It is a supposed burden of having been Winston Churchill – an eminently quotable gentleman – that there exists an entire sub-Churchillian industry in which ‘catchy’ things he didn’t ever actually say are ascribed to his authorship and/or improvisation and thus gain widespread currency on the unabashed basis that, even if he had nothing personally to do with them, they sound as though they’re the kind of thing he would have, or ought to have, said … and so why not?
Here’s a similar example. About fifty years ago some preacher or another gave a sermon to a congregation of about 800 boys in a school chapel, one of whom was me. Faced with such a daunting audience, it won’t surprise anyone that he heeded the sound advice to get a gag and/or ‘modern’ reference in early, this in the cause of grabbing attention before the inevitable tsunami of apathy and boredom spread through the assembled ranks and left him high and dry.
As it happened, said speaker did okay. He told of the time – true or apocryphal didn’t seem to matter to those of us who were still bothering to listen – that Field Marshall Lord Bernard Montgomery (of Battle of Alamein fame), a man not known for his lack of self-esteem or ego, was reading a lesson in church.
In his often-imitated clipped terms, Monty had already got through a couple of verses from his Old Testament text when he came to a third.
“And the Lord said,” he began, before adding the inimitable aside “… and I quite agree with him …”
[Here I had originally been going to type “Collapse of stout congregation into hilarity” but, thinking back over five decades that might have been something of an exaggeration. I do recall that I – and those around me – had raised a titter at the gag, and also that for at least the next ten minutes or so the speaker had the benefit of a greater degree of interest in that he was saying that otherwise might have been the case, if never exactly an undivided ‘you could hear a pin drop’ focus around the building.]
Anyway – back to Churchill, or rather my text for the day, which is something he or may not have ever said:
“If a man is not a socialist by the time he is twenty, he has no heart. If he is not a conservative by the time he is forty, he has no brain.”
I have always lived under the personal delusion that I am a pretty liberal (with a small ‘L’) sort of a chap with a reasonable degree of concern for my fellow human beings.
This having been registered I do also recognise that, being a septuagenarian, I have long since grown into the viewpoint that modern youngsters – i.e. anyone under the age of forty – are a bunch of ‘snowflakes’, stuffed full of an undeserved and unworthy sense of entitlement to all the good things in life (however those might be defined) without necessarily in their own minds making any connection with the necessity of the supposed virtues of hard work, graft, application in the cause of obtaining them.
Worse than that, they resent being exposed to – or seeing on television, or reading about in magazines – those who have ‘done well in life’ and have access to some or all of life’s luxuries. There’s an attitude abroad of “If they can have them, so can I …” coupled with “And if I cannot gain access to them, then nobody else should be allowed to either”.
Or indeed, if any child of theirs is not a potentially perfect sportsman (or woman) with film-star looks, top of the class Mensa membership – i.e. a stirring example of human race high-achievement – this has nothing to do with genetics or their personal qualities and drive, but all to do with the fact they’re suffering from some unfair random disability or disadvantage that is effectively either ‘somebody else’s fault’ and/or something that the rest of society should properly make allowance for (and spend huge amounts of taxpayers’ money upon) in order to support them having the same opportunities … and life success … as everyone else.
Yes, folks – I’m revealing myself as a fascist bigot!
I’m fed up to the back teeth with fatties parading in the media demanding the right to eat as much as they want whenever some doctor or research scientists pops up to warn that the UK is suffering from an unsustainable ‘obesity’ time bomb.
Or – on the same subject – when PC activists queue up to claim that obesity is nothing to do with personal responsibility (still less of the parental type) but rather is all to do with the multifarious failures of government to achieve full employment, eradicate child poverty, ensure that every child is able to communicate verbally and read by the time they get to school, never mind even attempting to control the rampant exploiters of the nefarious capitalist system under which the human race suffers eternally.
Here are some possibly thought-provoking (i.e. along “What’s the world coming to?” lines) reading that Rusters might like to turn half an eye to:
Andrew Griffin reporting on the latest views of environmentalist James Lovelock on the future of Artificial Intelligence – as appears today upon the website of – THE INDEPENDENT
Brigid Delaney on the modern fashion for ‘anxiety memoirs’, in an article that appears today upon the website of – THE GUARDIAN
Alex Matthews King, health correspondent, on new research that apparently 90% of UK children ‘expected to have ADHT’ are not receiving medication for it – see here on the website of – THE INDEPENDENT
Dr Pam Spurr on the tyranny of childless women being asked when they’re going to have a baby [GIVE ME STRENGTH!] in an article that appears upon the website of the – DAILY MAIL
Chris Pleasance reports upon the view of Dr Jeremy Lewis, an academic who predicts catastrophic results if a war with North Korea ever actually took place, as appears today upon the website of the – DAILY MAIL