Dateline: London, June 18, 1940 — The following are the chamber remarks of the fictional Lord Harold Reid (whose fictional grandson in the 21st century would become leader of the fictional Democratic Party in the U.S. Senate).
"I regret to have to stand up tonight, on the day of defeat at the hands of the Germans of our French ally’s armies at Sedan and on the Meuse River to observe that on this solemn occasion, Prime Minister Winston Churchill has chosen to politicize and cheapen the moment. Permit me to perform just a brief exegesis of his speech, which his right-wing Press Baron friend Lord Murdoch has quickly labeled ‘The Finest Hour’ speech in the London Times.
"Right out of the gate Churchill starts making political excuses when he says: ‘There are many who would hold an inquest in the House of Commons on the conduct of the Governments. … This would be a foolish and pernicious process … Of this I am quite sure, that if we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find that we have lost the future.’ Balderdash. Churchill can’t get out of it so neatly. We need to hold hearings to determine exactly who is at fault in the government. There must be no cover up for those who deserve a dressing down. Herr Hitler will just have to wait until we have decided what is what.
"For example, Mr. Churchill glibly states: ‘During the last few days we have successfully brought off the great majority of the troops we had on the line of communication in France; and seven-eighths of troops we have sent to France since the beginning of the war — that is to say, about 350,000 out of the 400,000 men — are safely back in this country.’
"Outrageous! What the rather too well-lunched Mr. Churchill doesn’t mention is that he has squandered and lost 50,000 of Britain’s finest men on the filthy frog- and snail-infested fields of France. Protecting democracy in France? Pish and piffle. Two Empires and three broken republics in three generations. Democracy is wasted on the French. Worse, he has only created Nazi enemies where before there were none. Let the record before the House of Lords show that when we declared war on Germany last September, there wasn’t a single Nazi soldier in France. Now, there are over a million — while 50,000 of our best lay dead or terribly injured. Churchill’s cheap argument that it is better to fight the Nazis over there in France so we won’t have to fight them here at home — is coming a cropper. According to Reuters’s Berlin desk, proud young German men started lining up at the Army recruiting stations when they read in Der Stuermer that Churchill had Jewish friends who were egging him on to fight Hitler.
"And, by the way, since Churchill’s war started there seems to be a lot of Jews in London. Hitler’s got the Jews on the run in Germany. Why can’t we do the same thing over here? Oh, dear. Uh, uh. I seem to have digressed from my prepared remarks. That is neither here nor there. Well, actually, let the record reflect that I am not an anti-Semite. I’m just against the new Jewish arrivals — the, oh, how shall I say, er — neojews.
"But, to return to Churchill’s political speech, consider his cynical, political closing remarks:
‘What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their finest hour."’
"Now that’s just fear-mongering, plain and simple. He’s trying to scare the British public into supporting his failed policies. Oh, there may be a few men around Hitler who are a little rough. But sinking into the abyss of a new Dark Age? Winston needs a new speechwriter. And while he’s about it, he can just drop that Christian civilization business. There is no excuse to insult the several non-Christians in England. That’s just Churchill politically playing to his rural, religious base. And, by the way, the last time I saw Winston on his knees, he wasn’t praying. He was looking for a dropped corkscrew.
"Well, that about sums it up. At this solemn hour, I just felt that Churchill’s brazen political stunt of a speech needed a dignified response. I think I’m finished now."
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