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A SHORT NOTE (NOT THE SHOPPING LIST) July 10, 2010

Posted by wmmbb in Social Environment.
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War has many uses, one of which is to concentrate power around the centre and the holders of executive power.

In part that is the way bureaucratic systems work in an emergency. But there are downsides, and so what might be done to mitigate the effects.

Words of caution could often come from few sources. On 27 June 1940, Clementine Churchill sent a note to her husband, via Brad DeLong:

My Darling,

I hope you will forgive me if I tell you something I feel you ought to know.

One of the men in your entourage (a devoted friend) has been to me and told me that there is a danger of your being generally disliked by your colleagues and subordinates because of your rough sarcastic and overbearing manner — It seems your Private Secretaries have agreed to behave like school boys and ‘take what’s coming to them and then escape out of your presence shrugging their shoulders — Higher up, if an idea is suggested (say at a conference) you are supposed to be so contemptuous that presently no ideas, good or bad, will be forthcoming. I was astonished and upset because in a these years I have been accustomed to all those who have worked with and under you, loving you — I said this, and was told ‘No doubt it’s the strain’ —

My Darling Winston, I must confess that I have noticed a deterioration in your manner; and you are not as kind as you used to be.

It is for you to give the Orders and if they are bungled — except for the King, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Speaker, you can sack anyone and everyone. Therefor with this terrific power you must combine urbanity, kindness, and if possible Olympic calm You used to quote: — ‘On ne regne sur les ames que par le cale –‘ I cannot bear that those who serve the Country and yourself should not love you as well as admire and respect you —

Besides you won’t get the best results by irascibility and rudeness. They will breed either dislike or a slave mentality. (Rebellion in War time being out of the question!)

Please forgive your loving devoted and watchful

Clemmie

[drawing of cat]

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