I watched the hot exchange between the beautiful and alluring Afua Hirsch and the combative and bullish Piers Morgan about Sir Winston Churchill, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, on “Good Morning Britain”.
Surely if Piers Morgan is really interested in knowing who Afua Hirsch regards as a British hero he should simply find the time to read her book. She listed quite a few of them there.
Meanwhile the suggestion that Winston Churchill or any other figure in British or indeed world history is infallible or an angel of light is absurd.
Winston Churchill had his strengths and triumphs and he certainly did great things for Great Britain and indeed the entire world but he also had his weaknesses, failures, and very dark moments.
Like every other great man in world history he got it right on many occassions but he also made his own fair share of mistakes and blunders.
I say this as an admirer of Winston Churchill, who I consider to be a great man and an inspirational figure and I say it as an Old Harrovian.
Unlike Piers Morgan I went to Harrow, the same school as Winston Churchill once did and undoubtedly one of the best schools in the United Kingdom, many years ago but that does not mean that as a writer or historian I am not constrained to point out his flaws and vices as well as his strengths and virtues. I have a moral and ethical duty to do both.
Every true historian, essayist, author, columnist or writer ought to be able to consider and touch on both the good and bad of his or her subject when putting pen to paper.
Had Afua Hirsch not pointed out Winston Churchill’s or Horatio Nelson’s weaknesses and mistakes and had she maintained the “sanitised and propagandist” (using her words) version of their contributions to British and world history she would have done a great disservice to humanity.
We must analyse, discuss and share both the beautiful and the ugly side of our heroes and historical figures so that others can learn the basic lesson of history which is that both your good deeds and your bad ones will be written and spoken about long after you are gone.
British writers, authors and historians like Afua Hirsch and David Olusoga who have written about British history and historical British figures “warts and all” ought to be commended and not condemned.
They have sought to expose the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about their chosen subjects. That ought to be the standard and I commend them for it.