Sunday, January 25, 2015

This is what leadership sounds like...........

      Another lesson I think we may take, just throwing our minds back to our meeting here ten months ago and now, is that appearances are often very deceptive, and as Kipling well says, we must

                              ... meet with Triumph and Disaster
                              And treat those two impostors just the same.

      You cannot tell from appearances how things will go.  Sometimes imagination makes things out far worse than they are;  yet without imagination not much can be done.  Those people who are imaginative see many more dangers than perhaps exist, certainly more than will happen;  but then they must also pray to be given that extra courage to carry this far-reaching imagination.  But for everyone, surely, what we have gone through in this period  - I am addressing myself to the School - surely from this period of ten months this is the lesson:  never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never  - in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.  Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.  We stood all alone a year ago, and to many countries it seemed that our account was closed, we were finished.   All this tradition of ours, our songs, our School history, this part of the history of this country, were gone and finished and liquidated.
     Very different is the mood today.  Britain, other nations thought, had drawn a sponge across her slate.  But instead our country stood in the gap.  There was no flinching and no thought of giving in; and by what seemed almost a miracle to those outside these Islands, though we ourselves never doubted it, we now find ourselves in a position where I can say that we can be sure that we have only to persevere to conquer.

-Winston Churchill, as excerpted from his second speech as Prime Minister at his Alma Mater, the Harrow School,  October 29, 1941.   More on Winston here.

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