Ross Greer would be speaking German if not for Churchill – Brian Monteith

How well is ­history taught in Scottish schools? Is there enough in-depth study given to the key events that shaped the world?

Thursday, 31st January 2019, 1:23 pm
Updated Thursday, 31st January 2019, 1:25 pm
Winston Churchill. Picture: PA

I ask these simple questions after witnessing the latest political distraction, intended or otherwise, to take our minds off the Brexit negotiations or the SNP’s local embarrassment over the fate of Alex Salmond. I write of course about the claim made by the Green Party MSP, Ross Greer, that Sir Winston Churchill was a “white supremacist mass murderer”.

Everybody is entitled to their opinion in our free country and that is certainly a different view. Some who have rushed to the defence of Churchill have, rather than look at the merits of the claim, sought to disparage Ross Greer because of his relative youth, his lack of work or even life experience, or because of his support for causes ­associated with terrorism.

These matters really are of no ­consequence, for they do not impact on the issue, was Churchill a white supremacist mass murderer?

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The answer is, I believe, an unequivocal no, but it is not enough to look at just the facts of Churchill’s life, his political beliefs and his actions – but to consider them in the context of when he lived. We need to understand what the world was like during the 95 years of his life and how he sought to shape and influence it. Greer judges Churchill against contemporary fashions of today, not the world he inhabited.

Here was a man who fought in ­cavalry charges, was a prisoner of war, escaped and became a war correspondent, then, like his father, a politician, next the head of the Royal Navy, Home Secretary, Chancellor – then a political outcast. In the years that followed, as almost a solitary figure, Churchill identified that Hitler and his evil beliefs were a threat to the world but his warnings fell on deaf ears.

At that time the UK was in the ­popular grip of appeasers, with ­rallies for disarmament outside Westminster while the Government and opposition responded by encouraging our defences to be weakened.

When the Second World War came, Churchill was recognised to have been right about Hitler and the Nazis, as well as the more general threat of Mussolini’s fascists and Stalin’s communists. Yet still the appeasers in government sought to cut a deal with Hitler. Had the Foreign Secretary, Lord Halifax, replaced the Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain as expected, then the UK would have abandoned the war.

Germany would have then been free to concentrate all of its might on the defeat of Stalin, and once that was achieved (for Germany came very close despite having a war on two fronts) it could then return to the defeat of the British Empire.

Forget Gaelic on police cars, forget speaking Doric or writing in faux Scots as a nod to the past, but most of all forget English. We would all be speaking German by now. Even a brief study of Churchill’s political contribution to the 1930s and 40s demonstrates that it was his resolve, his resilience, and his leadership that pulled together a divided nation so that it could hold out long enough to then become a liberator, along with our allies. That’s why Ross Greer has his freedom today.

Did Churchill make bad decisions? Undoubtedly, and not just during the war, but right through his career. Indeed he agonised over the many mistakes he had made and the lives lost that he could be blamed for. Yet were it not for his errors he would have been a far worse leader, for he would then have never appreciated the gravity of his decisions.

Much as he believed in the exceptionalism of the English-speaking peoples, there was no malice towards other races in Churchill’s outlook. It was to prevent the supremacy of any one race and the mass murder that could come from it that he led the fight against Hitler. He freed people of all races and put an end to Hitler’s murder. Churchill was a rainbow supremacist and mass liberator.