The news from Europe is very bad

There probably is not a single politician who would not list Winston Churchill as a hero, a leader who showed how to handle a crisis.

However, sadly for the rest of us, there is not one single politician who has done more than pay lip-service to the lessons of Churchill’s leadership.

The current economic woes facing individual countries and individuals themselves are enormous. They are not on a par with the risk to life of the Second World War, but they are enough to warrant a Churchillian response.

As a source of inspiration, I have been re-reading “Winston Churchill’s Speeches” subtitled “Never Give In!” Can’t someone force our political, so-called, leaders to read and learn. And make them start offering some leadership instead of adding to the doom and despair, so loved by our media reporting folk.

With bad news from France in 1940 and just after the Dunkirk evacuation, Churchill delivered his ‘This was their finest hour’ speech in the House of Commons.

Straight away, he faced the facts and stated them, not for the ‘purpose of recrimination … that I judge to be utterly futile and even harmful’. He stressed that ‘we have to think of the future and not the past’. He pointed out that to seek to ‘hold and inquest’ and indict those who were responsible for the guidance of our affairs …would be a foolish and pernicious process’ on the grounds that ‘if we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find that we have lost the future’.

Amen, to that! Let us face the fact that we are in an economic mess and spend less time in apportioning blame and more time to coming up with solutions. That is the political and economic imperative now.

Churchill in that same speech went on to look at the negatives and positives of where Britain found itself and said plainly ‘Therefore, in casting up this dread balance-sheet and contemplating our dangers with a disillusioned eye, I see great reason for intense vigilance and exertion, but none whatever for panic or despair’. This led to his famous conclusion to urge one and all to ‘brace ourselves’ and act so that in the years ahead people would say ‘This was their finest hour’.

Looking at the political leaders, particularly of the European countries and Britain, all I can say is that unless they seize the time to take decisive action, this is certainly not going to be their, or our, finest hour.

I would like to see the battle against our economic problems being given a Churchillian dimension. Goodness me, if it could be done in 1940 against the fascist odds, then it can be done in 2012 against the financial odds.

Neil Thomas
28th May 2012

Published on May 28, 2012 by Neil Thomas