Heroes with Feet of Clay

Sir Vernon Coleman MB ChB DSc FRSA

What do Cecil Rhodes, Winston Churchill and Stamford Raffles have in common?

Well, they are all great visionaries who changed the face of the world.

But they are now also men who are increasingly reviled by left wing agitators who claim that they (and others) did terrible things during their careers.

I have recently received a number of protests about the fact that Winston Churchill appears in my book Vernon Colemanís 100 English Heroes. People seem to object that Iíve included Churchill in my list.

The trouble is that once you start looking for the bad stuff in anyoneís life it always becomes abundantly clear that there can be no real heroes.

Some of the left wing agitators who protest about Rhodes or Churchill probably regard Mandela as a saint. They probably revere Gandhi and Marx.

But those heroes have their flaws too. Just check out their biographies!

And does anyone seriously claim that Jeremy Corbyn is entirely free of flaws?

Hillary Clinton?

Thatís the trouble.

Once you start examining any individual you will find things you donít like.

Churchill did many things that are difficult to explain or excuse.

But he led the fight against Hitler and it is arguable that without him we would have lost the War and the Nazis would now be ruling the world.

It is absurd to say that he wasnít a `great maní who did far more good than harm.

Similarly, Rhodes and Raffles did great things.

But the noisy and insular few who protest about the achievements of great white men (and, yes, I suspect there are elements of racism and sexism in the protests) fail to see the full picture. And, moreover, they are judging people from another era by the mores of today. And that is always a dangerous thing to do.

So I shall continue to regard with admiration people like Winston Churchill, Cecil Rhodes and Stamford Raffles.

Copyright Vernon Coleman 2018

The book Vernon Colemanís 100 English Heroes is available as an ebook on Amazon.