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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    Disraeli and Gladstone deserve a run for the top
    I suppose they deserve some mention as they brought in the extension of the franchise which eventually set the ball rolling for full suffrage.
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    Disraeli probably wouldn't make it. Outside of foreign policy matters, he didn't achieve much that he wasn't forced to do by matters outside of his control.
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    Often he is only pushed down when WW2 (Churchill is included), in the post war period I've seen a couple over the years ranking him behind Thatcher.

    Historically i think that William Pitt The Younger, Disraeli and Gladstone deserve a run for the top though i'm sure the historians like Adorno are better placed to judge those.
    Of those three only Gladstone really deserves a historical reputation that isn't based on spin. I would suggest that you have missed the real behemoth of the Conservative Party in the nineteenth century - Robert Peel. He deserves a legacy, the others that contemporary Tories tend to choose do not.

    Pitt the Younger created the disastrous situation whereby Ireland lost its parliamentary independence and ability to deal with problems of its own. The legacy of the Irish Famine needs little explanation as to why that was folly in the long run. The Act of Union with Ireland was a major mistake. His ministry ultimately succeeded in the Napoleonic Wars, sure, but that's really his only major contribution.

    I have very little time for Disraeli and do not rate him as a prime minister of significance. His time in office is marked by some useful developments such as the Public Health Act but as TopHat suggests that came largely as the result of circumstances and couldn't really be avoided much longer.
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    If we're looking at Conservatives, I feel the Earl of Liverpool certainly had a great deal of achievements even if I don't appreciate many. I think a short-list of Prime Ministers for their peace-time domestic achievements (and judging by the scale of their achievements rather than the positive/negative effect) would have to look something like:

    Earl of Liverpool
    Earl Grey
    Robert Peel
    William Gladstone
    Herbert Asquith
    Clement Attlee
    Margaret Thatcher
    Tony Blair

    Personally, I'd have to pick Gladstone, though, if it came down to it. The enormity of what he accomplished in so many areas is breath-taking.
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    (Original post by TopHat)
    If we're looking at Conservatives, I feel the Earl of Liverpool certainly had a great deal of achievements even if I don't appreciate many. I think a short-list of Prime Ministers for their peace-time domestic achievements (and judging by the scale of their achievements rather than the positive/negative effect) would have to look something like:

    Earl of Liverpool
    Earl Grey
    Robert Peel
    William Gladstone
    Herbert Asquith
    Clement Attlee
    Margaret Thatcher
    Tony Blair

    Personally, I'd have to pick Gladstone, though, if it came down to it. The enormity of what he accomplished in so many areas is breath-taking.
    I'm not too keen on the crude practice of ranking PMs, though I'm interested to know why you'd place Gladstone above Attlee? Granted he introduced elementary education, and did important things like reform ballot laws and assure property rights for married women, but apart from that I don't recall him doing much other than mishandling the Irish question rather badly.

    Attlee, on the other hand, accomplished a vast amount that I'm sure I don't need to list, as all good Labour folks should be familar with it.
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    ranking PM's is boring in the extreme

    most of them are just a continuation of what came before anyway, particularly Thatcher-Blair-Cameron...3 ***** from the same **** shop.

    I would rather look to a future where we have a PM I don't hope gets hit by a train.
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    (Original post by JPKC)
    I'm not too keen on the crude practice of ranking PMs, though I'm interested to know why you'd place Gladstone above Attlee? Granted he introduced elementary education, and did important things like reform ballot laws and assure property rights for married women, but apart from that I don't recall him doing much other than mishandling the Irish question rather badly.
    You don't recall your history particularly well then. I mean, whether he "mishandled" the Irish Question at all is disputable, there's a strong case to be made he couldn't have handled it much better beyond the constraints placed on him by the frequency of hung parliaments. He did mishandle Joseph Chamberlain, and very badly so, but that's not quite the same thing!

    But anyway, momentous legislation passed either by Gladstone or because Gladstone made it impossible not to pass.

    The 1867 reform act enfranchising over 1 million more people, the disestablishment of the Irish Church which solved a good third of the Irish Question as it was then, the creation of the primary education system, the Secret Ballot Act (and how momentous this was in terms of changing how people could voted, especially in Ireland, really should not be understated), the Judicature Act (which is basically Labour's Constitutional Reform Act about 130 odd years earlier), the acceptance of atheists into the House of Commons, the 1881 Irish Land Law which probably would have solved or at least radically diminished the Irish Question if it had been legislated in his first term, the fact married women could now hold property separate from their husband, the Corrupt and Illegal Practices Act which drastically diminished bribery and corruption and alongside the widening of the franchise by another 2 and a bit million in 1884 was partially responsible for the political system we know today as now the middle classes could afford to stand for seats, and the inculcation of the sentiment the Lords should be elected that was responsible for inspiring the new generation of Liberals such as Asquith and Lloyd-George.

    The role of the state was different then to what it is now. To say Gladstone's achievements were smaller in scale than Attlee's because Gladstone didn't manage to say, mass-nationalize industries or establish a National Health Service is puerile, considering Gladstone lived in an era when a bill to prevent children working more than 10 hours a day had to go through an embittered battle to make it through the Commons and simply wouldn't have been able to do anything directly similar. While there were other actors, Gladstone was probably the main person responsible for entrenching the British political system as we recognize it today.
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    (Original post by Krack)
    He has a pretty big following still and he is ranked between 3rd and 6th in most polls I have seen, it isn't 2nd as Rakas states but it is still top 3 and top 10
    I didn't realise how popular he still was :eek:

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    (Original post by TopHat)
    You don't recall your history particularly well then. I mean, whether he "mishandled" the Irish Question at all is disputable, there's a strong case to be made he couldn't have handled it much better beyond the constraints placed on him by the frequency of hung parliaments. He did mishandle Joseph Chamberlain, and very badly so, but that's not quite the same thing!

    But anyway, momentous legislation passed either by Gladstone or because Gladstone made it impossible not to pass.

    The 1867 reform act enfranchising over 1 million more people, the disestablishment of the Irish Church which solved a good third of the Irish Question as it was then, the creation of the primary education system, the Secret Ballot Act (and how momentous this was in terms of changing how people could voted, especially in Ireland, really should not be understated), the Judicature Act (which is basically Labour's Constitutional Reform Act about 130 odd years earlier), the acceptance of atheists into the House of Commons, the 1881 Irish Land Law which probably would have solved or at least radically diminished the Irish Question if it had been legislated in his first term, the fact married women could now hold property separate from their husband, the Corrupt and Illegal Practices Act which drastically diminished bribery and corruption and alongside the widening of the franchise by another 2 and a bit million in 1884 was partially responsible for the political system we know today as now the middle classes could afford to stand for seats, and the inculcation of the sentiment the Lords should be elected that was responsible for inspiring the new generation of Liberals such as Asquith and Lloyd-George.

    The role of the state was different then to what it is now. To say Gladstone's achievements were smaller in scale than Attlee's because Gladstone didn't manage to say, mass-nationalize industries or establish a National Health Service is puerile, considering Gladstone lived in an era when a bill to prevent children working more than 10 hours a day had to go through an embittered battle to make it through the Commons and simply wouldn't have been able to do anything directly similar. While there were other actors, Gladstone was probably the main person responsible for entrenching the British political system as we recognize it today.
    So you're adding the caveat of evaluating past PMs relative to the circumstances of their times? This is reassuring - I was shocked by the thought that someone declaring to be on the left of the political spectrum could look over the records of the Gladstone and Attlee governments and draw the conclusion that the latter's reforms were of greater tangible benefit to the ordinary people of this country, when really they amount to piddle in comparison to the introduction of the welfare state and the other progressions achieved under Labour between 1945 and '51. While Gladstone was certainly a better prime minister for working people than any other in the pre-war era, the fact that he was such in spite of his huge disdain for workers' rights demonstrates just how slim the pickings were.
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    So you're adding the caveat of evaluating past PMs relative to the circumstances of their times?
    As all good historians do. We can't be having this "Great Leaders" Whig history, can we?
 
 
 
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