No entry on Churchill is complete without noting that (at least by today's standards) he was an insufferable bigot. He actively opposed women getting the vote1 and authorised the use of mustard gas against Kurdish villagers, saying he could not understand people's squeamishness about using gas on uncivilised tribes2. He also sent in troops to put down striking welsh miners3 and was one of colonialism's staunchest defenders.

During the May Day 2000 'riots' in central London someone painted the statue of Churchill which stands on Parliament Square with red paint dripping blood-style from his mouth, and somebody gave it a rather fetching lawn mohican. In the media furore which followed a lot of newspapers ran conveniently outraged eulogies of the man; to someone who knew a bit about him besides the fact that he led the country in war time and made some powerful speeches, all this hagiography rang hollow.