Cringes Are Inferiority Complexes
Before I get too far into this critically important essay, there needs to be some etymological information presented. First, the term, Churchillian, is an adjective that adds to the meaning of the noun cringe. Churchillian identifies the type of cringe. This takes us to the term...cringe. Cringe is a word used to describe the way some people feel in relationship to a superior group...a feeling of inadequacy. The term is often used in the United Kingdom to describe how some Scots feel in relation to the English. The feeling of either inferiority to the superior English, or the marginalization they feel in reference to those south of Hadrian's Wall.
For example of the Scottish cringe, some Scots feel intimidated by England and Westminster in that since joining with England in 1707 they have not had a parliament for nearly three centuries. Westminster told the Scots that they were better equipped to govern Scotland than Scotland could. It was not until July 1, 1999 that Scotland finally got a parliament after waiting nearly three hundred years. Feeling of inadequacy to govern oneself created part of the Scottish cringe.
I have attempted to determine the person to first coin the term, Scottish cringe. I had studied there 45-years ago and never heard it then. Apparently, it came into play around 2005. However, I know the source and date when the term Churchillian cringe. I created the term on September 11, 2013 while doing some research on William Wallace. September 11 happened to be the day in 1297 that Wallace beat the English at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. Strange how things seem a coincidence.
I greatly admire Churchill for his determination and leadership during WWII. He led his nation through some of the most difficult time for Great Britain. Churchill also paid Scotland a great compliment when he wrote that the Scots "of all small nations of this earth perhaps only the ancient Greeks surpass the Scots in their contribution to mankind."
However, Churchill suffered from a British sense of delusion of grandeur. Churchill, while an excellent British historian, had difficulty in addressing and dealing with the reality that what Britain once was is not anymore. By the end of WWII, it was apparent to a vast majority of the British population that the days of their glorious empire were gone. However, their leader and historian could not face that reality. Great Britain had been "the Empire on which the sun never sets." However, that was back in 1922. Great Britain controlled over 450 million people, which represented one fifth of world's population and a quarter of the world's landmass. This is a map of the empire a century ago.
However, in less than a century, the British Empire had dwindled down to a precious few places in the world. Gone were the days of Queen Victoria and the vast global empire where the sun never sets on the British Empire.
Nevertheless, Churchill lost his reelection bid after leading his people during WWII. There were many reasons for Labour's landslide. One major reason was that the Brits understood that the days of the empire were a thing of the past...the distant pass. Churchill knew that but I think that he thought if he just doggedly fought own against the tidal wave of history that he could lead them back to the good old days of empire and glory.
It was the global reverse of roles. Churchill the feeling inside of Great Britain ruling the waves...he loved it so much that he did not want to feel like a supporting actor on the global stage of life...behind the US and the USSR. Look at who is in charge in 1943.
Churchill was stage right at Teheran in 1943. In 1945 at Yalta, he was stage left. In 4-months, the British would vote the Conservatives out and Labour in. Churchill was off stage...completely.
Without the US, Great Britain would have lost the war, but while he needed America, it meant that Britain was being replaced on the world stage. Hence, he suffered from Churchillian cringe. Now, the Churchillian cringe is much like the flu; it is very contagious. Many English suffer from this cringe...an inferiority to others. They, like Churchill, loved being the dominant dog on the top of the hill. They would not like being the middle of the pack.
This is why the Better Together makes emotional sense to some English. They need the Scots to make them feel like the good old day of yore. They are so concerned about their national inferiority complex, they are willing to discuss with Scots some means of staying together.
Interestingly, Churchill said of Scotland, "Of all the small nations on earth, perhaps only the ancient Greeks surpass the Scots in their contribution to mankind." That seems to me high praise coming from an Englishman about Scotland and its people. However, the Scots cannot become independent while the English attempt to go back to the days of the empire.
Visit the Scottish Independence page to read more about this topic.