AFTER conducting a study of its properties in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests, the National Trust has included Winston Churchill’s family home in a dossier of sites linked to ‘colonialism and slavery’.
Chartwell in Kent is cited in relation to the wartime prime minister’s alleged role in the Bengal famine and his opposition to Indian independence.
Apparently, the Trust’s experts have found one-third of the protected sites in its care had ties to the ‘sometimes uncomfortable role that Britain, and Britons, have played in global history’.
These include the country piles of Rudyard Kipling and William Wordsworth, because of their ‘links to the empire’, and the estate in Powis, mid-Wales, of Clive of India, ‘who subjugated much of the subcontinent’.
However, the Trust has not escaped criticism. The historian Andrew Roberts has condemned its ignorance for mixing up slavery with colonising, considering that Britain’s mutually beneficial relationship with her colonies – to which Churchill was proud to dedicate his life – continued long after slavery ended in 1833, 41 years before Churchill was born.
Dr Warren Dockter, a lecturer in international politics at Aberystwyth University, has also come to the defence of the British statesman, pointing out that he ‘was not a genocidal madman as some people make out’. And that ‘he made repeated attempts to get help to Bengal’.
The same points about ill-informed and often malicious attacks on Churchill have been made on TCW many times.
As with these others it seems to have escaped the National Trust that the Bengal famine occurred in 1943, during the Second World War, when Churchill was trying to save the free world; when all efforts had to be devoted to defeating Germany and Japan, and in the end the Allied victory saved millions of lives.
Does the Trust really believe that if the Japanese – well known for their dedication to equality and diversity – had won in South East Asia, the people of India would have been better treated?
Thanks to the spread of Left-wing influence in our schools and colleges, under which the ‘crimes’ of democracies are emphasised while mass starvation and murder under communist regimes are quietly forgotten, it is understandable that there is such ignorance about our own history among younger people.
However, the National Trust makes history its business (literally) and yet the logical conclusion of its ‘racism’ obsession means – as someone remarked when BLM sympathisers daubed Churchill’s statue with slogans calling him a racist – that if Churchill was a racist, Hitler must have been an anti-racist.
Given the level of its historical ignorance, can we trust the Trust to manage anything, let alone our history?