Friday, May 01, 2009

The Churchill Series - May 1, 2009

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

In November, 1922 Clementine Churchill traveled from London to Dundee, Scotland with her seven week old daughter, Mary. Clementine went to Dundee to campaign in Churchill’s place for his re-election to Parliament. He was in London, recovering from a recent appendectomy.

With the election scheduled for the 15th, Churchill was still in a weakened condition when his doctor agreed he could make the trip to Dundee and campaign in the election’s closing days.

Churchill’s biographer, Sir Martin Gilbert, tells us about what happened next:

On November 10 Churchill left London by sleeper for Dundee. On the following evening, at a meeting of his supporters, he was too ill to stand, and had to speak sitting on a special platform. …

[At one point Churchill stood to deliver] a message of good cheer to “suffering, struggling, baffled tortured humanity the wide world o’er.”

The effort of standing was extremely painful and left him exhausted. Two days later, before a hostile audience, he was booed, hissed and interrupted so frequently that he could not finish his speech.

“You will be at the bottom of the poll,” one heckler cried.

“If I am going to be at the bottom of the poll,” he answered, “why don’t you allow me my last dying kick?”

Two days later Dundee went to the polls. [Churchill was trounced and] out of Parliament for the first time in twenty-two years. …

As he left Dundee by the night train he was seen off by a crowd of [supporters. A local newspaper reported the next day that Churchill told them “he had always been a democrat, and had always believed in the right of the people to make their own institutions. He bowed to that now.”
Churchill’s remarks provide a fitting note on which to end this three-post series on the 1922 Dundee election.

Today's Derby Day in Kentucky. Do you have a favorite? I'm pulling for General Quarters. Here's why.

I hope you all have a nice weekend.