Any assessment of the three-and-a-half years of the Churchill Government of the 1950s must start with a discussion of Churchill’s own competence to hold the premiership. The issue was raised by his own doctor, Lord Moran, who, regardless of medical ethics, rushed into print with a substantial volume recounting his years of attending Churchill and accompanying him on trips abroad since 1941. As if to beg the question, he entitled the book Churchill: The Struggle for Survival, and argued that throughout the middle and later war years, as well as in the 1950s, old age was an enemy which was distorting and enfeebling his judgement. Shortly after the new Government was elected, in December 1951 he wrote of Churchill ‘now struggling only with the humiliations of old age and with economic problems that are quite beyond his ken.’ He revealed how, in June 1953 after his stroke, Butler and Salisbury had insisted on altering the medical bulletin that he and Russell Brain, the specialist he had brought in, had drawn up to make it sound reassuring, and on 6 April 1955, the day Churchill retired, he wrote ‘This is the end of Winston’s long struggle to keep his place in politics … It has been a great effort for him to keep going; a drawn-out struggle with failing powers.’
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