|On the fiver|
EXTRACT: Then, of course, there were Churchill’s odious social views - notably his support for a particularly foul brand of eugenics. The “improvement of the British breed is my aim in life”, he wrote to his cousin, Ivor Guest, on January 19 1899. As a young politician entering parliament in 1901, Churchill saw the mentally disabled as a threat to the vigour and virility of British society. The stock must not be diluted. Thus as home secretary he was in favour of the confinement, segregation and sterilisation of the “feeble-minded” and others - including “idiots”, “imbeciles” and “moral defectives”. He proposed in 1910 that 100,000 “degenerate” Britons should be “forcibly sterilised and others put in labour camps to halt the decline of the British race”.
As for “tramps and wastrels”, he said a year later, there “ought to be proper labour colonies where they could be sent for considerable periods and made to realise their duty to the state”. Very liberal. Unsurprisingly, Churchill eagerly endorsed Dr HC Sharp’s charming booklet, The sterilisation of degenerates. Sharp was a member of the US Indiana Reformatory and issued an apocalyptic warning that “the degenerate class” was reproducing more quickly than the general population and thus threatening the “purity of the race”. In 1907 Indiana passed a eugenics law making sterilisation mandatory for those individuals in state custody deemed to be “mentally unfit” - other states followed suit and in the end more than 65,000 individuals were forcibly sterilised (nor were they allowed to marry). Naturally, Churchill was impressed, writing to home office officials asking them to investigate the possibility of introducing the “Indiana law” to Britain. He remained frustrated on this point. The 1913 Mental Deficiency Act rejected compulsory sterilisation in favour of confinement in special institutions. Bloody do-gooders.