(This post may alarm and offend some readers. That is not my intention; but the itch to say it has been present for many months, and I don't feel like scratching it any more)
Churchill re-assumed power in 1951
under the slogan 'Set The People Free'. It would have been helpful if he could have clarified which particular set of people he was talking about.
He wasn't talking about people like me, or perhaps even you, but people like himself. His manifesto said that '“Our finances have been brought into grave disorder. No British Government in peace time has ever had the power or spent the money in the vast extent and reckless manner of our current rulers... no community living in a world of competing nations can possibly afford such frantic extravagances...' and that '(t)he production of new wealth must precede common wealth, otherwise there will only be common poverty...' All that such quotations seem to prove is that the Tories have been spouting the same garbage for longer than anyone thought; however there is value to be gained from analysing the 'values' they consistently adhere to.
The 'frantic extravagances' he referred to were the appurtenances of the welfare state, including the National Health Service. To his eyes, it was better for the nation to be strong than for the old, the sick and the weak to receive medical attention. This is indicative of Churchill's violent and unpleasant nature; in her book 'A Very British Strike', Anne Perkins records his enthusiasm for the doing of violence to non-violent strikers. He is hailed as a war hero; objective analysis of his war record shows that the restraint that the generals were able to place on him saved us from disaster.
During the fighting of wars, it is often good to find out what people are actually fighting for. The whole 'King and Country' thing is a load of tommyrot. I have recently rediscovered a photocopy of a Mass card given to my grandmother in 1917, after my great-grandfather was posted missing in France, entitled 'The Great Sacrifice'. It depicts Christ Crucified over a fallen Tommy, inviting him into Heaven, and carries two phrases from Scripture - 'Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends', and 'I am the Resurrection and the Life'. Grandmother was aged 10 at the time. While the thoughts it expresses, the comfort of wives and children, are universal and timeless, the distance of history has removed none of its visual impact. Yet one cannot help but think that Great-Grandfather didn't really go to war for King and Country - he probably went because he was ordered to do so by people very much more powerful than himself (he survived).
While admirably orthodox, the image lacks one thing to give it completeness; given that nearly a century of scholarship and social progress has passed since its printing, it's perhaps unfair to think it should. To make it complete, it really needs some indication as to why Tommy is lying in a ditch with Our Lord inviting him to his eternal reward; such as proclaiming that his death was the result of a bitchfight between two sets of cousins named Hohenzollern and Saxe-Coburg-Gotha that was nothing to do with him and in which he possibly had not the slightest interest.
After the war, of course, it was back to business as usual; in the words of that most disgusting of Establishment shitheads Sir Philip Gibbs, 'Back to cheap labour. Back to discipline'
. Gibbs, of course, considered himself to be part of the caste which disciplines, not that which is disciplined; as did Churchill. Now, they couldn't get away with business as usual after the Second War; coming as it did at the end of a Great Depression caused by having gone back to business as usual, that war had involved the home front too closely, death from the air bringing warfare into the parlour, for business as usual to be an option at that point. Trying to determine the role of mass bombing in shaping social attitudes would be an interesting study; after all, once the air raid siren goes off everyone becomes a stakeholder in achieving victory.
But in the spastic manner of his caste, as soon as the coast was clear Churchill was back to calling for thrift, and making demands that people like him be set free from the demands of considering the needs of others. They have done nothing else ever since. It is in this light that the hypocrisy of fanatically Thatcherite aristocrats such as Nicholas Ridley
must be viewed; they speak of freedom, when what they mean is their freedom to live as they have always done. If such a person wishes to be free, then they should scorn land, titles and wages from the public purse, and start a business. Practice what you preach. The fanatical hostility of elements within British society to the 1945 settlement, hostility derived from it having been imposed upon them by others and thus an infringement upon what they perceive to be their liberties, has never gone away - indeed, it's still gaining steam all the time.
I have never before been afraid to be British; but I am now. It's not the jihadists that scare me; they're just bog-standard headbangers. No, it's what's going to be seen of the armed forces in the next few years that scares me.
We are currently engaged in at least one pointless war. The hostile elements within British society are all for it, because it involves the chance of seeing human being being blown to shreds like video game characters for their own amusement and because seeing these things and knowing they can make them happen makes them feel empowered. This pointless war has been pursued at a time when economic policy has been conducted for the hostile element's sole benefit, with the result that whatever economy we have is in shreds. This is going to lead to disorder.
A British soldier is trained on a regimental system. My fear is that once troops have been called onto the streets, British soldiers loyal to Queen, Country, regiment and mates will show far less compunction in firing into crowds of their brothers, neighbours and friends than their French or American counterparts might; and will do so because their natural loyalties have been distorted by a training regime based on that most ancient of doctrines known as 'divide et impera'. If this is how we train young men and women to fight, and what we train them to fight for, we have to question whether it conducive to the greater good for us to maintain an army at all.