[Marxism] Winston Churchill nostalgia?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Sep 10 19:15:09 MDT 2009


Gary MacLennan wrote:
> 
> As for Churchill himself he was a military disaster and a racist imperialist
> to his core.  I once saw a program that talked about how he did not go north
> to address the Yorkshire miners during WW2 until after the Battle of
> Stalingrad. I would bet anything that he was escorted and protected
> by Communist Party shop stewards.

If I find the time, I plan to read Clive Ponting's "revisionist" 
biography of Churchill. Ponting is a remarkable figure. One of the best 
books on ecology was written by Ponting. "A Green History of the World: 
The Environment and the Collapse of Great Civilizations", I can't 
recommend it highly enough. Ponting was also a senior civil servant 
during the Malvinas wars and challenged Thatcher's Churchillian ways, as 
the wiki on him points out:

General Belgrano

Formerly a senior civil servant at the Ministry of Defence (MoD), Clive 
Ponting achieved notoriety in July 1984, when he sent two documents to 
Labour MP Tam Dalyell about the sinking of an Argentine naval warship 
General Belgrano, a key incident in the Falklands War of 1982. The 
documents revealed that the General Belgrano had been sighted a day 
earlier than officially reported, and was steaming away from the Royal 
Navy taskforce, and was outside the exclusion zone, when the cruiser was 
attacked and sunk.

Official Secrets Act

Ponting admitted revealing the information and was charged with a 
criminal offence under Section 2 of the 1911 Official Secrets Act. His 
defence rested on two issues:

     * that the matter was in the public interest, and
     * that disclosure to a Member of Parliament was privileged.

Although Ponting fully expected to be imprisoned – and had brought his 
toothbrush and shaving kit along to the court on 11 February 1985 – he 
was acquitted by the jury. The acquittal came despite the judge's 
direction to the jury that "the public interest is what the government 
of the day says it is". He resigned from the civil service on 16 
February 1985.

Right to know

The Ponting case was seen as a landmark in British legal history, 
raising serious questions about the validity of the 1911 Official 
Secrets Act and the public's "right to know". Shortly after his 
resignation, The Observer began to serialize Ponting's book The Right to 
Know: the inside story of the Belgrano affair. The Conservative 
government reacted by tightening up UK secrets legislation, introducing 
the 1989 Official Secrets Act and removing the public interest defence 
which Ponting had successfully used to avoid being convicted.




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