New research reveals that only one-fifth of British young people think positively of Sir Winston Churchill. This indicates a significant decline in favourability over the last two decades, despite the fact that the former Prime Minister was voted the greatest Briton in a nationwide poll in 2002.
A survey of nearly half a million people was conducted 20 years ago to determine the country’s 100 most influential people.
Sir Winston won by 56,000 votes over the runner-up, engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
In the run-up to the election, former Northern Ireland Secretary Dr. Mo Mowlam told television viewers that “if Britain – its eccentricity, big-heartedness, and strength of character – has to be summed up in one person, it has to be Winston Churchill.”
More than two decades later, new polling indicates that these remarks are not representative of the national mindset.
According to a new poll commissioned by think tank Policy Exchange, only 20% of 18-24 year olds have a favourable opinion of Sir Winston.
Chris McGovern, Chairman of the Campaign for Real Education and advisor to the Department of Education, blamed both previous and current governments.
He claimed that the new polling revealed ignorance and was a “victory for the mob.”
“The curriculum does not require the teaching of Winston Churchill, or WWI or WWII – that is why I was a dissenting voice,” Mr McGovern said.
“The number of people who are not sympathetic to Churchill is growing. That represents a victory for history teachers who don’t, on the whole, treat Churchill with any sympathy or support; they don’t regard him as a heroic figure.
“If he’s taught at all, it is often in terms of the starvation and hunger in India and his racist views.
“The views in the poll are based on ignorance. In the Second World War, he did more than anyone else to save this country.”