Several Queen Anne and Magnolia residents joined a group of enthusiastic Churchillians a couple of weeks ago to attend the first meeting of the Seattle Churchill Center's meetings inaugurated last November by the Honorable Celia Sandys (See my November 2007 column in the Queen Anne News). The Seattle chapter is an affiliate of the National Churchill Centre, headquartered in Washington D.C.
The Churchill Centre was founded in 1968 to foster leadership, statesmanship, vision, courage and boldness among democratic and freedom-loving peoples worldwide, through the thoughts, words, works and deeds of Winston Spencer Churchill. The Centre is represented in the United States by chapters and affiliates throughout the country, which sponsor local programming, speakers, and events. Simon Mould is the head of history and government at Christ Church Academy in Kirkland, and is the president elect of the local chapter.
The evening's lecture was given by Michael Dobbs a prominent Churchill author and political strategist. Michael has written two historical novels featuring Churchill's private life and public leadership. In addition, his experience in more recent British politics and journalism is outstanding.
Born in 1948 on the same day as Prince Charles, Michael was cChief of staff and later deputy chairman of the Conservatives Party. And somewhere along the way he managed to pick up a doctorate in nuclear defense studies. In his restless search for a proper job, Michael has also been deputy chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi, the global advertising agency; he has presented a live BBC current affairs programme and written for any newspapers. Yet, it's as an author that he has gained most plaudits. After creating the iconic figure of Francis Urquhart he has gone on to write books about Prime Ministers, Kings, and the Dalai Lama. He also recently finished a series of novels about Winston Churchill that had the critics falling over themselves in praise, and which is currently being published in the United States.
He is highly skilled raconteur and is much in demand for corporate and literary events. He has also helped raise a deal of money for charities. Yes, there is a softer side to him. But it is for his analysis of the scandalous world of politics that he is best known. One newspaper described Dobbs as "Westminster's baby-faced hit man." Another said he was "a man who, in Latin America, would have been shot." He's written wonderful books about Nazi spies, "The Saboteurs," the world on the brink of nuclear disaster, "One Minute to Midnight," and a classic biography of Madeleine Albright. All great reads, but none of them fiction.
He says he's never had, what he would call, a real job. Perhaps that's because he's spent so much of his life hanging around all the wrong places at interesting times. He was a doctoral student at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Massachusetts during the early 1970's and worked on the Boston Globe all the way through the Watergate crisis and the end of the Vietnam War. Then he went back to the UK and was with Margaret Thatcher when she took her first steps into Downing Street as Prime Minister, and he was there again with John Major when he was kicked out. In between he got bombed, got banished from Downing Street (after a row with Maggie), and in the quieter moments he wrote a book called House of Cards, a very satirical view of scandalous politics, serialized on PBS television. One leading politician said it had done for his job "what Dracula has done for baby sitting."
The lecture was bright and witty with many insights into the personal life of Winston Churchill. Much enjoyed by the audience who were looking forward to gathering again in Churchill's memory and apply the legacy of his leadership to the dialog of current events today facing the Western world. For more information on the Churchill Centre and future events visit http://www.churchillseatttle.blogspot.com.
On a personal note, I am a great Churchill enthusiast. My father worked with him during the World War II and I grew up listening to his inspiring speeches when Britain stood alone. Also, my husband and I produced many award-winning programmes on our radio show, The British Hour. I also survived the Battle of Britain, when never was so much owed by so many to so few, quoted by the great man himself who mobilized the English language and sent it into battle.
- TTFN till next time.[[In-content Ad]]