Friday, April 03, 2009

The Churchill Series - Apr. 3, 2009

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

This repost from July 2006 should let us end the workweek with a smile.

From the time he was a small boy into old age, horses were a part of Churchill’s life. He rode ponies before he was five. He served as a cavalry officer in India and Africa. He jockeyed in steeplechases and participated in the famous cavalry charge at Omdurman. He was a skilled polo player who played into his early fifties. After WWII Churchill developed a small but very successful racing stable. It's success earned him membership in The Jockey Club.

All that is a fine background to what I think is the most amusing line to come out of the 1945 General Election campaign in which Churchill led the Conservatives.

His daughter, Lady Mary Soames, who campaigned with her father during the election, tells us about it:

[The newspaper magnate] Max Beaverbrook was an extraordinary personality, arousing extremes of reaction in people. ...

[His friendship with Churchill] was much disapproved of by “top Tories”: in the 1945 election the tone of the Beaverbrook papers led to the quip the Max “wanted the jockey to win but not the horse.”
One of those who disapproved of Churchill’s friendship with Beaverbrook was Clementine who for years distrusted him. Lady Soames says that near the end of his life Clementine softened her attitude toward Beaverbrook, “succumbing gracefully to Max’s perennial charm and blandishments.”
Speaking for Themselves: The Personal Letters of Winston and Clementine Churchill. (Edited by Mary Soames) (p. 649)