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Sir Winston Churchill Public Speaking Project

Posted on the 06 March 2013 by Charlescrawford @charlescrawford

Preparations chez Crawford are intensifying for next week's fine Churchill Public Speaking Project event at Blenheim Palace at which schools compete to deliver powerful presentations on a number of possible themes.

Here's the list of subjects.

Events like this help motivate children (and, ahem, their parents) to look at the life and times of Sir Winston Churchill and think about what he did and represented. Ignoring (if we can) the fact that he smoked, we today look at his language and instincts and marvel at just how distant they seem. This is one especially famous 1954 quote:

I have never accepted what many people have kindly said, namely that I inspired the Nation. It was the nation and the race dwelling around the globe that had the lion heart. I had the luck to be called upon to give the roar

Here the reference to 'the race' is striking - the sense of the noble white British man setting the planet a fine example.

A cursory Internet search finds a vast literature on the subject of Churchill and racism, including freaky neo-Nazi groups citing his abusive attitudes to India and Indians in support of their own supremacist ravings.

Then there's the always fascinating subject of Churchill's not-so-latent bouts of collectivism and the idea that society needed to be 'properly organised'. This turned into his undiluted admiration of Mussolini in the 1920s. This is a sensible if searching look at what all that represented at the time. Progressive people railing against Churchill's supposed hypocrisy on that score need to remember that in the 1920s and 1930s adulation of Mussolini ran far and wide.

So, plenty of material to work with for the youngsters gearing up to debate some awkward questions next week.

Go for it. Don't try to sound like Churchill. Sound like you.

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