Posts Tagged ‘Prime Minister’

The Tories have diminished the role of Prime Minister

20/04/2024, 08:10:17 AM

by Kevin Meagher

I was born under Harold Wilson, started school under James Callaghan and left under Margaret Thatcher.

My 16-year-old daughter was born under Gordon Brown, started school under David Cameron, then Theresa May, then Boris Johnson, then Liz Truss and is set to leave under Rishi Sunak.

A stark 2:1 ratio in a single generation.

In the modern age, it seems PMs are like buses.

And this presumes Sunak will last until my daughter’s GCSEs in the summer.

He remains the potential victim of either an early general election defeat, or a last- minute putsch by his own backbenchers to replace him, in the hope of a final-second reprieve from the voters.

It’s not just that the Tories have broken the constitutional precedent that parties should only ever change their leader/ prime minister once in a parliament before seeking the reapproval of the voters, it’s that they have diminished the office entirely.

Look at their record.

Hubristic David Cameron called and then lost a referendum on our EU membership that was practically unlosable, destabilising British politics ever since.

Dumbfounded by Parliament and party, Theresa May was unable to divine a coherent way forward over the country’s decision to quit and was forced out by her own side.


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Saint and sinner. Genius and villain. The many aspects of Gordon Brown

02/12/2014, 02:35:22 PM

by Kevin Meagher

Much has and will be written about Gordon Brown and about how he divides opinion both in British politics and, not least, in the party he once led. The many contradictions of his complex personality are already well chronicled.

A “moral compass” awkwardly spliced with low cunning. Big-hearted compassion for the poor matched with unrelenting brutality towards opponents. An expansive intellect married to occasional political stupidity.

At the root of it all, however, he was an outstanding social democrat, one of a select few Labour ministers – Bevan and Crosland spring to mind – who have left an indelible mark on British society.

He was undoubtedly Labour’s finest chancellor, using the role to rehydrate key public services, trebling spending on the NHS and doubling it for education. This alone will see his impact echo. But he also, for a time, brought about full employment and presided over the longest continuous period of growth since records began in the late 18th Century. Even his later failings to manage spending, against the vortex of the global banking crisis, will pale against his many achievements.

He was certainly our most political chancellor, using the office to pursue an unrelenting social democratic agenda in a way none of his Labour predecessors ever managed. Snowden, Dalton, Cripps, Gaitskell, Callaghan, Jenkins and Healy. Each of them found themselves at the mercy of events, implementing austerity measures in failing governments, dashing dreams and triggering internecine feuding in the process. Brown, for a good while at least, seemed to have mastered political alchemy.

“No more boom and bust” may seem a hollow boast now, but not when he used to make it. He made the whole of British politics believe it too. His intellectual dominance was, for most of his decade-long tenure as Chancellor, total. This explains why his Conservative opponents hated him so intensely, while admiring Blair.


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Could Ed Miliband become the accidental prime minister?

29/05/2012, 07:00:53 AM

by Dave Talbot

As the results of Labour’s leadership election were read out, a collective sigh of relief echoed through the Tory ranks. The prevailing thought in British politics was that David Cameron had already won the next general election.

The Labour party had been demonstrably stupid. The party that had governed for thirteen years had chosen to be comforted, rather than challenged. Ed Miliband would never walk through the door of Number 10, except only as a guest. The party, so the commentariat thought, had chosen the wrong Miliband – and would suffer the electoral consequences.

For many months the analysis held true; the public just couldn’t see the junior Miliband as PM material, the party’s economic reputation was in tatters and barely disguised mutterings of discontent began to ripple through the parliamentary Labour party.

The elephant in the room was Miliband himself. His personal ratings were absolutely dire. At one point only 4% thought he’d be good in a crisis, and 5% a natural leader. Just as Cameron had to prove that the Tories cared, Miliband needed to show he wasn’t a geeky loser. Voters told Tory focus groups that they thought the Labour leader was odd, weird and strange. More odd Ed than red Ed.

How the wheel of political fortune turns. Miliband, for so long uncomfortable in his own skin and unsure of his position, has overtaken the man seemingly born to rule. Cameron’s poll ratings have slumped alarmingly, whilst Miliband’s have increased by 22% – a dramatic shift by any standard. Having triumphed in the local elections, a consistent poll lead has also emerged. It is not quite a transformation from Wallace to Winston, but the shift is in the right direction.


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Jimmy Chen rejects the tyranny of the prefix

23/05/2010, 06:30:44 PM

As I watched the results come in on Election Day, I knew from quite early on that Labour was heading for defeat.  Given the poor performance of the Liberal Democrats, it was also clear that the numbers didn’t add up for a Labour-Liberal alliance; and that sooner or later, David Cameron would take over from Gordon Brown as Prime Minister.
Of course, I would have preferred if Gordon remained Prime Minister. I believe that he was instrumental in saving the world, yes, world, economy from a much deeper recession, or even depression. His actions have been recognised by many foreign governments, but alas, our own electorate did not do so. I am happy that Gordon has decided to remain a backbencher for the time being, but nevertheless the future of our party remains uncertain. (more…)

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