FIVE DAYS IN WASHINGTON…

This entry is part 8 of 12 in the series Lead Like Churchill

“…democracy is the worst form of Government

For this week’s digest of Never Surrender!, I thought I might borrow from the title of John Lukacs book: Five Days in London, as I felt, being five days out from the inauguration of a new US President, the title was appropriate, and some would also say the subject-matter.  So, with five days to go in a country divided, what advice might Winston Churchill offer us?

Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…”

Echoing the thoughts of many, this election-cycle has indeed been one of the most divisive in the great history of the United States, because of the attitudes and reactions that the two candidates words surfaced. By-definition an election should divide, but ONLY on opinion!

In 1938, Churchill made some remarks in Manchester, that I feel are very appropriate: “…what is the purpose which has brought us all together? It is the conviction that the life of [the United States], her glories and message to the world, can only be achieved by national unity, and national unity can only be preserved upon a cause which is larger than the nation itself.

A country divided against itself is as ineffectual as a government of the same. When asked to form a government in 1940, Churchill recognized that we needed national unity, because there was no other way we could defeat the overwhelming forces against us. Burying the past by including adversaries in his War Cabinet, Churchill united the country in the name of a cause that he saw was greater than our own national interests. Defeating Hitler was vital for the preservation of Christian Civilization, but unity was the only way to achieve that.

The United States and all that it stands for is greater that either the Office of the President, or indeed the inhabitant. The Founding Fathers of this wonderful nation ensured that it was not left to the Executive to maintain the dream they gave their blood, toil, tears and sweat for. America’s founders instilled the power of choice in you, and ensured that you, the people they represented, maintained that power.

Many are still saying that President-Elect Trump is Not my President”, Sorry to burst your bubble, but he is, whether you like it or not. The votes have been cast and counted, and in your election system, the next President has been chosen. Now it’s down to you to determine what will happen to this country for the next four years. You can either put down your weapons, and whether a Trump or Clinton supporter, get behind the Office, and ensure President-Elect Trump runs things in the country’s best interests, or you can be divisive. If you choose the former, America will continue from strength to strength, but if you choose the latter, the United States will continue as the Divided States, and may well “…sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age.

Remember the wise words of Rome’s last great Emperor Marcus Aurelius: “All you need are these: certainty of judgement in the present moment; action for the common good in the present moment; and an attitude of gratitude in the present moment for anything that comes your way.”

Aurelius reminds us that control of our perceptions, focus of our actions, and a willingness to accept that which is outside our control are the three vital philosophies which should always govern our decisions.

The election is over and the President has been chosen; its out of our control. But still within our power is the choice we make on January 20th. We can either unite as Churchill advises, or divide the country as he warns.

In the words of Longfellow, quoted by Churchill to President Roosevelt in 1941:

Sail on, O Ship of State!

Sail on, O Union, strong and great!

Humanity with all its fears,

With all the hopes of future years,

Is hanging breathless on thy fate!


UPCOMING THIS WEEK


 

SPEECH REFERENCE

The Choice For Europe – May 9, 1938

SOURCE NOTES

“Many forms of Government…” – http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1947/nov/11/parliament-bill

“…what is the purpose which has brought us all together?” – CHURCHILL, Sir Winston S.: Into Battle, p.12

“…sink into the abyss” – LANGWORTH, Richard, Churchill by Himself, p.21

“All you need are these…” – HOLIDAY/HANSELMAN: The Daily Stoic, p.12

Sail on, O Ship of State! – LANGWORTH, Richard, Churchill by Himself, p.22

 

WHAT’S YOUR THEME?

This entry is part 7 of 12 in the series Lead Like Churchill

“I speak to you for the first time as Prime Minister in a solemn hour for the life of our country, of our empire, of our allies, and, above all, of the cause of Freedom.” – Winston S. Churchill

There are some amazing speechwriters out there today, it’s quite a talent. However, the distinction between a good or great speech is vast, and interestingly, no different to conversation.

I’m sure, like all of us, you’ve been to a boring party that would never end, only to find yourself engaged by one individual amongst the mass who kept you enthralled for hours. When one heard Winston Churchill speak, that was the reaction from most. Spellbound by his words, like a bear to honey, people hung on every syllable.

So, what made Churchill’s speeches engaging to listen to? The answer is simple: one theme.

If you analyse any of my great-grandfather’s speeches: Be Ye Men of Valour, or Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat, a common theme: hope, runs throughout, and it’s singular. Speeches and conversations may have several parts, but great and engaging speeches and conversations have a single focus, a single message, a clothes hanger for the dressings of those parts.

The key to successful conversations and speeches is simple, choose one simple theme. So, WHAT’S YOUR THEME?


SPEECH LINKS:

Be Ye Men of Valour

Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat


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CHURCHILL: Leadership In Living Colour

This entry is part 1 of 12 in the series Lead Like Churchill

‘Happy are the painters,’ he wrote, ‘for they never shall be lonely: light and colour; peace and hope will keep them company to the end— or almost to the end of the day.’[1]

Churchill painting in his studio at Chartwell

More than a hobby, painting to Winston Churchill was oxygen, and it literally saved his life. “I thought he would die of grief,”[2] Great-Grandmamma confided in her husband’s official biographer, Sir Martin Gilbert, when speaking about the disaster of the 1915 Gallipoli Campaign. ‘Many remedies are suggested for the avoidance of worry and mental overstrain,’ Churchill wrote in his essay Painting as a Pastime, but the ‘cultivation of a hobby and new forms of interest is,’ as he continued, ‘a policy of first importance,’ but, ‘not a business that can be undertaken in a day or swiftly improvised by a mere command of the will.’[3]

‘Distant View of Eze’ Winston S. Churchill

Churchill began to cultivate his hobby while serving on the French Front during the First World War. Using broad and courageous strokes, as instructed by fellow artist Hazel Lavery, he began to attack the canvas with ‘fierce strokes and slashes of blue,’ [4] noting with delight how the canvas cowered before him.

‘The colours are lovely to look at and delicious to squeeze out.’[5] Little did Great-Grandpapa know that painting was not only a remedy for depression, but a skill for leadership; one that cultivated his mind to draw out the best in those around him. As leaders, we need to look for the positive in people, and encourage it, while helping to resolve the negative we find. The result of this attitude particularly on a workforce could be phenomenal, and as it did for Churchill, reduced staff-turnover.


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CHURCHILL: The Character of Leadership

This entry is part 6 of 12 in the series Lead Like Churchill

Winston S. Churchill c.1891

It has sadly become a popular belief that leaders are naturally born, and Churchill, many have said, was one of them. Looking at some of the leaders around the world today, the reality happily sets in that this can’t be true, or Nurse Ratched would be calling “Medication time”[1] for all of us. “Many are called,” however, “few are chosen.”[2] Anyone can be a leader, but few are considered great. Of that select few, I am honored to say that my great-grandfather was one. But his skill as a leader was not born, it was cultivated by the influence of those around him.

Hang on, I hear some shout in objection, he was born into great privilege and had much more opportunity than the average Joe. True, I can’t deny his class. He also had the best education that money could buy. Because of birth and wealth, he could join the ranks of the British Army as an officer in Her Majesty’s cavalry, instead of being forced to enter as a Private, with no hope of climbing ranks beyond Sergeant. However, none of this helped him win his political seat in 1900. Nor did the fact that his mother was friends with those in high political office.

Winston S. Churchill – War Correspondent for the Morning Post, South Africa
© Bettmann Corbis

When Churchill entered Parliament in 1900 he did so on his own merit, earned literally from his own ‘blood, toil, tears and sweat,’[3] while working as a war correspondent in South Africa. Over the sixty years he served in Parliament, he did so, like his father before him, at the will of the people who had elected him, and with their voice in his heart.

Caring nothing for rank, status, class or consequence, Churchill confidently spoke out, despite often seeing his words fall on stony ground, or be picked over in London society, like vultures to a corpse. ‘Every prophet has to go into the wilderness,’ he remarked in his essay on Moses, but it was his conviction that it was a necessary process, and that challenges presented opportunities ‘by which psychic dynamite is made.’[4] His faith that he was being prepared for greatness ran through his veins, and although he seemed at times in too much of a hurry, his speed was clearly dictated by the circumstances around him.

He led with humility, spoke with conviction, and forgave all who had hounded him unfairly, unreservedly. His faith in himself and the ability of the British people to defeat the despot over the Channel, was equaled only to his faith in God, and in “all the strength that God,”[5] could give him. With courage, faith and integrity, Churchill raised “the tattered flag [he] found lying on a stricken field.”[6] And despite the odds, stood in front of his people against a “monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime,”[7] and said “you do your worst, and we shall do our best.”[8]

 

SPECIAL EVENT

JANUARY 18, 2017

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An overview of Sir Winston Churchill’s leadership and the
introduction to the Lead Like Churchill leadership course

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“We can all learn to lead like my great-grandfather, with courage, faith and integrity”

 

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The Most Important Time of The Year, 1941

Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill & President Franklin D. Roosevelt, enjoying dinner at the White House – Christmas, 1941

In 1941, Winston Churchill made two of the most important visits to the United States. In the August, he met with President Roosevelt in Newfoundland, and together they signed the Atlantic Charter, which formed the basis of the Allies intentions towards the aggressor after the war, and a pledge that the errors of the First World War would not be repeated. On December 7, the Japanese attacked at Pearl Harbor, and two days later Mussolini, followed by Hitler, declared war on the United States, thus securing the Allies victory.

It is 75-years since that terrible attack, and being a Brit, having the honour of living among you, I certainly agree with Great-Grandpapa’s sentiments in his 1941 Christmas message at the White House. “I spend this anniversary and festival far from my country…yet I cannot truthfully say that I feel far from home.”

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill, watch the Christmas Light ceremony at the White House, 1941

Churchill’s love for America led him to drop everything after Pearl Harbor was attacked and fly over to spend Christmas in America. His visit was the sign of solidarity that struck fear in the hearts and minds of our enemies, but a cord of hope in the homes of those united against the tyranny of Hitler and his Nazis.

“Let the children have their night of fun and laughter. Let the gifts of Father Christmas delight their play. Let us grown-ups share to the full in their unstinted pleasures before we turn again to the stern task and the formidable years that lie before us, resolved that, by our sacrifice and daring, these same children shall not be robbed of their inheritance or denied their right to live in a free and decent world.

And so, in God’s mercy, a happy Christmas to you all.”

 

 


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CHURCHILL: The Wisdom Behind the Throne

This entry is part 5 of 12 in the series Lead Like Churchill
Mrs. Clementine Churchill, right, laughs heartily as British Prime Minister Winston Churchill talks at Chigwell, England, during his election campain, May 27, 1945. (AP Photo)

Mrs. Clementine Churchill, right, laughs heartily as British Prime Minister Winston Churchill talks at Chigwell, England, during his election campain, May 27, 1945. (AP Photo)

Thirty-nine years ago, one of the greatest women of the Twentieth Century, Clementine Churchill, passed away and joined her husband, my great-grandfather, Winston. They had been married for over fifty years, and although on occasion tumultuous, theirs was a relationship of overwhelming love, and on Great-Grandmamma’s part, extreme patience. As author Sonia Purnell points out, Great-Grandmamma ‘proved a genius both at patching up the wreckage caused by his [Winston’s] bad decisions, and at offering good advice.’ Purnell maintains, and from my study of Churchill’s life, I agree, Clementine’s role in Great-Grandpapa’s life was so significant that without her, his ‘career would have been a washout.’[1]

How often the vital role of women, or indeed a supportive partner or spouse has been overlooked, or indeed taken for granted. While I am sure that many can claim that they became successful because of their own hard work, few can say they remained successful due to their own merits. Whether you are a successful man, or woman, can you really say that you got there alone? I certainly cannot make such a claim. Without the support of several significant people in my own life, including my mother, my sister, and indeed, my very patient wife, I would never have made it this far in life, let alone written and had published, a book. Great-Grandpapa was unable to lay claim to his success on his own strength. Apart from the credit that he gives God, in his autobiography My Early Life, Churchill’s early career both as an officer in the British Army, and a politician from 1900, would not have been possible without the support and intervention of his American mother, Jennie. His later career success also required finesse, something his personality seriously lacked. However, wisely, Churchill deferred to Clementine, who proved on many occasions that she was very capable of fighting his corner without antagonizing his opposition, or his leaders. Following the Dardanelles disaster, it was my great-grandmother who, according to Sonia Purnell, ‘encouraged him to go to the Front,’ believing it would be good for his image. While Churchill was away serving in France, Clementine was busy ‘running nine enormous workers’ canteens.’[2] Although not necessarily a calculated political move, it certainly didn’t hurt with improving Churchill’s reputation as people realised that Mrs. Churchill, like her husband, didn’t see herself as high and mighty, but indeed equal to all, and as ready as any to roll her sleeves up, and get dirty for the boys on the Front.

Leadership is not conducted alone, and wise leaders acknowledge and respect those who helped them to the top, and never look down in-pride from above. Great-Grandpapa himself credited Great-Grandmamma with great wisdom, describing her as ‘his “sagacious military pussycat”.’[3]

This is only to give you my fondest love and kisses a hundred times repeated…I have found it quite lonely & will rejoice to see us joined together in gaiety and love.

Yours ever & always,

[4]

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CHURCHILL: The Courage to Listen 

This entry is part 4 of 12 in the series Lead Like Churchill

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.

Often attributed to Great-Grandpapa, but in-fact, according to Richard Langworth, unattributed; but the sentiment is right, whether Churchill spoke it or not.

wscandcsc-thames1940

The Churchill’s on The Thames (c.1940)

During the 1930s, groans would be heard in the House of Commons when Churchill rose to speak. His warnings that Hitler was a problem we could not afford to underestimate were sadly ignored. But with courage, despite colleagues on both sides of the House jeering at him and shouting for him to sit-down, Great-Grandpapa remained resolute.

Churchill’s goal was clear from the earliest moments in 1933; he intended to ensure that Britain rearmed to avoid a war, the horror of which he feared would be matched, if not outdone, by the War of 1914-1918.

Great-Grandpapa proved his courage was made of metal when he stood and spoke over the unruly House of Commons, however, it was not until he became Prime Minister he proved that, although ‘always ready to learn,’[1] and not always happy to be taught, he could rise to the occasion, and, as a leader, listen to advice.  Shortly after becoming Prime Minister, Great-Grandmama wrote to Churchill, concerned at a complaint she had received on how he was handling the pressures of his office, and the war:

‘I must confess that I have noticed a deterioration in your manner; & you are not so kind as you used to be,’ Clementine wrote, ‘with this terrific power you must combine urbanity, kindness and if possible Olympic calm…I cannot bear that those who serve the Country & yourself should not love you as well as admire and respect you.’[2]

Great-Grandpapa’s attitude changed overnight. Although still occasionally overbearing, the cruelty disappeared completely, and as a result, colleagues he worked with remembered him fondly and considered him a great hero. I personally feel that his late secretary, Grace Hamblin, summed-up the sentiment best. In a letter penned to Clementine Churchill, following the funeral in London, Grace wrote:

‘I pondered on what had made this dynamic but gentle character so beloved and respected—and such a wonderful person to work for. I think one found first of all that there was courage. He had no fear of anything, moral or physical. There was sincerity, truth and integrity, for he couldn’t knowingly deceive a cabinet minister or a bricklayer or a secretary. There was forgiveness, warmth, affection, loyalty and, perhaps most important of all in the demanding life we all lived, there was humour, which he had in abundance….’[3]

Leading with courage is one of the most important qualities of leadership because, ‘as it has been said…Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities because…it is the quality which guarantees all others.’[4]


Note from the author: This blog post represent information based upon Jonathan’s Churchillian leadership course,
LEAD LIKE CHURCHILL: Courage, Faith, Integrity.
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CHURCHILL: Leading from the Front

This entry is part 3 of 12 in the series Lead Like Churchill

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Churchill, unlike Hitler, had faith that the cause he was representing was right. Instead of hiding away in the London bunker when the bombs were dropping throughout Britain, Churchill chose to stand with his people as a beacon of hope. Hitler, in contrast, shut himself away from the German people he claimed to represent. In his bunker, Hitler lived in a private world of his own, from which the ugly and awkward facts of Germany’s situation were excluded.

Following the bomb raids, Great-Grandpapa would visit the worst hit. At great personal risk, and against all advice from his bodyguard Commander Walter Thompson, Churchill would mingle with the crowds, comfort those who had lost family, friends and property, and was even found holding the hand of a woman who was trapped beneath the rubble. Once freed, the woman reluctantly let go of Churchill’s hand, and as he watched her disappear on a stretcher into an awaiting ambulance, he remarked to the gathered people, “There goes a true hero!”

Hitler refused to visit the bombsites of Germany. his deep psychological compulsion to appear the great leader aloof from the suffering of his people, but busy fighting for them, was a disguise for the deeper-rooted truth that he could not face. He refused to read reports which contradicted the picture he wanted to form. He chose to believe the Goebbels propaganda, not because negative thinking might breed negative results, but instead because reality might confront him with the enormity of what he had done. Evil finds it hard to look itself in the mirror, but the reflection of good, while showing reality, shines a ray of hope.

Great leaders are great leaders, only because they represent great causes that are not in contradiction to ethical and moral values. When one compromises ethics, the slope become slippery, and, as with Hitler, we lose our footing. To lead like Churchill, with courage, faith and integrity, you need to choose a cause that is morally and ethically sound.

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QUOTATIONS

BULLOCK, Alan: Hitler A Study in Tyranny
HICKMAN, Tom: Churchill’s Bodyguard

IMAGES

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CHURCHILL LEADERSHIP: He Understood…

This entry is part 2 of 12 in the series Lead Like Churchill

wsc-008My great-grandfather would often argue with his longtime bodyguard, Walter Thompson, on whether he should hide in the bunker when the bombs were dropping on London. I have asked these people to risk everything, he said. How can I possibly expect them to take these risks if I too am not prepared to do so?

Churchill often stood atop the government buildings and watched as the Luftwaffe mercilessly bombed his people below. “You do your worst,” he told Hitler. “And we will do our best!”

Leadership is from the front, not the back, hence the reason it’s called ‘leadership’, and not followship.

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CHURCHILL: “According to Holy Writ” – Part 6 – ‘To be or not to be’

This entry is part 12 of 12 in the series GOD & CHURCHILL: The Evidence Exposed
Winston S. Churchill

Winston S. Churchill

Throughout this part of the GOD & CHURCHILL: The Evidence Exposed series, we have focused on the early prediction Churchill made at sixteen, and now, in these last 6-parts of “According to Holy Writ”, what he himself professed to believe.

The evidence that my co-author Wallace Henley and I present in God & Churchill, strongly supports Great-Grandpapa’s own contention that his life was both directed and protected by a greater force than himself. These articles have gone into more depth, demonstrating that Churchill not only believed in God and the words in the Bible, but that his faith was foundational to his character and leadership.

We began this part of the series looking at Great-Grandpapa’s essay on Moses. In Churchill’s own words he professed to believe the literal words of the Bible story. Despite the fact that in his day, science was able to offer an explanation as to the possibility of the Exodus, Churchill chose to recognize that science exists to run in tandem with faith and religion, not stand as the reason against it. ‘We may be sure that all these things happened just as they are set out according to Holy Writ.’

Having demonstrated that Great-Grandpapa had an unquestionable belief in the words of the Bible, it became necessary to establish whether he had a faith in God and also whether he believed Jesus to be a mere prophet, or the son of God. In order to address this, we first needed to examine the character of Churchill in comparison to that of Jesus Christ. “You shall know them by their fruits,” is how a faithful servant of God and follower of Christ is known. The evidence Wallace and I presented painted a true picture of Churchill. His early arrogance was quickly overcome in his youth and was replaced by a humility that drew people to him as a leader. Churchill demonstrated humility, humanity and forgiveness and the evidence of this is seen throughout the 1930s and then during the Second World War, especially at the beginning of his premiership when he, like Hitler, could have taken revenge on those who had stood opposed to him and caused him hardship.

Great-Grandpapa confessed his belief in Jesus as the son of God, during his conversation with Field Marshal Montgomery in 1952, “Christ’s story was unequalled,” he told his old comrade, “his death to save sinners [is] unsurpassed.”

Finally, again through Churchill’s own words we see a further and equally strong confession of his faith. Writing while on the run in South Africa, Great-Grandpapa stated with clarity that, ‘without the assistance of that High Power, which interferes in the eternal sequence of causes and effects more than we are always prone to admit, I could never succeed.’

The information I have presented so far in GOD & CHURCHILL: The Evidence Exposed, stands to establish that Great-Grandpapa had a faith in a very real God who clearly, when he was sixteen, revealed a prophesy that in later years became a reality. However, still needed is an explanation of where he originally acquired his faith, and what evidence there is to support Great-Grandpapa’s contention that his life was indeed directed and protected for a purpose?

After the Christmas break we are going to examine these issues more closely, beginning with a review of the influence his nanny, Elizabeth Everest had on him, and then addressing his rejection of faith in India.


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CHURCHILL: “This Invaluable Exposure”

The origins of Churchill’s faith in God and the literal words of the Bible


 

Front Cover (USA) (sml-150x225)Jonathan Sandys, a great-grandson of Britain’s wartime Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, along with former White House aide and current senior associate pastor of Houston’s Second Baptist Church, Wallace Henley, reveal compelling evidence that overturns the erroneous belief that Churchill was either an agnostic or an atheist.

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