Tag: George Orwell

All the “Quotes” Winston Churchill Never Said (1)

All the “Quotes” Winston Churchill Never Said (1)

Fake Quotes: A-E

In 1686 the Oxford Eng­lish Dic­tio­nary described “red her­ring,” a metaphor to draw pur­suers off a track, as “the trail­ing or drag­ging of a dead Cat or Fox (and in case of neces­si­ty a Red-Her­ring) three or four miles…and then lay­ing the Dogs on the scent…to attempt to divert atten­tion from the real ques­tion.” I apply the term to quotes, alleged­ly by Churchill, which he nev­er said—or if he did, was quot­ing some­body else.

Hence my Red Her­rings Appen­dix, updat­ed here­with, for the new, expand­ed edi­tion of my quotes book Churchill by Him­self. “You could fill a book with what Win­ston Churchill didn’t say,” remarked his some­time col­league, Rab But­ler.…

Read More Read More

“Rough Men Stand Ready…”

“Rough Men Stand Ready…”

Rough men stand ready….David Low’s Churchil­lesque car­toon, “Very well, alone,” sym­bol­ized the sen­ti­ment,  June 1940.

“Peo­ple sleep peace­ably in their beds at night because rough men stand ready to do vio­lence on their behalf.” Is this some­thing Churchill said? I see it fre­quent­ly cred­it­ed to him: “We sleep sound­ly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to vis­it vio­lence on those who would do us harm.” —L.K., Dal­las

​He did not. From Churchill by Him­self, Red Her­rings Appen­dix, 572-73:

Defend­ers of the peace

​”​Peo­ple sleep peace­ably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do vio­lence on their behalf.”​ [Alter­na­tive: ​”​We sleep safe­ly at night because rough men stand ready to vis­it vio­lence on those who would harm us.”​]

We may be fair­ly con­fi­dent that Churchill would approve of the sen­ti­ment, hav­ing argued for a life­time that lib­er­ty and peace can best be main­tained by mil­i­tary pre­pared­ness, but I have been unable to track this phrase to him.…

Read More Read More

Churchill, Orwell and “1984”

Churchill, Orwell and “1984”

It’s the 50th anniver­sary of George Orwell’s pre­scient mas­ter­piece 1984, to which end The Sun­day Times pub­lished a review by Robert Har­ris on May 31st.

But in prais­ing  1984, Har­ris finds the need to take a whack at Churchill—which he does with sin­gu­lar inac­cu­ra­cy: “Giv­en that only five years pre­vi­ous­ly Churchill, Roo­sevelt and Stal­in had divid­ed up the world into ‘zones of influ­ence’ at the Teheran con­fer­ence, [Orwell’s] vision did not seem entire­ly fan­tas­tic.”

What is fan­tas­tic is where peo­ple get such notions. “Zones of influ­ence” came up not at Teheran but at the Moscow  (“Tol­stoy”) con­fer­ence between Churchill and Stal­in a year lat­er, with the Red Army now far advanced in east­ern Europe.…

Read More Read More