Churchill was no socialist if by socialist we mean someone who favors government control of all means of production. He instead promoted what he called a "Minimum Standard" to address the legitimate needs of the citizen without compromising constitutional liberties. That is a fine line to walk, but his aim was to forestall socialism, and thus to avoid its evils: the stifling of initiative, the concentration of power out of the hands of the people.
This quotation is now going around the web, broadly attributed to Churchill. Is it accurate? “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” —M.S. via email.
It is more or less correct, but it’s a truncated version of two separate comments, run together to make them more interesting (in the eye of the drafter).
“Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy.” —Perth, Scotland, 28 May 1948, in Churchill, Europe Unite: Speeches 1947 & 1948 (London: Cassell, 1950), 347.…
"A question Churchill had to face in his time was: if you are for the social safety net, including health care, how do you prevent that from building a society of "drones" (his word), ultimately dominated by a bureaucratic elite? Churchill answered that question in many ways: the social safety net is simple justice, he said; without it the 'people will set their faces like flint against the money power' A constitution should protect the people against this tendency."