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Savaged like a dead sheep & Winstone Churchill

Posted by Lewis on August 18, 2003

In Reply to: Savaged like a dead sheep & Winstone Churchill posted by James Briggs on August 15, 2003

: : : : In his autobiography, "Coflict of Loyalty", Geoffrey Howe refers to being taunted by Denis Healey with this phrase, but suggests that healey may have been recycling an insult first used by Winston Churchill. Does anyone know any more about this?

: : : Definitely a recycled quip - I think each generation of Parliamentarians re-use it. I have a feeling that it may go back to the Victorian era or beyond.

: : : It's in the same league as having a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent.

: : Churchill did refer to Clement Attlee as "a sheep in sheep's clothing". He wasn't best buddies with Attlee (for obvious reasons if you know a bit about British history) and also called him - "a modest man - he has much to be modest about".

: : Winnie saved his best putdowns for women though:

: : Lady Astor: Winston, if you were my husband I'd put poison in your tea.
: : Churchill: and if I were your husband I'd drink it.

: : Bessie Bradock: Winston, you're drunk.
: : Churchill: Bessie you're ugly. I'll be sober in the morning.

: Another good one about WC, this time against him, is set in the House of Commons in the 1930s. A well known politician was renowned for his corpulence. W, sitting behind him one day, leant forward and asked what was going to be the child's name. The reply said, 'if it's a boy, I'll name him after the King; if it's a girl, then after the Queen. If, however, as I suspect, it's only wind, then I'll name it Winstone!'

On it being remarked that his trouser flies had come undone, WC is alleged to have said "The cage may be open, but the beast is asleep".
Jim Royle (Ricky Tomlinson) used that line in "The Royle Family" (writers Caroline Aherne, Craig Cash, Henry Normal). On hearing this, his wife, Barbara, (Sue Johnson) raised an eyebrow and simply said "Beast?"

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