Matthew Norman Column: Witty Winnie Never Talked Dubya Dutch

The Mirror (London, England), August 30, 2002 | Go to article overview

Matthew Norman Column: Witty Winnie Never Talked Dubya Dutch


Byline: Matthew Norman

WE'RE gonna fight him and his bitches... we're gonna fight in the griddling irons, er, we're gonna... hey, Donald, what the hell are we gonna do to the folks over in Bagdhad?"

Behold, ladies and gentleman, the new Churchill.

His name is President George W Bush, and according to the man who has unveiled him to us all, ultra-hawkish US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, this Mark II Winston faces another Hitler in the shape of Saddam Hussein.

Writing in yesterday's Daily Mirror, my old friend Paul Routledge poured righteous anger over the comparisons - and rightly so. But with an extra day's perspective, perhaps the wiser bet is to sit back and enjoy the joke.

In truth, comparing Saddam to Adolf Hitler isn't amusing. Even Stalin, possibly human history's number-two-ranked homicidal monster with a death toll estimated at 20 million, cannot sensibly be likened to the Nazi leader because the quality of evil produced by Hitler was unique.

So Rumsfeld's lumping together of Saddam, repulsive tyrant as he is, with the Fuhrer is as distasteful as it's idiotic.

It's only when we come to the portrayal of George W as Winston reincarnate that it's time to check whether Matron is on hand with the ribcage repair kit.

For one thing, there's the problem with the cigars. Bush can hardly smoke the Havanas Churchill loved while the wicked US embargo against Cuban goods remains in force. Anyway, you'd hardly let something large and alight inside the mouth of a man so nearly slain by a pretzel.

Perhaps more important, and it's an embarrassingly obvious point, is the fact that Churchill was a genius with words, both spoken and written, who even won the Nobel Prize for Literature for his History Of The English-Speaking Peoples.

Were he writing that today, he'd need to add an extra volume to cover George W, entitled A History Of The Pidgin-English Speaking People.

It would be absurdly cheap and unoriginal to trot out some of Bush's greatest oratorical hits... cheap and unoriginal but great fun too.

So, while bearing in mind "we'll fight them on the beaches", "never in the field of human conflict" and other Winston highlights, pray silence for the New Churchill, George Walker Bush. …

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