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Why should we be forced to pay for a BBC that portrays Winston Churchill as a mass murdering racist? 

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24.07.2020

On the evening of Sunday, January 24, 1965, the BBC made a last-minute change to its schedules.

Following Winston Churchill’s death, Prime Minister Harold Wilson had asked to address the nation.

Wilson’s opening words set the tone. ‘Tonight,’ he said simply, ‘our nation pays its tribute to the greatest man any of us have known.’

The BBC’s message was clear. Churchill was a racist and a villain — and if you don’t agree, then so are you

Over the next few days, the BBC’s coverage reflected the national mood. Bulletins faithfully reported the words of Churchill’s old rival, Labour’s Clement Attlee, who thought the wartime leader was ‘the greatest Englishman of our time — I think the greatest citizen of the world of our time’.

And at Churchill’s funeral, the BBC’s cameras captured the scene as dockers’ cranes along the Thames dipped in a collective salute.

Attack

That was the BBC half a century ago, a broadcaster that spoke for the nation. But its attitude to Churchill today could hardly be more different.

On Tuesday morning, Radio 4’s Today programme devoted a long segment to an attack on Churchill’s record in India.

Then, later that evening, BBC One’s flagship News at Ten gave the impression, incredibly, that Churchill bore personal responsibility for the deaths of three million people in the Bengal famine of 1943.

What made the famine of 1943 so dreadful was the context. Japan’s invasion of Burma had driven hundreds of thousands of starving refugees into India. Meanwhile, Japanese ships had sunk an estimated 100,000 tonnes of Allied shipping in the Bay of Bengal

One Indian academic maintained Churchill had been the ‘precipitator’ of terrible mass killings, while Oxford historian, Yasmin Khan said Churchill was guilty of ‘prioritising white lives over Asian lives’.

Watching in disbelief, I wondered which historians the BBC had lined up to counter these arguments.

Sir Max Hastings, one of our leading experts on Churchill and World War II? Andrew Roberts, whose recent........

© Mail Online


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