Northern Ireland

Churchill and the Surrender to Violence – On This Day in 1924

Irish News editorial points out future prime minister’s support for arming of unionists before First World War

Winston Churchill's Tories were defeated in a landslide victory by Clement Attlee's Labour Party in 1945.  PA Photo
Former British prime minister Winston Churchill

The Duke of Northumberland has now taken over control of the London “Morning Post”; therefore the policy of the die-hard paper will not be altered.

It was an interesting transaction. The Countess of Bathurst wanted to get rid of a financial white elephant; the official Tory Party, presently without an organ in the London press, were ready to purchase it; but the Duke has an income of £70,000 a year from coal alone – he is the wealthiest Smithson in the world: and he and his friends decided to rescue the old paper from the hands of Mr [Stanley] Baldwin. As the Countess was willing, the transfer was effected.

Next to the “Times” as the “leading journal” was in all the days before Pigott and Houston, there has been no more consistently malevolent libeller and enemy of Ireland in the English Press than this “Morning Post”.

Under the fostering care of the Duke of Northumberland, whose political mentor is Baron [Edward] Carson, its past record in this respect is bound to be maintained. But it is an interesting fact that we find ourselves quite at one with the “Morning Post” in an important declaration made editorially in the first number issued under ducal auspices. Denouncing Sir Archibald Salvidge for inviting Mr Winston Churchill to Liverpool as a prospective parliamentary candidate in that Tory city, the Duke’s paper mentions Irish affairs and Mr Churchill’s past connection therewith, and says:

“Moreover, if the object is to fight Bolshevism – which, in essence, is the principle of violence as opposed to the principle of law – there is the difficulty that Mr Churchill took a prominent part in the surrender to violence in Ireland.”

We agree. Mr Winston Churchill was a member of Mr [Herbert] Asquith’s British Cabinet – he was First Lord of the Admiralty – when Prime Minister and Cabinet scurried ignominiously from the politicians who first put “the principle of violence as opposed to the principle of law” into practical effect by organising armed resistance to law in Ireland, by declaring in the immortal words of Lord Carson that they had resolved “to break all the laws that were” in order to effect their illegal object, by provoking and promoting mutiny in the British Army, and by forcibly bringing arms and ammunition into the country’s ports.

Irish News editorial taking a swipe at the Conservative-leaning Morning Post newspaper and Winston Churchill for his implicit support for the arming of Ulster unionists before the First World War.