/ Worst Prime Minister of recent times

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RyanOsborne - on 13 Oct 2016

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/david-cameron-worst-prime-minister-ranking-third-since-ww2-a7358171.html

Seems fair enough? Can't imagine there's been a time when the nation is more divided and worried about its future than the mess call me Dave has left us with.

Not sure what the two tories who are worse than him could have done to deserve it.
Post edited at 14:29
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Big Ger - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to RyanOsborne:

I'm so old I remember when the Independent was independent and impartial.
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GrahamD - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to RyanOsborne:

The mess we have now is the one we voted for directly.
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RyanOsborne - on 13 Oct 2016
Chris the Tall - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to RyanOsborne:
The league table

The post-war league table of Prime Ministers

1. Clement Attlee, Labour 1945-51
2. Margaret Thatcher, Conservative 1979-90
3. Tony Blair, Labour 1997-2007
4. Harold Macmillan, Conservative 1957-63
5. Harold Wilson, Labour 1964-70 and 74-76
6. John Major, Conservative 1990-97
7. Winston Churchill, Conservative 1951-55
8. James Callaghan, Labour 1976-79
9. Edward Heath, Conservative 1970-74
10. Gordon Brown, Labour 2007-10
11. David Cameron, Conservative 2010-16
12. Alec Douglas-Home, Conservative 1963-64
13. Anthony Eden, Conservative 1955-57

Eden was responsible for Suez, when Britain colluded with the French and Isreali to launch an attack on Egypt (not entirely unprovoked, but certainly disproportionate). The plan was for Israel to attack, Britain and France to act as peacemakers by calling on both sides to withdraw from the canal, which they would then manage as neutrals. Since this entailed Israel advancing by a further 50 miles it fooled no one, even the Americans condemned it, and the Soviets used it as cover for their bloody invasion of Hungary. So definitely put him bottom of the list.

Not sure about Alec DH - a useless, ineffectual leader, but did far less damage to Britain than Cameron. And John Major, though a very nice chap by all accounts, was reasonable for the hasty privatisation of the railways, so deserves to be lower down the list
Post edited at 14:49
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whenry on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to RyanOsborne:

It's a bit early to pass judgement- in early 1939 Neville Chamberlain was highly regarded, and now he's ranked as one of the worst prime ministers of the 20th century. In fifty years, Cameron might be regarded as a visionary who had the balls to let Britain make a decision on leaving a failing, bureaucratic organisation in order to thrive. Or not!
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John2 - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to Chris the Tall:

I once shared a room in a ski chalet with one of the policemen who stand outside 10 Downing St. As you might expect, John Major used to say hello to him every time he passed while Tony Blair swept past as if he did not exist.
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Big Ger - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to RyanOsborne:

I wouldn't trust that shower of sh!te if I were you.
Lusk - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to Big Ger:

Cameron by several country miles, biggest limp dicked idiot there's ever been.
A wet lettuce leaf would have been more effective.
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RyanOsborne - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to Big Ger:

> I wouldn't trust that shower of sh!te if I were you.

The Heil? Oh I don't, I was just showing you it was reported across the media spectrum. The actual study that's being reported is based on the opinions of 80 political and historical academics.

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damhan-allaidh on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to Chris the Tall:

Good/effective PMs...or is that too off-topic?
RyanOsborne - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to John2:

> As you might expect, John Major used to say hello to him every time he passed

He just followed it with the word 'pleb'.

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neilh - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to RyanOsborne:

You obviously know nothing about John Major's social background
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Chris the Tall - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to damhan-allaidh:

Atlee at No 1 is fine by me, but Thatcher and Blair are tricky to assess from a neutral standpoint, and any discussion is going to get tribal
Chris the Tall - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to neilh:

He ran away from the circus to join a bank !
timjones - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to RyanOsborne:

> Seems fair enough? Can't imagine there's been a time when the nation is more divided and worried about its future than the mess call me Dave has left us with.

If the nation had been united we wouldn't be where we are right now!
John2 - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to Chris the Tall:

I once also met someone who worked with JM in his Standard Chartered days. He said he had never known anyone who came close to JM's ability at working a room and talking to everyone he needed to talk to.
Big Ger - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to RyanOsborne:

Opinions are like....
RyanOsborne - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to Big Ger:

I wonder what your list would be, re-order them how you see fit. I reckon I could guess who's top!

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Ian W - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to Chris the Tall:

And then rejoined a different circus!!
RyanOsborne - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to John2:

> I once also met someone who worked with JM in his Standard Chartered days.

Do you ask everyone you meet whether they have a link to John Major?
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GrahamD - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to RyanOsborne:

> He just followed it with the word 'pleb'.

I'll bet he didn't.
The New NickB - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to John2:

Whatever qualities Major did have, he appointed Norman Lamont as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Not something that can be overlooked.
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John2 - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to The New NickB:

Major was quite out of his depth as PM, I was merely talking about his human qualities.
The New NickB - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to John2:

> Major was quite out of his depth as PM, I was merely talking about his human qualities.

Judgement is a human quality.
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summo on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to RyanOsborne:
Ranking UK Prime Ministers, is a little like ranking England's football managers in order of achievement. Both are thankless tasks, opinions differ and where people often don't work their full contract out.
Post edited at 17:27
biped - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to Chris the Tall:

Major has 'minor' written all over him, although one very significant thing he should be credited for is his quiet work with the Northern Ireland situation which led ultimately to the peace deal. In spite of his ridiculous back to basics and braindead populist statements like 'If it isn't hurting it isn't working' I always thought of him as a generally decent man bobbing about in a sea of cnuts.

You're spot on about Bliar and Thatcher being difficult to assess without tribalism. Both massive figures but as far as I'm concerned for all the wrong reasons.
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John2 - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to The New NickB:

This all began with a quite amusing anecdote on my part. You and the other eternal infant who have posted disagreeable replies reveal yourselves as humourless ideologues, unable to make a reply which actually relates to what I have written.
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bouldery bits - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to John2:

> This all began with a quite amusing anecdote on my part. You and the other eternal infant who have posted disagreeable replies reveal yourselves as humourless ideologues, unable to make a reply which actually relates to what I have written.

Strong banter here.
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Chris the Tall - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to biped:

Yep, I forgotten about Nothern Ireland, for which he does indeed deserve much credit
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biped - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to Chris the Tall:
A good John Major story told to me by the hirsute owner of the 2ndhand bookshop in Callander, c.15 years ago:

Ian Paisley had recently been in his shop accompanied by several heavies, buying up all the political biographies. IP picked up John Major's autobiography, looked at it wistfully and said "I sat behind that maun for three and half years and he never spoke to me once."

He didn't buy the book. I thought well of JM for hearing that.
Post edited at 18:26
The New NickB - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to John2:

> This all began with a quite amusing anecdote on my part. You and the other eternal infant who have posted disagreeable replies reveal yourselves as humourless ideologues, unable to make a reply which actually relates to what I have written.

Anecdote, I'll give you that. You seem to be missing the point, he made Norman Lamont Chancellor of the Exchequer. Don't worry, I'm laughing!
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RyanOsborne - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to biped:

> You're spot on about Bliar and Thatcher being difficult to assess without tribalism. Both massive figures but as far as I'm concerned for all the wrong reasons.

I think it's partly based on 'effectiveness', so can see why Thatcher, as much as you might disagree with her was an effective PM in as far as pushing her agenda goes.
John2 - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to The New NickB:

Claiming that you find something amusing isn't the same as saying something amusing.
birdie num num - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to RyanOsborne:

It's a shame that I couldn't have been Prime minister. I could claim this crown.
The New NickB - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to John2:

> Claiming that you find something amusing isn't the same as saying something amusing.

I think that you have demonstrated that quite well.
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Hooo - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to Chris the Tall:

What the hell is Tony Blair doing there at number 3?
I'm a labour supporter who despises Thatcher, but I agree she deserves her place at number 2. But TB? Iraq war? Is that not as bad as Suez?
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andyjohnson0 - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to RyanOsborne:

The History Of British Politics http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IOO-xQ_Vew
ian caton on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to RyanOsborne:

The current PM seems like the antichrist in comparison to any of the aforementioned.
pasbury on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to bouldery bits:

> Strong banter here.

That's one way of putting it.
Dr.S at work - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to ian caton

Do you suffer from hypothyroidism?
ian caton on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to Dr.S at work:

If the responsibility for effective communication lies with the communicator you will have to expand, unless you are trying to sell me something.
WVRox - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to Hooo:

Blair led this country through an unprecedented period of sustained economic growth which dragged millions of people out of poverty. Some benefits are easy to quantify, others are impossible. Iraq was a disaster, agreed, but no, contrary to the way the press would like to think, Iraq is not Suez, or the Falklands, or Vietnam - a mistake yes, but it's political and human and economic consequences were a drop in the ocean compared to the other examples. Good thread , and hard to argue with the broad rankings. Brown or Cameron......God that's a tricky one!!! Brown nudges it for me as he is a massively intelligent man....who couldn't always communicate very well.......and he should learn how to switch his microphone off! Shame John Smith never lived to be PM!
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wintertree - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to WVRox:

You're right, Iraq was nothing like the Falklands.


Are you seriously going to stand there and say that we had a clearer legal basis in international law for the war in Iraq in Blair's time, and that the humanitarian fall out of the 2nd gulf war is less than that of the Falklands?

Because if so I will refrain from posting my views less I be accused of being very very blunt.
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wbo - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to wintertree: I can't argue with that, but how do you rank Blair on domestic policy?

I'm surprised Callaghan gets away so lightly

WVRox - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to wintertree:

In case you'd let it pass you by, Iraq would have happened with or without us, with the same fall out. If your intellect allows you to read my post properly you will see that I acknowledge the disaster that was our involvement in Iraq, but we played a tiny part. A legal war.......interesting concept!!
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Chris Harris - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to WVRox:

> Blair led this country through an unprecedented period of sustained economic growth which dragged millions of people out of poverty.

Pretend growth based on massive financial smoke & mirrors, and fake posterity based on people getting themselves into massive debt.

Which dragged millions of people into a recession.
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wintertree - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to WVRox:

I read and understood your post in full. The only part I objected to was your suggestion that the humanitarian consequences of Iraq were "a drop in the ocean" compared to the Falklands.

I also put a point of my own in about international law. I suppose I could also argue about political consequences; last time I checked the rise to prominence of ISIS was tied up with the fallout from Iraq and not the Falklands...
Post edited at 20:46
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WVRox - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to wintertree:

Those humanitarian consequences were as a result of the war, not our involvement
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WVRox - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to Chris Harris:

I think not!
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wintertree - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to WVRox:

> Those humanitarian consequences were as a result of the war, not our involvement

You weren't a legal advisor to Tony Blair were you?

Edit: we supplied ~20% of the Western troops on our side of the second gulf war. So an ultra naive book keeping would put ~20% of the humanitarian consequences at our door. That still eclipses your statement about it being a "drop in the ocean" compared to the consequences of the Falklands.

Edit; keep the dislikes coming. It's all you've got, 20% is not "tiny" as WVRox claimed our involvement was, and the excess civilian deaths as a result of Iraq are far higher than the total casualties of the Falklands. It was an utterly indefensible statements. Dislikes won't change that.
Post edited at 20:59
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WVRox - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to wintertree:

Look at the thread another way. If you could replace the Silver lady with one from the list, which would you choose? (Or keep her!)
Thatcher/Blair for me, just to demonstrate political neutrality!

no_more_scotch_eggs - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to wintertree:

absolutely.

humanitarian consequences of the Falklands war: collapse of the military junta in Argentina, responsible for the death of as many as 30000 of its own citizens, and the beginning of 40+ years of civilian rule there

humanitarian consequences of the Iraq war: at least 100000 deaths in Iraq, the destabilisation of the whole region, setting in place the conditions for the rise of ISIS.

and yes, it wasn't just us; but:

- we have no way of knowing what the effect of the UK withdrawing support from the action would have been. it may have caused a pause for reflection in washington

- we did join in, and 'it would have happened anyway' is a poor excuse for our contribution to the mayhem that followed.
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to WVRox:

thats the tragedy of blair; such great achievements, from the irish peace process, to scottish devolution, to the minimum wage, and game changing investment in the NHS, undermined by the underhand tactics he used to take us into the worst foreign policy catastrophe of the modern era.
Gerry_Doncaster - on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to RyanOsborne:

I'm 50 and as far as I'm concerned every prime minister I've ever lived under has been very bad to one degree or another. Tell you another thing, I never voted for a single one of them either.
John_Hat - on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to WVRox:

> Brown or Cameron......God that's a tricky one!!! Brown nudges it for me as he is a massively intelligent man....who couldn't always communicate very well......

I always had a soft spot for Brown. I got the impression he was an intelligent, well-meaning, decent man and a competent chancellor by the time he finished up (I'll admit some of his early decisions were not great).

However he was blamed for things that were not his fault - a large portion of society appear to think the 2007 crash was engineered by him - and was nowhere near nasty enough to survive in the waters in which he swum [1].

[1] I'd put Corbyn in the same place on this
BnB - on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to John_Hat:

> I always had a soft spot for Brown. I got the impression he was an intelligent, well-meaning, decent man and a competent chancellor by the time he finished up (I'll admit some of his early decisions were not great).

> However he was blamed for things that were not his fault - a large portion of society appear to think the 2007 crash was engineered by him - and was nowhere near nasty enough to survive in the waters in which he swum [1].

> [1] I'd put Corbyn in the same place on this

This just shows how perspective makes all the difference. Brown, while intelligent and well-intentioned, was (IMO) quite the worst chancellor for some time, being the architect of a credit boom that undermined business confidence for a decade and then compounded the disaster by expanding the public sector well beyond our means to disguise the gap between wealth creation and his credit bubble. As a prime minister he was an unmitigated disaster and if people blame him unreasonably for the financial crisis then their barbs remain well targeted not just for his calamitous shepherding of the economy in the period from '97, but also for his total lack of the leadership qualities that would give people that all important feeling of belief. It's no surprise that private sector employers' confidence took a huge surge when Cameron, a more charismatic leader if not to everyone's taste, took over. And it wasn't just the promise of a 5% cut in supertax. As for Cameron. Isn't it just too soon to say? Whatever is felt today will be different in 10 years, and again in 20. Blair, were it not for Iraq, would be viewed very differently, but again time will tell.
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Rog Wilko on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to RyanOsborne:

Cameron was always going to leave a mess. When did a Bullingdon boy stay back to clear up the mess he'd made?
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