In recent months Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been compared to former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill for his relentless warnings of dangers to come. Yet, it is Churchill whose legacy has come to attention in recent weeks in areas other than that of politics and war. It has been announced that a trophy cup won at a horserace by the British Prime Minister is on display at a museum and a substantial collection of his artistic work will be accepted as tax credit from his family.
In early March it was announced that in lieu of the £9,404,990 owed in taxes to the British Government, 37 of Churchill’s paintings will be accepted for compensation. The last of Winston Churchill’s five children, Lady Mary Soames, died last year leaving a substantial inheritance tax debt. Lady Soames had written, “painting literally grabbed” him in 1915 when he was 41 and continued to play a very important part throughout his life, “renewing the source of his great inner strength and enabling him to face storms.” Churchill finished as many as 500 paintings during his life. All the paintings that were owned by Lady Soames have been given to the National Trust while two remain in the family’s home.
This week it has been announced that a trophy won by the former British Prime Minister will go on display at Newmarket’s National Horseracing Museum. Museum director Chris Garibaldi commented, “[t]he trophy is of particular importance to the history of horseracing… [and] we could not be more pleased or honoured.” The trophy was won by Churchill’s homebred colt named High Hat. In this race his colt outraced the very well trained Newmarket filly Petite Etoile which had been own by the recently deceased Aly Khan who had died the year prior, outside of Paris in a car crash. The cup, designed by Leslie Durbin, will go on display along with newsreel of the race. The exhibit is set to open next spring.
Today some in the world are comparing the tenacious dedication Churchill demonstrated throughout his turbulent political career to that of Netanyahu. These two men are the only two foreign leaders to have ever addressed the U.S. Congress three times. There are other similarities though such as the issue of impending dangerous wars. Prior to World War II, Churchill made numerous efforts to warn the West of what Hitler may hold in store for Europe. Perhaps surprising to some today is that he received much ridicule for these efforts. Netanyahu has also received much ridicule for his actions leading up to his reelection. His concerns about Iran have a basis, but not everyone entirely agrees about the extent to which Iran will go with in military programs. Only time will tell if these warnings from the Israeli Prime Minster are as grounded as Churchill’s foretelling of the Nazi regime.
Winston Churchill was a relentless leader that struggled through the rough terrain of early 20th Century world politics. He was known to be rigid in his policy, yet found time for leisure in pastime activities like painting and going to the racetracks. Netanyahu has proven to be relentless in his pursuits, but whether he remains steadfast and is correct in his projections is as difficult to determine as Churchill’s were in his time.
By Joel Wickwire
Photo by bunky’s pickle – License
Photo Provided by Archives New Zealand – License