Friday, February 15, 2008

The Churchill Series - Feb. 15, 2008

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

There are many quotes falsely attributed to Churchill.

Here's one of them: "If you're not a liberal by 20 you have no heart; and if your not a conservative by 40 you have no brain."

According to The Churchill Centre, which researched the quote:

There is no record of anyone hearing Churchill say this.

Paul Addison of Edinburgh University makes this comment: "Surely Churchill can't have used the words attributed to him. He'd been a Conservative at 15 and a Liberal at 35! And would he have talked so disrespectfully of Clemmie, who is generally thought to have been a lifelong Liberal?"
In that short paragraph, Addison impresses as an informed, sensitive, and persuasive scholar.

His point about Clementine may surprise some because publicly she always stood with Churchill on the issues. But her private correspondence, including letters she and Winston exchanged, shows her often making the liberal case.

On the question of Clementine Churchill's liberalism, I find Sir Martin Gilbert's magisterial, multi-volume biography of Winston Churchill persuasive.

We're starting to see the first signs of Spring here in central Carolina, with budding on the trees and the earliest blooming daffodils showing color.

I hope wherever you are, there's some beauty in your weekend.