"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Monday, December 10, 2018

A new life of Churchill

A new life of Churchill - History Extra

"‘The Prime Minister would cry everything from pets to friends dying to., you know, he was very, very’

‘Weddings, funerals, bar mitzvahs, he would cry over the story of a noble dog struggling through the snow to its master. Yes, it was, he was - this is one of the mistakes that people make in seeing him as a late Victorian aristocrat.

Just because he was born in that period of the stiff upper lip doesn't mean that he was one himself. He was actually much more throwback to the Regency period, much more Romantic period where people didn't mind wearing their hearts on their sleeves.

In the great, eight January 1806, funeral of Lord Nelson - all eight admirals carrying his coffin were in tears and that's very much the kind of person Churchill was... At key moments of the war when he was cheered in the House of Commons he used to start crying... It's just not very British in those days...

‘His actions, or perhaps lack of during the Bengal Famine of 1943 is one of the things that people often talk about when criticizing Churchill. So, throughout, 3 million people died during this famine. How culpable was he for this and could he have done more, do you think?’

‘He was absolutely not culpable in the slightest. It's appalling, this myth that has been created about this. In October 1942, huge cyclone hit, hit eastern India and it destroyed the rice crop. And it also destroyed lots of the roads and railways to which, which were needed in order to, to feed the population, which was therefore going to starve as a result. Now, in the past, we were able to bring huge amounts of rice, this isn't the first time a cyclone had done this. In the past, in peacetime, we were able to bring in rice from Burma, and Thailand and Malaysia, and various other places to feed the populations, none of which we could have access to, because the Japanese wouldn’t let us.

We also had Indianised the administration from 1935 onwards. And so local governments which were Indian, dominated by Indians, were responsible for the famine relief, and as well as the British Raj. And the viceroy Lord Linlithgow didn't do a very good job, neither did Lord, Lord Wavell at the beginning either. And so there is an element of British culpability.

There's also Indian capability. Because they didn't, they refused to sell rice to the Bengal government. There were any number of things that did go wrong. But we actually had Japanese U boats in the Bay of Bengal. And the idea that, that huge amounts of grain could be, could be shipped in there was, was, frankly, strategically wrong.

Churchill wrote desperate letters to, to Franklin Roosevelt and others to try and get as much grain in there as possible. And the idea that he, that he was happy to see people starve is a complete libel on him.’…

‘It's very easy to forget that he was actually born 144 years ago, it would have been strange if he hadn't believed in white superiority, because, however obscene and ludicrous we see it to be today, and know it to be today because of science, back in those days, Charles Darwin was still alive when Churchill's at school and people assume the Darwinist theory of evolution, of species could be extended to races as well, and therefore, did believe that the white people were superior to to non whites.

And you have to see this, therefore, in its proper historical context. It would be like complaining about Oliver Cromwell and saying he wasn't in favor of socialized medicine.

What Churchill took from this concept of, of white superiority was the whites and certainly the British whites, at least, had a profound moral duty to take care of the natives under their, under the control of the British Raj. And this was something, a, a duty that he found - a paternalist duty of course - but one that he actually committed himself to for his lifetime. He believed in the British Empire, and it was not just because the Britons would do well out of the British Empire. He believed that everybody would’...

I think Churchill would have been a pretty good politician nowadays, I think he'd be great on Twitter, for example... he’s hilariously funny, and lots of his jokes could be fitted into 280 characters. He was, he was perfectly capable of brilliant repartee. He put down hecklers superbly, he was quick witted. And so actually, I think he’d have a massive, he'd have a far bigger Twitter following than Donald Trump, for example...

[On Brexit] His daughter Mary Soames said, don't try and play the game: What would Winston do? And so I'm not about to do that."
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