One in Four Britons Believe Winston Churchill Never Existed

And you thought the state of Americaneducation was lousy…

13 responses »

  1. Byron says:

    Ah, just some mythical British dude, mate…

  2. Don says:

    That’s okay. According to Zogby only 87 percent of Americans are certain that man really landed on the moon, while 7 percent think it was all staged for television and 4 percent aren’t sure what happened.

  3. Byron says:

    And the Democrats poll at 94% of this group…

  4. Todd says:

    It was Winston Churchill who stepped on the moon…..right?

  5. Byron says:

    No, silly, he was the original fifth Beatle. Everybody knows that, except for apparently one quarter of Brits.

  6. Aaron S. says:

    Europe gets more and more backward every time i hear about it. What is going on?!

    France and Germany for instance:
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=4095

  7. Byron says:

    Europe is well on its way to become a collection of third-world, Sharia-law run welfare state-types, it would seem.

  8. Mark Merritt says:

    Churchill with the Beatles? So it was Churchill who taught them to drink and smoke!

    In that case it’s a good thing Yoko didn’t take a likin’ to Winston – we woulda lost the war.

  9. Don says:

    Who’s Sharia and what’s she got to do with it?

  10. Aaron S says:

    Was it Sharia who broke up the Beatles? I mean it doesn’t matter, they weren’t real.

  11. Graham says:

    I am a bit concerned at the “ForeignPolicy.com” link that Aaron mentioned.

    Stephen Theil’s analysis of the last German elections is nothing short of bizarre. Gerhard Schroder concentrated on welfare reform in his first term (1998-2002), so why it would cost him his job in 2005 and not 2002 is beyond me.

    Although Mr Theil does note the appearance of the Left Party, he should have emphasised the reason for the split in the Social Democrats- mainly around the long-running feud between Mr Schroder and his former leader Oskar Lafontaine (whom Mr Schroder successfully ousted as leader). It would have been interesting to see Mr Theil’s comments on the popularity that Mr Lafontaine enjoyed among grass-roots Social Democrats, and whether his decision to join with the PDS to form the Left Party had any impact on the rise of the Left Party. It would be fascinating to see Mr Theil’s analysis of whether Social Democrats who supported Mr Lafontaine would have switched parties if Mr Lafontaine hadn’t. Instead, Mr Theil’s analysis seems simplistic.

    The other thing that Mr Theil could have looked at is the 5% threshhold for elections to the Bundestag. This is significant. Imagine, for example, you are in a party with 47% of the vote. There are two small parties with 3% and 4% of the vote- so they get no seats. The number of seats you get is

    47/(100-3-4)= 47/93= 50.5% of the seats

    However, suppose at the next election, you increase your share of the vote to 48%, but these minor parties have both passed the 5% limit. Then your number of seats actually reduces from 50.5% to 48%.

    For those who follow Bundestag elections, one of the most fascinating questions each time is whether the Greens and/or Free Democrats will fall below the 5% threshhold.

    One thing I would have liked Mr Theil to deal with in his analysis is the way that Mr Schroder moved the Social Democrats to the left in the 2002-2005 Bundestag, especially going into the election with a promise to raise taxes on the wealthier. I would loved to see Mr Theil’s take on whether this move to the left contributed in any way to the decline in Social Democrat support.

    The main reason why Mr Schroder used a rare constitutional device to trigger the election a year early was that he had lost control of the Bundesrat- the upper chamber whose members are chosen by the regional governments. A succession of regional elections had seen the Bundesrat in the control of the two centre-right parties, namely the Christian Democrats and the Free Democrats. This caused gridlock, hence the early election.

    In the election itself, the Left Party passed the 5% threshhold. If it had fallen below this, then it would not have been entitled to representation, and indeed, thanks to the shift rightwards at the 2005 election, a centre-right Christian Democrat/Free Democrat government (which had held power from 1982 to 1998) would have taken power. The fact that the Left Party passed the 5% limit meant that neither the existing Social Democrat/Green government or a Christian Democrat/Free Democrat one could have been formed. Hence, the Christian Democrats and Social Democrats formed a “grand coalition”, but Angela Merkel is constrained by this- the same way a Republican President might find himself restricted by a Democratic Congress.

    Now, sorry this has been a bit lengthy. My concern with the ForeignPolicy.com site is the way it has a “Europe- the Socialist Continent” worldview, and appears to intepret everything through that lens, discarding anything that doesn’t back up its worldview.

    Reading Mr Theil’s analysis, you would be left with the impression that Mr Schroder introduced welfare reforms, the German people didn’t like it and so there was a shift to the left, whereas the premature election and the result it led to were due to a shift to the right.

  12. Aaron S says:

    Aha! Thank you for straightening that out. A little familiarity with local history goes a long way. The lengthier in this regard, the better. Please go on.

    And, fair enough; I’ll allow that essays in the Foreign Policy magazine may bend toward a certain economic culture, and away from others. Look where it’s published, after all. What happened was, it made for an attention-grabbing story, and it made the front page of Newsvine one day, where I picked it up.

    but … Fox News!

    Actually Graham – to tell it from your perspective, have you yourself noticed this perception of Churchill (or the others mentioned) in the general public? And if so, do you have any insight as to why that might be — is it explained away totally by lack of education, or is there generally a kind of folk-hero quality about him, or what have you?

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