Winston Churchill: A Profile In Resilience.

Adebayo Adeniran
6 min readApr 28, 2021

His political trajectory was shaped by a series of missteps and disastrous moves, that by the 1930s, his career was pronounced effectively over and yet by 1940, his mistakes made him a perfect fit for the role of saviour of his country. This is the story of the extraordinary resilience of Winston Churchill.

Winston Churchill via Wikimedia commons

Herbert Henry Asquith, The liberal British prime minster from 1908–1916, in a letter to one of lady friends, wrote of a cabinet colleague:

He will never get to the top of British politics, with all of wonderful gifts; to speak with the tongue of men and angels and to spend laborious days and nights in administration, is no good, if a man does not inspire trust.

A clear indictment, by all parameters. And on whom was it pronounced?

Winston Spencer Churchill, no less.

And for a very long while, it seemed as though, Asquith’s prediction would come to pass, mirroring his late father — Lord Randolph Churchill’s political career — in the number of hare brained causes that he had championed, bone headed wars that he had fought and contemporaries whom he had alienated.

This article will take a look at a number of his missteps and how they shaped the man widely regarded as Britain’s greatest ever prime minister and the greatest Briton, in a BBC poll in 2002.

Crossing the floor

No sooner had he taken his parliamentary seat and given his maiden speech in 1901 than schisms began to appear between him and leadership of the conservatives on the question of free trade and the party’s protectionist line.

The Liberal party — the party of the grand old man of British politics — William Ewart Gladstone — which had been out of power since the late 19th century, was now in the ascendant and our protagonist, who was keen to get on in politics, went to give an incendiary speech, denouncing the party’s position and topped it all, by crossing the floor (symbolic act of abandoning his party) to join the Liberals, then led by Henry Campbell Bannerman.

On getting to the other side of the parliamentary divide, he took his seat beside a man, who would go on to shape the next fourteen years of his political career: David Lloyd George.

Adebayo Adeniran

A lifelong bibliophile, who seeks to unleash his energy on as many subjects as possible