Friday, November 07, 2008

The Churchill Series - Nov. 6, 2008

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

On the most important issues of the 20th century America and Britain stood together to the great benefit of mankind.

But there were some issues on which they disagrees. During much of the 1920s, for instance, the British government told it subjects to enjoy their pints and drams while the American government said, “Prohibition.”

As you must know or can surely guess Britain had no stronger supporter of his government’s position than Winston Churchill. And that was not just because he enjoyed champagne, whiskey and brandy on a daily basis.

As Chancellor of the Exchequer, Churchill was uniquely positioned to appreciate the importance of the tax revenues that flowed from the distilleries to His Majesty’s coffers.

Against that background on April 28, 1925 Churchill presented in the Commons his first budget as Chancellor. His presentation lasted more then two hours, in the middle of which he drew from his pocket a small flask and told the House:

"It is imperative that I should fortify the revenue and I shall now, with the permission of the Commons, proceed to do so."

There were cheers on all sides as he sipped.

But one member, Lady Nancy Astor, rose to object. She wanted Britons to pay more attention to what the Americans were doing about “liquor legislation.”

Churchill assured the House Britain had nothing to learn from the United States on that matter. Again the House cheered; and the budget was soon passed.
William Manchester, The Last Lion: Visions of Glory. (pgs. 788-789)