Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Young Winston

. Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The greatest Briton, surely, though many of his fellow Britons proved and continue to prove themselves unworthy of him. Our brave old lion, stalwart defender of the sacred Crown and leader of the English-speaking peoples! He is, in some respects, an effectual patron saint for this blog; and a perpetual rebuke to the grotty, shameless politicians we are so unlucky to have today. (With some exceptions).

So the Monarchist reader will no doubt be happy to hear the good news that Richard Attenborough’s 1972 film ‘Young Winston’ has just been released on DVD for the first time. It lacks some of the charm of ‘My Early Life’, Churchill’s boffo autobiography (still available in a beautiful paperback from Eland), but remains an excellent piece, featuring much of its content, a film of awesome scope and home to some remarkable performances.

It takes in everything from Churchill’s cavalry charge against the Dervishes (who scream ‘Allahu Ackbar’ as they attack, oh how the times don’t change), his unsuccessful days at school (here we might have done without the rather seedy beating scenes), his midnight escape from a Boer prisoner-of-war camp, and his early years in Parliament. Simon Ward looks uncannily like the young Churchill, and does a great job of his snarling, flighty brand of eloquence.

Like the book, the film is a continually impressive, inspiring account of a great man’s formation. There’s none of the silly nonsense of ‘finding oneself’, or self-exploration, or backpacking in Thailand, that constitutes the present-day ‘development’ into adulthood. Instead we have an illustration in bravery, patriotism and good humour that all would do well to learn from.

Read the book first, and set aside a spring evening for the film. It goes down well with a brandy and a cigar, and a roaring fire, and a happy stomach full of some roast joint.


Sir Walter Scott said...

Er, the image has come out rather poorly, but I think the post needs one. Does anyone know how to shrink into elegance?

The Monarchist said...

I tried, but to no avail. This will have to do. I think he's about 24 in this smashing black and white. It goes well with your brandy and cigar over a roaring fire image of the great man.

Sir Walter Scott said...

It's much better - cheers!

Bo Green said...

Good god, I had no idea he was so dashingly handsome - what a truly stellar photo.

Yes, he was truly like none other; I hope that one day we in Canada can earn a leader of his caliber.

Neil Welton said...

What do you mean "seedy beating scenes"? You clearly have no appreciation of the English boarding school system. For such traditional practices were quite common place until the EU decided to intervene recently. You would also do well to remember that there is nothing morally wrong with corporal punishment - on the contrary The Holy Bible instructs us to use it. I can also personally vouch for the fact that it works. For I was caned once (only once) at the age of nine at my school. I will admit to you that the pain was excruciating (I screamed out loud in fact) and that I also tried to beg pathetically for mercy between each and every stroke. I will also admit to you that my backside bled and then stung for two whole days - but I think that might have been the whole point of 'Six Of The Best'. The other point of it was to tame my rudeness (my quite incessant backchat) and to humble my spirit back into politeness for my teacher. Back into being "a young gentleman" that, after all, we were all supposed to be - funny how it worked though.

Sir Walter Scott said...

The beating scenes are seedy (putting aside the whole question of corporal punishment) in the way they're shot; I'm not a fan of the rather ponderous shots of boys' buttocks, nor of the shots of rows of boys standing terrified in earshot of their chums being whipped with a cane. It's unnecessary. The fact of corporal punishment might have been portrayed with less insistence. You might admire its effects, but I don't think you admire the immediate physical and emotional act. Proponents and opponents can unite, therefore, in not wanting to see extended scenes of its execution.

As for the rest of your post...

I'm not particularly interested in arguing about corporal punishment, and hadn't given any thought to it being right or wrong - because it doesn't happen any more, and its return isn't imminent. Which I suppose means I oppose it, just like I oppose the compulsory eating of bicycle wheels. Both are deplorable, but neither probable. I just hadn't felt a need to have an opinion on it before; it seems like such a settled matter.

I don't believe the few cases where it can be argued a success excuse the license for abuse and chances of serious damage that, as we know, are just as (if not more) likely to be involved in its exercise. I'm glad you believe it helped you. But such a power is too much for teachers to wield; to be judge, jury and executioner far too opposite to all our notions of justice and too open to evil; and to have your children beaten bloody but your criminals neither flogged nor executed, is a ridiculous inequality in a scheme of justice.

Neil Welton said...

I understand and respect your opinion Scott but the fact remains this was happening in England until quite recently. For we did stand terrified in earshot of chums being whipped. We did see extended scenes of its execution - but for real. Why should a film misrepresent reality? I sense it is you now being politically correct.

I believe in hindsight that it did help me - even though at the time I was left quite devastated and completely crushed by it. Needless to say at the time I also hated it and resented it - very much in the same way that you do now Scott. In very much the same way that you now casually question your teachers "right" to do anything.

However, that is the point. It is about respect and knowing who you're elders and betters are. For when children start to rule the roost society soon collapses - just look around you at your "criminals". For a beating instilled the fear of God into me - something which today's over indulged youths with their "rights" and their "you can't do this" will never understand.

Sir Walter Scott said...

I'm not being politically correct. No-one likes or enjoys corporal punishment; you recommend its consequences, which is different; without the consequences being shown in the film (indeed, all that happens is Winston being taken away from the school), I cannot believe there is any point at all in showing the execution.

I don't question teachers' rights to do anything, merely the right to inflict physical pain on other people's children as a method of correction and punishment. I think it too open to abuse, dubious at best in its merits, and ridiculously disproportionate in the larger scheme of justice operative in our nation.

I can hardly believe that the way to achieve "respect" and to prove to children who their "elders and betters" are is by beating their buttocks bloody with a belt whenever they do something disobliging. It doesn't teach them that at all. What it teaches them is that if they do certain things, such viciousness will be the consequence. It is the same in effect as deterring lab rats from food with electric shocks.

From that can extend certain broader conclusions or implications in the victim's mind - this is where the wider meaning of it comes in - and I see nothing that should of necessity draw them to believe that it proves their punisher and the breed to which their punisher belongs, their "betters". I think its effectiveness is merely in enforcing boundaries; future obedience derives from fear not respect; and it vests authority with terror rather than superiority.

Sir Walter Scott said...

I also think you underestimate the ordinary, non-physical capacity of teachers to terrify or embarrass children into obedience.

adams said...

Re Corporal punishment, I had a post over at Anglosphere Union Now! on the subject of using it for punishing criminals a while back.

Neil Welton said...

You are being politically correct Scott - for you seek to alter the representation of history (and thereby the teaching of it) because it offends you. Sounds a bit politically correct to me. Anyway, it might be very difficult for a film maker to represent and to express the "consequences" of a caning. For I can assure you much of that goes on inwardly within the mind and within the conscience.

I will concede that to the unitiated corporal punishment must seem unnecessary cruel - just like "deterring lab rats from food with electric shocks". For example, when I screamed out in pain I was merely told to stop my "pathetic whimpering". I was then warned that I would receive extra strokes for each time I screamed again. Instead, I was informed, I was to keep the pain deep within me and to reflect upon what I had done to deserve it. Mind you knotting elastic bands around the cane at different points (to enhance the sting) could be viewed as going too far. Positively barbaric even - but it "worked" on us as it had done for centuries before.

I will also admit that it all comes down to how you define your "betters" - because that is a very subjective and individualistic judgement in the modern age. Are your "betters" those by birth, social standing or wealth? Are your "betters" those by education, moral judgement or by just plain intelligence? Are your "betters" those by breeding, age or experience? The list goes on and on. I think society used to agree on who were the "betters". Since that has fractured, ordered society has suffered.

For surely future obedience derives from both fear and respect. You need authority vested with superiority and terror (read Romans 13 - "For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of him who is in authority?" It adds - "...if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain...").

I do not think that I "underestimate the ordinary, non-physical capacity of teachers' to terrify or embarrass children into obedience". We have tried this route for most of the past thirty years - especially in state schools. As you can see, by looking around you in the street, it has worked most marvellously. Now just remind me to take a knife proof vest and a bullet proof vest the next time I dare to venture out. Anyway, by questioning a teachers' right to inflict physical pain on "other people's children" (revealing phrase), surely you are questioning a teachers' right to do "anything".

Sir Walter Scott said...

Er, there's really rather too many unsubstantiated claims and illogical leaps there. I would simply refer you back to my previous posts, as I think they still stand strongly and rationally against your position.

Neil Welton said...

I will let others decide.

DirtCrashr said...

I went to boarding-school in my youth and fortunately avoided corporal punishment although I often deserved it - but it wasn't whips, it was a great big paddle with holes in it so as its spoeed were not to be impeeded by air-resiostance. Having said that, it wasn't applied as liberally as in Winston's time.
Thank you I'm enjoying a tri-tip roast and a nice aged rum with my Arturo Fuentes in the tropics.

Anonymous said...

Corporal punishment did Sir Richard Francis Burton a world of good. He and his brother beat their tutor senseless and had a lovely time after that.


The Monarchist said...

My father on occasion would make me pick out my own fir branch. Let's just say I preferred the wet branches over the dry needles if there appeared to be a choice in the rain forests of British Columbia. I of course turned out fine.

By the way, I'm afraid Her Majesty won't be able to see the new DVD. As the Queen told someone not too long ago, Her Family only has video.

Neil Welton said...

We had a "choice" too Monarchist. Before assuming the position, which involved nearly falling over as we tried to touch our toes, we were allowed to choose the specific cane that was going to be used. This was because each cane had its own name - a name which we would then remember and be "acquainted" with. After choosing the cane we were then told to look at it and to think again about what we had done. Yet to my young and undiscerning eyes the canes all looked the same shape and all looked the same length. Indeed, they all appeared to have elastic bands knotted around them as well. The only difference I could perceive was in the colour of the canes and perhaps therefore their age. So unlike your "wet branches" and "dry needles", I'm not sure whether the colour of a cane or its age makes any difference to the sensation of the pain. After all, I never went back to find out. Yet I suppose, at the end of the day, I did learn that there is only one real "choice" in our lives - behave or misbehave.

Unrepentant Jacobite said...

Frankly, sir, if I were in your shoes and that happened to me, I would have slain the tutor in justifiable self-defense.

For there is a difference between "Discipline" and "Abuse". And the caning and such is "Abuse", not "Discipline". So in this case, Scott is right and you are wrong.

As someone who himself suffered emotional and verbal abuse during his formative years, I would have never let such a tutor get away with it.

Neil Welton said...

Thank you for that Unrepentant Jacobite. So you would go and murder the teacher. Methinks you make my argument for me.

Neil Welton said...

Anyway, the masses have now spoken:

Unrepentant Jacobite said...

With all due respect, Mr. Welton, I think you've made the argument for Scott.

But I intuit we will never agree on this matter. So be it. But I thank you for a bracing discussion on this matter nonetheless.

Neil Welton said...

Just to let you all know that a British Government MORI survey of parents was published today and the majority agreed - "School discipline has deteriorated because teachers are no longer allowed to use the cane on unruly pupils."

Sir Walter Scott said...

But that's an opinion not a fact.

Anyway, I suppose it's fine to beat the poor kids - the future criminal class. Public schoolers should be left alone, however.

I know. How outrageous.

Neil Welton said...

Silly me, there was me thinking we all lived in a democracy. Anyway, the evidence speaks for itself (just look around you at your yobs) and that's why the majority of parents now support the cane. However, to be honest I am rather surprised Scott. I have never once suggested that "poor kids" should be treated differently from "rich kids". It leads me to think - do I now detect class envy or do I detect political correctness (again)? For you do appear to suggest that children who do wrong should be treated with kid gloves just because they happen to be born poor. You also appear to suggest that it is quite outrageous that "public schoolers" are "left alone" - do you think this is "outrageous" because they know how to behave (in the main) or because they were born rich?

Sir Walter Scott said...

Oh crumbs, you misread me completely. I was being facetious in a different way. (I'm glad public schoolers are left alone, having been one myself). I was kidding about thinking the poor deserve it; they deserve it even less.

Neil Welton said...

Phewww! That's a relief. You had me a bit worried there Scott. Yet you know what they say too. Many a true word is spoken in jest. Anyway, your generation should count itself very lucky indeed. Whenever I think about what happened to me, I too wish I had been "left alone".

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Queen's Birthday: New Zealand unveils new Vice-Regal Standard
Prince Charming: Quebec author calls Canadian G-G a "negro queen"
The Senior Service: Sub-Lieutenant Wales to take on Pirates of the Caribbean
Crown of Disenchantment: What does it require to withhold royal assent?
Colonial Mentality: Key republican thinks Victoria Cross is a colonial relic
The Red Baron: Billy Bishop, not Mannock, was the British Empire's top ace
Which Scots conservatism: Unionist or Nationalist?
Loyal Subject: After all she has done, we owe the Queen our oath
Victoria Day – Fête de la Reine: Official B'day of the Queen of Canada
Renaming the Victoria Day Weekend: Let's get rid of Heritage Day Bob
Pro Valore: Canada mints its own Victoria Cross in time for Victoria Day
State Visit to Turkey: Mustafa Akyol says God Save the Queen, Indeed
Norn Iron Unites: What issue is uniting all parties of Northern Ireland?
Extreme Loyalist: Michael Stone attempted to slit the throats of Adams and McGuinness because he just "can't handle" republicans being in government.
Canada's Vice-Regal dubbed an elegant mix between Lady Di and Nelson Mandela
Queen of Australia: Support for Australian republic hits new low
A Heroes Welcome: The Windsor Castle Royal Tattoo, 8-10 May 2008
Fat, Vile and Impudent: Alan Fotheringham is back on the bottle
The Devine Right of Bling: Our Royals have become hereditary celebrities
Battle of the Atlantic: Canadians remember the longest battle of WW2
Old Etonian Toff: Boris Johnson installed as Tory Mayor of London
Britain needs a Patron Saint: Cry God for Harry, Britain and St. Aiden?
Anglos in Mont-Royal: Rooting for the Montreal Canadiens
Daniel Hannan: Borders of the Anglosphere and the British Empire was a mistake
Australia 2020: One Big Fat Republican Con Job
Bye bye Tommy: O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy go away"
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Carpetbaggers Down Under: Kevin 'Mugabe' Rudd wins 98.5% support for republic
Kipling: The Jeremiah of Empire and the Poet Laureate of Civilisation
Duke of Edinburgh: Behind the gaffes is a man of real sincerity
Lord Rutherford: The Father of the Atom lives on in great great grandson
Queen of Australia: Royalty Protects us from Tyranny, David Barnett
Long Live the Broadsheet! Norumbega, more traditionalist than the Pope.
A Tale of Two Countries: Soldiers of Britain and Canada serve the same Queen but...
Loyal Subject: Polishing the Royal Crown, Matt Bondy & Brendon Bedford
Devoted to the End: Obituary of Sir Phillip Bridges
The Monarchist does not recognize the Republic of Kosova
Loyal Subject: MPs Ruse Defeated; God Save the Queen!
St. Paddy's Day: Edmund Burke, the greatest Irishman who ever lived
Not Amused: The Bunkum of Timothy Garton Ash
Hero Harry: Rave Reviews across the Commonwealth
Patriot Prince: Prince Harry fought for us all, Charles Moore
William F. Buckley, RIP: He had a Tory gratitude for the pleasures of life
Their Lordships' Duty: The House of Lords can influence the Lisbon Treaty debate
Knights of Oz: Revive Sirs or I'll have your guts for garters
Peter Hitchens: People love the Queen...and the BBC hates us for it
Our Greatest Monarch: Paul Johnson says Henry V was our greatest monarch
Princess Diana Inquest: A Dirty Raincoat Show for the World
Malcom Turnbull: 'Queen's death will spark republican vote'
Duke of York: The Royals are not "stuffed dummies". They should have their say
Peers of the Realm: The decline and fall of the House of Lords - Charles A. Coulombe
Peter Hitchens: Get rid of the monarchy and you will get rid of a guardian of liberty
Honouring Sir Edmund Hillary
The Queen versus an E.U. President
Going Solo: Prince William earns his Wings
James C. Bennett: The Third Anglosphere Century
Knights of Oz: Revive Sirs or I'll have your guts for garters
Princess Diana Inquest: A Dirty Raincoat Show for the World
Malcom Turnbull: 'Queen's death will spark republican vote'
Future Peer: The life and times of Lady Victoria Beckham
Peers of the Realm: The decline and fall of the House of Lords - Charles A. Coulombe
Peter Hitchens: Get rid of the monarchy and you will get rid of a guardian of liberty


New York Times: Ever Backwards into the Royal Future
Peter Hitchens: People love the Queen...and the BBC hates us for it
Christopher Hitchens: An Anglosphere Future
Andrew Cusack: Republicanism is a traitor's game
Courageous Patrician: Rt Hon Ian Douglas Smith (1919-2007)
The Last Rhodesian: What began with Rhodes and ended with Ian?
Gentleman Journalist: The Lord Baron W.F. Deedes, 1913-2007
Not Amused: Blair's sinister campaign to undermine the Queen
Loyal Subject: Queen Elizabeth: A stranger in her own country
Reverence Deference: Bowing and Scraping Back in Tradition
Rex Murphy: Kennedy, Churchill, Lincoln - The rousing bon mot is no more
Gerald Warner: Don't shed a tear for Diana cult in its death throes
The End of Grandeur: Rich, chincy Canada puts Strathmore on the blocks
Confessions of a Republican Leftie: "The Queen charmed the pants off me"
The King's Own Calgary Regiment: Cpl. Nathan Hornburg is laid to rest
The Royal Gurkha Rifles: Prince William grieves the death of Major Roberts
Queensland Mounted Rifles: Trooper David Pearce, 41, killed in Afghanistan
The Order of Canada: 100 investitures later, Canada's highest honour turns 40
Prince Edward on Prince Edward Island: Troop's link to monarchy important
HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN: Unveils the UK Armed Forces Memorial
Great Britain: "A rotten borough with a banana monarchy" - by Europhile
Peers of the Realm: The decline and fall of the House of Lords - Charles A. Coulombe
Remembering 'Smithy': An obituary tour de force by Andrew Cusack here, here and here.
NOT AMUSED: Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Quebec not invited to Quebec's tercentenary