Churchill was the only politician whom the duke addressed by his Christian name. Winston was an ardent royalist and crashing snob. He would forgive royals well nigh all. In 1936 Winston was one of the only people in the establishment who believe that not only Edward VIII should remain king but that Wallis Simpson should be allowed to become queen. This was despite it being well known among politicians that the king was deeply sympathetic to Nazism and was leaking secrets to Joachim Ribbentrop. Imagine if Edward VIII had remained as king. What would have happened in 1939? He might have refused to declare war. There would have been a constitutional crisis.

In the 1930s divorce was unusual – it was a lengthy, expensive and highly contentious process. Traditionalists looked askance at the thought of a twice divorced childless woman with two living ex-husbands marrying the king. To countenance such a move and even allow this woman to be granted the title queen was as unconservative as can be. Churchill’s attitude to Mrs Simpson could be called humane, broadminded, progressive and understanding. But by the standards of the 1930s it was surely not conservative.

When the former Edward VIII undermined the war effort Churchill did nothing about it. Anyone else would have been court martialed for a fraction of what the duke did. How did Churchill punished the onetime king? He made him Governor-General of the Bahamas. People might think it was getting the Duke of Windsor out of the way. It was not. The Bahamas are right beside the United States. The duke regularly went shopping in Florida. His pro-Nazi leanings alarmed the United States. He cavorted with the Nazi inclined Swedish millionaire Axel Wener Gren. This tarnished the British image in the United States and made them doubt that the UK had the will to fight.

In the late 1930s Churchill was deeply unpopular for demanding a war against Germany. A war against the Third Reich would lead to at least several million deaths. His urge to fight seemed to be without giving a moment’s thought to the British Empire’s ability to win the war. There was no popular stomach for the fight. This heartfelt desire for peace was morally right. The King and Country debate in 1933 and the Peace Pledge referendum organized by the League of Nations Union demonstrated beyond the realm of doubt that there was a widespread desire to remain at peace. Nonetheless Winston persisted in calling for war. You could call him mettlesome or you could call him obstinate.

In 1938 Churchill was a hawk. Almost alone in the United Kingdom he demanded war. This was despite the Chiefs of Imperial General Staff telling the government that the British would lose a war against Germany. Churchill never let a little matter like military strength get in the way of warmongering. Besides that, was it right to lead a people to war who had no wish to fight?

Winston wanted to maintain British paramountcy. Yet he also wanted to fight against a power which had no desire to challenge British paramountcy. Winston was warned that fighting against the Third Reich would be the deathblow of the British Empire even if the UK won. So it proved. The war spelt finis to the very notion of Britain as a superpower.

We all know that the UK went to war in 1939 ostensibly to save Poland. What did Churchill agree about Poland in 1945? It was not to return Poland to its 1939 borders.

At Yalta Churchill agreed to hand over huge swathes of Polish loam to the Soviets. This was land conquered by the Soviets in 1939 when they were acting in close concert with the Third Reich. Winston accompanied this was some highly polonophobic remarks.

Should Britain have gone to war at all? The UK owed Poland nothing. Few Britons bore the Poles any ill will. But why should the United Kingdom stick its neck out for Poland? Half the Poles had been on the German side in the Great War anyway. 

The Poles did not request any guarantee of military assistance. The UK offered that unsolicited promise without the Poles offering anything in return. This made Warsaw more stiff-necked in its parley with Berlin in the middle months of 1939. The United Kingdom did not dispatch men or munition to assist the Poles. Britain had no means of shipping troops or arms to Poland. The Skageraak could easily be interdicted by the Germans. To fly to Poland avoiding German airspace was a very long way around indeed. The RAF did not have the transport planes to send significant numbers of men or arms.

The Third Reich wanted a 400 metre wide road and rail corridor between the main part of Germany and East Prussia. The Poles were entirely within their rights to refuse. But this refusal was one of the reasons by the Third Reich declared war. Let it be crystal clear that the Third Reich was to blame and not the Polish Republic for starting the war. Berlin was the aggressor and faked an attack on Germany by ‘Poles’ (in fact German concentration camp prisoners dressed in Polish Army uniform) to provide causus belli. The Third Reich also wanted Gdansk which they called Danzig. This city was almost 90% ethnically German. It was supposed to be run by the League of Nations but Poland was ruling it. Nazism was despicable. That does not prove that every single claim that the Nazis made was unfair. The principle of national self-determination – which Winston endorsed – said that Danzig was Germany’s.

If the United Kingdom really wished to help the Poles prior to the declaration of war then the British Army could have dispatched troops to Poland. This would have demonstrated to Germany that the United Kingdom was sincere in its desire to help Poland defend herself. But Hitler simply assumed that the British guarantee to fight alongside Poland was simply hot air. The British were bluffing, so the German leadership thought, just as the Brits had bluffed several times in the 1930s.

It was moronic in the extreme to make any spat between Poland and Germany casus foederis for the UK. Britain had no means of deciding if a war would be fought. It would be entirely up to Poland.

We are often told that the UK had a moral obligation to fight against Nazism. Oddly almost no other country had such a moral obligation. Sweden, Switzerland, Portugal, Turkey and other countries remained neutral throughout the war. Plenty countries were neutral until they were attacked. Why is it that the French and British were the only ones to be under such an obligation? Much sanctimonious and sententious twaddle is to be found in pro-Churchill discourse.

I hear you say: the United Kingdom had to go to war because of the Holocaust. No country went to war because of the Holocaust. It was not even planned until the Wannsee Conference of 1942. It is true that prior to 1942 at least several thousand Jewish people had already been murdered by the Third Reich. It goes without saying that this is evil on a grand scale. There have been few wars in which atrocities have been absent. The Third Reich was not averagely bad in this respect but egregiously horrific. However, none of that was apparent in 1939. No one predicted that the Third Reich would try to annihilate the Jewish community. One-third of the German Jewish community was still left in Germany in 1939. If they believed that staying in their homeland was a death sentence then they would have left. The Third Reich practised racial discrimination at the time which is of course despicable. Many other countries also enforced racist laws at the time such as South Africa, Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) and many states of the USA. Nazi Germany was certainly bad on racial issues but not uniquely so. This article does not try to whitewash the satantic wickedry of the Third Reich. Murderous it certainly was.  Let us get one thing clear. War was not declared to stop the Holocaust. Nor did it actually stop it once the Nazis began their hideous campaign of genocide against Jews, Gypsies, gays, Russians, Ukrainians, Poles, communists, Freemasons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and so forth. There were barbarities underway in the Third Reich even before the war such as Program T4: the murder of the mentally handicapped and the physically disabled. But that was done surreptitiously. The UK did not know about it at the time and no one cited it as a reason to go to war.

The war made the Holocaust easier to hide. It made Germany less susceptible to being sent to moral Coventry. There are many instances of genocides since 1945. But we are often told it would be wrong to intervene in Iraq to save the Kurds, wrong to intervene in Kosovo, wrong to intervene in Rwanda and so on. Paleo-conservatives tend to favour continuity and to believe in staying out of foreign quarrels. Many conservatives consider national sovereignty to be sacrosanct. There was no British national interest at stake in Poland. As Lord Curzon had once paraphrased Bismarck saying that the Polish border was not worth the bones of a British grenadier. Poland was like Czechoslovakia – a far away country of which we know little. The United Kingdom had not felt compelled to step in during the Chaco War when Bolivia fought Paraguay. Why should London feel the obligation to take sides in a dispute about a city in Poland that most Britons could not even spell?

There is a bogus notion abroad that the UK fought for democracy. Nazism was certainly anti-democratic. But when the did the Nazis ever give any indication that they had any wish to alter the British political system? The UK had undemocratic allies. The colonies were not run in a democratic fashion. 1945 saw Stalin’s dictatorship turn several former democracies in Central Europe into Soviet satellites.

The British decision to declare war was folly of the first magnitude. London knew it was ill-equipped to defeat the Third Reich even with France as a British ally. For the first few months the French and British did almost nothing to fight against Germany. They could have mounted an offensive against western Germany. They could have bombed the Third Reich. But they did neither. This Phoney War did not help the Poles. The French called it le drole de guerre – the joke war. The German quipped that the Western allies were fighting a sitz krieg.

Read Churchill and the Unnecessary War by Pat Buchanan. This trenchant analysis demolishes Churchill’s case for war. As Winston himself said the Second World War was ‘the unnecessary war’. Pat Buchanan’s views on a number of issues are toxic. He asperses non-white ethnicities. But he can still be spot on with regard to Churchill.

The German Occupation of Poland was monstrous. Millions of Poles both Jewish and Gentile were killed. But no one in 1939 predicted anything like the scale of the violence.

Even if you think that the Allied cause was moral in 1939 it was not viable. When considering  whether or not to declare war one must consider not just morality but also military capability. The UK had cut back it military severely in the 1920s and 1930s. Rearmament in 1938 had barely brought the UK and France together up to the German level of armament. Parsimony meant that British military technology lagged behind German technology in some respects.

We know that the Allies won in the end. But that is because of Soviet blood and American treasure. Were it not for them there is no way the British Empire could have defeated the Third Reich. There was no reason to believe in 1939 that the USSR or the USA would ever join the Allied side. The USSR had made an accommodation with the Third Reich and there was no reason to believe that the Germans would break their 10 year non-aggression pact. In the United States neutrality was almost universally approved of. The America First Committee lobbied zealously for staying out of the war and not even selling arms to the UK. President Roosevelt received hundreds of letters a week demanding that the US stay out of the war. The notion that the United Kingdom won the war is absurdly self-congratulatory.



At the outbreak of the Second World War a message was sent  to all ships of the Royal Navy ‘Winston is back’. Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty. This was the same position he held in 1914. One of the mistakes he made in 1939 was not to prioritise anti-submarine warfare. The Third Reich concentrated on U boat warfare rather than fighting with surface vessels.

Churchill was one of those who advocated for intervention in Norway in April 1940. He even called for the invasion of what was then a neutral country. The whole principle on which the Allied cause was predicated was upholding national sovereignty. How on earth could they Allies commit such unwarranted aggression? In fact the Third Reich beat them to it and invaded Norway first. The Royal Navy did not cover itself in glory off the coast of Norway. It did at least sink a few German capital ships. Who was in charge of the Senior Service? It was one W.S. Churchill. Yet he did not carry the can for this underperformance.

There were other times that the United Kingdom invaded neutral lands during the Second World War. These included Iceland and Iran. You might say that the situation called for force majeure. Winston even considered invading Southern Ireland.

In May 1940 the Norway Debates took place in the House of Commons. The Prime Minister was Neville Chamberlain. He was barracked for the dismal performance of the British Army in Norway. It appeared that Chamberlain had lost the confidence of the house. If the sharp toothed Brummy was to go then who was to replace him? Some favoured the Earl of Halifax. Lord Halifax was a fox hunting, Anglo-Catholic, Old Etonian, former Viceroy of India and a Fellow of All Souls College Oxford. The Yorkshire peer had impeccable establishment credentials and was a conservative in the fullest sense. He was a safe pair of hands – despite only having one hand! Most Tories favoured the earl. But a minority of Tories and most of the Labour Party favoured Winston for reach pugnacity. But in the end the Holy Fox was not called upon to become Prime Minister.

On 10 May 1940 Churchill was invited by the king to kiss hands. Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Treasury. When Winston became prime minister the Battle of France was beginning. He must carry the can for the British Expeditionary’s Force disastrous performance in that fight. When the BEF had to flee then Churchill wanted to dispatch the entire Royal Air Force to France. Had he done so then it might have been curtains for the RAF.

To have even an outside chance at winning the war the United Kingdom was obliged to invoke the Defence of the Realm Act (DORA). This meant a severe abridgement of civil liberty. The freedom of the press was curtailed. Habeas corpus was suspended. Rationing was introduced. Some property was sequestrated. All these are things that are abhorrent to a conservative. A conservative would only jettison these principles temporarily in extremis. None of these measures would have been necessary had it not been for this discretionary war.

In July 1940 Churchill insisted that an ultimatum be delivered to the French Fleet at Mers-el-Kebir. This is a port on the coast of Algeria. The French Navy was given a couple of hours to either come over to the Allied side, agree to be interned in the United States or to scuttle their vessels. When the French admiral did not respond by the deadline the Royal Navy launched an unprovoked attack on the French. Over 1300 French sailors were killed. Not a single British seaman was killed. From a British perspective it was a resounding military success. Victory is not an apt word for this. Many around the world regarded it as a dastardly attack on what was then a neutral country. Winston argued that the French Fleet could have been commandeered by the Kriegsmarine and represented a mortal peril to the United Kingdom. Yet his order was of dubious morality and legality. It made France hostile when it might have been neutral. It put the Free French in an invidious position. Churchill liked to think of himself of being like Nelson at Copenhagen when he had attacked the Danish Fleet because this neutral nation might join Britain’s nemesis.

In 1941 Winston made two public offers to the Irish Government to hand over Northern Ireland. He sent a message to the Taoiseach of Southern Ireland ‘A nation once again. Now or never’. Eamonn de Valera turned him down flat. Winston was willing to expel Northern Ireland from the UK and give it to the Irish State that the great majority of people in Northern Ireland did not want to join. You might disagree with the unionist viewpoint but surely anyone can see it was Winston betraying the unionists. A British Conservative believes in the Union! The party is called the Conservative and Unionist Party. The Unionists in Northern Ireland trusted him and he wanted to stab them in the back. At the outbreak of the war the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland pledged that his devolved administration would do everything it could for the war effort. ‘We are the King’s men’ said Viscount Craigavon. Yet Churchill was willing to break up the UK and hand the six counties over to a republican in the shape of de Valera. De Valera was right not to trust Winston.

The British Armed Forces were not even very successful during the war. Winston lamented that until El Alamein in November 1942 there were no British victories of note. ‘I can’t get the victories’ he despaired. Even when the UK won it was only because there were troops from India, Australia, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Canada, Uganda, Jamaica and so forth on the side of the empire. There is a pernicious myth that Britain fought ‘alone’ for even part of the war.

The Americans did much of the fighting. 75% of the German casualties were on the Eastern Front. The Soviets did the great bulk of the fighting. This awkward fact is conveniently overlooked in self-serving British narratives of the world war. Such self-flattery is the core of the dishonest pro-Churchill propaganda.

Churchill had a very good idea that the Katyn Massacre was carried out by the NKVD. He chose to overlook this for reasons of state.

Winston signed away Polish land to the Soviet Union without consulting a single Pole. This is a cause of much resentment in Poland to this day. The Soviets were raising this in the autumn of 1941. Why did Winston even entertain the idea then? The USSR was fighting for its life and hardly needed an incentive to resist the Third Reich.

When French Algeria was seized by the Allies they agreed that the Vichy Admiral Darlan could remain on as governor. So much for principled anti-fascism. Once Darlan turned his coat all was forgiven. It is believed that Winston had a back channel to Mussolini about striking a similar deal. In the end this did not bear fruit. Winston was very eager that Mussolini be summarily executed upon capture. Dead men tell no tales!

Winston was an unreconstructed imperialist. He never accepted that you could have an empire or you could have a major war. You could not have both. Even if the United Kingdom won the war (a very big if in the 1930s) then the UK would emerge hugely enfeebled. Churchill said in 1942 ‘I did not become the king’s first minister to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire.’ But that is what he did. He was obliged to send the Labour MP Stafford Cripps to India to treat with Congress. The Cripps Mission resulted in the United Kingdom acknowledging that India would be granted independence as soon as practicable after the war. India was the keystone of the British Empire. Once India had become independent it was only a matter of time before the others did. You might think that the empire was wicked and that independence for the colonies was splendid. But Churchill did not. He failed in his self-appointed mission. Everyone told him that him that if Britain went to war then the empire would end and it did.

Bengal suffered a horrific famine from 1942 onward. Churchill was kept informed of the situation. Food could have been sent to India to save people. Not all the deaths could have been prevented but surely some lives could have been saved. Winston did not lift a finger to save these people. This issue causes huge fury and pain in India to this day.

In the run up to D Day Churchill had a bright idea. Why not use England’s oldest ally Portugal? Portugal was a neutral country run by a conservative dictator Salazar. British troops would have to land in Portugal and probably invade it. Then the British would have to fight their way across Spain which is the most mountainous country in Europe and then fight their way across France. It was a moronic plan. A huge amount of staff time was wasted on contingency planning for this hare-brained and self-indulgent scheme.

Ever the glory boy Churchill wanted to land on D Day.  General Eisenhower was in charge of this operation. The American asked Churchill not to go. Churchill replied that although Eisenhower was in command he had no right to dictate the complement of one of His Majesty’s ships. King George VI had to order Churchill not to go.

On VE Day Churchill broadcast on the BBC ”the British Empire today stands stronger and mor effectually united than at any time in its long romantic history.” It was a splendid lie. The United Kingdom was broke. Maynard Keynes went as a supplicant to Bretton Woods. The UK was reduced almost to vassalage. Since then the British have been little more than a client states of Washington DC. It was all so avoidable.




Churchill is an iconic hero but he should not be. He tried and failed to preserve patrician mastery. His family was well established family by 1874 and he was preceded by illustrious ancestors. They were johnny come latelys to national prominence. But Churchull wanted to maintain upper class privilege. He was not into equality. He would cringe before more established aristocrats such as lord salisbury.

Salisbury had a line of lace ruffed ancestors in 16th century involved in euro wars. Maybe that was why the Marquess of Salisbury irreproachable in conduct. He wished to be above criticism and not dishonour his forbears.

Winston has had his apotheosis. The vicissitudes of history mean that he is scrutinised more closely now. The vagaries of time have worn away the unseemly deferenc with which he is treated.

His drinking vice in these health conscious times is not seen as an innocent habit.  It is equally striking that he was family man when many were philanderers. In that wise he was a model conservative.

Churchill was very close to an Irishman named brendan bracken. Rumour had it that Bracken was his natural son. This amused both men who did nothing to scotch it. But having people believe that he was a fornicator was not conservative behaviour by the standards of the 1930s.


Towards the end of the war Churchill visited Moscow. There he signed what he termed ‘the naughty document’. In the said document he wrote the percentages of influence in various eastern European countries to be accorded to the USSR and to the West. Poland and Romania for example were to have mostly Soviet influence. Greece was 90% western. Whatever happened to respect for national sovereignty? How was this so different from the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact of 1939 when Ribbentrop and Molotov carved up eastern Europe?

When the Germans withdrew from Greece what did Churchill do? He was keen to thwart the communists. Therefore, Winston ordered that Greek prisoners of war who had formerly backed Germany be rearmed.

The Allies demanded unconditional surrender from the Axis countries. This extended the war and cost more lives. Again, Winston is not the only guilty party.

It was widely established practice to invite the foe to seek terms. By refusing to do so Churchill prolonged the war. It also allowed the Soviets to advance further west. USSR suspected the UK would leave them in the lurch. That was why the British rebuffed German hands proffering the olive branch lest the Soviets think the Brits were concluding a separate peace.

The UK did little fighting. It is the fallacy that Britain won the war – especially single handed – that underscores the Churchill myth. 

The area bombing of German cities is controversial at best. He said it was to induce terror. He considered using chemical weapons. Some civilians deaths were inevitable. But Churchill’s tactics led to far more civilians deaths than necessary.

After the war of the order of ten million German civilians were driven out of eastern Europe. Up to two million of them died in the process. Churchill agreed to the explusion of these people. Was that ethical or humane? The Poles and Soviets had their reasons for wanting to do this. The British did not.

Winston agreed to White Russians being handed over to the Soviet Union. Some of them had left Russia during the Russian Civil War 1917-22. Others were born abroad to Russian parents. Those born abroad had never been Soviet citizens. Nonetheless they were handed to the tender mercies of Stalin.

During the war there was no principled advocacy of democratic principles by Churchill. Instead when Churchill spoke about the USSR he did so only in glowing terms. No ethical or legal principle was vindicated by the war. Winston claimed to have some ethical undergirding to his foreign policy. Traditionally the Tories were more guided by the furtherance of national interest. It was Liberals from Gladstone onwards who resorted to operatics on foreign policy and claimed to be galvanised by ethical considerations.

On VE Day Winston made a broadcast in which he castigated Eire for not declaring war on the Axis countries. Edward de Valera (call him his proper name) was the Taoiseach (PM) of Southern Ireland at the time. The Irish Head of Government riposted with a broadcast a few days later. His speech was delivered in soft and restrained cadences. In a closely argued statement de Valera noted that Winston had said that if Britain’s interest was at stake then all principles of law and morality could be cast aside. It was claiming that might was right. Such a Machiavellian principle could be invoked by the United Kingdom’s foes also. De Valera is not my favourite Irish politician. But he deserves plaudits for keeping Eire out of the Second World War as public opinion insisted he did. The Taoiseach at least set out a policy and adhered to it. Winston was suggesting violating the very principle which was the whole moral basis for the war.



Churchill ought to have bowed out at the 1945 election as his wife Clementine urged him. Instead he led his party to a heavy defeat. That would still have been a moment to pass the torch to a new generation. The Labour Party did not bother or perhaps did not dare field a candidate against Churchill in his constituency in 1945. Only an eccentric communist stood against the prime minister. This local kook notched up 27% of the vote. Mr Hancock was the challenger’s name: he did not stand under the banner of the Communist Party of Great Britain but that was his alliance. This was by far the best result a Communist Party of Great Britain candidate achieved in England.

The final judgment must go to the British people. Churchill led his party in three elections and lost the popular vote every time. 

After the war Churchill was not as adulated as you might imagine. He was heckled at rallies. The apotheosis of Churchill was not complete until after his death in 1965.

Winston’s election broadcast in 1945 carried the outrageous imprecation that Labour would introduce ‘Gestapo’ into the United Kingdom. It was an accusation so dishonourable and flagrantly mendacious that it hugely backfired on the Tory Party. This libel against Clement Attlee, the Deputy Prime Minister, typified the freewheeling attitude that Winston had to truth and common decency.

The Conservatives lost partly because of Churchill’s jaded leadership. He was fixated with military matters and foreign affairs. He found bread and butter issues tedious. Winston was totally out of sympathy with the idea of establishing the National Health Service or nationalizing any industries. In regard to that last point he was at least conservative. What had he ever achieved in domestic politics? He brought in tea breaks and labour exchanges. These are praiseworthy but not particularly conservative.

Churchill was unwilling to face facts. Britain’s status after 1945 was living in much diminished circumstances.  Roosevelt wrote to Stalin in 1943 ‘after this war England will be financially through for a long time.’ FDR was absolutely correct. Winston maintained fantasies of imperial might and splendour. As a romantic right winger he was very susceptible to delusions of grandeur. He claimed that there were the Big Three: the USA, the Soviet Union and the British Empire. The empire was fading fast and that was chiefly Winston’s doing. The United Kingdom itself had lost a quarter of its national wealth. This was the new dispensation. Winston himself had done more than anyone else to bring it about. The United Kingdom ended up as a supplicant to Wall Street.

Winston fulminated about Indian independence. But even then at least the old curmudgeon agreed not to have Tory peers delay the India Bill in the House of Lords.

Winston defined appeasement as ‘feeding the crocodile in the hope that it will eat you last.’ It is deeply unfashionable to say it but appeasement sometimes works. War sometimes works. It would be wrongheaded to oppose appeasement in principle. A prettier word for appeasement is compromise. Did Winston ever appease other governments? You bet your life he did. He was party to Lausanne when the Entente caved into the Turks over the Chanak Crisis. He ceded eastern Poland to Stalin. At Yalta he made many concessions to the Soviet Union. In the mid 1950s he was grandstanding on the world stage. As the only survivor of the Big Three (Roosevelt and Stalin both having died by 1953) Winston assumed that this accorded him special status when it came to thrashing out an agreement between NATO and the Soviet Bloc. His big idea for 1953 was a conference whereat he could reach a final settlement of the differences between the USSR and the West. That is appeasement! Oddly he was not demanding immediate war against a ghastly tyranny. It was right that he had come to his senses and not demanded a Third World War. It had taken two world wars for him to learn his lesson.

In 1951 the Conservatives won more seats than the Labour Party. In truth Labour won more votes. But the first past the post system favoured the Tories on that occasion. Winston was back at Number 10 Downing Street. He was in failing health. Soon he was regularly incapable of discharging his prime ministerial functions. He was afflicted by a stroke. His son in law forged Winston’s signature on official documents. A patriot would have recognized that duty is about the country and not about personal vanity. It was high time for him to retire graciously. Instead he carried on as PM until 1955.

In 1952 an insurrection erupted in Kenya. The British Army – both black and white – fought against the Mau Mau insurgents. The conduct of the Crown Forces was sometimes bad and occasionally unspeakable. Such frightfulness was known to Churchill who did not suffer qualms of conscience. A confidential memo said the methods were ”distressingly reminiscent of the Third Reich.” Winston is not the moral titan that he cracked up to be. He seemed to consider the colonial peoples to be a convocation of savages.

The Israel-Palestine Conflict is to a large extent Churchill’s baby. His philosemitism was laudable. However, his exubrance for the Zionist cause meant that he was totally inconsiderate of the rights of the Palestinians. 

The murder of Lord Moyne caused a change in Churchill’s attitude. Moyne was assassinated in Cairo by two Zionist zealots. The slaying had no bearing on justice of the Zionist cause. Nevertheless, Churchill became markedly less sympathetic to the cause of the Jewish State. 

Winston was fairly popular as prime minister because relentless evangelizing for the Churchillian cause had already begun in the press, in the cinema and even in educational textbooks. Moreover, Winston was lucky in his timing. He inherited the post war boom. By 1951 the UK was starting to be able to ease off rationing. The Tories persisted with Labour policies and mass unemployment and poverty were avoided.

Once Winston retired as PM he remained a back seat driver. He privately urged Sir Anthony Eden to make a clandestine agreement with the French and Israelis at Sevres to attack Egypt in 1956. The result was a diplomatic debacle. It very much set the cat among the pigeons. The United Kingdom has never been as unpopular as it was in 1956. Besides the UK’s confederates in the Suez caper only three countries voted the UK’s way in the United Nations. These were South Africa, Belgium and Australia.

If maintaining the empire was Churchill’s life work he did a remarkably poor job of it. Granting India independence was not his doing. But in the 1950s he could have set his face against further concessions to nationalist sentiments in other colonies. Under Churchill Malaya began to take steps towards independence. Malaysian independence followed in 1957 shortly after Sir Winston stepped down as PM.

As Winston said ‘history shall be kind to me as I intend to write it.’ His multivolume History of the Second World War was written with archival sources that were only available to him. It was years before anyone else saw these documents. He was fixated with his legacy as well as that of his ancestors. That is why he spent so much time composing hagiographies of his father and the first Duke of Marlborough. The cult of Churchill is pernicious.

Winston had many qualities including leonine courage. He had rhetorical virtuosity, literary gifts and superhuman energy. Of judgement he was bereft. Even his partisans said he was injudicious. Winston was rightly regarded as a hot head and prone to a ludicrous degree of wishful thinking. He is not the archetype of a successful prime minister. So much of the time he was a poseur and a narcissist. His curious confection for millinery should tell us that. He was not actuated by a disinterested desire to serve the public weal. What made him tick was vanity and an eye on posterity. This explains his obsession with his posthumous reputation. He put the story about that he had turned down the offer of the title Duke of London. Admittedly his grave is as simple as can be. Is that not false modesty?

Even in death Winston was not as venerated as one might now imagine. It is true that the cranes along the Thames dipped in tribute as the MV Havengore launch bearing Winston’s body passed by. But the men operating the cranes only did so because they were paid to do this for his funeral which was on a Saturday. If these men really admired Sir Winston then they would have performed this duty pro bono.

Scarcely a year goes by without a docudrama or even film about Winston. These are uniformly flattering of Winston. It would be far more intriguing, honest and brave to produce a film about this man that emphasized his debilities, puerilities his ill-judged decisions, his volatile flights of rhetoric and even his immorality. These are not just heroic flaws. The man was deeply flawed. Winston sometimes espoused conservative values. Deep down did he ever believe them? That is dubious. No conservative should have hold him up as the embodiment of their values.

Endgame in Syria =============================



Assad. Ba’athists. not commie but Russian Soviet ally for decades.


Shia. Alawi



Yazidi. peacock angel



Syrian Democratic Forces

Free Syria Army

Al Nusra Front


Iranians pile in. spooks Israelis. Israel bombs Iranian positions . de conflicitng areas with Russians.

complex interplay between the competing powers in the region.

US pull out

Turkish Army in North


Iraqi Kurdistan. Peshmergas.


gallantly battling ISIS

outcry against US withdrawal

oil pipelines from Iraq through Turkey

Turkey NATO

2015. Russian jet shot down

2016 July coup in Turkey

authoritarianism. unfair trials. no free speech. cult of the personality. chauvinism. fight with no holds barred. jingoism. militarism. expansionism. closing down dissent by calling it extremism.

where next?

US will pull out eventually. no stomch for the fight. who rules syria is unimportant for US

it is nver going to be pro US.

Assad will win. Russian bases there. Syria broken. in debt to Russia, China and Iran.

no chance of reform or democracy there.


princess michael =======================


born austrian in czech

hungarian too

maria christina von reibnitz

Nazi member



fine art Victoria and Albert

interior designer

own business


ed stourbridge



children ANglican but worship in both

kensington palace

prince michael

no civil list

commerce prohibited.

two children

lord frederick

princess pushy


alleged racist remarks in the US about Irish people and blacks


interview with conrad black,

holding hands with another man. veridity.

normal in austria

is she a naif.

said harry’s swastike armband was overblown.



bread and circus in the US – republican media


I seek to elevate level of debate long videos

people trained to have no concentration span. soundbites

1000 tv channels. i phones. colour , movement – over stimulation

deep topics require lengthy analysis and background

GOP media incorporate flag waving. religion. xeno[hobia, fear mongering and appeal to avarice.

shapiro casusit at best. arge that poverty is prosperity

no healthcare is better than healthcare

crowder incaoable of sophustry.

cliam to want rigorous applicant of critical thinking

rationality is the quest for truth

not applause lines or to encourage disfain and hostility

set aside emotion. achieve detachment. use bland language.

info tainment. amphitheatre of debate and speechifying

superficialy persuasive

judiciously chosen example of stalinist crimes

unsavoury policies adocated by GOP. no healthcare, gun nuttery. oppresson of palesitne. water boaring gauntanamo bay

war of aggression

misappropriation of national security by the prison undustrial cmolex. the war industyr etc….

clai to stand for liberty . no distinction betwen positive and negative liberty


smug rejoinders

never lost for a retort

utilty of an insult. sneering and scaithing

stkc n trade for republican pundits

disbeli in epistmic authorities on claimagte change, the ecnomy , healthcare

climae change . fireis ht.

law of conservation of enemy. smoke is hot

religious fanaticism. illogic. herd mentality.

feebl inductive arguments

reflexivity of identity. value being aermian, value democracy, value juridial system

unspoke assumption of the unproven assumption of superiority

provokes eye rolling elswhere. top nation

labour under a misapprehension

antonion gramsci cultural hegemony of GOP. pride in old glory insticnitel GIOP

create monster that is trump

no filter or mediator to keep bogus statements from public

mabe that is good. media arbiters of truth


Juvenal said there is bread and circus and war is part of the circus.

cura annonae – distribution of grain

This is definitely true of the US. Distract people from their domestic woes




innured to this nonsense

non sequiturs


creating an atmosphere#

misplaced confidence in the inherent superiority of the US

Shapiro – purpose of lang is communication

is aim is miscommunication

blind with speed

verbal blitz krieg

war against iran. beat the drums

tax cuts for rich lead to higher wages

he is against higher wages. it will lead to rents going up

into facts. look at richer lands with minimum wage



tucker carlson

sargon of akkad


prolefeed. mass culture. porn crime and sport

demand more of the same. corporate media = war industry.

war as entertainment. gulf war#

adorno and horkheimer.

dialectic of mass deception. book. the culture industry – entertinament as mass deception

instrumentum regni. tacitus. mentioned by polybius

maniupate faith to help govt#

tune the puplit. machiavelli the prince said this.

undermines liberty – GP media circus