Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Churchill Series – Sept. 6, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Here’s another anecdote from Dominique Enright’s The Wicked Wit of Winston Churchill (O’Mara Books, 2001). As with any story which begins, “According to legend,” the usual cautions apply:

According to legend, during the late 1920s or early 1930s, at a time when Churchill was speaking out against those who argued that the League of Nations and the power of civilized negotiation would secure peace, and calling for greater expenditure on defense, he addressed the St. George Society.

His theme was how a contemporary St. George would save a maiden from the dragon.
“St George would be accompanied, not by a horse, but by a delegation. He would be armed not with a lance, but by a secretariat … he would propose a conference with the dragon – a Round Table conference – no doubt that would be more convenient for the dragons’s tail.

Then after making a trade agreement with the dragon, St. George would lend the dragon a lot of money.”
[Churchill] continued in this vein for a bit, until: “The [question of the] maiden’s release would be referred to the League of Nations of Geneva, and finally St. George would be photographed with the dragon.”
In fact, Churchill was for many years a supporter of the League of Nations. His principal disappointments were its failure to use international power to enforce its good intentions and its failure to face up to dictators bent on conquest. The two failures, of course, went hand-in-hand.


Anonymous said...

It's an actual speech. I listened to it the other day. It's available on CD -- right down to the tail.