Could you verify the correct wording for the Winston Churchill statement below? I have seen several different versions of this statement: “I never worry about action, but only inaction.” —S.D.
From Churchill by Himself, page 190 (note the quotemarks around “worry”):
I never “worry” about action, but only about inaction.
Reference: 1940s. Passim. Martin Gilbert, The Churchill War Papers, Volume II: Never Surrender, May 1940-December 1940. London: Heinemann, New York: Norton, 1994, page xvi, where Sir Martin writes in his Preface:
Inefficiency, incompetence and negative attitudes roused his ire: I have indicated some examples of this in the Churchill index entry, under “rebukes by.” He did not take kindly to what he called “a drizzle of carping criticism,” or to those officials, military or civilian, who, as he expressed it, “failed to rise to the height of circumstances.” Among his injunctions to his Ministers were, “Don’t let this matter sleep,” and, “I never ‘worry’ about action, but only about inaction.”
There are several appearances of the quote. Here is one in a letter, on page 1184 of the above work: Concerning “Operation Compass,” the first major British offensive in North Africa, Churchill wrote to General Dill on 7 December 1940:
…If, with the situation as it is, General Wavell is only playing small, and is not hurling on his whole available forces with furious energy, he will have failed to rise to the height of circumstances. I never “worry” about action, but only about inaction.