Best Prime Ministers since the Second World War

Peterdev

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Bit of fun but I’d say

1. Clement Attlee. For enacting great social change for the betterment of our country. Housing development, education and the National Health Service at the heart of society. A man of the people.

2. Margaret Thatcher. Like or loathe her, she brought about much change in society. Unemployment shot up and then fell away. The economy improved. Working hard seemed to get rewarded. Lost her way towards the end with poll tax protests. To many she wasn’t afraid to stand up for the UK...Falklands and the EU

3. Harold Wilson. Responsible for founding the open university. Had many capable ministers around him who liked to get the job done

Poor PMs

1. Edward Heath. Many U turns. High inflation. Can’t think of any real achievements

2. Gordon Brown. Responsible for letting our gold reserves go cheaply. Remembered for referring to the stupid woman

3. Tony Blair. Remembered as a warmonger and his speeches on education, education, education. Decided to go when the sh1t was about to hit the fan. Breath of fresh air after John Major.

4. David Cameron. We’re all in this together...we certainly were and then he left.

5. Theresa May. To some she tries hard. But is incompetent. Called an unnecessary election and many of her party want her out
 

Peterdev

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Churchill remembered for war service as PM but less so post war.
Harold MacMillan was no great shakes even though he inherited a sound economy.
Edward Heath promised a better tomorrow.errrmmm
 

Aylesbury Rich

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I think Macmillan should probably be in the top 3, ahead of Wilson.

Atlee definitely gets top spot- not least for his government's single-handed development of the UK's nuclear deterrent in spite of the US's high handed refusal to share the technology.

Douglas-Hume in the bottom 5? Bit of a non-entity. Jim Callaghan ditto. Blair- for his faults- did do a lot of good things prior to Iraq. For one he transformed Labour into a genuinely electable party rather than the left wing rabble they were (and have become...).

And, what about Eden? Basically remembered for one thing- Suez!
 

Malc

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Warpole or Lloyd George.
 

tonyw

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I'm a little confused by everyone having Attlee & Thatcher #s 1&2.....

…..given that Attlee nationalized as much as he possibly could, and did a ton in favour of the trade unions, particularly the coal industry.
Then Maggie privatized as much as she possibly could, and then broke as many unions as she could, particularly the coal industry.

I can see that they're probably the two most effective post-War Prime Ministers, with the most impressive legacies.

But still, hard to see that politically anyone could agree with both of them (except maybe blah blah....context....blah blah)!
 

amershamdave

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If you vote Tory, you will most probably have a Tory in your favourite/best PM ever list. Same goes for Labour voters - they will have Labour PMs as their favourites, etc. One person I would include in this list, in a positive way, would be John Smith, who sadly passed away before he would have been made PM in 1997.. After the misery inflicted on the working class by the Tories, from '79 to '97, he was a breath of fresh air. Blair carried on the good work, until he fucked up over 'weapons of mass destruction'. Whether you loved her, or hated her, Thatcher hurt so many people, that street parties were held when news got out she died. That's awful, really. We all live down South, so we won't appreciate the pain suffered by Northerners inflicted upon them by Thatcher and her nasty Government. One more thing. Tories bang on about Brown selling off our gold . No-one on here suffered as a result of this. No-one! But ALL poor people have suffered since the Tories sold the Gas, Water, Trains, post, electric, buses and big parts of the NHS to greedy chancers who bid. The prison service being made private and the Tories getting away with that is incredible. Cordustbin still being Labour leader is also incredibly bad for me, being a Labour voter.
 
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Peterdev

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Clement Attlee I would credit heavily. I’m just reading a biography on him. He would listen to argument and sought a fair deal for the people rather than a greedy few. He helped found the NHS, build lots of houses and create a society that looked after those that couldn’t.
Thatcher, to her credit, turned around the excesses of union power at a time that unions held the whip hand. The coal mines were closed because they were uneconomic. Many industries were propped up including BMC and the shipyards.
Where I took issue with her was the mass sale of council houses at knockdown prices. I thought allowing deregulation of financial services was wrong. No wonder so many have lost their jobs.
Privatisation of utilities only made shareholders and owners wealthier at the expense of the public.
Public services have greatly suffered from lack of investment.
Bankers bonuses were another wrong committed.
Implementation of poll tax caused riots....another nail in the coffin of the Thatcher years.
The economy was however well run as you would expect from a grocers daughter
 

Marked Ox

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Clement Attlee I would credit heavily. I’m just reading a biography on him. He would listen to argument and sought a fair deal for the people rather than a greedy few. He helped found the NHS, build lots of houses and create a society that looked after those that couldn’t.
Thatcher, to her credit, turned around the excesses of union power at a time that unions held the whip hand. The coal mines were closed because they were uneconomic. Many industries were propped up including BMC and the shipyards.
Where I took issue with her was the mass sale of council houses at knockdown prices. I thought allowing deregulation of financial services was wrong. No wonder so many have lost their jobs.
Privatisation of utilities only made shareholders and owners wealthier at the expense of the public.
Public services have greatly suffered from lack of investment.
Bankers bonuses were another wrong committed.
Implementation of poll tax caused riots....another nail in the coffin of the Thatcher years.
The economy was however well run as you would expect from a grocers daughter

On the coal mines issue, the way Thatcher did it was deliberately antagonistic and nasty from the outset as official documents have shown. Her use of the Police as her personal army sums this up well.

She essentially deliberately destroyed the livelihoods of whole communities without giving them a chance to regenerate through a transitional period. She carried this attitude to those communities on afterwards with little to no support for regeneration from central Govt.

The other big thing that Thatcher did was starting and reinforcing the change in focus from the community to being all about the individual. This has, imo, led to deep rooted problems in society now.

I agree on the Council houses but then no Party/Govt has changed it back, well in fact the previous Govt extended it to housing associations. Absolutely ridiculous, although Thatcher made it worse by not allowing reinvestment in new Council houses.

I'm not sure her management of the economy was that good either. Boom and bust, high unemployment, high interest rates etc.
 

amershamdave

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Pete, Clement Attlee is a hero of mine because of the NHS alone (Bevan). I don't think the mines were closed because they were uneconomic - more like, the miners' union (N.U.M.) helped bring down the Tories in the 70's and the Tories wanted revenge. Didn't we get our coal from abroad, until recently? That would be more expensive than sticking with the mines in Wales and Yorkshire.
 

Foley

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She essentially deliberately destroyed the livelihoods of whole communities without giving them a chance to regenerate through a transitional period. She carried this attitude to those communities on afterwards with little to no support for regeneration from central Govt.

I agree with that. The mines were becoming uneconomic and it was a matter of time (the German mines closed down later but they too gradually became uneconomic)
What was terrible was the 'on your bike' mentality and the fact that as the mines went there was no regeneration.
There needed to be far more support for trying to grow new industries in those areas.
 

Aylesbury Rich

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To some extent this whole debate hinges on the definition of ‘best’. What is ‘best’ for one person, profession or community is not necessarily ‘best’ for all.

I’d like to think that- whatever your political allegiance- it is possible to look back objectively at the records of all our PMs. I’ve never voted Labour, but Attlee would be top of my list for a number of reasons- probably with Macmillan second.

Churchill is perhaps the most intriguing debate- great wartime PM, pretty awful peacetime PM.
 

Peterdev

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We got a lot of coal from Poland. I know Mick McGahey and Arthur Scargill were very politically motivated and wanted strikes to try and bring the government down, but mining was a seriously dangerous job. Without Attlee we may well have still had boys working down the pit.
I think there was an element of revenge in the way Thatcher behaved. Norman Tebbit talking about on your bike was a referral to his father cycling to find work, and was seen by observers as people being too lazy to get out and find work, because of easy access to benefits.
There was an element of that with the car industry too that affected many parts of the country too
 

amershamdave

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Pete, regarding the car industry; I worked at Cowley from '80 till '86. We had more strikes than you get in ten boxes of Swan Vesta! We actually went on strike once, because a man refused to work with an Asian man, accusing him of having a garlicky breath! (Absolutely true) The whole of Morris came out on bloody strike! On the other side of the coin; the bosses would occasionly speed up the car lines, trying to get more and more out of the workforce, knowing full well it would make the workers strike. s**t place to work (in my opinion).
 

Peterdev

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My uncle was a deputy foreman up there in the seventies. He hated Red Robbo and so many of the militant shop stewards. My father was an engineer at Morris, Austin, Chrysler and Ford. I can always recall him mentioning the Vauxhall advert for Cavaliers, stating how many extras they had.....then Ford brought one out...we can all make comparisons but we can’t all make Cortinas.
My disappointment is that the view down Oliver Road of the factory has changed forever. I remember my childhood seeing thousands of car workers leaving by bicycle as I was leaving school.
They were great times. Have to be honest, I don’t think things have necessarily changed for the better.
Wasn’t it MacMillan who said we had never had so good?
 

amershamdave

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I'm not sure, but I believe there were around 11,000 workers at the two factories when I joined in '80.
 

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