Posted by Helen Thursday, May 30, 2013 , , ,

Tim Stanley's article in History Today says what we all think: a good funeral creates and propagates myths. He tries to lay to rest some of the myths that surround Margaret Thatcher on both sides but one cannot help feeling that it is a lost cause. At least, in her case, there are arguments, discussions and books that are more or less objective being written now. Not so with Churchill or not so for a good long time after his funeral.

As Tim Stanley rightly says, Churchill's funeral produced no discussions, no debates, only a general mourning across the country as people were saying goodbye to their own youth but also to a certain period in the country's history whose end, ironically, Churchill had helped to bring about.

It took a little time for some historians to start recalling that in his lifetime and during his active period as a politician Churchill was very unpopular in his party and in the country. Even after the war during which he had led the country to victory against many odds he managed to lose two of the three elections he fought as leader of the Conservative Party and barely won the third one.

Churchill's overwhelming popularity that amounts to secular sainthood for many people emerged and flourished in the decade between his enforced retirement and his death. It is interesting that there were no discussions about his political legacy while Thatcher's legacy remains a matter of furious debate.


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