It is easy to feel nostalgic for Winston Churchill. Relentlessly off-message, lacking the benefits of a state or university education or Scottish blood, unforged in the crucible of the legal profession, a boozer, smoker and lover of women, he had to make do with front-line service in the Boer and First World Wars and thirty years of ministerial experience (‘knowledge bought not taught’, in his words) before national calamity raised him to the premiership. At the time many viewed him with suspicion, even alarm. He was a maverick. He had changed party, not once but twice. Like Tony Blair he surrounded himself with some pretty disreputable friends, to comfort and reassure him in time of trouble – dubiosos like Beaverbrook and Bracken, whom he would later appoint to high office (not, in his case, because they were cronies, but because they could be relied upon to get the job done).