Tuesday, December 6, 2016

God save us from people who think they're the fire brigade

Winston Churchill said, "I decline utterly to be impartial as between the fire brigade and the fire." It sounds like a good line out of context. In context, it tells you a great deal about how awful Churchill was. He meant that the desperate miners who took part in the General Strike of 1926 were the fire, and he was the fire brigade.

Context: 1926 United Kingdom general strike - Wikipedia: "On 5 May 1926, both sides gave their views. Churchill (at that time Chancellor of the Exchequer) commented as editor of the government newspaper British Gazette: "I do not agree that the TUC have as much right as the Government to publish their side of the case and to exhort their followers to continue action. It is a very much more difficult task to feed the nation than it is to wreck it"."

The "fire brigade" line was made two months later, when he defended his choice to slant the news for the side he favored—see EMERGENCY SERVICES. (Hansard, 7 July 1926).