Winston Churchill – Liberal Imperialist?

Richard Toye

JamesCHURCHILLandEmpireIn the introduction to his new book Churchill and Empire, Lawrence James refers to Winston Churchill’s ‘essentially liberal imperialism’. James does not really explain what he means by this, but his comment is intriguing. Previously, in a Daily Mail article, he decried the ‘hand-wringing and breast-beating’ of modern-day critics of Empire, or, as he describes them, the ‘tribunes of political correctness’. From this, one would not think that he is someone who would in general view ‘liberal’ as a term of praise; yet his use of it in this instance is clearly not intended as a criticism of Churchill. Rather, one deduces, he sees ‘liberal’ in this particular context as a synonym for ‘moderate’ or perhaps ‘humane’. If that is indeed what he means – in other words, that if Churchill was a liberal imperialist then his imperialism must have been benign – the equation is highly problematic. Continue reading “Winston Churchill – Liberal Imperialist?”