Sunday, April 22, 2007

This Weekend I' Awe of Churchill

A weekend of not a lot to report. The only significant thing on my mind tonight, as I half-watch Match of the Day 2, is my admiration of Churchill’s rhetoric. The Guardian gave away a little booklet of his ‘We shall fight on the beaches’ speech yesterday and I enjoyed reading it today. It was delivered to parliament as the British army had escaped from Dunkirk, saved from destruction by a tiniest of margins. It was an utter rout and, if it weren’t for Churchill, I imagine that we would have cut some kind of deal with Hitler.

It’s hard to believe in this era of soundbites and governmental wriggling in a macroeconomic straitjacket that a politician could deliver a magnificent speech on which Britain's fate hinged. Can you imagine Blair saying something that moves you or makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck? I think that living in this era of pygmies makes Churchill’s achievement even more awe-inspiring. We can barely imagine standing on the edge such a national precipice or having a leader who could inspire us to leap, not knowing whether we would survive as a people.

This leads me to a further thought – if we faced the Nazis now, would we be willing to face the sacrifices and privations that Britons stoically accepted in the Second World War? Sadly, I think not – if Hitler offered us free satellite telly and HD TVs, the majority would welcome him with open arms.

1 comment:

Steve said...

Only if their service team and call-centre services were better than Virgin Media... ;-) And instead of Uma advertizing Sir Richard's company we'd have Marlene Dietrich.