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The Churchill Society


Character transcends nationality.

Winston Churchill




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The Young Politician

Churchill the Young PoliticianHe returned to England a military hero and with the large amount of money he had earned by his writing (he had not inherited any money) he then decided to try to get elected to Parliament.

He failed at the first attempt, but succeeded at the second; and so became Winston S Churchill MP for Oldham in Lancashire.

No doubt the fame of his father Lord Randolph and his aristocratic family background greatly helped him become an MP - but his success came because he was determined to make something worthwhile out of his life.


So far in this story he is only 26 and is already a:-


  • 1. Soldier

  • 2. Accomplished horse rider and Polo player

  • 3. One of the first War Correspondents.

  • 4. A successful author

  • 5. An escapee and quasi military hero

  • 6. An MP.
  • Young PoliticianIt was not all so easy though. He suffered from a speech impediment and this made public speaking at first very difficult. But he spent hours thinking about and polishing his speeches. He sat as a Tory.  From the very outset of his parliamentary career it was evident that he loved fair play and tolerance, and that he hated mismanagement and extravagance.

    It was extraordinary that coming from the rich and landed classes and never having mixed with working people he was always conscious of the sufferings of the poor. This made him a great believer in Free Trade and taxation of land values. political ideas that were anathema to his own class.

    It is important not to idealise a national hero. The young Churchill - like all young men - had his faults. He was brash and cocksure, he showed off and sought publicity at every opportunity and in the process vastly annoyed those who disliked him. But even at this young age he had patience and did not indulge in 'small talk' or 'people pleasing'. Principles were what in the end mattered to him. Thus in the House of Commons as a very inexperienced politician he rose and said in his

    'If I were a Boer . . I hope I should be fighting in the field'.

    This caused immense offence - especially to his own party - the Conservatives.

    In 1904, he joined with others and founded the Free Food League to enable cheap food to be brought into the country. In doing this he upset the people who elected him to Parliament and they disavowed him. To make matters worse he then left the Tory (Conservative) Party and joined the Liberal Party. He was what is known in politics as a radical. ie, a Social reformer.

    In 1906 he stood for election to Parliament in Manchester (near Oldham) and won a notable victory as a Liberal.

    For a politician to change his party allegiance, is  of mistake he can make if he wishes to climb to the top of the slippery political pole. We shall see later in this story how Churchill changed back to the Tory Party and how this made him for many years mistrusted and very unpopular with other Tories. Churchill fought in Parliament for self government for the Boers. Strangely he did not see - let alone foresee - the cruel way they treated the native (and the imported Chinese) labouring population. All he saw was that stable government and law and order in the Transvaal and Orange Free State could only be established by the grant of self government to the Boers and in this respect he was right. But these attitudes were despised by his parliamentary colleagues.

    He soon became a successful junior minister of the Colonies and then in 1908 the Prime Minister promoted him to be The President of the Board of Trade. He was only 34 years of age. He was then defeated in an election and lost his seat in Parliament and of course his new job! This gave immense satisfaction to his enemies - especially the Tory ones who despised him for 'ratting' on his party.

    He found another constituency in Dundee in Scotland and in the next election he won that, and so he got back into the House of Commons. The next thing he did was to fall in love (for the second time - the first girl Pamela Plowden refused him) and get married to a beautiful lady -

    Clementine Hozier

    Clementine Hozier.


    The Temple at Blenheim

    Winston proposes to Clementine
    The Classical Pavilion

    by the lake in the gardens of Blenheim Palace.

    The Young Couple

    Engagement photograph


    Stop now and listen to


    A lovely English pastoral and romantic movement from


    (Blenheim Palace was a gift to Churchill's ancestor, The Duke of Marlborough, by Queen Anne and the Government in 1705 for his great military victories and political services to his country. It took 17 years to build. The music portrays the gardens and countryside at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire and Churchill as an opinionated and rather cocky young man (as he was at that time), and Clementine as the soft and gentle girl.

    His marriage to this young lady was a romance (on his part) which lasted all his life, for he had a deep and unceasing affection for her; and she - with the exception it is alleged of one short period of just simple infatuation with another man - provided this hitherto unloved man, with a stable and by and large happy home life for the rest of his rumbustious, troubled and anxious career.

    Churchill was a difficult and hopelessly extravagant... but exciting man to live with . . . though his wife who had to pay the angry tradesmen often thought otherwise! His wife disliked many of his friends. She was deeply upset when he bought Chartwell at a price way beyond his income and without consulting her. (More about Chartwell later) But he he adored the place for the rest of his life and was vastly superior both as a husband and father to his his father. Their children had an idyllic upbringing but were to cause them much sorrow.

    Back in Parliament Churchill fought for, and introduced, many social reforms. He won for the miners an eight hour maximum working day; he brought in laws against sweated labour - he set up Boards to fix minimum wages, and the Job Centres (Labour Exchanges) which still exist today. Even today it is strange how rarely he is given the credit for these major social reforms.

    All this meant higher taxes which very much upset the rich people, but he fought them with his wonderful gift of oratory (Noble and eloquent public speaking) and won for himself great acclaim.

    When this Liberal programme necessitated high taxation, which in turn provoked the House of Lords to reject the budget of 1909 - something unheard of! Churchill with Lloyd George's support, proceeded to clip the wings of the earning himself nothing but hatred and abuse from the wealthy classes - from which he himself had come. But knowing his cause to be honourable, undaunted he steadfastly campaigned in the two following general elections of 1910, and in the House of Commons during the passage of the Parliament Act of 1911, and this won him wide popular acclaim from the middle class public at large. The result was that he came to be appointed Home Secretary. (Minister of Internal Affairs).

    One of many onerous responsibilities of Home Secretary is the maintenance of Law and Order. During his period of office he had to cope with much industrial unrest and many violent strikes. To maintain law and order he positioned troops at a safe distance from the strikers - to ensure there was no violence. He placed the maintenance of law and order before their grievances knowing that their grievances could not be swiftly resolved whilst they were rioting - and not at all - if law and order broke down completely. This caused him to be very unpopular with the Trade Unions. They mistrusted - indeed hated him for many years to come.

    During this period as Home Secretary he was so shocked by the barbarous and insanitary conditions in the prisons that he reformed them.

    He was transferred by the Prime Minister to the Admiralty in October 1911, and when the Germans sent a gunboat to Agadir, (a Moroccan port to which France had claims), Churchill became convinced that in any major Franco-German conflict, Britain would have to ally herself with France. Time revealed this to be inspired political perception and foresight and enabled Churchill to campaign successfully in the Cabinet for the largest naval expenditure in British history.

    He found the Admiralty riven with terrible feuding and set about the immediate total reform of the entire Admiralty (more on this later) and in the process brought the Navy to a state of instant readiness. He even learned to fly, much to the horror and anxiety of his young wife.

    Churchill learns to fly

    Early Sea Plane

    Winston learning to fly - much to the terror of his young wife.


    An early Flying Boat

    Churchill and Lord Fisher

    Churchill (left) as First Lord of the Admiralty
    with Lord Fisher



    HMS Cressy

    Battleship built in 1902.

    Guns on a 1st World War Battleship

    German Battleship Scharnhorst

    Heavy Guns on a Battleship


    German Battleship Scharnhorst


    Stop here and listen now to

    "The Lord of the Admiralty at the Spithead Review"

    Movement No 11 from


    This is very exciting orchestral music and has a surprise in it!

    Derek Barnes's orchestration is thrilling.

    The continued turmoil in Ireland encouraged Churchill to use his influence in the Cabinet to pass the Irish Home Rule Bill of 1912 . This caused fury amongst the Northern Irish, who were determined to have nothing to do with 'Popish' Southern Irish self government, and they insisted - as they do still today - that they remain part of a fully integrated part of the British Isles, with local self government from their own 'House of Stormont' but under the final arbitration of the British Parliament at Westminster to which they send their own elected Members of Parliament.

    In religion the Southern Irish are mostly Roman Catholics and the Northern Irish Protestant - and as usual in such fundamental disagreements; instead of religion calming the people's tempers - it somehow - though I know not how - just adds fuel to their disputes.

    Churchill, with a remarkable lawyer called F.E. Smith (later 1st Earl of Birkenhead) and Austin Chamberlain, did much to arrange the compromise by which the Northern Irish were permitted to be excluded from the immediate effects of the bill. This brought down on Churchill (in particular) the fury of the members of the Tory Party. They described him as a renegade.

    Thus we see the beginnings of the 30 years of bitter political battle hardening experience that was to stand him - and his country - in such good stead when the supreme moment of national danger arrived.

    Like his ancestor the 1st Duke of Marlborough (but unlike many other politicians in this century) Churchill studied closely not only European history, but also current European political events. It was this that made him during his long political life foresee the course of events before other politicians.



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