Stop snowflakes and BBC denigrating Winston Churchill – GP Taylor

I SAT in horror as I watched News at Ten last week. Huw Edwards introduced a piece that denounced Winston Churchill and his role in the 1943 famine in Bengal.

Winston Churchill's record has come under renewed scrutiny.
Winston Churchill's record has come under renewed scrutiny.

It was as if the contributors had been selected on the basis that they believed Churchill to be solely responsible for three million deaths from starvation.

One of them said Churchill could be blamed for “prioritising white lives over South Asian lives” by failing to send relief. Churchill was branded a killer.

It doesn’t take a genius to search the internet to find out the background to Churchill and why famine relief was not forthcoming.

This was Winston Churchill broadcasting form 10 Downing Street during the Second World War.

Britain was fighting a war against Hitler that could have gone either way. There were no boats or planes available, everything was committed to the war effort.

To blame one man is a total disgrace and to attempt to suck up to anti-establishment agitators should be condemned.

In response, Tirthankar Roy, professor in economic history at the LSE, told The Times: “Winston Churchill was not a relevant factor behind the 1943 Bengal famine.

“The agency with the most responsibility for causing the famine and not doing enough was the government of Bengal.

Winston Churchill's statue in Parliament Square has not been immune form vandalism.

“There was no famine in the rest of British India; the Bengal government could easily import food from other regions.”

Important information like that was missing from the aforementioned BBC report.

This is just one case in the growing desire from some minority agencies to undermine British culture and icons of our past. Churchill is an obvious candidate and fits the bill perfectly.

After all, he was white, posh, old and male. All the qualities you need to be a candidate for an onslaught from the juvenile snowflakes pushing their biased agendas on the majority of the British public.

Twenty years ago, they would not have had the voice or the listenership to cause any harm. Now, thanks to orchestrated campaigns through social media, they can promote their warped ideas.

Churchill was a very flawed character, but he was a man of his time and he cannot be judged by our 21st century morality.

It is very sad to think that it is not just Churchill who is in the sights of those who wish to ‘no platform’ our past heroes. Nelson, Wellington, Nightingale and James Cook all have their dissenters. Words and phrases such as white privilege and colonialism have been attached to them.

Each of these individuals has in their own way greatly contributed to our culture. They are not perfect saints and lived flawed lives in flawed societies. This does not mean that they should be erased from our history.

Mary Seacole, who will soon appear on our bank notes, has recently become a black counter hero to Florence Nightingale. Academics would argue that she never was a nurse and ran a hotel and bar selling food to troops in the Crimea. Something she corroborates in her own autobiography, Seacole didn’t regard herself as black. She had a white father, husband and clientele. In her book, she referred to her black servants in language that would today be regarded as racist. I have to ask if she will come under the same spotlight that has been shone on others?

It is becoming worryingly acceptable to attack a historical figure who is white, but not one who is black. This was brought home to me when I read the words of Nigerian journalist and novelist Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani when she wrote about her slave trading, black, great-grandfather.

“My great-grandfather, Nwaubani Ogogo Oriaku, was what I prefer to call a businessman, from Nigeria. He dealt in a number of goods, including tobacco and palm produce. He also sold human beings,” she said.

“Assessing the people of Africa’s past by today’s standards would compel us to cast the majority of our heroes as villains.”

In that, I agree with her about assessing. We cannot and should not judge people of the past by our own standards of morality. Nor should we victimise one group over another because of the colour of their skin. The past is a far off place and we cannot put upon it, or the people who inhabited it, the sensitivities of our own time.

Churchill was a man of the hour, his actions saved the lives of millions of people around the world and allowed freedom of speech for his critics, that would not have been possible had he failed in his task to defeat the murderous advances of Nazism.

GP Taylor is a writer and broadcaster. He lives in Whitby.

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