From the Founders: Hope for the GOP



photograph by Bob Capazzo

The following is a communication from Geoffrey Simmonds to fellow members of a small luncheon group founded here in 1991 that meets monthly to discuss politics, economics and world affairs. Simmonds is a native of Great Britain and educated at Harrow and Cambridge. He came to the U.S. in 1949 and became a citizen in 1954. A resident of Greenwich for forty-three years, he had been a trustee of both Brunswick and Greenwich Academy. He currently resides in Fairfield.

At our last luncheon, we talked to-gether about what the Republicans must do to stand any chance of becoming the governing party again. Some of you may have recently seen David Brooks on his usual Friday evening PBS spot, and also on PBS, Governor Bobby Jindall of Louisiana, recently elected Chair of the Republican Governors Conference. Both were extremely critical of Romney’s remarks about the “gifts” that Obama gave to certain constituencies shortly before the election. They both said the Republicans must get rid of the idea that many in the safety net are there by choice and are deliberately sponging off the system. Their attitude towards the electorate has to change.

Please go back with me to 1945 and the period thereafter in the UK. Britain had decided in 1940, when the five-year Parliament had expired, that they could not have an election in wartime and formed a coalition government made up of Conservatives and Liberals, which Labour refused to join saying it was a capitalist war they could not support. They did join after Churchill became prime minister in May 1940. After the European war ended in the spring of 1945, an election was called for July 5th. Churchill campaigned all over the country and was hailed as a national hero. But the electorate tossed him out, giving Labour a majority of 282 seats over the Conservatives.

Churchill moved out of Downing Street and went to his London home to lick his wounds and try to figure out what happened. This was the time when Mrs. Churchill suggested his defeat was a blessing in disguise. Churchill replied that if it was, it was certainly very well disguised! He asked Lord Beaverbrook to come and see him. A personal friend of Winston Churchill, he owned the Daily Express newspaper and had served the country well in 1940 as minister of aircraft production, when he ruthlessly swept away all barriers to fighter production. At this moment Beaverbrook was chairman of the Conservative Party. Churchill asked him to go and tour the country and visit all the major cities, and come back and tell him what the party had to do to regain office. Beaverbrook returned and told Churchill the party must do two main things: First, it must politically take two sharp steps to the left, and second, it must recapture the youth vote. He also advised the Conservatives they should not threaten to dismantle all that the Socialists had done, particularly their cradle-to-grave Health System, which had become the third rail of British politics. “Touch it at your peril!” he said.

In 1950, at the next general election, the Conservatives reduced Labour’s majority to eighteen seats. The electorate had had enough of Socialism and continuing rationing. After a year Labour decided their majority was too small with which to govern and went to the country again. The Conservatives were returned in 1951 with a twenty-six-seat majority. Churchill immediately abolished all rationing. In 1955 they won with a sixty-seven-seat majority and again in 1959, with a majority of 107 seats. They were in power for thirteen years. My father, who was swept aside in the 1945 election, told me that every so often the electorate will send one party or the other into the political wilderness to rethink its objectives, policies, etc. He said to me that when one party is in power too long, it ceases to lead and can’t even manage. It merely administers and becomes accident prone. At that point, he said, that party must go.

History, in most democratic countries, shows that one party never stays in power indefinitely, and that being sent into the political wilderness every so often is a purifying process. I feel confident the Republicans will reemerge in not too many years with fresh ideas that will appeal to a majority of the American electorate.

Simmonds spent twenty-five years in the aerospace defense business, was president and CEO, as well as chairman of Simmonds Precision Products, whose high-tech products were used in most aircraft built in the free world. His father was for many years a conservative member of Parliament. In 1948, when the Socialists threatened to nationalize industry, his father emigrated to the Bahamas and established his business there.

Best Of Greenwich

 

 

Greenwich Agenda

  • College Application Boot Camp | Greenwich, CT

    2014.08.02

    College Prep 360 will be offering two college admissions “boot camps” in their Greenwich office over the summer. The first workshop...

  • SAT & ACT Prep Classes

    2014.08.02
     @ Greenwich Education Group

    If you are planning on taking the SAT or the ACT in October or November, this is an ideal time to start your preparation! Once school begins,...

  • Greenwich: Creativity for Kids Hosts Creativity Day

    2014.08.02
     @ Smart Kids

    As a part of their U.S. movement, Creativity for Kids and Faber-Castell will be hosting a special Creativity Can event at Smart Kids on August...

  • Seaside Center: Shoreline Seining and Plankton Tow

    2014.07.20
     @ Seaside Center

    Help us gather plankton and see what creatures are living in our ocean’s water! Examine microscopic organisms caught in our plankton net...

  • Fabulous Forests Summer Family Campout

    2014.08.02
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Saturday, August 2, 5:30 pm - Sunday, August 3, 9 am Discover the wonders of the Stamford Museum & Nature Center "after hours"...

  • Cool and Collected ‘14

    2014.07.10
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    (Gallery 1) Featuring artists:  Carla Goldberg, Melanie Kozol, Francis Sills, and Eve Stockton Summer exhibition at Kenise Barnes...

  • Richards: Semi Annual Sale | Greenwich, CT

    2014.06.16
     @ Richards of Greenwich

    Starting June 16th going through mid-August is Richard's semi annual sale. All Spring clothing will be marked down! Further markdowns will...

  • TREEHOUSES: Look Who's Living in the Trees!

    2014.06.21
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Saturday, June 21 - Monday, September 1 Hidden in the leaves, snug in the trunk or burrowed under the roots, what types of animals actually...

  • Exhibit: Tales of Two Cities: New York & Beijing | Greenwich, CT

    2014.05.03
     @ Bruce Museum

    May 3 – August 31, 2014 Tales of Two Cities: New York & Beijing This exhibition focuses on two of the world’s leading...

  • Seaside Center: Story Time

    2014.07.19
     @ Seaside Center

    Grab a comfy seat as we read stories about our favorite sea creatures. We will even take a peek at a real-life version of the animal in our...

  • Saturday Vals Free Weekly In-Store Wine Tasting | Greenwich, CT

    2014.05.10
     @ Val's Putnam Wine And Liquors

    We will feature an array of new and different International wines that are selected by our staff as “Staff Picks Favorites” in...

  • Seaside Center: Naturalist's Choice

    2014.07.19
     @ Seaside Center

    Be surprised! Changing topic that is fun and fascinating, selected by the Naturalist!

  • Happy Hour | Greenwich, CT

    2014.01.26
     @ Morello Italian Bistro

    Refresh yourself with our famous Red & White Sangria! Don’t forget that during happy hour every day 4:30pm-6:30pm your 2nd drink...

  • First Sunday Science at the Seaside Center: Sound Science

    2014.08.03
     @ Seaside Center

    Held in and outside the Seaside Center at Greenwich Point Park, Old Greenwich. Find out about the research and sampling techniques that help...

  • SM&NC Farm Market

    2014.06.15
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Sundays, June 15 – October 5, 10am – 2pm We're thrilled to bring back the SM&NC Farm Market — now on Sundays!...

  • Animal Meet and Greet

    2014.06.22
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Sundays, June 22 - August 31, 3:30 - 4:00pm Stop by for a chance to meet one of our Overbrook Nature Center or Heckscher Farm animals up...

  • Bar: Live Music | Greenwich, CT

    2014.03.09
     @ Barcelona Greenwich

    Join us in Greenwich every Sunday for live music and half-priced bottles of wine!

  • Wine Time Social Hour | Greenwich, CT

    2014.01.27
     @ Barcelona Greenwich

    $4.00 select wines, $4.00 well drinks, and $3.00 beers.

  • A Day in a Farmer's Life

    2014.07.01
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Tuesdays, July 1 - August 19, 2:30 – 3:15pm Come by and discover what it takes to be a farmer on Heckscher Farm. Each week farm staff...

  • Bar: Ladies Night | Old Greenwich, CT

    2014.02.18
     @ Beach House Cafe

    Drink Specials starting at 9:00pm 'till close, $2.00 off any Martini or Margarita.


Show More...

Most Popular Articles

  1. Beach Ball 2014
    Tod's Point
  2. Renaissance Ball
    Riverside Yacht Club
  3. Celebrating Hope 2014
    Richards
  4. Sole Sisters Spring Luncheon
    Greenwich Country Club
  5. French Fare for a Fine Price
    Versailles Bistro is offering July and ongoing specials…magnifique!