Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer cited an amusing encounter between Churchill and socialist Prime Minister Clement Attlee in the Members’ urinal at the House of Commons, circa 1951. Attlee is standing over the trough as Churchill enters on the same mission. Observing Attlee, Churchill shuffles as far away as possible.
Attlee: “Feeling standoffish today, are we, Winston?”
WSC: “That’s right. Every time you see something big you want to nationalise it.”
I labeled this an unattributed quip in the “Red Herrings” appendix to my quotations book, Churchill by Himself. I am happy to say that I was wrong, thanks to the help of columnist Christian Schneider, who also recently published the quote in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
Mr. Schneider advised that he had this quote from William Manchester’s The Last Lion, vol. 1, Visions of Glory 1874-1932, page 35. On my guard (because Manchester, a great stylist, made many detail errors), I looked up his footnote.
The reference is to a 21 October 1980 interview Manchester conducted with Sir David Pitblado (1913-1997)—civil servant, principal private secretary to Attlee in 1951, joint PPS to Churchill in 1951-55, and PPS to Anthony Eden in 1956. Sir David was a reliable source and—with great delight—we may restore this one to the ranks of the genuine.