St Bride's: News

Nigel Farage delivers this year's Tom Olsen Lecture to a packed out church

farage_olsen.jpgNigel Farage spoke of the legacy of the Great War to a packed audience on Monday 10th November, as the guest speaker for the annual Tom Olsen Lecture at St Bride's Church.

On the eve of Armistice Day, the UK Independence Party leader and First World War aficionado said he wanted to end "the endless negativity" about Britain's involvement in the war, and remind schoolchildren that "we were fighting to do the decent thing; we were fighting, ultimately, for our way of life".

The lecture, entitled "We will remember them: The effects of the Great War and the legacy to contemporary Europe", was followed by a lively question and answer session chaired by Con Coughlin, War and Defence Editor of The Daily Telegraph.

Nearly 300 guests attended the sold-out event, including some of the most prominent faces in print journalism.

Mr Farage made several points in his lecture that challenged historical orthodoxy, including claiming that the Armistice was "the biggest mistake of the entire 20th century". He argued that the British Army should have instead continued with the advance and forced the German Army into unconditional surrender. 

Mr Farage also attacked the notion that a closer political union of European countries can ensure lasting peace in Europe. "There is this great belief that now we have this wonderful union in Europe, with a flag, an anthem, a Parliament, a President, war can never happen again. This is hugely and wholly mistaken."

Con Coughlin said after the lecture, "I think it went very well. It was thought-provoking and he had a novel take on some really important issues."

The Reverend Canon Dr. Alison Joyce, the newly installed Rector of St Bride's Church, said: "It was an interesting, stimulating evening. We had an excellent turnout and we had a very thoughtful presentation. Provocative, but in a helpful way!"

This was the 24th edition of the Tom Olsen lecture series, which began in 1991. The late Tom Olsen was a distinguished Fleet Street journalist, writer, editor and author, who sometimes wrote under the non de plume, John Morrell. In later years he became particularly known as the wine correspondent of the Sunday Telegraph.

Mr Farage joins a distinguished list of past lecturers, including Margaret Hodge MP, Dr Rowan Williams, Sir Simon Jenkins and George Osborne MP.

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