“Margaret Thatcher”: excerpted from a tribute, 2013
Everyone is familiar with Margaret Thatcher’s career. Everyone depending on their politics will have their own vision. It is left to say here what she meant to the memory of Winston Churchill, the prime minister she revered above all. More than anyone who lived at 10 Downing Street, she had real appreciation for him. She read his books, quoted him frequently, even hosted a dinner for his family and surviving members of his wartime coalition.
In 1993 she was in Washington to coincide with a Churchill Conference hosting 500 people, including 140 students, a dozen luminaries, and ambassadors from Britain and the Commonwealth.…
A German correspondent writes: “Churchill is misquoted as saying—with reference to the Nazis versus the Soviets—‘We butchered [or slaughtered] the wrong pig.’ The implication: he should have fought Stalin, not Hitler.
“This seems to me revisionist wishful thinking. He could never have said that, since there is no such idiom in English. He would have had to say, ‘We fought the wrong enemy.’ Can you reveal some authentic information as to the origin of this misquotation?”
Prime Ministers are always popular targets. Boris Johnson, Britain’s new PM, wears the bullseye over there now. For everything from domestic squabbling to “insensitivity” in reciting “The Road to Mandalay” on a visit to Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). In the immortal words of Richard Nixon, let us say this about that.
* * * * * “I appointed [Lord Roberts] Commander-in-Chief in India when I was Secretary of State. That was the year I annexed Burma. The place was in utter anarchy. They were just butchering one another. We had to step in, and very soon there was an ordered, civilized Government under the vigilant control of the House of Commons.”…