As you like ’em? by Donal Kennedy

“All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players:

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts..”

The identity of the author of those lines is disputed. Actors fake characters and playwrights hides behind invented names and reinvent themselves.

For example – 


Two nine- year old Londoners from lower middle-class homes made their stage debuts together. Both were brilliant writers. One of them became the mock-posh Noel Coward. The other re-invented himself as an Irishman with a surname that had never existed, but nobody ever challenged it. The name “Liam” is a truncated version of William and never appeared on a birth certificate before 1900. I don’t know whether the surname MacLiammoir has yet appeared on one. Young Alfred Wilmore took himself off to Ireland in his teens and learned, and spoke, and taught others Irish, and wrote plays in the language. Both he and Noel Coward notoriously confused exits and entrances.

Winston Churchill took the whole world for a stage and played great parts. He chose such friends as F.E.Smith  and Lord Beaverbrook who were regarded, in English society as louche and lousers, and, as a disciple, the renegade Irishman Brendan Bracken, universally recognised as a fake. Churchill was distrusted for many reasons: his impetuosity, arrogance and ambition.His Conservative colleague R.A.Butler dismissed him as a half-breed American.

Churchill referred to Mussolini, seriously, as “the Great Roman” during the Italian rape of Abyssinia. There, he was not in conflict with British policy, for the British and French Governments were accessories to the Fascists, who paid tolls to the British Suez Canal Company as they went about their murderous mission.

Churchill was a complete scoundrel, a liar, a mass murderer, a creator of famines, a racist, a bully and a blow-hard. He was brilliant and his lies, magnificently phrased, have been quoted as if they were Holy Writ. He was the kind of thug you might find useful when faced with another thug. In his day he only once (in 1951) led a political party to a General Election victory. Even then, his Conservative Party gathered less of the popular vote than the Labour Party.

  Churchill’s pre-eminence in British esteem was not established in his own lifetime. It is a product of Fake History.

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