MANY of us will have seen Gary Oldman’s mesmerising performance as Churchill in the film Darkest Hour. The film provides an overview of both his flaws and strengths. It pays homage to the great passion driving him. It also shows that Churchill was one of the few Conservatives who understood the dangers of totalitarianism, and the harsh reality of wartime leadership.

Leadership requires hard choices and sacrificing some for the greater good. The example of Churchill’s sacrifice of the 4,000-man Calais garrison in an attempt to save the Dunkirk evacuation is well played in the film, and highlights Churchill’s commitment to victory at all costs. I am amused by Conservatives who claim Churchill as their great hero. He was a complex man, not well liked by his colleagues in 1940, who had not forgiven him for going to the Liberals over his support for free trade. Incidentally whilst a member of the Liberal government in 1908, Churchill set up the first minimum wage.

The preferred Conservative leaders, Neville Chamberlain and Lord Halifax, were architects of appeasement, and this was where the bulk of Conservative MPs were in the late 1930s. Churchill was very much a maverick and an outsider. After the war, he argued for instituting human rights at the international level, and a united states of Europe. Another unconventional leader, Margaret Thatcher argued and won the battle for the single market and brought great prosperity to the European Union. Irrespective of whether you agreed with all their policies, there is no doubt in my mind they had the British national interest foremost in their mind. You might not buy into their vision, but they had one.

Unfortunately, this clarity is missing in either Mrs May or Mr Corbyn. On one of the biggest issues of the day, not Brexit but where we are going as a country, they can only give us empty words. They give us nothing. They give us no leadership. Oldman when picking up his latest Best Actor award at the Screen Actors Guild quoted Churchill: “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” Churchill would have given us something.

Luigi Gregori, Charlton Road