11 March 2011
A positive object
"[It] is no use fighting for a negative object. You must have a positive one, and the sooner that [is] stated the better". Thus Richard Stokes MP, Winston Churchill's PPA (principal pain in the arse) during World War II, along with the Welsh windbag Aneurin Bevan, as approvingly quoted by Soothscribe Richard North.
Hate to differ with the good Dr R, but that is bollocks. Stopping evil sons-of-bitches from doing more evil is the most positive object one can possibly have in war. A "world fit for democracy" and all the rest of the hypocritical American hyperbole that got draped over the two world wars was simply the usual self-serving stuff that emerging hegemonial powers always emit.
As for Stokes and Bevan, they did not oppose their party's demands for unilateral disarmament during the 1930s, therefore they had no moral right to criticize the only man who had denounced appeasement when he had to deal with the consequences.
Stokes argued that Britain should negotiate an end to the war after the Fall of France. Where was the "positive object" in that?
He and Bevan spent the war scoring partisan points while the real patriots in their party were wearing themselves out trying to make amends for their previous appalling failure to realize that the military threat from Nazi Germany trumped their class warfare cliches.