February 01, 2022
In a baffling segment on the TV channel, a stand-in for the wartime leader ponders whether he would be cancelled in the current climate. Too right he would
Why did GB News interview a Churchill impersonator as if he were the real thing? | Zoe Williams
It was a low point even for GB News, a rolling-opinions TV channel with no documented highs: to celebrate the anniversary of Churchill’s funeral, it interviewed a Churchill impersonator as if he were Churchill. “Why do you think there is still so much admiration for you?”, the man – his name lost to the viewers, unfortunately, since the strapline underneath read simply “Winston Churchill, former prime minister” – was asked. “I think probably because I was the right man at the right moment,” he replied, having made the baffling decision to stick with the first person while consigning himself to the past. “I don’t think I could survive in the current climate,” he continued, presumably because the woke warriors would come for him. Too right we would. “You’re dead,” we would say, “and yet still talking. For this gross unnatural act, you are hereby no-platformed, nay, cancelled.”
Some time in the early 2000s, a survey found Churchill to be the Briton most admired by his compatriots, and that was interpreted – some would say overinterpreted – as a lesson on what kind of prime minister we all secretly wanted. Did we like him best for his lofty rhetoric or his white supremacism? For his salty remarks at parties, or his “I, too, am human” physique? It was none of those things, of course. People liked him because he won things. Not all of them – he lost the odd election. But the important things, he won. Well, one important thing, but to give him credit, it was pretty damn important.
Zoe Williams is a Guardian columnist
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