Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
x Turn on thread page Beta

Best PMs we never had watch

Announcements
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    Who do you think is/are the best PM(s) we never had and why?
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by a noble chance)
    Who do you think is/are the best PM(s) we never had and why?
    Enoch Powell.

    Often referred to as the best prime minister we ever had.

    Ignoring his rivers of blood speech which tends to get blown out of all proportion, his political beliefs and concerns especially about the EU seem to have come to fruition.

    That as well as being a formidable parliamentarian.



    I'd have to say, from a more modern perspective, Paddy Ashdown. A great leader.
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    I once received a funny PM but TSR Administrators removed it
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by MatureStudent36)
    Enoch Powell.

    Often referred to as the best prime minister we ever had.

    Ignoring his rivers of blood speech which tends to get blown out of all proportion, his political beliefs and concerns especially about the EU seem to have come to fruition.

    That as well as being a formidable parliamentarian.



    I'd have to say, from a more modern perspective, Paddy Ashdown. A great leader.
    Interesting choices. I think Powell would have made a strong PM in many respects, intellectual and statesmanlike as he was. I'm not sure about Ashdown though. He's a very forgettable man. I would certainly put Charles Kennedy before him.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by a noble chance)
    Interesting choices. I think Powell would have made a strong PM in many respects, intellectual and statesmanlike as he was. I'm not sure about Ashdown though. He's a very forgettable man. I would certainly put Charles Kennedy before him.
    Im
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by a noble chance)
    Interesting choices. I think Powell would have made a strong PM in many respects, intellectual and statesmanlike as he was. I'm not sure about Ashdown though. He's a very forgettable man. I would certainly put Charles Kennedy before him.
    I had the pleaseure of meeting him once. Thouroughly nice chap who was an ex Royal Marine amongst other things. And he won me over when he decked some racist thug giving racist abuse to the local Chinese takeaway owner.

    Kennedy too was a great politician, but I don't now if he would've made a good PM.

    Interesting how we're discussing politicians from a party unlikely to ever get to a positron of providing a pm.
    Online

    21
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by MatureStudent36)
    Enoch Powell.

    Often referred to as the best prime minister we ever had.
    Not by most of the people who had to work with him.

    He had a reputation for disloyalty long before 1968.

    Ultimately his creed was that of the little Englander; he was anti-American, anti-European and anti-Imperial/Commonwealth at the height of the Cold War. His lack of willingness to engage with other nations could well have seen the UK fall to a genuinely left wing government and might have brought about war with Ireland,

    The Ulster Unionists badly misjudged whom they had got. They thought that he was their friend in the British establishment but it was only when they had got him that that they realised that his only political allies were on the issues of race and immigration. There never was a back channel to Margaret Thatcher or to any of the monetarists in the Thatcher cabinet.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    Enoch Powell obviously
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    Not by most of the people who had to work with him.

    He had a reputation for disloyalty long before 1968.

    Ultimately his creed was that of the little Englander; he was anti-American, anti-European and anti-Imperial/Commonwealth at the height of the Cold War. His lack of willingness to engage with other nations could well have seen the UK fall to a genuinely left wing government and might have brought about war with Ireland,

    The Ulster Unionists badly misjudged whom they had got. They thought that he was their friend in the British establishment but it was only when they had got him that that they realised that his only political allies were on the issues of race and immigration. There never was a back channel to Margaret Thatcher or to any of the monetarists in the Thatcher cabinet.
    What you call 'disloyalty' others would recognise as precisely the sort of independent trail-blazing befitting of a leader. Loyalty to one's party is the work of a follower; loyalty to one's conscience is the work of a leader. Churchill had a reputation for disloyalty more or less throughout his life but I'd say we benefited from that overall. The only difference is that Churchill ended up on the winning side.

    Who would you nominate?
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    Aside from Powell, I think Lloyd George had quite an interesting and productive run.
    Online

    21
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by a noble chance)
    What you call 'disloyalty' others would recognise as precisely the sort of independent trail-blazing befitting of a leader. Loyalty to one's party is the work of a follower; loyalty to one's conscience is the work of a leader. Churchill had a reputation for disloyalty more or less throughout his life but I'd say we benefited from that overall. The only difference is that Churchill ended up on the winning side.

    Who would you nominate?
    The important difference is that Churchill commanded the respect of those he left behind on each occasion.

    Powell stood in the 1965 Conservative leadership election and only secured 15 votes.

    I have been thinking about whom I would nominate.

    Part of the difficulty is that most Prime Ministers grow into the role and most "big beasts" who do not get the chance seem lesser figures with hindsight.

    I can think of a lot I wouldn't: Rab Butler, Quentin Hogg, Michael Heseltine, Douglas Hurd, David Owen, John Smith, both Milibands, Ian Duncan Smith, Michael Howard.

    The great enigma is Ian Macleod.

    I wonder if Margaret Thatcher had died in the Brighton bomb whether the next Prime Minister but one would have been Ken Clarke. What would he have achieved if Europe had remained settled by the 1975 vote? On the Labour side, I wondered about Barbara Castle and Gaitskell but I think it is Neil Kinnock.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    The important difference is that Churchill commanded the respect of those he left behind on each occasion.

    Powell stood in the 1965 Conservative leadership election and only secured 15 votes.
    Did he? Most of the Tories felt nothing but animosity towards him well into the war. As I recall, as newly PM he entered the chamber after Chamberlain and was greeted by virtual silence to the latter's rapturous welcome; a man of many promises rather than a promising man, to paraphrase one of his contemporaries. Most of them didn't like him, didn't want him in the cabinet or as PM, considered him a liability and even actively conspired to boot him out of the Commons altogether. This seems like greater evidence of disrespect than performing poorly in a leadership election, for which there are scores of possible reasons and which does not necessarily imply lack of respect - just as Churchill's landslide defeat in 1945 did not imply any such disrespect for him in the British public. I think it highly probable that Churchill would have performed equally as badly if not worse had there been a leadership election instead of a handing down of power. Powell was also immensely popular with the public; they both enjoyed graffiti publicly calling for their promotions but I doubt 74% of Britons would have agreed with anything Churchill ever said prior to his war-time premiership - indeed he used to receive heaps and heaps of antagonistic letters from ordinary members of the public.

    Part of the difficulty is that most Prime Ministers grow into the role and most "big beasts" who do not get the chance seem lesser figures with hindsight.

    I can think of a lot I wouldn't: Rab Butler, Quentin Hogg, Michael Heseltine, Douglas Hurd, David Owen, John Smith, both Milibands, Ian Duncan Smith, Michael Howard.

    The great enigma is Ian Macleod.

    I wonder if Margaret Thatcher had died in the Brighton bomb whether the next Prime Minister but one would have been Ken Clarke. What would he have achieved if Europe had remained settled by the 1975 vote? On the Labour side, I wondered about Barbara Castle and Gaitskell but I think it is Neil Kinnock.
    Enigma? Why not John Smith or Rab Butler? I had a feeling you would have nominated the latter, though I'm not sure why. Why Kinnock over Castle and Gaitskell?
    Online

    21
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by a noble chance)
    Did he? Most of the Tories felt nothing but animosity towards him well into the war. As I recall, as newly PM he entered the chamber after Chamberlain and was greeted by virtual silence to the latter's rapturous welcome; a man of many promises rather than a promising man, to paraphrase one of his contemporaries. Most of them didn't like him, didn't want him in the cabinet or as PM, considered him a liability and even actively conspired to boot him out of the Commons altogether.

    The events of 1940 are largely irrelevant here.

    Churchill ratted on the Conservatives in 1906 largely over free trade and re-ratted on the Liberals in 1924.

    He broke with the Conservative leadership circa 1930 again over free trade and India.

    He was invited into the Government immediately on the outbreak of WWII.

    He showed conspicuous loyalty to Chamberlain in the Norway debate where he was asked to be the closing speaker.

    I know Wikipedia says that Churchill had a lukewarm response in the Commons but the biography of Chamberlain cited is probably not accurate regarding the "fight them on the beaches" speech (see the two contemporary diarists cited in the Wikipedia article for that speech) and must be treated with some caution.

    Churchill seems to have retained friendships in both the Conservative and Liberal parties throughout his political career and Attlee loved him.


    Powell was also immensely popular with the public;
    I quite agree, particularly in the Midlands, and that was true even before the Rivers of Blood speech. It was his public popularity which kept him at the top table of publics


    Enigma?
    He is the one that all his contemporaries claimed was touched with greatness. He was socially liberal and economically dry as dust. The question is how would he have coped as Chancellor in the financial conditions of the 1970s. Would the Barber boom have happened? Would we have been in a better position to face the oil price shocks in 1973-4. Could Heath have lost and Macleod won? If Heath had lost the election would Macleod have challenged him as Thatcher did? But for the death of Macleod Thatcher would never have been Conservative leader.

    Why not John Smith or Rab Butler?
    Butler because everyone thought he would be PM and no-one thought him good enough. At the end Douglas Home was an anyone but Butler and Hogg appointment.

    I think Smith was a non-entity who was canonised by death.




    Why Kinnock over Castle and Gaitskell?
    Castle could not bend the unions to her will and that has to be a pre-requisite of a Labour PM.

    Apart from internal Labour battles where was Gaitskell on any of the major issues of the day?

    Kinnock is interesting because there was no doubt he led the Labour Party and was the principal opponent of Thatcher and Major. Like most successful Labour leaders he marched rightwards towards power. Why did he fail? Was it him or didn't the public yet trust his party?
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    The events of 1940 are largely irrelevant here.
    Why? We are discussing levels of respect for these two men among their peers, and it is telling that even after his vindication his party continued to hold such a low opinion of him. It is entirely relevant.

    Churchill ratted on the Conservatives in 1906 largely over free trade and re-ratted on the Liberals in 1924.

    He broke with the Conservative leadership circa 1930 again over free trade and India.

    He was invited into the Government immediately on the outbreak of WWII.
    Of course, and this was because his disloyalty over many years had paid off. War with Germany had come. This was no war mongerer but a patriotic prophet, enduring the cold drafts of the wilderness in defence of his country. This is the only deciding difference - he ended up on the winning side. Had a civil war erupted between established Britons and fresh immigrants a few years after Powell's speech I think it ludicrous to believe that he would have been excluded from ministerial office on account of having previously engendered (as Winston had done) the irritation and dislike of many Parliamentarians, especially with the enormous wave of popular support that he would have been riding on (as Winston had been).

    He showed conspicuous loyalty to Chamberlain in the Norway debate where he was asked to be the closing speaker.
    And conspicuous disloyalty to Baldwin and Chamberlain by procuring secret documents from the Foreign Office and using them to humiliate the government's complacency in the shadow of war over more or less an entire decade, not to mention his regular diatribes against the government that were published in national newspapers which still retained enormous popular circulations.

    I know Wikipedia says that Churchill had a lukewarm response in the Commons but the biography of Chamberlain cited is probably not accurate regarding the "fight them on the beaches" speech (see the two contemporary diarists cited in the Wikipedia article for that speech) and must be treated with some caution.
    I am not getting this from Wikipedia; I'm getting it from Boris Johnson's The Churchill Factor, page 14, which does not list this biography you speak of in its bibliography (if I am correct in thinking you are referring to Robert Self's). Johnson is meticulous in differentiating between (probably) apocryphal anecdotes and well-evidenced facts in this book and so it seems unlikely that he would reference it without being confident of its veracity.

    Churchill seems to have retained friendships in both the Conservative and Liberal parties throughout his political career and Attlee loved him.
    Lloyd George, FE Smith and Brendan Bracken are the only real, continuous friends I can think of, and they were all just as if not more distrusted by the whole House as he was; probably more in every case. His popularity as PM was the result, again, of having been on the winning side and not of any material difference with Powell in terms of qualities or behaviour.

    He is the one that all his contemporaries claimed was touched with greatness. He was socially liberal and economically dry as dust. The question is how would he have coped as Chancellor in the financial conditions of the 1970s. Would the Barber boom have happened? Would we have been in a better position to face the oil price shocks in 1973-4. Could Heath have lost and Macleod won? If Heath had lost the election would Macleod have challenged him as Thatcher did? But for the death of Macleod Thatcher would never have been Conservative leader.

    Butler because everyone thought he would be PM and no-one thought him good enough. At the end Douglas Home was an anyone but Butler and Hogg appointment.

    I think Smith was a non-entity who was canonised by death.

    Castle could not bend the unions to her will and that has to be a pre-requisite of a Labour PM.

    Apart from internal Labour battles where was Gaitskell on any of the major issues of the day?

    Kinnock is interesting because there was no doubt he led the Labour Party and was the principal opponent of Thatcher and Major. Like most successful Labour leaders he marched rightwards towards power. Why did he fail? Was it him or didn't the public yet trust his party?
    Interesting perspectives...

    Do you think the media played a role in Kinnock's failure or is that nonsense? From clips on YouTube he simply strikes me as completely uninspiring. More of a dreary accountant than a statesman deserving of Downing Street.
    Online

    21
    ReputationRep:
    [QUOTE=a noble chance;60616371]



    Of course, and this was because his disloyalty over many years had paid off. War with Germany had come. This was no war mongerer but a patrioic prophet, enduring the cold drafts of the wilderness in defence of his country. This is the only deciding difference - he ended up on the winning side. Had a civil war erupted between established Britons and fresh immigrants a few years after Powell's speech I think it ludicrous to believe that he would have been excluded from ministerial office on account of having previously engendered (as Winston had done) the irritation and dislike of many parliamentarians, especially with the enormous wave of popular suppprt that he would have been riding on (as Winston had been).

    There has always been a sort of position of "man of destiny" in British politics and Churchill has been the only one to make it to the top job.

    Does that however mean that the others who held the office would have been good Prime Ministers, I don't think so.

    You have Randolph Churchill, Joe Chamberlain, Oswald Mosley, Powell, David Owen and David Milliband.







    Do you think the media played a role in Kinnock's failure or is that nonsense? From clips on YouTube he simply strikes me as completely uninspiring. More of a dreary accountant than a statesman deserving of Downing Street.
    I think the media played a part and clearly Blair thought it was an enormous part. His nickname was the Welsh Windbag and there was some truth in that. The public might have detected a streak of vanity. There was the Kinnock The Movie broadcast in 1987 and the Sheffield rally speech in 1992. That rally speech went down very badly but was it enough to stop people voting Labour. Were there just too many familiar faces from 1979 and before?
    Offline

    9
    ReputationRep:
    Sorry to interrupt. Just noticed this thread and thought you might find this lecture series interesting:

    http://www.gresham.ac.uk/making-the-...shaped-our-age
    • Political Ambassador
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    Political Ambassador
    (Original post by a noble chance)
    Who do you think is/are the best PM(s) we never had and why?
    Tony Benn.

    Him or any Labour leader while we had a Tory government.
    Offline

    12
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by a noble chance)
    Who do you think is/are the best PM(s) we never had and why?
    Rab Butler, Hugh Gaitskell both very capable men who would've done a good job for the country.
    • Political Ambassador
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    Political Ambassador
    (Original post by United1892)
    Rab Butler, Hugh Gaitskell both very capable men who would've done a good job for the country.
    Not Tony Benn?
    Offline

    12
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by James Milibanter)
    Not Tony Benn?
    He would've been good.
 
 
 
Do I go to The Streets tomorrow night?
Useful resources

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.