Hardly a day goes by without someone going on about how terrible the Prime Minister and the Government is. Even if it’s so trivial such as the fact he doesn’t know what LOL means (did you expect anything else?) Seems that whoever they are they can’t do anything right. So I decided to have a look at each of the post war Prime Ministers, what they did, who they were, what they were like and offer my views on them.
Atlee is famous for the NHS, the welfare state and improving society and doing all sorts of good things alongside, like slowly granting freedom to many of the colonies of the British empire. I think he did what was necessary after the war and had to make some some tough decisions. Generally he’s seen as a good guy and I’d be inclined to agree. He was what we needed at the time… Despite resembling the Red Skull with a moustache… And don’t forget he was still just as popular with the people when he won the 1950 election as in 1945. Apparently his share of the vote increased. He even got more votes than the conservatives in 1951, which shows how first past the post is a fundamentally flawed voting system. Given another five years or so and I reckon he could have done even more… We might have dominated Europe as Germany does today.
Overall one of the better PM’s I feel.
Would i vote for him? Most probably. Would depend on the opposition leader.
Ahhh… Winston Churchill. Quite rightly he is lauded for being one of the best war leaders in the world. It was under his guidance that we beat the Nazi’s after all. But as a peacetime PM? Well… he mostly just kept things ticking over. Atlee’s reforms were kept and he added a few of his own. He didn’t do a lot of good from what I can see hence he ranks quite low on my list.
Would i vote for him? Hard to say this one. He had a good track record from the war but by 1950 he was getting on a bit so maybe not.
You’ve got to feel sorry for Eden but he’s demonised for something that really wasn’t entirely his fault. He suffered a botched operation in the early fifties and as a result suffered ill health for the rest of his life. When he became PM he was long past his prime. In actual fact, before the fifties, he was one of the most skilled politicians in the country!
When he came to office after Churchill’s resignation he immediately called a general election (compare to the likes of Callaghan, Major and Brown) and he was a genuinely popular PM. Even the Scottish liked him (And he was a Conservative!) And unemployment during his tenure was less than 1%… the lowest of any post war PM. How’s that for good?
Alas, he is overshadowed by Suez. To be fair the Egyptians under Nasser had seized control of the Suez Canal and Nasser outright refused any offers and proposals Britain and France made about the canal… And it was really important for western fuel supplies at that time. It wasn’t just ourselves who would have suffered had access been cut. Unfortunately, Harold Macmillan told Eden that the Americans wouldn’t oppose intervention. So the Suez invasion happened and then Eisenhower opposed it. He shouted from the rooftops about how it was wrong and how Britain and France were throwing their weight around and then Macmillan threatened to resign over it as well. Yes, it was handled quite badly but I think Eden does get an unfair rep for what was essentially a cow tow to the Americans. If Britain and France had taken the canal and the Americans never intervened it would just be another footnote in our history I suppose.
And even after he resigned Eden was still popular… What does that tell you?
Would I vote for him? He seems like a very nice man and he would certainly make me have a long hard think as to who to vote for… Would depend on his manifesto.
Harold Macmillan was already old and outdated when he came to power, though a lot of that was an act as he thought it would win him votes. The absurd thing is, it worked. He surrounded himself with yes men and made a total shambles of things, especially the economy. As far as I can see he did littl good. His chancellor of the exchequer, Selwyn Lloyd, is a man you have to feel sorry for. Macmillan only appointed him because he was a ‘yes man’ and he knew very little of economics. On top of that, towards the end, you have a total lack of control with the Vassal case and the Profumo scandal.
In short I don’t think he was a good choice for PM. It beats me how he was able to win the 1959 election… I guess people had different tastes back then. And I also reckon he was the Man in the Mask mentioned in the Denning report.
Would I vote for him: No.
One of our ‘Caretaker Prime Ministers.’ He did very little as he was only in office for about a year (give or take a few days). To be fair to him he did manage to sort out a few of the problems Macmillan created with the economy and my estimate is that he was a much more competent politician than his predecessor. The best story I’ve come across is that a couple of students from Aberdeen tried to kidnap him and he got out of it by telling them that if they did then the Conservatives would win the election… And then he gave them some beer and sent them on their way.
Just a point based on this reasoning: Nobody try and kidnap David Cameron… Or Nick Clegg… Or Ed Miliband come to think of it…
Home was also respected in the international community. I think he comes across as competent and a vast improvement on Macmillan.
Would I vote for him? Likely not… but he stands more chance than Macmillan.
As a man Harold Wilson has my respect. He was good and honest and very skillful as a politician. He kept us out of Vietnam and he had some good policies. He was a moderniser and the sixties saw great social and economic change. Also, if In Place of Strife had gone through we might have been spared the seventies… Plus… How can you not respect a man with a pipe?
He’s divisive, I’ll give him that, and his economic policies were a bit rubbish… But outside of those areas his first government was one of the best we’ve ever had. He gets knocked about for his second government but they were tougher times and it would take balls of steel to sort those problems out.
Would I vote for him? Yes… probably.
A Conservative in the vein of Macmillan: Crap. Not only did he fail spectacularly, but we’re still living with the scars today. He was indesicive and out of touch… Again, it surprises me as to how he was able to win the 1970 election (And to this day NOBODY has a real clue as to how he actually did it. He saddled us with the EEC, who never wanted us in the first place, and he made far more of a mess than Macmillan. He was really bad and I can’t find anything good about him. He was friends with Richard Nixon as well… Enough said.
Would I vote for him? No. Definately not.
Another one who should never have become PM imho. Like Gordon Brown, he was never elected but his situation is more untenable as he wasn’t even in a majority government at the time. Largely this was Heath’s fault for destroying faith in democracy but in a situation such as that an election should have been called. A lot of new prime ministers have not called an election straight away but they didn’t have minority governments. I don’t think Callaghan had the balls to sort out the country’s economic problems either… In fact he made them worse.
After Wilson resigned the leadership of the Labour Party should have gone to Barbara Castle. And then the 1979 election? BITCH FIGHT!
Would I vote for him? Again, No.
Ok… Divisive this one so i’ll try and stay as close to the middle ground as possible… Yes… She did some good things. She sorted out the country after Heath and Callaghan had messed it up… But she went about it in totally the wrong way by trampling over everybody and showing utter contempt for the common man. Her extreme superiority complex didn’t help matters either. She was certainly a capable politician but that’s overshadowed by her ‘Queen of the devil women’ personality. She doesn’t come across as someone who has a soul quite frankly. Don’t forget, the eighties also saw the rise of the yuppie and it’s the god damned yuppies who are now in charge!
Would I vote for her? She’s got more chance than some but its slim… She’d have to get down on her knees and personally beg first… And promise to take niceness lessons.
He’s criticised as being straightforwards and somewhat boring. Watching him at the Leveson inquiry he seemed like a very wise, very intelligent man and someone who could probably run the country well. During his time in office there were no crises that were actually his fault. Most of that was down to Thatcher and the incompetence of his ministers. His premiership saw economic growth, traditional values restored and the beginnings of peace in Northern Ireland. He even worked hard to make sure we were mostly protected from the Maastricht treaty… He got the single currency opt out (Looking at the Eurozone we should all send him a thank you card for that!)
AND… He got the most votes in the 1992 election… the most votes of anybody in a UK election ever. That says something about him… He can’t have been that bad after all.
I think that he was just PM at a bad time… the time when Thatcherism literally exploded shit everywhere and he was caught right in the middle.
Would I vote for him? Well… Maybe. Like with Eden he’d give me something to think about.
I can’t decide if Blair is better or worse than Macmillan. He never came up with any policies that strike me as particularly good and in hindsight, now they’ve had time to settle in, we can see that they are all pretty much disasters, especially in the economic and foreign policy areas. He’s a liar as well. It’s been clear for a long time that there were never any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and yet he keeps stating that there were. He surrounded himself with twisted and malevolent henchmen like Alistair Campbell and Peter Mandelson and between them they twisted and bent everything out of shape.
And to myself, Blair never came across as a man with any sort of conscience. Like with Thatcher, I believe he has no soul… He strikes me as a particularly greasy car salesman who sells clapped out old bangers as premium sports cars. He’s pompous, arrogant and above all he comes across as a power hungry tyrant.
Would I vote for him? Is the pope a Buddhist? Theres you’re answer.
I don’t think Gordon Brown is as bad as he was made out to be. Like with Major he got covered in the shit from the previous regime. However, I don’t think he was as capable as Major as his attempts to get out of trouble were feeble and almost futile at best. I think if he had become PM at a reasonably stable time and been able to work on making a genuine, good impact, he might have gone on to do some good. But it just wasn’t meant to be i’m afraid.
Would I vote for him? He’d have to convince me first… Show me he could do it and then I’d have a think… Never say never.
So in all… This is my chart of who I think did the best out of the above… I’ve not ranked them as such but I’ve put them in groups of similar performing individuals.
Harold Wilson— Clement Attlee (Mostly Capable)
Anthony Eden— Winston Churchill —John Major (Good, but could do better)
Alec Douglas Home— Gordon Brown (Must try harder…)
Margaret Thatcher (Not good)
Tony Blair— Edward Heath— Harold Macmillan— James Callaghan (Downing street disasters)
And as for the current trio of terror: Cameron, Clegg and Miliband… Let’s just say I don’t trust any of them… One’s a door stop, one’s an out of touch Edward Heath replica and the other is turning into Voldemort…