All the “Quotes” Winston Churchill Never Said (4)

All the “Quotes” Winston Churchill Never Said (4)

Fake Quotes, concluded.

Red Her­rings: Quotes not by Churchill (or things he said quot­ing some­one else), con­tin­ued from Part 3.  Com­piled for the next expand­ed edi­tion of Churchill by Him­self.

Earthy or sex­ist gags were not real­ly Win­ston Churchill’s méti­er. His daugh­ter Mary brought me up sharp over the famous alleged crack to Bessie Brad­dock MP, who accused him of being drunk: “And you, my dear…are dis­gust­ing­ly ugly, but tomor­row I’ll be sober….” She said: “That’s not Papa. He was always gal­lant to the ladies.” But then I pro­duced the Scot­land Yard body­guard who was stand­ing next to him dur­ing the Brad­dock encounter. Lady Soames reluc­tant­ly agreed. “Well, maybe, under those cir­cum­stances….!” (It proved to be a wise­crack her father had remem­bered from a movie star­ring W.C. Fields.)

Sexism – Simple Tastes

Sex­ism: A good speech should be like a woman’s skirt: long enough to cov­er the sub­ject and short enough to cre­ate inter­est.No attri­bu­tion. 

Madam, would you sleep with me for five mil­lion pounds? [Socialite: “My good­ness, Mr. Churchill…Well, I sup­pose.”] Would you sleep with me for five pounds? [“What kind of a woman do you think I am?”] We’ve already estab­lished that. Now we are hag­gling about the price.

  • No attri­bu­tion and out of char­ac­ter. WSC was not giv­en to misog­y­nis­tic wise­cracks.

Sey­mour Cocks: Yes, Sey­mour Cocks and hear more balls.

Shy a Stone: You will nev­er get to the end of the jour­ney if you stop to shy a stone at every dog that barks.

  • Shepherd’s Bush Empire the­atre, Lon­don, 3 Decem­ber 1923. Among his quotes of some­one else. He pre­ced­ed this by stat­ing, “As some­one said…” A sim­i­lar state­ment urg­ing courage “when the dog growls” is in Chap­ter 29, Lead­er­ship, Courage.

Sim­ple Tastes: I am a man of sim­ple tastes—I am quite eas­i­ly sat­is­fied with the best of every­thing.

  • Accord­ing to Sir John Colville, WSC’s close friend F. E. Smith, Lord Birken­head, orig­i­nat­ed the remark, “Mr. Churchill is eas­i­ly sat­is­fied with the best” (with­out “man of sim­ple tastes” or “of every­thing.”) Churchill with his great mem­o­ry could quite eas­i­ly have repeat­ed and embroi­dered on Birkenhead’s remark when he vis­it­ed the Plaza Hotel in New York, short­ly after Birkenhead’s death in 1931, as is some­times said. Cred­it: F. E. Smith.

Something vs. Nothing – Strategy

Some­thing vs. Noth­ing: It is bet­ter to do some­thing than to do noth­ing while wait­ing to do every­thing.No attri­bu­tion.

Speech­es, Long vs. Short: I am going to make a long speech today; I haven’t had time to pre­pare a short one.

  • If this is among his quotes (there is no evi­dence), WSC bor­rowed the idea from Blaise Pas­cal who, in 1656, wrote to a friend: “I have only made this let­ter rather long because I have not had time to make it short­er.” (“Je n’ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parceque je n’ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte.”)

Stal­in and Rus­sia: In the course of three decades, how­ev­er, the face of the Sovi­et Union has become trans­formed. The core of Stalin’s his­toric achieve­ments con­sists in this, that he had found Rus­sia work­ing with wood­en ploughs and is leav­ing her equipped with atom­ic piles. He has raised Rus­sia to the lev­el of the sec­ond indus­tri­al Pow­er of the world. This was not a mat­ter of mere mate­r­i­al progress and organ­i­sa­tion. No such achieve­ment would have been pos­si­ble with­out a vast cul­tur­al rev­o­lu­tion, in the course of which a whole nation was sent to school to under­go a most inten­sive edu­ca­tion.

Strategy – Troubles

Strat­e­gy: How­ev­er beau­ti­ful the strat­e­gy, you should occa­sion­al­ly look at the results. • No attri­bu­tion.

Suc­cess is not final, fail­ure is not fatal: it is the courage to con­tin­ue that counts. • No attri­bu­tion.

Suc­cess con­sists of going from fail­ure to fail­ure with­out los­ing your enthu­si­asm.

  • Broad­ly attrib­uted to Churchill, but nowhere in his canon. An almost equal num­ber of sources cred­it I to Abra­ham Lin­coln; but none pro­vide attri­bu­tion.

Tak­ing office: Take office only when it suits you, but put the gov­ern­ment in a minor­i­ty when­ev­er you decent­ly can.

  • Pub­lished in Lord Ran­dolph Churchill, I, 188. WSC put this in quotes because he did not claim it; he ascribed it to his father.

Temp­ta­tion: Don’t wor­ry about avoid­ing temp­ta­tion. As you grow old­er, it will avoid you. • No attri­bu­tion.

Trees Grow­ing to the Sky: The trees do not grow up to the sky.

  • Described by WSC as an “old Ger­man say­ing,” on 25 Sep­tem­ber 1938 in “The Effect of Mod­ern Amuse­ments on Life and Char­ac­ter,” in News of the World, fol­low­ing his con­cerns about dra­mat­ic falls in future birth rates. Also deployed with slight­ly dif­fer­ent word­ing over bomb­ing Lon­don. See Chap­ter 22, Pol­i­tics; The Home Front, Insur­ance, Blitz. Fre­quent among his quotes: Churchill used this on thir­teen lat­er occa­sions

Trou­bles: Most of the things I have wor­ried about nev­er end­ed up hap­pen­ing.

  • Quotes by WSC but not orig­i­nal. (See Chap­ter 31, Per­son­al Mat­ters, Trou­bles.) Fred Shapiro (Yale Book of Quo­ta­tions), believes the orig­i­na­tor was Mark Twain (“I am an old man and have known a great many trou­bles, but most of them nev­er hap­pened”) or Thomas Jeffer­son: (“How much pain have cost us the evils which have nev­er hap­pened!”) A sim­i­lar remark, attrib­uted to an anony­mous octo­ge­nar­i­an, appeared in The Wash­ing­ton Post, 11 Sep­tem­ber 1910.

Virtues and Vices – Winston is Back

Virtues and Vices: He has all the virtues I dis­like and none of the vices I admire. [Or: he was pos­sessed of all the virtues I despise and none of the sins I admire.]

  • Often and promi­nent­ly quot­ed, with respect to Stafford Cripps and Edwin Scrym­geour; no evi­dence of this or sim­i­lar quotes can be found in Churchill’s canon.

While Eng­land Slept 

  • The Amer­i­can edi­tion of Arms and the Covenant was not Churchill’s. WSC’s cable, sug­gest­ing The Locust Years to pub­lish­er Put­nam, was gar­bled to read The Lotus Years. Baf­fled, Putnam’s staff looked up “lotus”, which was described as a plant induc­ing dreami­ness. Then one direc­tor said, “I’ve got it: While Eng­land Slept.” WSC was delight­ed. —Robert Bruce Lock­hart, Comes the Reck­on­ing, 1947, 201 (con­firmed by Lady Churchill).

White Meat: [After ask­ing for a chick­en breast at a Vir­ginia buf­fet, Churchill was informed by his gen­teel host­ess that South­ern ladies pre­ferred the term “white meat.” The next day he sent her a cor­sage, with a card:] I would be much oblig­ed if you would pin this on your white meat. • No attri­bu­tion.

Win­ston is Back: I there­fore sent word to the Admi­ral­ty that I would take charge forth­with and arrive at 6 o’clock. On this the Board were kind enough to sig­nal the fleet, “Win­ston is back.”

  • Although quot­ed by Churchill (WW2 I, 320, 1948) and repeat­ed by Lord Mount­bat­ten at Edmon­ton in 1966, Sir Mar­tin Gilbert and oth­ers have nev­er found any record of such a sig­nal being sent when Churchill returned to the Admi­ral­ty in 1939.

Women and Children First – Women’s Suffrage

Women and Chil­dren First: There are three things I like about being on Ital­ian cruise ships. First, their cui­sine is unsur­passed. Sec­ond, their ser­vice is superb. And then, in time of emer­gency, there is none of this non­sense about women and chil­dren first.

  • All over the Inter­net after the 2012 wreck of the Ital­ian lin­er Cos­ta Con­cor­dia Churchill’s entire make­up exclud­ed such sen­ti­ments. The Quote Inves­ti­ga­tor ascribed the remark to trav­el writer Hen­ry J. Allen in 1917. (For Churchill on loss of life at sea, see Chap­ter 15, Naval Per­son…Titan­ic Sink­ing.)

Women’s Suf­frage: The women’s suf­frage move­ment is only the small edge of the wedge, if we allow women to vote it will mean the loss of social struc­ture and the rise of every lib­er­al cause under the sun. Women are well rep­re­sent­ed by their fathers, broth­ers and hus­bands.

  • Alleged­ly to Asquith, 21 Decem­ber 1911. This is a man­u­fac­tured quo­ta­tion to suit pre­con­ceived notions. Churchill’s let­ter was on polit­i­cal tac­tics, not suf­frage, and it is ten­den­tious to sug­gest he would oppose lib­er­al caus­es since he was a Lib­er­al, and quite a rad­i­cal one. WSC wrote some­thing sim­i­lar to this in 1897, when he was twen­ty-three: a pri­vate note past­ed into his copy of the 1874 Annu­al Reg­is­ter, where he was review­ing polit­i­cal issues to decide which side he would take (OB, CV1/2, 765). By 1911 he had come a long way; he nev­er seri­ous­ly opposed suf­frage in the 20th cen­tu­ry, and in 1918 vot­ed for the women’s suf­frage bill.

Words – Ypres

Words: We are the mas­ters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out. • No attri­bu­tion.

It has been said words are the only things which last for­ev­er.

  • Used by Churchill sev­er­al times in his writ­ings and speech­es, begin­ning 10 June 1909 at a For­eign Office press con­fer­ence (Com­plete Speech­es II, 1262). But as this ear­ly appear­ance indi­cates, he admit­ted it did not orig­i­nate with him.

Yale and MIT: An after-din­ner speak­er was giv­ing the audi­ence at least 15 min­utes for each of the four let­ters that spell “Yale”… “Y is for Youth…A is for Achievement…L is for Loyalty…E is for enter­prise,” etc. Halfway through “enter­prise” a mem­ber of the audi­ence said: “Thank God he didn’t go to the Mass­a­chu­setts Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy.” • No attri­bu­tion.

Ypres, Bel­gium: I should like us to acquire the ruins of Ypres.…a more sacred place for the British race does not exist in the world.

  • Alleged­ly 1918. Wide­ly attrib­uted with no reli­able source. These were cer­tain­ly Churchill’s sen­ti­ments, accord­ing to his pri­vate sec­re­tary Eddie Marsh’s diary of 29 Octo­ber 1918: “Win­ston wants to turn that group of build­ings into a ceme­tery, with lawns and flow­ers among the ruins, and the names of innu­mer­able dead.” (Has­sall, 455).

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