Not doing his homework? David Davis blunders with Churchill quotation : The Guardian

A silly mistake by the Brexit minister on day one of talks does not inspire optimism that his team are fully prepared for what lies ahead.

It’s the kind of thing that can happen if you believe what you read on the internet, but it’s perhaps a mistake David Davis would have preferred to avoid.

At the close of his joint press conference with the EU’s Michel Barnier following the historic first day of article 50 negotiations in Brussels, the Brexit minister summed up his approach to the talks with a quote from Winston Churchill.

Or at least, he though it was Winston Churchill. “The pessimist,” Davis said, “sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees possibility in every difficulty.”

Unfortunately, although an online search for the saying throws up any number of posts attributing the words to Britain’s wartime leader, it seems unlikely that he ever actually said them.

According to Richard Langworth, senior fellow of the Hillsdale College Churchill Project in the US, none of the quotation’s multiple online appearances “offer a source – speech, book or whatever. If [Churchill] said it, no one has produced the source.”



1 Comment

  1. The chances are…he (Churchill) probably did say it somewhere, just like Oscar Wilde, he had a good memory and quoted many quotes,

    The difference between Wilde and Churchill is that none of them are from Churchill’s own brain though.

    For instance, the ”An iron curtain will descend all across Europe from the Baltic etc widely thought to be an original utterance of Churchill’s, but nothing can be further from the truth, because it’s taken directly from Goebbels own (extremely large) personal diary, a diary that fell into the hands of Churchill (and only Churchill had access too) just after the war.

    I’m sure we will fight them on the landing grounds and beeches etc was thought up by some long forgotten civil servant speech writer.

    If Davis had misquoted Churchill, well so what ?, it doesn’t deserve a whole article in a main stream newspaper.
    When that very same newspaper could be reporting on why an obscure Briton from Wales has taken it upon himself to commit a crime so heinous that – he must know – the only rational option is not to send him to prison but to send him for the rest of his life to be locked up in a lunatic asylum.

    Liked by 1 person

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