/ Britain's Worst Prime Minister, Ever

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Trangia 06 Sep 2019

Who was it? Is Boris Johnson heading towards taking that title in History?

3
Lusk 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Trangia:

Wasn't it Cameron, then May, then ...

Run_Ross_Run 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Trangia:

Blair 

44
Trangia 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Trangia:

Interesting that all the candidates so far are from recent years, does anyone know anything about some of our historical PMs? I have to admit that I don't but I suspect there were some terrible ones, particularly during the Victorian colonial period.

1
Cú Chullain 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Trangia:

Anthony Eden and the Suez Crisis?

Deadeye 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Trangia:

Heath - winter of discontent etc.?

6
GridNorth 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Trangia:

Blair.  They all pale into insignificance when you count up the cost, both human and economic, of taking us to war in Iraq on a false premise. How Blair and Campbell can accuse anyone of being dishonest is so ironic I want to cry.

Al

22
Harry Jarvis 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Deadeye:

> Heath - winter of discontent etc.?

James Callaghan was Labour PM at the time of the winter of discontent (78/79). 

Edward Heath was Conservative PM at the time of the 3-day week (early 74). 

Both were hostages to hostile trades unions, and were models of competence by comparison with the recent PMs. 

1
LastBoyScout 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Trangia:

Blair, because of Iraq, then Cameron for landing us in the current mess and then buggering off!

6
Ian W 06 Sep 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

> Blair.  They all pale into insignificance when you count up the cost, both human and economic, of taking us to war in Iraq on a false premise. How Blair and Campbell can accuse anyone of being dishonest is so ironic I want to cry.

> Al

Although interestingly at the time it was the Opposition (IDS at the helm) who were even keener than Blair to go to war with Iraq; they were keen even without the "evidence" Blair eventually turned up with. So whilst it is true that it was with hindsight a mistake to go into Iraq mk 2, we would absolutely have followed the same course of action if the tories were in number 10. Apart from that, Blair did ok.

1
Trangia 06 Sep 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

Was Blair's policy of aggression worse that Chamberlain's policy of appeasement? The latter resulted in Britain becoming embroiled in WW2 where the human and economic cost to Britain was significantly greater.

3
GridNorth 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Trangia:

I'm struggling to see how WW2 was a consequence of Chamberlains policy of appeasement.  Would you care to explain?  I would have thought that Hitlers disregard for all the other borders in Europe gave us no reason to think that he would respect ours was why we went to war.

Al

2
Eric9Points 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Trangia:

> Was Blair's policy of aggression worse that Chamberlain's policy of appeasement? The latter resulted in Britain becoming embroiled in WW2 where the human and economic cost to Britain was significantly greater.


The roots of WW2 lie in the reparations demanded by the victorious allies. Their policy towards Germany caused massive unrest and led to the rise of fascism. It is entirely understandable that European leaders and no doubt most of the citizens of Europe, wanted to avoid confrontation and another war in Europe while so many were still grieving ss a result of the last one.

I think May is probably the worst. She didn't make one smart move in her time in office and achieved nothing. Cameron increased his vote share in his second general election so must have done something right. Eden made one mistake but didn't risk the economic well being and very existence of the UK.

1
Stichtplate 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> The roots of WW2 lie in the reparations demanded by the victorious allies. Their policy towards Germany caused massive unrest and led to the rise of fascism.

Bit simplistic. Italy and Japan were on the allied side during WW1 and Spain was neutral. All three states embraced Fascism readily enough.

2
Iamgregp 06 Sep 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

I'm no fan of the Iraq war, I was there on the marches at the time, and the whole thing was an outrage. 

That said, I don't believe that Blair and Campbell deliberately misled the anyone in the way Boris has.  Repeatedly.  I think they genuinely believed that Saddam Hussein had WMD hidden in Iraq and that that was enough justification to go to war.  Both of these turned out to be untrue, but I don't think they knew that at the time.

You're absolutely right in terms of the cost of that war though...

1
Trangia 06 Sep 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

Far too big and complex subject to explain in an exchange such as this.  If you have studied the the Great War and it's Legacy, the events in Germany of the 1920s and 1930s, the British policies in the inter War period, particularly spending on defence, armament, tactics, German re-armament, and politics, and the origins of the Second World War then you can form your own opinion. If not there is lot of reading available. In answer to my original question it would appear that you rate rate Blair as worse than Chamberlain, which was all I asked.

1
GridNorth 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Iamgregp:

> That said, I don't believe that Blair and Campbell deliberately misled the anyone in the way Boris has.  Repeatedly.  I think they genuinely believed that Saddam Hussein had WMD hidden in Iraq and that that was enough justification to go to war.  Both of these turned out to be untrue, but I don't think they knew that at the time.

Seriously?  They must have been the only two people in the UK who didn't and the lengths they went to to cover it up, or at least muddy the waters, were equally disgusting. It will be difficult to quantify the number of unnecessary lives lost between then and now as a direct consequence of that decision and personally I rate peoples lives higher than money.

Al

6
Pan Ron 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Ian W:

> So whilst it is true that it was with hindsight a mistake to go into Iraq mk 2,

Hindsight? I think it was pretty clear to many of us at the time that this was a ludicrous, crass and murderous course of action. 

> Apart from that, Blair did ok.

Agreed. But on balance, him doing relatively ok in the UK pales when compared to hundreds of thousands of excess deaths, monumental upheaval in the Middle East and the resulting wind back of freedom and security in the West.

laurie 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Trangia:

Margaret Thatcher

4
Robert Durran 06 Sep 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

> Blair.  They all pale into insignificance when you count up the cost, both human and economic, of taking us to war in Iraq on a false premise. How Blair and Campbell can accuse anyone of being dishonest is so ironic I want to cry.

I think Blair made an appalling but honest mistake, though he may have been less than honest in the way he conducted his policy.

Johnson, on other hand has been shamelessly dishonest purely out of personal ambition. Blair's mistake probably caused more suffering than Johnson's lies might, but to me there is no doubt who is the worse person and worse prime minister.

GridNorth 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Trangia:

I have a history degree and I have studied the events both pre and post WW1 war and I would agree that the Treaty of Versailles contributed significantly to WW2 but I still can't see where Chamberlains appeasement policy contributed directly to WW2 which is what you implied.

I am still a little mystified about WW1, and continue to study it to this day. WW1  seemed to occur more by accident than design.  The same cannot be said of WW2. But we digress from the OP.

Al

Post edited at 13:58
Yanis Nayu 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Trangia:

Johnson is certainly the most malignant.

I thought Iraq was a huge mistake but kind of understand the argument for it (plus it would have happened just as enthusiastically under a Tory government).

Starting to look back kindly on May and need to remind myself how horrible she actually was. She looks like Boudicca in comparison to Johnson though.

Cameron was a consequence of our conditioned deferment to Old Etonians. Considered himself born to rule and came across quite well but was hopelessly out of his depth and the referendum was possibly the single biggest act of national self-harm in our recent history. 

Moley 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Trangia:

I don't think Alec Douglas-Home was very highly thought of, but he was only PM for a year and I don't think there were any major disasters on his watch. 

Eric9Points 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Bit simplistic. Italy and Japan were on the allied side during WW1 and Spain was neutral. All three states embraced Fascism readily enough.


I was referring to the rise of fascism in Germany. The humiliation and impoverishment of their country produced a fertile breeding ground for fascism.

Iamgregp 06 Sep 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

I agree with you about the unacceptable human cost, I just don't think they knowingly lied to us at the time.  That was the beginning and end of my point.

Dunno why you're telling me about you money to life valuations?  I never said you didn't value money more than life, or I that I did?

Ian W 06 Sep 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

> Seriously?  They must have been the only two people in the UK who didn't and the lengths they went to to cover it up, or at least muddy the waters, were equally disgusting. It will be difficult to quantify the number of unnecessary lives lost between then and now as a direct consequence of that decision and personally I rate peoples lives higher than money.

> Al

Thats all fine, but having Blair as pm wasnt the cause of going in there. The tories were , as above, very much in favour (

IDS a member of privy council, and therefore just as well informed), and even if we didnt go in, the Americans would have done, so the additional cost on terms of lives would be minimal. And how can anyone confidently say that the lives lost as a consequence of going in exceeded the lives saved as a consequence of leaving Saddam in charge (ignoring nationality, just looking at body count).

None of which excuses going in anyway; my view is that we had nothing to gain anyway; neither did the americans. It should never have happened, but who the PM of the UK was at the time was irrelevant.

Post edited at 15:08
rj_townsend 06 Sep 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

> Blair.  They all pale into insignificance when you count up the cost, both human and economic, of taking us to war in Iraq on a false premise. How Blair and Campbell can accuse anyone of being dishonest is so ironic I want to cry.

> Al

I'm normally more than happy to give Blair a kick at every opportunity for exactly the reasons you state. However, he appears positively angelic in comparison to the truly cynical, blatantly dishonest, shambolic incumbent PM (I can't be bothered to type his name - he isn't worth it). 

1
GridNorth 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Iamgregp:

That wasn't aimed at you directly it was more a general comment. Sorry.  I can't positively prove that they lied to us but on the other hand have they ever expressed any regret? 

Al

In reply to Trangia:

I'm really struggling to see how any remainers could view Boris Johnson in any way other than their hero.

He swept in and rattled a load of cages, got the lazy good for nothings out of their luxurious arrogant slumber and got them finally doing something. Never seen them work so hard have we? He's managed to lose control of parliament, he's got no deal off the menu, and he can only call an election when all the others think they stand a chance and the tories don't. He has backed himself so tightly into a corner that the anticipation of schadenfreude, ( after the delectable reverse nepotism entree of Jo) is so sweetly delicious for remainers that when it actually happens and he resigns/asks for an extension that the orgasm may well seem disappointing.

Can anyone think of anybody, anybody at all that could have helped the remainer cause anymore over the last couple of weeks than Boris?

Iamgregp 06 Sep 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

Fair point, no I don't think they have expressed any remorse?  

Some have speculated that Blair's conversion to Catholicism may have been linked to the regret he feels inwardly and his need for absolution but who knows?

Even if they do regret those events, I don't think they would ever pronounce this publicly.  

This is getting a bit beside the point though, I just wanted to make the distinction between Boris' lies and Blair's.  

Trangia 06 Sep 2019
In reply to rj_townsend:

> I'm normally more than happy to give Blair a kick at every opportunity for exactly the reasons you state. However, he appears positively angelic in comparison to the truly cynical, blatantly dishonest, shambolic incumbent PM (I can't be bothered to type his name - he isn't worth it). 

I agree with the sentiments in your second sentence. Many PMs have had a tendency to be economic with the truth, but I think Johnson surpasses most in his blatant bare faced lying, even, it seems, to the Queen, his devious skulduggery, and attempts to manipulate Parliamentary procedure to further his own ambitions over and above the interests of the country, his  cynical use (yesterday) of a police training college as a platform to further his arguments on Brexit, his disrespect and rudeness to a fellow MP in the House by calling Jeremy Corbyn, "Corbyn" in PMQ rather than the conventional title "the Leader of the Opposition", his rambling blustering, his dodging of uncomfortable questions, his cowardliness, his lack of judgement in alienating members of his own government, and his hypocrisy. The Brexit debacle is one of the most divisive crises to have effected this country since the Civil War and far from uniting the country he is day be day making matters worse. Far from being a Leader, he is attempting to become a Dictator with no plan and dwindling support.

GridNorth 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Trangia:

Agreed but do you seriously think revoking article 50 would reunite the country?

Al

Trangia 06 Sep 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

I seriously believe that a No Deal crash out would be very very damaging to our economy. That is the immediate threat and it has to be stopped. What happens after, including revoking Article 50, is still in the air, and that is not the immediate pressing problem. 

Although, for what it's worth, I can't see it re-uniting the country. I'm not convinced a General Election will either! It's anybody's guess right now, maybe revert to TM's deal? Who knows? But I am convinced that a No Deal crash out must be avoided.

I believe the country will only become re-united if people are prepared to accept compromise. People's views have changed over the last 3 years, including my own. I was an ardent remainer, but I now feel that the only way forward is that we are all going to have to accept a compromise, and in that spirit I would vote for May's deal (with the back stop) if it was put to us in a new referendum, and I would hope that others would feel the same. The last three years, and in particular the last few weeks have shown that sure as hell the result of the last referendum was too devisive, because contrary to what Johnson is claiming it wasn't an "overwhelming" result, it was won by a small margin, so small that as we are seeing, it's unworkable.  

GridNorth 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Trangia:

My problem is that I don't fully know what the compromises are.  On another thread I'm asking what Labours "Custom Union" would mean.  They are not referring to "THE Customs Union". If a compromise were to mean that we would not be allowed to negotiate our own trade deals on our own terms, I think that would be disastrous and we would not really be free of the EU.

earlsdonwhu 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Trangia:

How depressing that there are so many candidates to be the worst PM.

Lusk 06 Sep 2019
In reply to earlsdonwhu:

It begs the question, 'Who was the last good PM?'

wercat 06 Sep 2019
In reply to rj_townsend:

Blair did more evil in the world but those responsible (including PMs) for Brexit starting with the Referendum would inflict more harm on Britain and British people in particular than Blair

wercat 06 Sep 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

There isn't Anything about Brexit that will reunite the country.  Don't do it and then at least the country is in a better state to heal over time

Revoke and be damned

Post edited at 17:18
Eric9Points 06 Sep 2019
In reply to wercat:

> Blair did more evil in the world

Did he? He went along with the US based on their dodgy intelligence in order to remove an evil dictator who was causing misery in his region.

If Iraq had become a peaceful democracy instead of a hellhole following its invasion, would the actions of the US and its allies still be condemned?

It's also worth pointing out that he was responsible for bringing peace to Sierra Leone and the Balkans and arguably organising an international response to the 9/11 attacks.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing but it is good to remember that the paradigm surrounding armed interventions was different twenty years ago.

Post edited at 17:38
1
earlsdonwhu 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Lusk:

I'm not sure I have an answer about the best one.

I also wondered about a US comparison. Without trying to hijack the thread, I wonder who would be seen as good over there.Many in the UK may see Obama in a favourable light but for loads of Americans he was some kind of commie!

Yanis Nayu 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Trangia:

Difficult to see what could re-unite the country, other than Johnson coming back from Brussels waving a piece of paper, confidently stating that we’ve left and cracking-on as we did in 2016 before Cameron unleashed all this shit on us. 

fred99 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

> Difficult to see what could re-unite the country, other than Johnson coming back from Brussels waving a piece of paper....

You know what happened the last time a British PM came back from Europe waving a piece of paper …

earlsdonwhu 06 Sep 2019
In reply to fred99:

The country united, formed closer ties with the Commonwealth and developed a special relationship with the USA...... So that's all right then!😭

Duncan Bourne 06 Sep 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

and yet we kept voting him in. He served for 10 years only one year behind Thatcher and won the same number of elections (3)

Yes Blair took us into war against Iraq under false pretenses yet I firmly believe that any other prime minister would have done just the same. He had over whelming support for the Iraq war from both sides of the house with the exceptions of Tony Benn and Jeremy Corbyn.

Aside from the Iraq war he brought a stability to the country which previous administrations ahad wrecked. Something which is convinently forgotten

Post edited at 18:30
Andy Clarke 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Trangia:

I'm not sure any of these modern types can match Lord North's loss of America. 

Tom Loughlin 06 Sep 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

With regards Hitler and appeasement: the classic argument was made by AJP Taylor in The Origins of the Second World War. He argued that Hitler had rational foreign policy objectives in Europe (revise Versailles borders and reestablish German power on the continent) and that it was the weakness of the western allies in opposing Hitler that encouraged him to make more radical demands. Effectively, they allowed him to gain too much and then drew an arbitrary line over Poland, which resulted in an ‘accidental’ war Hitler did not necessarily expect. 

His argument is not convincing to me, overall. However, it is clear that Britain’s prevarication over committing to upholding the demilitarised zone in the Rhineland affected French reaction and meant Hitler gained momentum in his expansion. Britain also concluded a separate rearmament treaty with Germany in 1935, legitimising Hitler’s breaking of the Treaty of Versailles. Therefore, appeasement was probably an unwise policy, which made the war that resulted in 1939 a much more difficult war to win. However, the outbreak of WW2 was substantially due to Hitler’s vision of a greater German empire. 

ena sharples 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Iamgregp:

Bush was clearly going to make someone, anyone, pay for 9/11 and Saddam was as good a scapegoat as any. Blair was determined to support Bush and the whole so called "dodgy dossier" was just a cobbled together load of rubbish to provide sufficient cover to justify going in. I don't doubt Blair really believed he was doing the right thing but he surely knowingly twisted the available evidence to back up his intent.

Tom Loughlin 06 Sep 2019
In reply to ena sharples:

Agree with your analysis, except that I think the decision to go into Iraq was not motivated by misplaced vengeance but a cynical use of 9/11 to legitimise US strategic goals that predated the twin towers. 

1
ena sharples 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Tom Loughlin:

Quite

stevieb 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Lusk:

> It begs the question, 'Who was the last good PM?'

If everyone is judged by their worst action  then it’s pretty hard to be a good pm. Churchill was at least partly to blame for the death of 3m in Bengal. 

Wilson is judged quite harshly, but not many UK prime ministers would’ve kept the UK out of Vietnam. Joining that war would’ve cost 10-20 times the UK lives of the Iraq war. 

Andy Hardy 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Bit simplistic. Italy and Japan were on the allied side during WW1 and Spain was neutral. All three states embraced Fascism readily enough.

Spain did resist fascism, although unsuccessfully. 

wercat 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

Again, there was plenty of foresight by others.  Hindsight for others I'm afraid.  When you've lived a certain time you can see what is coming.   At a time when Bush was beginning to talk less belligerently before the war was a certainty Blair upped the bellicose rhetoric considerably.  A ratchet can be as important as the mainspring.

Let's not forget that the invasion was a crime against peace and was part of a war of aggression was probably a war crime in itself after the Nuremburg Articles.  My old law professor Colin Warbrick, far cleverer than I, thought so and I formed my opinion before discovering his.

Post edited at 19:39
1
AJM 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Trangia:

> I believe the country will only become re-united if people are prepared to accept compromise. People's views have changed over the last 3 years, including my own. I was an ardent remainer, but I now feel that the only way forward is that we are all going to have to accept a compromise, and in that spirit I would vote for May's deal (with the back stop) if it was put to us in a new referendum, and I would hope that others would feel the same.

its interesting how the terms of the debate have shifted. If you look at what the deal intends to do (it probably never could do, given the lack of magic solutions to the backstop), you leave the customs union, you leave the single market, and your ambition is to forge a free trade agreement only - at the time of the referendum it would probably have been considered a fairly hard Brexit. The idea that it might be the sensible compromise option to best reflect the outcome in a 52:48 referendum is therefore telling about how much wider (madder, I would say, given my views on the idea of a no deal Brexit) the debate has shifted since 2016, unless of course one just assumes that the operation of the backstop is inevitable (which is an entirely fair point of view I suppose).

flaneur 07 Sep 2019
In reply to Lusk:

> It begs the question, 'Who was the last good PM?'

Depends on your threshold for good. Humans will always make mistakes and by the nature of the job sometimes these will be huge mistakes. It’s easy to point to mistakes especially if you are a perfectionist. Perfectionists like Corbyn never make mistakes because they never get anything done  

I don’t think there is a serious argument against Attlee as being the best in the last 100 years. Not coincidentally he’s the antithesis of BloJo, Clem might have bored you at the party but you’d be in safe hands if he drove you home. 

Offwidth 07 Sep 2019
Mick Ward 07 Sep 2019
In reply to flaneur:

> I don’t think there is a serious argument against Attlee as being the best in the last 100 years. Not coincidentally he’s the antithesis of BloJo, Clem might have bored you at the party but you’d be in safe hands if he drove you home. 

Second last man off the beaches at Gallipoli. Safe hands - even in hell.

mick

1
Pullhard 07 Sep 2019
In reply to Lusk:

> It begs the question, 'Who was the last good PM?'

I quite liked Gordon Brown

1
Gordon Stainforth 07 Sep 2019
In reply to Lusk:

> It begs the question, 'Who was the last good PM?'

I'd say, Blair - up to the Iraq war, was one of the very best we've ever had. Before that, John Major (a big surprise how capable he was).

Pullhard 07 Sep 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> I'd say, Blair - up to the Iraq war, was one of the very best we've ever had. Before that, John Major (a big surprise how capable he was).

Before killed all his patients shipman was a great doctor. Major as come into his own recently 

Gordon Stainforth 07 Sep 2019
In reply to Pullhard:

Yes, Major has gone from strength to strength. Now has the stature of a statesman.

EarlyBird 08 Sep 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

Isn't there an argument that WW1 came down to railway schedules?

elsewhere 08 Sep 2019
In reply to EarlyBird:

War starts usually when both sides think they will win. With hindsight at least one side appears to have been deluded.

WW1 everybody was deluded and thought they would be marching through their enemy's capital city in six weeks due to inate superiority of their armies.

Robert Durran 08 Sep 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> More evidence that Boris might win by a large margin:

In what way is that evidence he might win? Wrong link?

Offwidth 08 Sep 2019
In reply to Robert Durran:

Very likely to win the prize of worst PM ever.  Holding a political rally in front of a police event is yet another example of an outrageous first that becomes almost expected from him  ... the complete disaster of the event itself has almost hidden the fact it should never have happened in the first place. The police did at least apologise.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/06/criticism-grows-boris-johnson-use-police-officers-political-speech

Robert Durran 08 Sep 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> Very likely to win the prize of worst PM ever.  Holding a political rally in front of a police event is yet another example of an outrageous first that becomes almost expected from him  ... the complete disaster of the event itself has almost hidden the fact it should never have happened in the first place. The police did at least apologise.

Yes, but why is it evidence he will win?!

fred99 09 Sep 2019
In reply to earlsdonwhu:

Don't forget - we only just finished off paying for lend-lease !!

fred99 09 Sep 2019
In reply to Andy Clarke:

> I'm not sure any of these modern types can match Lord North's loss of America. 


Look at it now - would you really want it ?

tew 10 Sep 2019
In reply to Trangia:

As the PMs I've lived under and remember i would rate the in the following order best (well least worse) to worse 

Gordon Brown and John Major. GB will be a sideline in history and pass I was young under JM.

Maybot completely out of her depth and unwilling to change her mind. Screwed up most things.

Dave Cam called the biggest balls up Brexit. Because he was a stuck up Eton a--hole.

Blair and BoJo. Blair for Iraq. BoJo as he's actively screwing the country for his own gain and has lied since day 1. He's going to do a lot of damage to people's lives in the UK (not like Blair did to Iraqi lives and members of the armed services) more like the 2008 financial crisis but self inflicted. He's unlikely to even think about the environment so climate change will not be dealt with from the UK. That's where deaths will happen.

wercat 10 Sep 2019
In reply to tew:

Bojo, with Added Cummings

earlsdonwhu 10 Sep 2019
In reply to wercat:

Sadly, I think that if Bojo delivers a hard Brexit, he will be seen in future like Maggie as heroic by his core and loathed by everyone else . Unanimous loathing is unlikely and, although I hope he may resign soon, his replacement as Tory leader is likely to be similar in attitudes.

krikoman 10 Sep 2019
In reply to Trangia:

> Was Blair's policy of aggression worse that Chamberlain's policy of appeasement? The latter resulted in Britain becoming embroiled in WW2 where the human and economic cost to Britain was significantly greater.


There is a train of thought that Chamberlain's "apparent" appeasement was to allow us to catch up militarily, without provoking Hilter into attacking us before we could defend ourselves.

Tom Loughlin 10 Sep 2019
In reply to krikoman:

Yes, some truth in this - Air Force and army especially required until 1940 to be anywhere near ready. Also arguable that there was no stomach for war amongst the general public. However, Chamberlain overestimated the preparedness of Germany for war and betrayed key allies in a forlorn hope for peace with a megalomaniacal dictator. 1938 - Germany and Italy vs. Britain, Poland, Czechoslovakia, France and possibly USSR (Franco-Soviet Mutual Assistance pact). Instead by 1939 Chamberlain had sacrificed Czech, had no way of defending Poland and the USSR was on the German side. Strategic miscalculation. In the words of Churchill, “You had the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour, yet you shall have war.”

baron 10 Sep 2019
In reply to Tom Loughlin:

It’s no wonder that, as you said, there was little or no stomach for war when the slaughter of WW1 was still so fresh in people’s minds and still affecting their daily lives.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing but context is everything when judging the actions of people.

Tom Loughlin 10 Sep 2019
In reply to baron:

Absolutely, trying to avoid a war was a justifiable goal. This probably excuses the appeasement towards revising the Versailles terms up to Anschluss in 38. The Munich agreement was the worst sort of naivety though, and a shameful moment in British history where we sold an ally into darkness for 9 months of peace and a worse war to follow. Did chamberlain really believe Hitler? If so, it was wilful ignorance and not something to be admired or excused by harking back to ww1 in my view.

birdie num num 10 Sep 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> Yes, Major has gone from strength to strength. Now has the stature of a statesman.

Like a damp squib, finally going off. With a phut and a few sparks.

baron 10 Sep 2019
In reply to Tom Loughlin:

While I agree with most of your analysis I don’t think we can ignore the desire for many to avoid a rerun of WW1.

It wasn’t harking back to it which affected people’s thinking but the sight of maimed and disfigured men in the streets, the empty seats at the dining table, the shattered dreams, the streets where an entire generation of men was missing, the widows dressed in black, the still grieving parents, etc, etc, etc.

Nobody could envisage a war more terrible than the Great War.

FactorXXX 10 Sep 2019
In reply to krikoman:

> There is a train of thought that Chamberlain's "apparent" appeasement was to allow us to catch up militarily, without provoking Hilter into attacking us before we could defend ourselves.

Another argument was that the real failure of appeasement was by Baldwin and perhaps even MacDonald because they had a chance to deal with Germany when they were still militarily weak.  Once Chamberlain became PM it was effectively too late.

elsewhere 10 Sep 2019
In reply to baron:

> Nobody could envisage a war more terrible than the Great War.

Actually they did! They anticipated that "The bomber will always get through" resulting in mass civilian casualties with wars won or lost due to the destruction of cities and disruption of industrial production as people fled cities.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_bomber_will_always_get_through

JIMBO 10 Sep 2019
In reply to Trangia:

After saying 'donne moi un break!' today...

https://news.sky.com/video/boris-johnson-on-prorogation-donne-moi-un-break-11806402

I can't help think he's gone a bit Del Boy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jet29TQv2uA

wercat 11 Sep 2019
In reply to krikoman:

It was certainly made with that knowledge, and it is generally acknowledged that Britain was far from ready.  The incorporation of RDF (and the Chain Home system)  into an integrated and very effective fighter control system took place pretty well "just in time".  As it was Fighter communications were still not fully switched over to VHF and short-wave was rather unreliable and ineffective at night.

We were still sporting biplanes late into the 1930s

Work on detecting German secret weapons was progressing as war started - their use of radio beams for navigation and the development of countermeasures.  

Let's not forget also that during the crucial Battle of Britain there were very effective Czech and Polish units that had only just become operational.  If the RAF had been crushed in 1938/39 the outcome of a war could have been entirely different.  

ps- in the 60s and 70s all our teachers referred only to Chamberlain's weakness and appeasement so I was brought up on that idea.  I think it is far far more complex than that.

To see a modern appeasement let's see Trump and Israel

Post edited at 09:08
jethro kiernan 11 Sep 2019
In reply to wercat:

The irony is if Churchill had become PM in 1935 we may have started a fight we weren’t ready for and may have lost, certainly the airforce were nowhere near ready enough, obviously it could be argued that a firmer stance could have stopped further acts of expansion by hitler.

the counter argument is that the  arms build up and rhetoric and promises made by Hitler made war almost inevitable so delaying the onset until your ready would be smart.

Offwidth 11 Sep 2019
In reply to jethro kiernan:

Too many seem to forget the context of significant facist support in the UK in the 30s and the linked threat to electoral power of the rise of socialism. Britain's 'ruling classes' were  in a bind struggling to hold together an overblown empire when urgently needing to re-arm, and facing rising popularism at both extremes of the political spectrum. In that context without appeasement I agree that we may have been overrun.

jethro kiernan 11 Sep 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

Churchills victors write the history bit may not have helped us in the long term, especially as Churchill was a master of ensuring he got a good write up and wrote a lot of the history himself. This has stopped us having a more reflective look at our rescent history

planetmarshall 11 Sep 2019
In reply to earlsdonwhu:

> Sadly, I think that if Bojo delivers a hard Brexit, he will be seen in future like Maggie as heroic by his core and loathed by everyone else .

They are not even in the same ballpark - at least not yet. Thatcher split opinion yes, but to suggest she only had a 'core' of voters is to do her a disservice, and she remained in power for a decade. Can you seriously envisage Boris being in power for 10 years? The Earth trembles at the thought...

Offwidth 11 Sep 2019
In reply to planetmarshall:

I despised many of Thatcher's government actions as a young man, yet I knew  she was a consistent conviction politician who worked incredibly hard and grasped detail well, followed parliamentary convention with an ability to compromise, with cabinets covering the breadth of her party and history has subsequently shown had some surprising hard nosed pragmatism in areas like starting secret IRA negotiations putting state first in the face of personal loss. There is a gulf between her and Boris: he has no convictions  (yet, if you excuse the pun) his friends say he is lazy, he is a compulsive liar and is just chasing power by whatever means and will stuff parliament to the maximum that he is allowed and doesnt seem to care if his party destruction is part of the fallout. He has lost every vote he has put before the house to date. The office has never known anyone like him, any contender for the next worst PM looks like a hero in comparison.

Post edited at 12:36
squarepeg 12 Sep 2019
In reply to Trangia:

Cannot be bothered reading through thread, but if this is a vote, mine goes to Blair for his warmongering lies, millenium dome, etc. BJ isnt in the same ballpark.

8
Offwidth 12 Sep 2019
In reply to squarepeg:

The millenium dome?? Are you serious???

Offwidth 15 Sep 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

Having said all of the above, recent polling indicates popularist lies seem to working in our increasingly depressing country. 

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/14/tories-extend-poll-lead-to-12-despite-week-of-political-chaos

john arran 15 Sep 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

Depressing indeed, and not just that so many voters apparently are willing to excuse Johnson's undemocratic and immoral actions in order to see 'their side' win on the Brexit issue, but also due to the utter uselessness of the official HM Opposition in getting any clear opposition message across. From your linked article:

"Despite losing six consecutive votes in the Commons in the past fortnight Johnson has a far higher net approval rating for his handling of Brexit than Jeremy Corbyn."

1
Offwidth 15 Sep 2019
In reply to john arran:

The most depressing thing is that so many of the poorer half of the counry thinking this is a good idea and that an entitled lazy liar from Eton and Oxford is a least worse alternative, let alone a saviour. I'd given up on the sort of greedy,  'stuck in some bogus past glory',  old tory party members who elected this joke of a PM a long time back. I'd expected better from ordinary people.

In reply to Trangia:

I don’t know about being our worst ever Prime Minister, but Johnson seems to want to be remembered as our worst ever King.

jcm

In reply to Offwidth:

> The millenium dome?? Are you serious???

I wouldn’t be surprised.

Now that O2 Arena, on the other hand, that’s class.

jcm

RomTheBear 15 Sep 2019
In reply to Trangia:

“Needless man of the pointless hour” is the best description I’ve heard.

Andy Hardy 15 Sep 2019
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

In our house he's already known as 'king Johnson.

Robert Durran 15 Sep 2019
In reply to Lusk:

> Wasn't it Cameron, then May, then ...

Has Cameron slipped down the rankings a bit having admitting his failure and sticking the knife into Johnson, Gove and Patel?

1
Pete Pozman 15 Sep 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

It might turn out that May's withdrawal arrangement was the best she could get bearing in mind she had the ERG "Spartans" stabbing her openly from all sides. The following negotiations in the transition period may have allowed a softer arrangement in the end. The public would have lost all interest if they were able to say we're out of the EU. And would have been thankful to avoid ruin.

She was a poor PM though. Cameron though was worse for not facing the bastards down. We'd think Blair was a good PM if it hadn't been for his lies and folly over Iraq. So much of the present discontent can be traced back to that disaster. 

Andy Gamisou 16 Sep 2019
In reply to Trangia:

Worst Prime Minister ever?  Well, following the progression of Cameron, May and Johnson, then the answer must surely be "the next".

Offwidth 16 Sep 2019
drunken monkey 16 Sep 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

Compare with Iraq post-Gulf War 2 and the birth of ISIS 

Offwidth 17 Sep 2019

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