As we discussed in the last podcast, one of the keys to Churchill’s greatness was his gift for oratory. He possessed an eloquence and quick wit that shined through not only in his public speeches, but also in countless letters, off the cuff remarks, and anecdotes that range from champagne fueled dinner conversations to bawdy comments made to his his fellow parliament members in the men’s room of the House of Commons. Below are just a few the best Churchill quips recounted in this episode. Click here to listen to the entire podcast episode.
“If you're not a liberal when you're 25, you have no heart. If you're not a conservative by the time you're 35, you have no brain.”
- said by Winston Churchill in response to those who criticized him for switching from the Conservative party to the Liberal party...and later back to Conservative.
“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings.
The inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” - on socialism
“I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.” - on taxes
“We know that he has, more than any other man, the gift of compressing the largest number of words into the smallest amount of thought.” - on Labour politician Ramsay MacDonald
"A modest man, who has much to be modest about.” - on Clement Atlee, his successor as Prime Minister.
“If Hitler invaded Hell, I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.” - said of Stalin on the eve of Hitler's invasion of Russia
And then there is this famous exchanges purported to have taken place between Lady Astor and Winston Churchill at her famous dinner parties.
Lady Astor: "Winston, if I were your wife I'd put poison in your tea."
Churchill: "If I were your husband, I'd drink it!"
Lady Astor: “Winston, you are drunk.”
Churchill: “Indeed, Madam, and you are ugly — but tomorrow I'll be sober.”