"At the bottom of all the tributes paid to democracy is the little man, walking into the little booth, with a little pencil, making a little cross on a little bit of paper—no amount of rhetoric or voluminous discussion can possibly diminish the overwhelming importance of that point."
The distressing repression following the recent Iranian election reminds us once again of Churchill’s eternal relevance. In the House of Commons on 28 August 1944, he was asked how he would judge whether the new Italian government, about to replace the Fascist dictatorship of Mussolini, was a true democracy. Churchill replied:
The question arises, “What is freedom?” There are one or two quite simple, practical tests by which it can be known in the modern world in peace conditions—namely:
Is there the right to free expression of opinion and of opposition and criticism of the Government of the day?…