“An empty taxi arrived and Clement Attlee got out”

“An empty taxi arrived and Clement Attlee got out”

Clement Attlee 1883-1967

John Andrews in “Who needs a Gov­er­nor, any­way?”  (Den­ver Post, 26 Feb­ru­ary 2012) writes:

“An emp­ty taxi drove up to 10 Down­ing Street,” joked Win­ston Churchill about the man who defeat­ed him for prime min­is­ter in 1946, “and out of it stepped Clement Attlee.” Droll, but Attlee laughed last. Noth­ing suc­ceeds like suc­cess.

Andrews not only indulges in a Churchill red her­ring, but he gets the usu­al word­ing wrong—and the date wrong. Attlee’s Labour Par­ty defeat­ed Churchill’s Con­ser­v­a­tives in July 1945.

Though it’s all over the Web, Churchill nev­er said this about Attlee, and quot­ing Churchill to this effect con­sid­er­ably miss­es his atti­tude toward polit­i­cal oppo­nents.

Queried about the remark, Churchill replied to the effect that Mr. Attlee was an hon­or­able and gal­lant* gen­tle­man and that he, Churchill, would dep­re­cate any such remark.

The remark is list­ed in sev­er­al Churchill quo­ta­tion books, always with­out attribution–because there is none.

 

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*In Par­lia­men­tary par­lance, “gal­lant” refers to a Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment who has served in the forces.

2 thoughts on ““An empty taxi arrived and Clement Attlee got out”

  1. I recall this com­ment (and many tears ago) being attrib­uted to the some­what vitu­per­a­tive Dai­ly Express. Is this incor­rect?

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