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Stage 1 of the new tyranny: Anyone standing up for British values will be targeted.

World War II was the most destructive conflict the world had ever known, and its course was decided to a large extent by three men: FDR, Josef Stalin (aka 'Uncle Joe') and Sir Winston Churchill.

At the Yalta conference in February 1945, one of a series of conferences between 'the big three', Roosevelt's health was failing. When Roosevelt retired one evening, exhausted, he complained to an aide that the day's meetings had taken a long time, because Churchill gave such long speeches. The aide said that nevertheless, they were good speeches. Roosevelt replied, 'Winston doesn't make any other kind.' 1

Apparently the police in Winchester, England disagree with President Roosevelt, and indeed, with the rest of the world, for they have declared the words of Winston Churchill to be verboten. On April 26th, a Saturday, the Winchester police arrested a British citizen  for reading from one of Churchill's books.

Winston Churchill was an exceptionally talented wordsmith. He earned a living a a war correspondent before he entered politics, wrote a multi-volume history of World War II that is essential reading for anyone interested in that period, and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953 'for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values.'2

The highly acclaimed historians Sir Max Hastings and Laurence Rees often cite Churchill's history of the war in their own books.3 If it is reasonable for writers of that calibre to rely on Churchill's written work, then it is reasonable for British citizens with an interest in world history to do the same.

Note that Section 4a of the Public Order Act 1986 states that it is a recognised defence for anyone who has been accused on the basis of that legislation to show that their conduct was reasonable.4 It is difficult to see how anyone could argue that reading one of Winston Churchill's books is an unreasonable act. Perhaps, playing devil's advocate, it might be said that Winston Churchill was, after all, a mere mortal and could not possibly have been right all the time, so Churchill's opinion cannot be regarded as the final word on any given subject. As anyone familiar with John Stuart Mill's On Liberty will attest, this is not an argument  that supports having the Winchester police arrest someone for reading one of his books - quite the contrary!

The "bobbies" who arrested a British citizen for reading the words of Winston Churchill must face the fact that this applies to them too - and to their political masters. (Or are they not human after all?) As John Stuart Mill said, we are all fallible, and the only way to set yourself right when you are wrong is to hear opposing views, articulated by people who truly believe what they are saying.5 So if politicians or police officers in England today think that Islam is a religion of peace, and nothing else, ever, then they need to hear the views of Sir Winston Churchill, whether they want to or not.

Is it possible that Winston Churchill is right, and an entire crop of run-of-the-mill British politicians is completely wrong? Well it's happened before. And if it has happened once, then it can happen again.

"We must regard as deeply blameworthy before history the conduct not only of the British National and mainly Conservative Government, but of the Labour-Socialist and Liberal parties, both in and out of office, during this fatal period. Delight in smooth-sounding platitudes, refusal to face unpleasant facts, desire for popularity and electoral success irrespective of the vital interests of the State, genuine love of peace and pathetic belief that love can be its sole foundation, obvious lack of intellectual vigour in both leaders of the British Coalition Government, marked ignorance of Europe and aversion from its problems in Mr. Baldwin, the strong and violent pacifism which at this time dominated the Labour-Socialist Party, the utter devotion of the Liberals to sentiment apart from reality, the failure and worse than failure of Mr. Lloyd George, the erstwhile great war-time leader, to address himself to the continuity of his work, the whole supported by overwhelming majorities in both Houses of Parliament: all these constituted a picture of British fatuity and fecklessness which, though devoid of guile, was not devoid of guilt, and, though free from wickedness or evil design, played a definite part in the unleashing upon the world of horrors and miseries which, even so far as they have unfolded, are already beyond comparison in human experience." (Winston Churchill, The Gathering Storm, Mariner Books, p. 80)


Maybe Paul Weston can read that passage next time?



References:

1. Potts, Joanna; Berthon , Simon (2013-08-27). Warlords: An Extraordinary Re-creation of World War II Through the Eyes and Minds of Hitler, Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin (Kindle Locations 5339-5343). Thistle Publishing. Kindle Edition.

2. The Nobel Prize in Literature 1953, Nobelprize.org, http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1953/ (accessed 06/05/2014)

3. Hastings, Max (2009-09-03). Finest Years: Churchill as Warlord 1940–45 (Kindle Locations 11744-11746). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition;
Rees, Laurence (2012-04-24). World War Two: Behind Closed Doors: Stalin, the Nazis and the West (Kindle Locations 7142, 7172, 7237-7238). Ebury Publishing. Kindle Edition.

4. Public Order Act 1986, Section 4a, legislation.gov.uk, http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1986/64/section/4A (accessed 07/05/2014)

5. Mill, John Stuart (2006-08-31). On Liberty and the Subjection of Women (Penguin Classics) (p. 24). Penguin UK. Kindle Edition.


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