Film review: The Darkest Hour. Director: Joe Wright

Set in May 1940, Darkest Hour is a powerful film. Scenes are filmed in montages of shadow, dust and rain. Sombre shades of black, taupe and grey, denoting the mood of the time, dominate the screen. But there are uplifting glimpses of light and colour so the audience can know that all is not lost.

Gary Oldman’s portrayal of Churchill is mesmerising, especially when delivering those magnificent speeches, but at times can spill over into caricature. Churchill is first seen in bed, smoking one of his ubiquitous cigars and drinking whisky while spluttering out dictation to his new and terrified secretary, hinting at his dazzling writing and oratorical skills to which the audience is treated later.

The narrative is character-driven rather than action-focused. Darkest Hour centres on the relationships between Churchill and his long-suffering wife Clementine (elegantly portrayed by Kristin Scott Thomas), his secretary Elizabeth Layton, his War Cabinet sparring partners Neville Chamberlain and Lord Halifax, and on the eventual warm mutual respect between him and George VI. These relationships are skilfully woven together and developed with depth. Through the many conversations and arguments between the characters the audience learns that Churchill was a humorous, irascible, unique, insecure and courageous man.

Churchill’s nervousness on becoming prime minister, despite its being a lifelong ambition, and his concerns about his ability to do the job make him endearing. He is very much aware that he is intensely disliked and distrusted by the King and most of his Tory colleagues. Despite his initial waverings he is adamant in his belief that Britain will eventually be victorious.

Decisions were difficult for Churchill. Plagued by self-doubt and depression, disturbed by his mistakes in the disastrous Gallipoli campaign, he finds redemption in the rescue of the British Army from Dunkirk.

The film shows how Chamberlain and Halifax, initially goaded by the King, plotted a coup against Churchill. History has been unkind to Chamberlain, but in this portrayal he is not only an appeaser but an old soldier desperate to save British lives. This multi-faceted and non-judgmental approach to character development is one of Darkest Hour’s strengths.

Chamberlain and Halifax’s desperate need to appease Hitler and hold peace talks is juxtaposed with Churchill’s resolve to fight the monstrosities of Hitler and the Nazis. All three men are haunted by the First World War and fear further loss of lives, yet their approach to conflict could not be more different. Here ‘peace talks’ becomes a euphemism for cowardly weakness, contrasted with Churchill’s courageous defiance to fight for victory.

Peace is an empty word when faced with bloodthirsty tyrants such as Hitler. Churchill was a fallible visionary and knew Hitler was a monster, not the rational politician that Chamberlain and Halifax misguidedly and frantically hoped he was.

The bleak parallels between then and now are infuriating and interesting. In 1940 the Labour Party believed in the capability of Britain to survive on its own and fight the Nazis. Their patriotism could not be more different from the twisted self-hatred that most current Labour MPs seem to have for their own country. Churchill is now an icon for modern Conservatives yet in 1940 the majority of Tories did not support him. He was propelled into his position mainly because the Opposition party, Labour, supported him.

Today a grouchy, chain-smoking, hard-drinking and ageing white man would be viewed as too politically incorrect to be prime minister and the tyrannical Hitler would have been lauded for his vegetarianism – a sad indictment of contemporary politics.

Churchill’s resolve to conquer the scourge of brutal terror is something that is lacking in today’s political leaders. We in the West are in danger of losing the freedoms so valued by Churchill and so heroically fought for by his generation. My father-in-law fought in the Norwegian and Italian campaigns. He and his wife did not see each other for two years. How disapproving they both would have been by the current cowardly appeasement of cultural Marxism and Islamism.

A small fault in the film is the almost constant music, used as an emotional tool to instruct the audience how to feel. This is a patronising annoyance especially as the film has its most compelling moments when all is silent except for stark dialogue. History enthusiasts might find some of the inaccuracies irritating but the film is so delightful that it should not matter. These add to, not detract from, the enjoyment. Darkest Hour is at its best when small physical gestures illuminate the emotions of each character – a clever subtlety and a highlight.

When the credits rolled on to the screen I was disappointed. I did not want the film to end. I wanted to carry on watching how Churchill, an isolated and eccentric man, skilfully captured the nation’s fighting spirit with his enthralling words and courageously steered Britain away from surrender to victory. How I yearn for a Churchill now.


    • If you posted that comment in reply to an article at the Guardian website you would probably get a lot of replies criticising the lack of diversity in the list (to lefties Thatcher was not a woman) and complaining that it is unrepresentative of “modern Britain.”

  1. There is a distinction buried here
    In ‘yearning for a Churchill’, it is supposed the author refers to qualities of leadership, and if so, which version of the man would that be? the peacetime or the (second) wartime?
    Magnificent as he was, it took a cataclysmic conflict to bring the best out of him during the period of the film.
    Perhaps better to qualify what we wish for just a little lest we forget its fellow travellers.

    • It’s known as “cometh the hour, cometh the man”. We may have that cataclysmic event and we will have to deal with it as our forbears have done – that is if we have not been socialist lobotomised!

    • Conservative MP’s, and cabinet members, have a distinctly Blairite tinge.

      Corbyn and momentum are getting rid of theirs.

      Corbyn may yet save us from th EU, which Theresa the Appeaser ,is busy selling out to.

      • Do you think Corbyn, who has hokey cokeyed around this issue since it arose, has that much influence in the Labour Party to convince the mass majority of its PLP to save us from the EU? I think you give him too much credit. The PLP want us to remain within the EU and there are many in that group who would take whatever madcap ideas the EU wants for itself.
        There are some who think that the Labour Party will eventually break up – the ‘moderates’ going one way, the far left, another. I don’t think so. The ‘moderates’ have already shown themselves to be cowards, naysaying Corbyn on his rise through its ranks and virtually throwing themselves at his feet now. They had the perfect opportunity to break away as Momentum was coming into its ascendancy and did nothing. If they couldn’t do it then, they have no chance now.

  2. The yearning for a latter-day Churchill is very similar to the question that I often ask myself: “In the event of a crisis such as WW3, where is our later-day Churchill who would be able to take control and convince the people of this country that we could be Victorious?”.
    I certainly can’t think of anyone.

    • Yes, but in 1939 Churchill was a washed-up politician considered discredited. Yet cometh the hour cometh the man. The situation brought out the best in him, so I wouldn’t be too discouraged that you can’t think of a latter-day Churchill. In testing times he or she just might pop up and surprise us.

      • Churchill had seen war coming for at least 10 years, which is why he was unpopular because he strongly opposed disarmament.
        My father was a strong supporter of Churchill, he went to Germany quite a few times in the thirties as he had a senior position in the English subsidiary of a major German company. He said that anyone who was prepared to open their eyes could see the preparations for war.
        Unfortunately, we don’t seem to have anyone who wants to look ahead and open their eyes to what possible enemies are up to.

        • I think you will find that he was mostly responsible for gaining us a referendum, which you would presumably blame him for, and against the practically unanimous might of the establishment. A truly herculean achievement.

          • Why would I “presumably blame him” for the referendum?

            That is his only claim to fame, and I’m not sure it’s a very strong one.I think internal dissent in the Tory Party at a time when they weren’t able to command a decent majority was a more important factor than Farage. Despite all his gains in votes he never actually managed to seriously challenge the Tory Party when it came to winning seats.

        • This man, with very little political influence, managed to convince the party in government to hold a referendum which he won, they lost.
          No, it’s not a joke.

          • I just disagree that he was all that influential. The Tory backbench was the main reason for the referendum pledge by Cameron. Despite gaining so many votes UKIP never really challenged the Tories for seats. Farage is given undue credit for Brexit by both his fans and his detractors. The real reason we got a referendum was due to growing discontent among the British people, which some perceptive MPs in the Tories and Labour were picking up on.

  3. Just a tiny criticism “Churchill is first seen in bed, smoking one of his ubiquitous cigars and drinking whisky” Brandy surely?

    • Yes, and in quantities sufficient to fell an ox I believe. I wonder how that would play with a modern politician? Bit like Abe Lincoln, who probably wouldn’t be telegenic enough to be nominated for the presidency today.

    • More likely, although something tells me Winnie was hardly a stranger to the product of Scottish distillation, however…

  4. Oh dear! Why not just wish for boring, slit eyed but capable administrators who can develop their countries as in Singapore and Korea. We have tons of imported and home grown non productive trash smothering us creating a morass a Churchill could not mitigate against .

  5. Winston Churchill is back in the news, from Gary Oldman’s career-defining portrayal of him, to Laura Pidcock’s assertion that she is already a more important and accomplished political figure than he ever was.

    In the 1930s, there were two British threats to constitutionality and, via Britain’s role in the world, to international stability. One came from an unreliable, opportunistic, highly affected and contrived, anti-Semitic, white supremacist, Eurofederalist demagogue who admired Mussolini, heaped praise on Hitler, had no need to work for a living, had an overwhelming sense of his own entitlement, profoundly hated democracy, and had a callous disregard for the lives of the lower orders and the lesser breeds. So did the other one.

    Far more than background united Churchill and Mosley. In Great Contemporaries, published in 1937, two years after he had called Hitler’s achievements “among the most remarkable in the whole history of the world”, Churchill wrote that: “Those who have met Herr Hitler face to face in public business or on social terms have found a highly competent, cool, well-informed functionary with an agreeable manner, a disarming smile, and few have been unaffected by a subtle personal magnetism.” That passage was not removed from the book’s reprint in 1941. In May 1940, Churchill had been all ready to give Gibraltar, Malta, Suez, Somaliland, Kenya and Uganda to Mussolini, whom he had called “the greatest living legislator”.

    All sorts of things about Churchill are simply ignored. Gallipoli. The miners. The Suffragettes. The refusal to bomb the railway lines to Auschwitz. His dishonest and self-serving memoirs. The truth about the catastrophic humiliation at Dunkirk. The other one, at Singapore, for which Australians and New Zealanders have never forgiven Britain. The Lancastria. The men left behind in France. Both the fact and the sheer scale of his 1945 defeat while the War in the Far East was still going on, when Labour won half of his newly divided seat, and an Independent did very well in the other half after Labour and the Liberals had disgracefully refused to field candidates against him. His deselection by his local Conservative Association just before he died.

    And not least, his carve-up of Eastern Europe with Stalin, so very reminiscent of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. He borrowed the phrase “the Iron Curtain” from Goebbels and used it to mean exactly what Goebbels had meant by it. Broken by the War, the Soviet Union had neither the means nor the will to invade Western Europe, still less to cross either the Atlantic or the Pacific.

    But the electorate was under no illusions while he was still alive. His image was booed and hissed when it appeared on newsreels. He led the Conservative Party into three General Elections, he lost the first two of them – the first, I say again, while the War was still going on – and he only returned to office on the third occasion with the support of the National Liberals, having lost the popular vote. In the course of that Parliament, he had to be removed by his own party. It comfortably won the subsequent General Election. And we have not forgotten the truth about him in the old mining areas. Nor have they in the places that he signed away to Stalin, including the country for whose freedom the War was fought. It was Churchill who coined the nickname “Uncle Joe” for Stalin.

    Churchill wanted to transport the Jews to Palestine, since he saw them as not really British. He presided over the famine in Bengal. His views on race shocked his younger colleagues even in the Conservative Party of the 1950s. The famous dipping of the cranes for his coffin occurred only because the London dockers, who despised him, had been paid to do it. The London dockers, who had been as heavily Blitzed as anyone, anywhere.

    As for Churchill’s having “saved Britain”, it will be interesting to see whether anyone could continue to hold a serious academic or journalistic position in 10 years’ time and come out with that one. More than 50 years after having said goodbye to him, we are finally saying goodbye to the cult of him. That cult seems to have begun only once he was dead, or at least so old as to have been politically as good as dead. It never translated into votes.

    • He didn’t “preside” over the famine in Bengal. That smear stems from a 2009 book accusing Churchill of irresponsibility over Bengal that amounted to a war crime, repeated by scores of (left wing) sources since. As Churchill once remarked, “I should think it was hardly possible to state the opposite of the truth with more precision.”

      The truth— as documented by Sir Martin Gilbert and Hillsdale College—is that Churchill did everything he could in the midst of a world war to save the Bengalis; and that without him the famine would have been worse. On receiving news of the spreading food shortage Churchill spoke to his Cabinet, saying he would welcome a statement by Lord Wavell, his new Viceroy of India, that his duty “was to make sure that India was a safe base for the great operations against Japan which were now pending, and that the war was pressed to a successful conclusion, and that famine and food difficulties were dealt with.”

      He wrote to Wavell:- “Peace, order and a high condition of war-time well-being among the masses of the people constitute the essential foundation of the forward thrust against the enemy….The hard pressures of world-war have for the first time for many years brought conditions of scarcity, verging in some localities into actual famine, upon India. Every effort must be made, even by the diversion of shipping urgently needed for war purposes, to deal with local shortages….Every effort should be made by you to assuage the strife between the Hindus and Moslems and to induce them to work together for the common good.”

      The shortages in India were “partly political in character, caused by Marwari supporters of Congress (Gandhi’s party) in an effort to embarrass the existing Muslim Government of Bengal.” Another cause, they added, was corrupt local officials: “The Government of India were unduly tender with speculators and hoarders.” But the modern left miss no opportunity to lie about British history in order to put the British government in the most negative light possible. We have seen the same party political scheming and dissembling with Grenfell Tower. More here on the Indian famine which you will no doubt attempt to refute in your inimitably dogmatic style:-

      Before you run your mouth off with more cherry picked left wing tripe
      you should acquaint yourself with all the demands of that war,
      especially on shipping, and how they combined in a complex logistical
      challenge that involved far more than promising money you don’t have to bribe millenial voters or popping in and out of the Argentine embassy. Were mistakes and grave errors made? Of course, when millions were fighting and dying across the globe with a logistical effort that would make the present cabinet’s eyes water. The current crop of politicians couldn’t even get intervention in Libya right.

      But of course the “cult” of him will die with those who were alive during the war and those who sat at the knees of those who were alive, and the left wing revisionism overpowering academia continues and prevails. And simplistic, superficial, emotional sound bites and sloganism replace objective and dispassionate study.

      The left were in charge in East Germany too. So victory and power doesn’t mean everything, no matter how much you and the rest of the leftist gangs crow about it. It certainly doesn’t mean any kind of truth will prevail because the left habitually deal in and depend on the lie, frequently coerced by their state machinery. You lot will be detested in turn as much as you detest Churchill and Thatcher, however many dissidents you bang up for “hate crimes”. There are two sides to every coin, whatever you and the rest of your gangs might like to believe. Honecker (and every other left wing dictator) believed he had moral right on his side too.

        • Ridiculous racial diversion. I assume nothing. The matter is also hotly debated in India on two inter-related aspects – what caused the famine and the inadequacy or otherwise of the government response – and always has been. But the anti-Churchill smear gained more currency with that publication and has been stoked by the revisionist left wing gangs which Blair empowered. You repeated the lie and never made any point about nothing existing until white men published books. Plenty of books on the subject have been published in India – you should read some of them rather than immersing yourself in Labour central party political propaganda script.

          The Government of India Act 1935 had removed most of the Government of India’s authority over the Provinces, so they had to rely on negotiation. When the Government of India decreed that there should be free trade in grain, elected politicians, civil servants, local government officers and police in the Provinces obstructed the movement of grain to famine areas. Contemporary commentators believed that there was substantial hoarding by those consumers who could afford it, by firms and by those farmers who produced surpluses. This started in July 1941 when war with Japan was inevitable, increased when Burma was attacked in December 1941 and when Ceylon and Calcutta were bombed in 1942. An official ‘Food Drive’ in Bengal did not result in the release of hoarded stocks.

          • Tripe. I never wrote “No one said this before 2009”. That is yet another lie. My comment was specific to your smear that Churchill “presided” over the famine but you have, as usual and as every leftist does, twisted it.

            Shame on you.

      • Well said, indeed. So very much of everything in WWII (all wars really) depended on shipping. We were launching more than 2 ships a week, while we between us were losing about 1.5 for most of that period. Britain was lucky it did not starve, itself. It was all our navies and merchant marines could manage to keep it fed. Then there was Russia, and the Murmansk run.

        As for bombing the railways, USAAF and RAF expended just about as many bombs trying to cut off Normandy in 1944 as we did in 1943 trying to destroy German industry. The tools for the job simply did not exist. And how is it better to be killed in an Allied air raid anyway?

        They were men, nothing more, nothing less. And their best, which was exceptionally good, was barely enough, and I am thankful such men lived for they were surely needed.

        A suggestion, after watching “The Darkest Hour” quickly, preferably the same night watch, “Dunkirk” it is the other side of a great British story, a saga that will be told down the generations. I say Churchill amply lived up to his distinguished ancestor, John, 1st Duke of Marlborough.

    • OK, I hear everything you say. Churchill was clearly an utter train wreck of an individual and a politician, one of the worst people who ever lived, a walking disaster area who destroyed everything he touched from beginning to end. But what bothers me is how come such a useless charlatan got to be prime minister twice, over a total of ten years, somehow managed to stay in charge of the country while it successfully beat off one of the most ruthless and efficient war machines ever seen on this planet, and developed a cult following that insisted on seeing him as a hero?

      Did he just get extraordinarily lucky, over and over again? Or was it that the idiots who were around at that time were just too stupid to see the hopeless, clueless rogue for what he was? This was all before my time, so I have no personal knowledge to fall back on. I guess it was before yours too, but you clearly have far more insight into these matters than the rest of us, and obviously a darned sight more than his contemporaries too. So I would be grateful for your further enlightenment of our darkness.

  6. Eh, I’m not so keen on the cult of Winston Churchill/WW2 it all continues this prevailing myth that we’re a world power when we aren’t (we’ve barely even got a navy anymore). Churchill was a man like everyone else, some good parts but a flawed human being (as we all are) who made terrible mistakes. Moreover, the continued hero worship of him means every PM since is searching for a Hitler to fight and hence we move from stupid war to stupid war which we can’t afford and which do nothing to help British interests. Time for a national reassessment of Churchill and the war period that is done without rose tinted spectacles.

    • ” . . . every PM since is searching for a Hitler to fight”

      Hyperbole. Thatcher reacted to Argentine aggression and Blair fancied himself as a bringer of regime change. Plenty of other post war PMs who never countenanced war but sometimes had it thrust upon them by circumstances.

      • You’re forgetting the Greek Civil War, Korea, Suez, Oman, Gulf War I, Bosnia, Libya, Syria etc… If there’s a war happening, then you can guarantee a British PM wants a part of it.

        We’ve basically been at war pretty much continuously since 1939. Now you could argue that the Cold War (WW2 pt2 I prefer to call it) was necessary as we really were fighting an evil empire, but ever since that war ended there is absolutely no reason we should have been at war with anyone yet we’re constantly drawn into various things by idiot rulers trying ape Churchill.

        As Georgi Arbatov said to a group of westerners in the last days of the Soviet Union: “We are going to do a terrible thing to you–we are going to deprive you of an enemy.”

        • I’m not forgetting anything, thanks. The Greek Civil War arose after the German defeat and involved British occupying forces almost by default but its origins lay in Greek political strife and had nothing to do with anyone “searching for Hitler to fight”. Korea was a reactive war against North Korean aggression and the response was determined by the UN Security Council with Resolution 83. The British response involved the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) which was a joint Australian, British, Indian and New Zealand military force in occupied Japan. Suez was a reaction to the seizure of the Suez canal which at the time was seen as vital to British imperial interests. Oman also arose from internal conflict. The first Gulf War was in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, which brings us to Blair.

          • Sure they all have an apparent pretense (as does every war) but were any of them actually to defend British interests or in any way pragmatic? Remember that we’ve basically been a debtor nation since 1916, you have to wonder why we get into all these scraps in the far parts of the world that we cannot afford. They were all, in my view, foolish crusades we should never have been involved in.

            You’re free to disagree of course, but I feel the cult of WW2 is not doing this country any favours at all. It has replaced the CofE as the national religion in a way as Peter Hitchens has often pointed out.

          • They were hardly “crusades” as you call them. The alternative would be to roll over in the face of any aggression or events against the interests of the country. But you have shifted your argument from “searching for a Hitler to fight” to not getting involved in military action abroad regardless of circumstance. Two different things.

          • As I say, we were no longer a world power so actually we probably should have rolled over in some cases and been more sensible about our engagements. This was aptly demonstrated during Suez when the US told us to back off and we had to run away with our tail between our legs, causing immense embarrassment to us.

            Suez was absolutely an example of looking for a Hitler to fight, since the canal was of declining importance at that time, particularly to the UK as we had no empire to make much use of it anymore. It happened because Eden was weak and wanted to make himself look strong. Blair’s Iraq was was to my mind also a fake Hitler situation, and Libya too.

            It’s really time the national psyche faced up to the fact that we didn’t win WW2, we just didn’t lose it, and we’re not a world power and should stop acting like one as we cannot afford it (and even if we could we don’t actually have much of a navy left).

          • Actually Britain was paramount in winning the Second World War and that happened during 1940 and 1941 before either the USA or USSR was involved. Had Britain fallen then the outcome might have been very different. Do you have any idea how close Germany came to developing nuclear weapons and that it was only the survival of Britain as a refuge for and supporter of European resistance movements which stopped that from happening? I’d call that a win.

            You are entitled to your opinion on the matter but it is without merit.

          • Very true. We couldn’t have forced our way onto the plains of Europe, nor could we (or likely would we have tried) have sustained Stalin’s Russia without Britain. You did not have the forces available to either of us, but you held the linchpin, even while waiting for us both. Couldn’t have been won without Britain.

          • Damn right Colonel Mustard. If Britain had capitulated in 1940-1, then Airstrip One would not have been available for the USAF to launch its bombers against Axis targets for the remainder of the war. Airpower was decisive in WW2 and our war-winning weapon was the fact that Britain was a defended airfield only 400 miles from Germany. The Luftwaffe was slowly ground down until during 1944-45 the allies were effectively unchallenged in the air, enjoying complete air superiority. Only an idiot would believe that either the Western Front or the Eastern Front would have yielded decisive allied victories without allied air superiority.

          • It was the culmination of a process that started with the First World War, and confirmed America as the second great power. After 1941, it was all about America and the Soviet Union.

          • I find the conceit that ‘we’d be speaking German if not for X or Y’ a very interesting one.

          • I reply to those people and point out the number of Americanisms that are now used in our language and the shear amount of American TV we now watch in this country. This gives us an indicator of who won…

          • The Channel didn’t win the war. I suggest you stick with continuing your autobiography instead of engaging in matters about which you are profoundly ignorant and insulting every Allied serviceman and woman who fought and died so that irritant twerps like you have the freedom to post your apparently endless supply of egotistical crap.

          • The Channel was, as always, neutral. The British use of the Channel stopped Britain from losing as it has since 1066, except for a couple of exceptions like 1689.

            As Lord St. Vincent said on a similar occasion, “I do not say the French cannot come, only that they cannot come by sea.” Says it all.

          • The sea was a major factor. It’s in no way belittling the great sacrifice of the soldiers and civilians in both world wars to point out that they were badly conducted and that we didn’t win the war. That failure is the government’s, not theirs.

          • It’s also worth pointing out that you’re going to end up with better soldiers if you’re a martial society than a democracy. Nazi Germany was designed to go to war and produce warriors, which it did, the so-called ‘political soldier’ which saw its ultimate expression in the undeniably brave swine of the SS.’ By contrast, the UK was more concerned with trade and the business of living its life. That’s not a flaw.

          • Guevara was not making that point and was belittling the sacrifice by suggesting that the Channel “won” the war.

          • I said we didn’t win, not we didn’t take part. We went into the war to keep our empire, but by 1940 it was clear we had lost it. By the end of it we were not longer a great power, the USA and USSR were the winners of the war. We then spent more than half a century in debt to the Marshall Plan and lost many of our gallant young men and fathers, and many more came back cynical and disillusioned. Hardly seems like winning.

          • My granddad (D-Day, Rhine crossing) came back as a convinced Labour voter with a lasting admiration of the Germans.

          • Aye, I think the world wars had a major part to play in the slow-motion death of the Tory Party. WW1 almost certainly started the downfall of the CofE.

          • Not untrue, but then if you had used the Marshall plan money as France and Germany did – to modernize your industry, which is where the gold to build the Empire came from in the first place, you would be by far the largest economy in Europe. But your government squandered it on foolish Sterling area schemes, and welfare programs.

            Nobody to blame for that but the Labour governments of the time. You made the bed, guess who gets to lie in it.

          • Well I hadn’t been born so I didn’t make the bed, but yes the money was squandered, though we did also waste a lot of money following the US around the world getting involved in (and losing) stupid proxy wars, which the Germans didn’t do. The French economy is almost as much of basket case as our own BTW.

          • Worse, although maybe not in the current account. But most of their innovative, useful business types are in London, or California. Their outlook is not good, yours is. That is also true, although not as strikingly for the Germans as well.

          • The ‘welfare programs’ (sic) were profoundly helpful to a populace who had been brought to bloodied knees by the war.

          • I didn’t say they had it easy, but then why should they have? But they rebuilt their country and did it well, while Labour squandered our money. In a truly just world we would have spent it on our own industry, which was quite worn out as well.

          • The country was trying to manage an empire when it was utterly broke. I think you’ll find that Germany didn’t, for obvious reasons, have that problem.

          • All war costs a great deal of blood and treasure. What matters is not squandering the peace.

            If you think we went to war to keep our Empire you must be a product of Blair’s “education, education, education”. We went to war for Europe.

          • Don’t be so ridiculous. There was serious thought of simply surrendering in 1940. The idea we were in it for some noble purpose is propaganda. If we’d wanted to save Europe we’d have got involved much sooner. Even on such terms we failed since Stalin owned most of Europe afterwards.

          • You are the one being ridiculous. We were already at war and facing invasion when the appeasement gang lost their bottle and began seeking surrender.

            We were not prepared enough to get involved earlier. We were hardly prepared enough when we did.

            What happened afterwards is irrelevant to why we went to war in the first place which was the result of treaty obligations and undertakings. From the comfort of your armchair you are seriously underestimating what Nazi Germany was all about.

          • Not underestimating Nazi Germany at all, we absolutely had to go to war I agree, but none of this suggests that we “won the war”. The official reason for joining the war was that we were defending Poland… well we ended up agreeing that Stalin could have it, so fat lot of good we did the people of Poland, saving them from one tyrant to hand them to another.

          • You keep dodging but not making any sense. No-one know in 1939 what was going to happen in 1942, let alone 1945. Stalin was Hitler’s chum until then. Hindsight is a wonderful basis for criticism but makes for a lazy historian.

            The outcome of the war was ultimately disappointing, not least because the USA held us to our war debt until 2006 whilst that pariah state Germany was rehabilitated and allowed to grow to dominance once again.

          • I’m not dodging anything, I said we didn’t win the war, we just didn’t lose it, which you disagreed with by pointing out that we took part in the war, which was never in doubt.

            Typically winning wars gives you more territory, more money… more something. But we ended it losing territory, with no money and occupied by the USA. Not a win of any sort.

          • No, I countered that in my view we did win. You then started wittering about the reason for going to war.

            Winning that war meant not losing it. If we had really lost it we would have been occupied by the Nazis not “occupied” by the USA.

          • So you’ve created your own personal condition by why you think we won? Okay but it’s the blinkered mainstream view of the War and totally stupid in my opinion. Currently at schools we teach kids our mostly peaceful and prosperous empire was bad but the disastrous war that basically destroyed our country was good, no wonder things are so screwed up.

    • Whatever you say we have always punched well above our weight and have much to be proud of. You seem to think we are on a par with Belgium.

      • Punched above our weight how? Not militarily really. We once had a great navy but not so much by 1939 and certainly not today. We were never much of a military power, not recently for sure, we just happen to be protected by the sea and our empire expanded because we didn’t really face much resistance in the places we colonised.

        • Pity you can only measure by might. Although N Korea is developing its military might, this doesn’t make it an important country now or even in the future..

          • Which I why I started with a question which you didn’t answer. Since the matter under discussion is military capability then I’m not sure what being better at literature or music or something else has to do with it.

          • Quite, it brings nothing to the table but unalderated power, that’s the least important part. Long ago Sir Walter Raleigh defined your role, and then ours:

            “Whoever commands the sea, commands the trade; whosoever commands the trade of the world commands the riches of the world, and consequently the world itself.”

            In both cases, we brought, and bring, much more to the table than raw power, although we have that as well, but it is a byproduct of our societies, not our only priority. There’s a reason why we have worked together since Monroe and Canning.

          • It differentiates us from the typical European mindset which believes we do what the government tells or specifically permits us to do.
            Hence fascism & National Socialism – right back to Papal Edicts.
            It is no coincidence that English is the language of international science.

          • Indeed. It is often said that the difference between the Anglo-Saxons and the Europeans is that we can do anything not prohibited while they can do anything that is specifically permitted. It’s a world changing difference.

    • You make some sobering points about the “phoney victory”. I strongly think it started with British involvement in the first World War which could have been avoided. Thus Britain wouldn’t have lost its best people of all classes to become poppy fertiliser across the Channel, and be in debt to the USA.

      • Yes, in 1870 the French declared and lost a war against Germany. By 1871 the Germans had departed and life carried on. No doubt the same would have happened in 1914/15 if Churchill had not insisted on pushing Asquith and Grey into declaring war on Germany.
        The similarity of Churchill with Blair taking us into Iraq is more apt and painful.

  7. ‘Decisions were difficult for Churchill. Plagued by self-doubt and depression …’

    “The fundamental cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt” – Bertrand Russell

  8. Yes I too yearn for a Churchill. But I’d settle for a large minority of MPs, of both historic parties, that were patriots, loved their fellow countrymen, its history and culture, and who would truly represent the interests of those that elected them. Instead we get traitorous, weak, globalists well soaked in the destructiveness of Cultural Marxism.

    • Too damn right David. If our elected MPs were actually patriots – ‘Queen and Country First’ – then this country would never have been allowed to decay and to deteriorate to the extent that it has.

      • Yes indeed. My priorities are ‘Faith, Flag and Family’. There is even a section of the so called Conservative Party that uses those exact words as its motto, but they simply don’t do and support what they claim to believe in – they are impostors, not conservatives at all !

        • Careful with that because even to me it’s getting far too close to Kinder, Küche, Kirche, not the usual suspects, but Kaiser Bill this time.

          • Yes care is needed I agree.
            But my understanding is viewed through the lens of Burke’s conservatism. Burke is still the definitive conservative political philosopher and practitioner.

  9. What Britain needs is not a war minister. Britain and pertinently the Conservative Party desperately need its own version of Jeremy Corbyn – ie a leader who will reinstate the central ideology of their respective party.

    • I think the Conservative brand is too tarnished by the people who have run it into the ground and needs to start again, but yes you’re broadly right, small c conservatives need their own Corbyn.

  10. There’s no point longing for another Churchill.

    Even Churchill isn’t Churchill. He’s the product of sixty years of myth-making, some hatchet jobs and some retaliatory myth-making which adds up to a mass of misconceptions piling upon each other until the truth is hopelessly obscured. In amongst the accounts that amount to a hagiography, there are stories about him being jeered or receiving a frosty reception from people who disliked him or remembered that he had been stridently opposed to things they supported. To suppose otherwise is to patronise people and to suppose that they had a two dimensional political understanding.

    The problem is that each British PM has to engage with the Thatcher myth and the Churchill myth, which has bizarre and unintended consequences, not least when Blair decided he wanted a piece of the action by sending troops into any number of ludicrous situations, aching for some of that war leader charisma. People try to emulate myths, and other people’s children end up dead or, in the case of Brexit, financially impoverished. There’s no point asking ‘what would X do’ as the chances are that X is dead and died under much different political circumstances. The lesson, if any exists, is that you have to be your own person. Time will tell if anyone is prepared to learn it, or we’re trapped in a giant loop.

    • Don’t you dare let Blair off the hook by suggesting that his folly in Iraq was nothing more than Blair’s naive wish to fill Churchill’s shoes. What nonsense! For starters, Blair despised Churchill (because Blair is ideologically opposed to everything in which Churchill believed). Secondly, Blair made his own destiny. The Chiefs-of-Staff, the MOD and the Foreign Office advised Blair in no uncertain terms that Iraq would be sheer folly. Blair ignored them and went ahead anyway. Blair has no one else to blame but himself and his leftist Messiah complex.

        • Blair knew that Iraq would not be a ‘conventional’ conflict like the Falklands. He knew because people who know the Middle East were advising him. Yes, he did pick the wrong war to back, but he did so deliberately and with both eyes open. He is entirely to blame for everything that followed. If there were any justice, he would have been hung, drawn and quartered at Tyburn Tree. A fate which Blair would probably embrace because it would appeal to his Messiah complex.

          • You’d do that to Blair. I might be amused if someone suggested doing it to Farage. And Tyburn Tree is long gone, by the way. You’d get run over.

          • No small irony that Blair abolished capital punishment for treason, which was clearly and unambiguously listed on our penal code in 1997.

          • You are such a time-waster. Do you actually care about any of these issues or do you lurk on this forum with the sole intention of winding up conservatives?
            Why don’t you sod off to a Leftist forum? You would feel a lot more comfortable talking to cucked feminists about how much you enjoy betraying this country.

          • Leftist forums are uninteresting. Plus, I’ve decided to spend a year reading what conservatives do to see if it changes my outlook.

          • I don’t normally agree with Barry but I think he’s right in his first post, the dual myths of Thatcher and Churchill do us no favours. Also, war fever is not conservative to my mind. We should stay out of the affairs of other countries and not get involved in wars we cannot afford and which don’t have anything to do with us.

          • I’ll agree with that. Interventionism needs to die a death. I had contact with the Army at the time and, later, with people who have PTSD, and my hatred for Blair and for people who want to involve the country in pointless foreign wars is profound.

          • I fully agree that we ought to stay out of the internal affairs of other countries.
            I fully agree that we ought to avoid wars that our not our concern.

            Where I disagree with Bazza is his silly assertion that every post WW2 PM is a naive political operator, somehow dazzled or overwhelmed by the legacy of Churchill (and later Thatcher). If there is one thing that is unquestionably true about our post WW2 PMs, it is that all of them have been wily and cunning politicians. Great swathes of our population may have been in thrall to the myth of Churchill, but our PMs have never been so bewitched.

          • I’m not so sure, I no longer put any faith politicians, they always disappoint you. I’ll stick with keeping faith in Christ and family instead and assume all politicians are out to trick me.

        • Even Thatcher’s success in the Falklands is nothing much to do with her. Our navy was in a terrible run down state, it was only the tactical skill of our naval leaders that won it, but we could have very easily have lost it. With the current abysmal state of things I wouldn’t be surprised if the Argentinians go after it again soon, and this time we won’t be able to defend it.

    • Government is now a perpetual motion engine, the faces and names that front it a largely irrelevant in the long run. Anyone who wishes to implement change to the existing order will be swiftly dealt with so career politicians just go along feathering their own nests doing as they are allowed.

  11. We have another Churchill . His name is Nigel Farage but unfortunately he is not even an MP. Thanks in no small part to the fact that the Tory party seem to hate him.

  12. Our modern state education system may not consciously be designed to prevent the emergence of another Churchill, but that is most certainly its effect.

  13. Today a grouchy, chain-smoking, hard-drinking and ageing white man would
    be viewed as too politically incorrect to be prime minister and the
    tyrannical Hitler would have been lauded for his vegetarianism – a sad
    indictment of contemporary politics.

    “the tyrannical Hitler would have been lauded for his vegetarianism”

    Aye and muse on; an IRA terrorist loving Communist is heralded as some sort of second coming.

    A bloke who couldn’t believe his victory skipped and danced on the news, just like the child he undoubtedly is, with a mental age of not more than 14 or so, allowed to take this country to war and all based on a packet of very malignant design, an WMD emboider of lies and maybes.

    A political machine in the west, which named a Statist lefty as a ‘far right winger’ in France. Looking a bit further back, the western luvvie meejah, hailed the serial philanderer and crooked snake oil pedlar Clinton as a ‘great president’ and now questions another because he doesn’t follow their rules and refuses to kowtow to the ingnorant pusillanity of the cult of cultural Marxism. All beyond reason, they do down, just like they did with Reagan, namely Donald J. Trump – who is no angel but by God he is a wholesome American pie loving paragon when compared with that wierd Arkansaw hick arch embezzler and friend of all the worst in America and not forgetting the Marxist agitator and deconstruction merchant – obama the Chicago Kid steeped in the fraudulent circus of peculation and political favour, the ways of the Daley’s.

    In all of their miserable existences, the total span and combined ‘experience’ of clinton, bush dubbya, bliar, broon, camoron, mrs maybe, micron, mutti, obama and hellary – all of their sparse talents combined – and beside them, Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill would still tower above them, striding tall into the heavens, a legend of perpetual renown. Churchill, beset with self doubt, flawed man he was, he knew it well but also recognized that, was able to summon forth ……………..which is hidden by men and will be needed soon or else, doom:

    “In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man

    As modest stillness and humility:

    But when the blast of war blows in our ears,

    Then imitate the action of the tiger;

    Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,

    Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;

    Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;”

    Bill of Avon.

    Winston Churchill knew how, he didn’t want it but he knew how.

  14. Not again! Yet another post gone into pending which won’t be released until I kick up an almighty stink. The automatic censorship on this site is crazy, coupled with a lack of oversight it’s probably worse that posting on the BBC or the Guardian !

  15. In 1940 the Labour Party DID NOT believe in the capability of Britain to survive on its own and fight the Nazis.
    In April 1939 the Labour Party voted against the bill to begin conscription. It was obeying orders from Moscow which prevailed until July 1941 when the Germans attacked Russia.
    The Labour Party has always been suspicious of and uncomfortable with Britain as a nation state, seeking to ignore any feelings the ordinary voter may have towards their home.

  16. If one of the twelve Liberal Democrat MPs crosses the floor of the House of Commons and ends up elected leader of the Conservative party the author of this article may get her wish.

  17. Did we win?
    It was a strange victory if we did.
    Maybe we should have had some of our remainer fellows back then who would have gladly surrendered to Hitler to preserve the countries GDP because that is all that really matters.

  18. ” …lauded for his vegetarianism” – and don’t forget that there was just one national leader, in the 1930s, who had the cranky idea that smoking was bad for your health, and who promoted this idea among his generals, etc. Oh, and he was a dog lover, and anti-Semitic. Obviously AH would go down a storm today – very pc.

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