6 July, 2016. 10:35
CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | Contact
With Western Governments around the world currently experiencing a concerning rise in populism and the return of once extinct protectionist movements, it seems the only thing that can manage to console the ever anxious voter is completely fabricated quotes attributed to Winston Churchill.
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. As well-known non-academic historian, a writer, Nobel Prize winner, and was the first person to be made an honorary citizen of the United States – it is no surprise that he is held in high esteem by the Western World.
With iconic proverbs attributed to him such as: The price of greatness is great responsibility – Churchill’s influence on contemporary democracy is one that will be remembered for many world wars to come.
However, in the current post-ISIS world of lone wolf gun attacks, extreme class divide, climate change and Donald Trump, it seems there aren’t enough Winston Churchill quotes to go around.
Betoota-based linguistics professor, Ava Yarne, says that almost every political extreme that planet earth is currently experiencing has been somehow justified by made-up Winston Churchill quotes.
“Just last month we saw and entire nation’s knee-jerk reaction to highly politicised issues and agendas” she said, referencing the United Kingdom’s recent vote to leave the EU.
“BREXIT will be remembered as England’s greatest ill-thought out decision. An irreversible one at that. It’s in this kind of circumstance where Churchill really comes in handy”
“The Brits are usually the first to misquote Churchill, especially when democracy doesn’t work in their favour. In this instance, everyone was seen relaying the misattributed quote of: If you’re not a liberal when you’re 25, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative by the time you’re 35, you have no brain”
“This misquote helps them explain as to why only 35% of their under 35s actually voted in the referendum,”
As for Donald Trump, Professor Yarne says the Americans have realised that their nationwide levels of inequality and racial tension has resulted in a political juggernaut who looks near unstoppable heading into their Presidential election.
“Very few people in any country have any real insight into any real political issue. But everyone is entitled to a vote,”
“So as it looks more and more like a three-times bankrupt reality television star could become President of the world’s largest economy, the American population can do nothing but misquote Winston Churchill, those who know who he is,”
“In this circumstance, the USA are able to explain the hijacked Republican campaign with the following misattributed Winston Churchill quote: The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”
“The context of this quote is also mistaken, but it still does the job. This misquote was initially pointing out the average voters feelings of distrust in the system. The modern, Americanized context is more about pointing out the average voters lack of intelligence,”
However, when it comes to Australia’s almost completely balanced Federal election result that has resulted from the nation’s two major parties campaigning for two whole months, only to spend an entire week counting votes down to the final hundreds, Professor Yarne says she has already heard Churchill misquotes being thrown around on talkback interviews.
“Australians, for the most part, should absolutely loathe Winston Churchill after the way he bungled Gallipoli and his general lack of respect for the Australian people”
“However, when times are tough… It’s going to be a Winston Churchill quote that makes everyone feel better – whether it’s true or not,”
“When it comes to Australia’s stagnate Federal Government, the most appropriate quote to never come out of Winston Churchill’s mouth is: ‘However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.’