WORST PM in History

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Puddles the Monkey
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#1
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Following the Greatest PM in History thread, who do you think has been the worst PM Britain has ever had...?

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Saying Margaret Thatcher is a bit of a cop-out
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User995789
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Gordon Brown.

I'd quote Jeremy Clarkson description of him, but i'd get a blue card for speaking the truth.
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Puddles the Monkey
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I'll nominate Sir Alec Douglas-Home. Wasn't that keen on being PM, lasted for less than a year, didn't really achieve anything at all.

Although:

'A plot to kidnap Douglas-Home in April 1964 was foiled by the Prime Minister himself. Two left-wing students from the University of Aberdeen followed him to the house of John and Priscilla Buchan, where he was staying. He was alone at the time and answered the door, where the students told him that they planned to kidnap him. He responded, "I suppose you realise if you do, the Conservatives will win the election by 200 or 300." He gave his intending abductors some beer, and they abandoned their plot.'
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AW1983
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Easily Ted Heath.
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scrotgrot
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Admittedly Ted Heath did get a bit of a bum deal, but my vote goes to him. Excluding pre-war PMs who I know too little about to say.
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pol pot noodles
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Alec Douglas-Home, Anthony Eden and Gordon Brown were all pretty damp squibs.
As far as major and long serving Prime Ministers go, the more light that is shed on Tony Blair the more I detest the fellow. Reference Iraq war, shady backroom dealings with Libya, cash for peers, cosy relationship with Rupert Murdoch, attempts to turn the UK into a police state, and immunity granted to suspected IRA terrorists.
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AW1983
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I guess it depends on whether you rate Prime Ministers based on the extent to which they fulfilled their manifesto commitments, for good or ill, or whether you rate them on whether Britain was better or worse at the end of their period in office.

Either way, at the very top of the pile is Clement Attlee, closely followed by Margaret Thatcher. Clement Attlee is top for me because he not only fulfilled the means of his party's manifesto but it also resulted in the desired ends (means being, for example, the National Health Service, nationalisation of industry and the welfare state, the ends being a more equal society with a safety net when things go wrong).

Thatcher comes next because whilst she also achieved the means I think she failed in her ends (unless you believe her to be an evil arch capitalist who wanted to exploit the 99%, which I don't. I think she is widely misunderstood, largely because she never admitted how unexpected the consequences of her actions ultimately were and the facade of cheap credit made her look successful). She wanted to create a shareholding democracy (fail), a home owning democracy (initially successful but ultimately a failure because of the long term affect of her policies) and a population who were responsible with money (failure, see rise in consumption of credit since 1979). In a way, it's a shame she didn't stick to her earlier monetarism (she u-turned by 1985) as then I think she would have achieved means and ends in a stable way.

Applying the same logic to the worst Prime Ministers, failures of both means and ends include Ted Heath, Gordon Brown, Jim Callaghan and Alec Douglas Home. If you want to go further back, you might also consider Ramsay MacDonald's awful National Government. Tony Blair also made life a lot worse for ordinary people, although to be fair we were regularly warned in New Labour's manifestos!
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Jjj90
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Anthony Eden was meant to be a bit ****ty wasn't he?
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caravaggio2
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#9
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Neville Chamberlin.
A weak appeaser who lacked utterly the forsight of others around him.
Though I have to feel sorry for him. He passed away in May 1940, only months after Churchill took over from him and must have died thinking that not only had he failed, but we were about to be over run by Germans.
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PKD
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Thatcher dragged the British economy into turmoil. Destroyed the lives of miners and prolonged the problems in Northern Ireland to a degree. Clement Attlee easily the greatest in the last 100 years because he pulled both isles out of economic recession post-war


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AW1983
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I think it's important to make a distinction here. Thatcher didn't actively destroy the economy. What she actually did was reshaped parts of it whilst leaving parts of it, like coal mining, in terminal decline. I don't agree with what she did but it's important to be able to articulate what we disagree with to understand what has to change now.

From a long term perspective the economy is probably in no worse shape now than it was in 1979, despite the short term difficulties of the 2007-08 credit contraction. What is wrong is not the overall strength of the economy but the way the means of production are being distributed. Thatcher's legacy is that there are far fewer middle class jobs being created and well paid working class work is nearly extinct, the London Underground being a notable exception.

The easy availability of credit is largely to blame. It has disproportionately inflated the cost of putting a roof over our heads, leaving less money for anything else. Energy prices and a government that permits excess profiteering in this sector is probably the other big problem.

Although you could argue that she also destroyed industries, I tend to disagree. Unless you believe that other people should pay a lot of tax to create unnecessary work then industries such as coal had to decline. I don't believe this is necessary simply because there is enough work both for those already living in the UK and the kind of numbers who want to immigrate here. The problem is not the availability of work but the lack of Trade Union muscle to ensure that people doing those jobs are paid a living wage. Thatcher's attack on the Trade Unions far outweighs any other way that she castrated the working classes.
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Puddles the Monkey
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(Original post by AW1983)
I think it's important to make a distinction here. Thatcher didn't actively destroy the economy. What she actually did was reshaped parts of it whilst leaving parts of it, like coal mining, in terminal decline. I don't agree with what she did but it's important to be able to articulate what we disagree with to understand what has to change now.

From a long term perspective the economy is probably in no worse shape now than it was in 1979, despite the short term difficulties of the 2007-08 credit contraction. What is wrong is not the overall strength of the economy but the way the means of production are being distributed. Thatcher's legacy is that there are far fewer middle class jobs being created and well paid working class work is nearly extinct, the London Underground being a notable exception.

The easy availability of credit is largely to blame. It has disproportionately inflated the cost of putting a roof over our heads, leaving less money for anything else. Energy prices and a government that permits excess profiteering in this sector is probably the other big problem.

Although you could argue that she also destroyed industries, I tend to disagree. Unless you believe that other people should pay a lot of tax to create unnecessary work then industries such as coal had to decline. I don't believe this is necessary simply because there is enough work both for those already living in the UK and the kind of numbers who want to immigrate here. The problem is not the availability of work but the lack of Trade Union muscle to ensure that people doing those jobs are paid a living wage. Thatcher's attack on the Trade Unions far outweighs any other way that she castrated the working classes.
PRSOM

Great post.

It wasn't what Thatcher did so much as the way that she did it which was so devastating.
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455409
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Thatcher was the worst.
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Puddles the Monkey
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(Original post by james1211)
Thatcher was the worst.


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455409
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(Original post by PuddlesTheMonkey)


It's not a cop out, I genuinely think she was the worst one.
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Puddles the Monkey
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(Original post by james1211)
It's not a cop out, I genuinely think she was the worst one.
Why do you think that?
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455409
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(Original post by PuddlesTheMonkey)
Why do you think that?
She traded jobs for the masses for quick cash for the rich, effectively. Instead of being reliant on the natural resources we have in Britain, we now rely on expensive gas imports from Russia. We're now an economy based on financial services, meaning we're extremely vulnerable to global economic shifts and downturns.

The mass sale of national infrastructure I cannot excuse her for. It's akin to me taking everything in my house and selling it to a pawn shop for peanuts so i can spend it on fancy jewelry (the Falklands war in her case).

She escalated sectarian violence in Northern Ireland.

The huge rise in personal finance availability has turned us into the debt based nation we are today, alongside crazy deregulation of the financial sector.

The only positive I can tar her with is quashing the unions power.

Anyway if i'm not allowed to choose Thatcher i'd go with Brown or Blair.
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AW1983
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On the basis of that analysis, Thatcher did much the same as everyone else. The point with Thatcher was that she was comfortable with the wealth gap so did nothing about the globalising forces that are bringing this change about whilst putting measures in place to reduce the influence of those who would be hardest hit. So were New Labour and so is David Cameron.

Now, I'm not saying globalisation is an out and out bad thing. However, what is unfortunate is that the beneficiaries and those making the sacrifices are not one and the same. Whilst the rich benefit from cheaper imports and offshoring, the poorest get a pay cut and the aspirational jobs, the middle class jobs, move overseas. However, I will not go as far as to say I am against growth in the developed and third world or even transferring jobs there. The alternative would be the ongoing exploitation of poor nations.

However, what I would say is that where jobs move abroad, the pay and conditions should be the same for someone in India as they are for the UK. At the moment, Indian workers are exploited to do skilled jobs for low pay, simultaneously pricing UK labour out of the market.

The problem is that whilst business has gone global, political parties and trade unions have not. National governments and local unions cannot agitate against multinational companies who can simply move their operations. International Trade Unions and strong alliances between political parties on a global stage are vital if democracy and prosperity are restored.
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Inzamam99
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Eden and Blair.
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455409
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(Original post by arson_fire)
Actually we buy zero from Russia. We get 80% of our imported gas from Norway and Holland. The other 20% is LNG from Qatar and Algeria.

We are now importing gas because our reserves are running out. It`s nothing to do with Thatcher - there is nothing she could have said or done that would increased the amount of gas that`s trapped in the ground.
Using the billions of tonnes of coal in the ground would have worked just fine.
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