Winston Churchill: Steve Baker says ‘we can’t be cancelling him’
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Brits aged between 19-24 are a third less likely than those over 65 to say they admired Winston Churchill. The new poll was commissioned by rightwing thinktank Policy Exchange, which asked participants if they had a “largely positive” view of Winston Churchill and if “the good things he did outweigh the bad”.
The new research seems to suggest that Winstron Churchill is becoming more unpopular overtime, as 36 percent of the overall British population reported they thought of him positively.
In 2018, 47 percent of Brits said they admired the former Prime Minister in a similar poll, and in a 2002 BBC poll, the British public voted Sir Winstron as the “greatest Briton of all time”.
It also revealed that 20 percent said they had a “mixed view” of the wartime leader, while seven percent said they viewed him negatively.
Thirty two percent said they did not know and six percent said they preferred not to say.
Brits were also asked their opinion of the Britsih Empire, and only 26 percent overall though it had done more good than harm and 19 percent of the public think children are taught about history in a balanced way.
The research also discovered that a Brit’s political beliefs are related to their opinion of the history of Britain.
It found that 63 percent of Conservative voters reported they thought the British Empire did more good than harm while 21 perrent of Labour supporters thought the same.
It was also found that 42 percent of the British public thought Britain should be more proud than ashamed of its role in ending the Atlantic slave trade, while 30 percent had the opposite opinion.
Nearly 30 percent of Labour voters felt Britain should be proud of its role, compared with 64 percent of Conservative voters.
The survey comes after Britain’s historical legacy was debated when in 2020 the statue of Winston Churchill in London’s Parliament Square was vandalised with the phrase “Churchill was a racist”.
In life, Winston Churchill said he believed no wrong had been done to Naive Americans or aboriginal Australians as “a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place”.
The graffiti caused controversy and Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister at the time, wrote on Twitter on the subject and said Sir Winston held opinions that were “unacceptable to us today” but he was also a hero who had saved Britain from “fascist and racist tyranny”.
Emma Soames, the granddaughter of Sir Winston, suggested at the time that the statue be placed in a museum for protection and said it was “extraordinarily sad that my grandfather, who was such a unifying figure in this country, appears to have become a sort of icon through being controversial.”
In an interview with BBC Radio 4, she said: “We’ve come to this place where history is viewed only entirely through the prism of the present” and added that the wartime Prime Minister held views which “particularly now are regarded as unacceptable but weren’t necessarily then”.
She added: “He was a powerful, complex man, with infinitely more good than bad in the ledger of his life.”
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Shrabani Basu, a journalist and historian who was written books about the British Empire, said there were “two sides of Churchill” and “we need to know his darkest hour as well as his finest hour”.
She added that in India, the British Prime Minister was not viewed as a hero due to his role in the 1943 Bengal famine in which at least three million people were killed after Allied forces halted the movement of food in the region.
The journalist also said she did not believe the Winston Churchill statue should be removed from Parimental Square, and said people should be taught “the whole story” about the wartime leader.
Imarn Ayton, an activist who organised Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, said statues of controversial historical figures should be placed in museums.
In an interview with the BBC, she said: “I think it’s a win-win to everyone so we no longer offend the black nation and we also get to keep our history.”
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