Churchillís Maiden Speech
Winston Churchill made his maiden speech in the Commons on a subject where he had the benefit of expertise and recent personal experience, the war in South Africa. It was in reply to the speech made by David Lloyd George , one of the established Ďbig beastsí of his day, during the debate on the Kingís Speech on the war, so Churchill was showing some courage in taking on a man of no little debating ability and reputation in a matter of great consequence.
The substance of Churchill ís speech would perhaps fit ill with contemporary consciences: he tries to justify the burning of Boer farms during the war on the basis of recent precedent and waging an effective military campaign; he lauds senior British officers but criticizes junior ones unable to defend themselves; and the whole tone of his speech is that the Boers should think themselves lucky that Britain deems it fit to take over the land they control and bring them into the greatness of the British Empire.
His speech concludes with a coda both moving and calculated: moving in that it brings his late father to mind as the supposed reason MPs have extended him their kindness and patience during his speech; calculated in that it reminds listeners that he holds a family membership to Britainís powerful establishment club. Plus ca change.
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