(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)
Readers Note: During the holidays I'm posting some "Classic Oldies." The following post was first published on Nov. 4, 2005 and appears here in slightly modified form.
By May, 1936. Churchill's attacks on the government's appeasement of Nazi Germany had wearied and angered Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin.
He wanted to publicly denounce him but Baldwin knew he had to be careful.
Churchill, though out of government and with but a small public following, was a fierce debater.
A Baldwin attack would invite a Churchill counterattack that could leave Baldwin the loser.
So Baldwin remained publicly circumspect. But he poured out his upset in a letter to a confidant, Dr. Tom Jones. Here's part of it:
"One of these days I'll make a few casual remarks about Winston. Not a speech - no oratory - just a few words in passing. I've got it all ready.________________________________________
I am going to say that when Winston was born lots of fairies swooped down on his cradle [with] gifts - imagination, eloquence, industry, ability, and then came a fairy who said 'No one person has a right to so many gifts', picked him up and gave him such a shake and twist that with all these gifts he was denied judgment and wisdom.
And that is why while we delight to listen to him in this House we do not take his advice."
Cited in Roy Jenkins, Churchill: A Biography (p. 419).