Dowden slams the 'noisy woke brigade' in Churchill debate
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The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust which funds students to study abroad changed its name to The Churchill Fellowship in what some are describing is an attempt to erase former prime minister from history. The rebrand removed some mentions and images of the wartime leader which has been blasted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson who is an admirer of him. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden appeared on LBC and was furious at the decision stating the group was appearing to pander to “woke” audiences.
The Fellowship’s decision was backed by the family of Winston Churchill and said the redesign of their website was down to wanting to “set the record straight”.
They wrote: “The Churchill Fellowship was created on the death of Sir Winston, as a national memorial to his wartime leadership. We are proud of his contribution to saving the world from Nazism and of our connection to him.”
Sir Nicholas Soames, who is Mr Churchill’s grandson, said his family “fully and unreservedly support” the charity’s “remarkable” work.
The Fellowship stated one of the reasons for the reduced images of Winston Churchill is because of licencing issues as they only had the licence for one photo which is currently on the website.
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They added the reason behind the name change was to avoid confusing the public over what they do.
But those within government were not pleased with the decision with Mr Dowden sharing his thoughts with Nick Ferrari on LBC.
He told the station: “I found it quite extraordinary and I’ve read their explanation and they say various reasons for this.
“But the bottom line means you look at the website before and after and there’s a lot less Churchill on it after than there was before.
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“And I do really worry [about this] and you see this in relation to many charities that they pander to a noisy woke brigade who are trying to challenge all aspects of our history.
“They would not have the freedom to make these kinds of decisions were it not for Churchill in the first place.
“And I do really worry when we start to question the sort of values that have made this such a wonderful country.”
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Boris Johnson, who has written a biography on Winston Churchill, was not pleased with the decision.
The prime minister’s spokesman called it “completely absurd, misguided and wrong to airbrush his giant achievements and service to this country, and the trust should think again”.
They continued: “The prime minister has always been clear that, whilst it’s legitimate to examine Britain’s history, we should aim to educate people about all aspects of our complex past, both good and bad, and not erase them.
“We need to focus on addressing the present and not attempt to rewrite the past and get sucked into the never-ending debate about which well-known historical figures are sufficiently pure or politically correct to remain in public view.”
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