Who do you ink the best British PM of the twentieth century was, and why?

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Adam Durant 845
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????
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username5276518
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Churchill
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ecolier
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Tony Blair :heart:
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Adam Durant 845
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(Original post by ecolier)
Tony Blair :heart:
Not a popular choice.
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mnot
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Sir Winston or Maggie
(really before my time, but WC stirred the country through something incomparable. The few clips I've seen of MT are amazing, everything you expect in a leader: sharp, intelligent, with authority.)
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londonmyst
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Margaret Thatcher
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Pidove
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It's a bit different for us to retrospectively say who was best. But I definitely think it is a Conservative who was the best, not sure on exactly who though.
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Darth Caedus
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(Original post by ecolier)
Tony Blair :heart:
One of the most underrated PMs in history - many use Iraq as an excuse to ignore his many legislative achievements, such as the Minimum Wage in 1997, Human Rights Act 1998, constitutional reforms such as House of Lords reform and FOI, and huge increases in public services funding, whilst remaining relatively sustainable, as well as his brilliance in winning 3 elections. However, much of his premiership doesn’t fall in the 20th century, and I think that his government’s reluctance to persuade the country of the benefits of the EU was a huge missed opportunity that may well have led to so many Labour voters voting Leave in 2016.

As a result, I don’t think he would be the best PM in the 20th Century - for me, he’s a very close third, just behind Harold Wilson, who also achieved huge amounts of pivotal legislation, such as the Sexual Offences Act 1967 and the Abortion Act 1967, whilst keeping the party together through one of its most turbulent periods, playing a difficult hand over the EEC masterfully, and also winning several elections.

In my opinion, though, the greatest PM in the 20th century is Clement Attlee. Attlee led the party through some of its toughest times, the 1930s, with the party far away from any chance at government, and worked well with the Conservatives through the way, earning the nation’s trust. He was a hugely effective manager of the party, handling his colleagues shrewdly and helping get his Cabinet to agree on his domestic agenda. His government almost single handedly constructed the entire welfare state apparatus, as well as building the NHS itself and beginning the process of decolonisation. His key achievement was the lasting impact of his government’s achievements - they were so successful that the Conservatives essentially adopted large parts of them whole scale for the next 20 years or so, and many remained in place until Thatcher’s administration, with some of the changes, such as the NHS, still in place today.

Honourable mentions:
- Asquith - his Liberal government introduced the People’s Budget of 1909, which was really the first step towards the welfare state, and the Parliament Act 1911, which established the supremacy of the Commons. However, the People’s Budget was spearheaded by Lloyd George, and the government had few other achievements of note.
- Brown - his government successfully prevented the UK’s economy from complete collapse, and led the way for the world in bringing economic recovery. However, he had little in the way of domestic policy, and lost an election 3 years into his term, the ultimate verdict on his premiership.
- McDonald - did continue the shift towards a welfare state begun by the Liberals, and was successful in making the Party seem a moderate enough alternative to the Conservatives to allow Labour into power, allowing it to make a difference. However, he was never able to win a majority and begin making large changes, and his handling of the Great Depression and joining of the National Government was a terrible choice in hindsight.
- Churchill - successfully handled the Second World War, the greatest challenge to face the UK. However, he was not really interested in making any changes to the status quo of the UK’s large scale inequality, and his second term had little impact.

Blimey, that ended up being longer than I expected! (P.s, this is only my opinion, I am not a qualified historian - I should have a History A-Level soon, but nothing more than that!)
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Adam Durant 845
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(Original post by Darth Caedus)
One of the most underrated PMs in history - many use Iraq as an excuse to ignore his many legislative achievements, such as the Minimum Wage in 1997, Human Rights Act 1998, constitutional reforms such as House of Lords reform and FOI, and huge increases in public services funding, whilst remaining relatively sustainable, as well as his brilliance in winning 3 elections. However, much of his premiership doesn’t fall in the 20th century, and I think that his government’s reluctance to persuade the country of the benefits of the EU was a huge missed opportunity that may well have led to so many Labour voters voting Leave in 2016.

As a result, I don’t think he would be the best PM in the 20th Century - for me, he’s a very close third, just behind Harold Wilson, who also achieved huge amounts of pivotal legislation, such as the Sexual Offences Act 1967 and the Abortion Act 1967, whilst keeping the party together through one of its most turbulent periods, playing a difficult hand over the EEC masterfully, and also winning several elections.

In my opinion, though, the greatest PM in the 20th century is Clement Attlee. Attlee led the party through some of its toughest times, the 1930s, with the party far away from any chance at government, and worked well with the Conservatives through the way, earning the nation’s trust. He was a hugely effective manager of the party, handling his colleagues shrewdly and helping get his Cabinet to agree on his domestic agenda. His government almost single handedly constructed the entire welfare state apparatus, as well as building the NHS itself and beginning the process of decolonisation. His key achievement was the lasting impact of his government’s achievements - they were so successful that the Conservatives essentially adopted large parts of them whole scale for the next 20 years or so, and many remained in place until Thatcher’s administration, with some of the changes, such as the NHS, still in place today.

Honourable mentions:
- Asquith - his Liberal government introduced the People’s Budget of 1909, which was really the first step towards the welfare state, and the Parliament Act 1911, which established the supremacy of the Commons. However, the People’s Budget was spearheaded by Lloyd George, and the government had few other achievements of note.
- Brown - his government successfully prevented the UK’s economy from complete collapse, and led the way for the world in bringing economic recovery. However, he had little in the way of domestic policy, and lost an election 3 years into his term, the ultimate verdict on his premiership.
- McDonald - did continue the shift towards a welfare state begun by the Liberals, and was successful in making the Party seem a moderate enough alternative to the Conservatives to allow Labour into power, allowing it to make a difference. However, he was never able to win a majority and begin making large changes, and his handling of the Great Depression and joining of the National Government was a terrible choice in hindsight.
- Churchill - successfully handled the Second World War, the greatest challenge to face the UK. However, he was not really interested in making any changes to the status quo of the UK’s large scale inequality, and his second term had little impact.

Blimey, that ended up being longer than I expected! (P.s, this is only my opinion, I am not a qualified historian - I should have a History A-Level soon, but nothing more than that!)
You're right he did good work with the Lords reform, but that was pretty much overdue and going to happen anyway. Iraq was justified at the time but has had very controversial outcomes and opinions. Winning multiple elections doesn't neccisarily make a good PM. Look at Obama.
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Darth Caedus
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(Original post by Adam Durant 845)
You're right he did good work with the Lords reform, but that was pretty much overdue and going to happen anyway. Iraq was justified at the time but has had very controversial outcomes and opinions. Winning multiple elections doesn't neccisarily make a good PM. Look at Obama.
Fair enough! However, in my view, Lords reform wasn’t inevitable, as Blair’s decision to accept the hereditary peers compromise was shrewd and allowed his government to retain support from some of the traditionalists, which another PM might not have got if they had pushed for further reform.

Iraq is a very difficult topic to assess - on the one hand, the government there was clearly oppressing human rights heavily and the UK government may have believed in the prescience of WMDs; on the other hand, human rights oppression alone isn’t a legal reason for regime change, and the government may not have believed in the WMDs; on the third hand, the Americans would likely have gone without the UK anyway and so the UK’s presence or otherwise probably made no difference in practical terms; on the fourth hand, the invasion of Iraq has sullied Blair’s legacy and highly damaged Labour for years to come, preventing them from getting into power and being able to effect change or fully fund public services: I find it very difficult to decide my opinion on Iraq, but Blair’s other accomplishments were very important!

As for winning elections, you’re right that that doesn’t necessarily make a good PM, but they are a necessary condition of one! Winning elections is of course crucial, as it allows a government to actually implement its policies, and giving public services 10 years of solid funding just by being in power seems an important contributions towards Blair being a good PM! And personally, I do think Obama was a good President, or at least as good a President as circumstances allowed him to be - he passed landmark legislation on healthcare, the ACA, he saved the USA’s economy from collapse, and he helped increase funding for federal agencies, all while facing unprecedented opposition from the Republican Party!
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Adam Durant 845
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(Original post by Darth Caedus)
Fair enough! However, in my view, Lords reform wasn’t inevitable, as Blair’s decision to accept the hereditary peers compromise was shrewd and allowed his government to retain support from some of the traditionalists, which another PM might not have got if they had pushed for further reform.

Iraq is a very difficult topic to assess - on the one hand, the government there was clearly oppressing human rights heavily and the UK government may have believed in the prescience of WMDs; on the other hand, human rights oppression alone isn’t a legal reason for regime change, and the government may not have believed in the WMDs; on the third hand, the Americans would likely have gone without the UK anyway and so the UK’s presence or otherwise probably made no difference in practical terms; on the fourth hand, the invasion of Iraq has sullied Blair’s legacy and highly damaged Labour for years to come, preventing them from getting into power and being able to effect change or fully fund public services: I find it very difficult to decide my opinion on Iraq, but Blair’s other accomplishments were very important!

As for winning elections, you’re right that that doesn’t necessarily make a good PM, but they are a necessary condition of one! Winning elections is of course crucial, as it allows a government to actually implement its policies, and giving public services 10 years of solid funding just by being in power seems an important contributions towards Blair being a good PM! And personally, I do think Obama was a good President, or at least as good a President as circumstances allowed him to be - he passed landmark legislation on healthcare, the ACA, he saved the USA’s economy from collapse, and he helped increase funding for federal agencies, all while facing unprecedented opposition from the Republican Party!
You're right that he did well by compromising on the Lords. However, a full house of hereditary peers would have been a seen as a sitting duck of injustice in the 21st century and would have lasted 10-30 more years at the most assuming a conservative-majority government in place all the time.

Iraq is of course very tricky. Obviously something had to be done after 9/11 but whether we took the right course of action will be debatble for the rest of history. I am undecided and find it too much of a desicion to take a stance. However, his popularity now is very low. He divided the party and allowed for the rise of extremist elements like momentum to take charge.
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Darth Caedus
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(Original post by Adam Durant 845)
You're right that he did well by compromising on the Lords. However, a full house of hereditary peers would have been a seen as a sitting duck of injustice in the 21st century and would have lasted 10-30 more years at the most assuming a conservative-majority government in place all the time.

Iraq is of course very tricky. Obviously something had to be done after 9/11 but whether we took the right course of action will be debatble for the rest of history. I am undecided and find it too much of a desicion to take a stance. However, his popularity now is very low. He divided the party and allowed for the rise of extremist elements like momentum to take charge.
True, it’s perfectly likely that Lords reform would have followed soon after! However, that wasn’t Blair’s only accomplishment - the minimum wage Act, the Human Rights Act, Freedom of Information Act, and more were other important constitutional changes, and I’d argue that they would have been much less likely to have been passed by another administration than Lords reform; he also provided public services with 10 years of unprecedentedly high funding relatively sustainably.

I agree that it’s almost impossible to decide about Iraq. I also agree that an unfortunate part of Blair’s legacy has become the divisions in the party and the rise of the far left; however, I don’t think this was entirely Blair’s fault, as the party didn’t immediately shift to the left, but only after the frustrations of the 2015 Election, so if for example David Miliband had been elected, or Ed Miliband had been a more effective election campaigner, the party might well have remained in the centre; and the key reason many on the left hate Blair is Iraq. I do think Blair is also at fault for not arguing for the EU more strongly, and as a result of those I would definitely put Harold Wilson and Clement Attlee above him. But all of this is very subjective!
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Grace10921
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(Original post by Adam Durant 845)
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Sir Winston Churchill
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Napp
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So many choices yet so few... Has to be between Churchill, Thatacher or Attlee.
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Orange7829
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Difficult to pick one, here are the best in my view:

- Tony Blair for constitutional reforms such as devolution, removing most hereditary peers. Wish he'd gone further though and introduced it for England, as well as introducing PR, but sadly neither of those happened. Also the Iraq war is quite a bad stain on his tenure as PM.
- Clement Attlee for expanding the welfare state with creation of NHS, along with other nationalisations such as the railways.
- Harold Wilson for social reform e.g. legalising homosexuality, abolishing death penalty
- Asquith and Lloyd George for introducing the welfare state
- MacDonald was good for putting country above party by creating the National Government in the 1930s, I have a lot of respect for him for that
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Napp
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(Original post by Orange7829)
Difficult to pick one, here are the best in my view:

- Tony Blair for constitutional reforms such as devolution, removing most hereditary peers. Wish he'd gone further though and introduced it for England, as well as introducing PR, but sadly neither of those happened. Also the Iraq war is quite a bad stain on his tenure as PM.
- Clement Attlee for expanding the welfare state with creation of NHS, along with other nationalisations such as the railways.
- Harold Wilson for social reform e.g. legalising homosexuality, abolishing death penalty
- Asquith and Lloyd George for introducing the welfare state
- MacDonald was good for putting country above party by creating the National Government in the 1930s, I have a lot of respect for him for that
The man will forever live in infamy as the one who helped burn a region of the world to the ground.
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username402722
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Clement Attlee, as under him the NHS was founded.
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Renner
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Maggy T

Tony Blair's ill thought out constitutional reforms gave a platform to the SNP and could lead to the break up of Britain. They only did it because they assumed Labour would never be ousted from power in Scotland and Wales. One of the greatest blunders in this countries history.
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Orange7829
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(Original post by Renner)
Maggy T

Tony Blair's ill thought out constitutional reforms gave a platform to the SNP and could lead to the break up of Britain. They only did it because they assumed Labour would never be ousted from power in Scotland and Wales. One of the greatest blunders in this countries history.
Personally I don't really see a problem with giving a platform to the SNP, they aren't an extremist group and so should be able to have a platform. I am in favour of the union continuing but if Scotland did decide to leave it isn't a huge problem in my opinion.
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Renner
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(Original post by Orange7829)
Personally I don't really see a problem with giving a platform to the SNP, they aren't an extremist group and so should be able to have a platform. I am in favour of the union continuing but if Scotland did decide to leave it isn't a huge problem in my opinion.
I consider myself British, and Scotland ceding would have huge financial and geo-political repercussions for rUK. We would no longer be one of the great powers in the world. That's a pretty big f^^k up a British PM.
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