List of U.K. Prime Ministers 1945-2020

HEATH SURVIVES 1975

1976: James Callaghan (Labour)
1979: Edward Heath (Conservative) [1]
1983:
Edward Heath (Conservative) [2]


[1] Heath wins 1979 in a landslide against Callaghan after surviving a challenge from the right-wing of the party in 1975; with Callaghan fatally weakened by the Winter of Discontent, Heath entered government for the second time - becoming the first Prime Minister to return non-consecutively to Downing Street since Ramsay MacDonald (in 1923 and 1929 respectively).

[2] In many ways victory in 1979 was a poisoned chalice, as while a Conservative victory had been seen by many as inevitable the dire domestic situation posed a hefty challenge to any prospective government. Heath attempted to swing the Exchequer away from direct taxation to indirect forms of revenue, with partial success, and having learnt from his previous government attempted to control the raging influences of the unions by court action and asset confiscation. Economic recovery, although steady, was slow. Ian Gilmour, the Chancellor, struggled to implement effective means to reduce unemployment and by the beginning of 1983 the government was struggling in the polls. However, despite these troubles the Opposition were also flailing; Labour remained divided between bitter factions, narrowly avoiding a total split in 1980 - partly due to the weakening of the Liberals following their own crises in the late-1970s. As a result Heath narrowly retained his majority, conceding that it would be his last election as Conservative leader (a post he had held since 1965). His last ministry would largely revolve around foreign policy - the controversial re-assessment of the Special Relationship, economic pressure on Argentina following the Beagle War (1982-1983) and, of course, further strengthening of Anglo-European ties.
 
HEATH SURVIVES 1975

1976: James Callaghan (Labour)
1979: Edward Heath (Conservative) [1]
1983: Edward Heath (Conservative) [2]
1985: Jim Prior (Conservative) [3]

[1]
Heath wins 1979 in a landslide against Callaghan after surviving a challenge from the right-wing of the party in 1975; with Callaghan fatally weakened by the Winter of Discontent, Heath entered government for the second time - becoming the first Prime Minister to return non-consecutively to Downing Street since Ramsay MacDonald (in 1923 and 1929 respectively).

[2] In many ways victory in 1979 was a poisoned chalice, as while a Conservative victory had been seen by many as inevitable the dire domestic situation posed a hefty challenge to any prospective government. Heath attempted to swing the Exchequer away from direct taxation to indirect forms of revenue, with partial success, and having learnt from his previous government attempted to control the raging influences of the unions by court action and asset confiscation. Economic recovery, although steady, was slow. Ian Gilmour, the Chancellor, struggled to implement effective means to reduce unemployment and by the beginning of 1983 the government was struggling in the polls. However, despite these troubles the Opposition were also flailing; Labour remained divided between bitter factions, narrowly avoiding a total split in 1980 - partly due to the weakening of the Liberals following their own crises in the late-1970s. As a result Heath narrowly retained his majority, conceding that it would be his last election as Conservative leader (a post he had held since 1965). His last ministry would largely revolve around foreign policy - the controversial re-assessment of the Special Relationship, economic pressure on Argentina following the Beagle War (1982-1983) and, of course, further strengthening of Anglo-European ties.

[3] “From the Greengrocer to the Farmer”.
The last years of the “Grocer Heath” leadership were an extended farewell tour, both domestically and throughout the EEC. Then on Sunday July 28 1985, it finally happened. After 20 years as Leader of the Conservative Party and a combined decade as Prime Minister, Edward Heath resigned. Many expected the resulting leadership contest to be a non-event, as although Heath had “left the decision in the hands of my peers”, it was widely known that he had anointed his successor in Deputy Leader James Prior. However, a late stand from backbencher Airey Neave opened the doors to candidates from both the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ factions of the party and Prior was pushed to the third ballot before he could make his way to Buckingham Palace. Prior followed largely in his predecessors international and economical footsteps, but attempted a more conciliatory approach with the unions, with some of the more hyperbolic political press comparing him to a combination of Australian Labor Bob Hawke and Canadian Progressive Conservative Brian Mulroney. However, only time would tell whether the premiership of “Farmer Jim” would bear fruit or he would need to be put out to an early pasture.
 
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06D07B63-95E8-4ED8-98A8-B3662A845079.jpeg

1976: Jim Callaghan (Labour)
1979: Ted Heath (Conservative) [1]
1983: Ted Heath (Conservative) [2]

1985: Jim Prior (Conservative) [3]
1988: Jim Prior (Conservative-
SDP Confidence Deal) [4]


[1] Heath wins 1979 in a landslide against Callaghan after surviving a challenge from the right-wing of the party in 1975; with Callaghan fatally weakened by the Winter of Discontent, Heath entered government for the second time - becoming the first Prime Minister to return non-consecutively to Downing Street since Ramsay MacDonald (in 1923 and 1929 respectively).

[2] In many ways victory in 1979 was a poisoned chalice, as while a Conservative victory had been seen by many as inevitable the dire domestic situation posed a hefty challenge to any prospective government. Heath attempted to swing the Exchequer away from direct taxation to indirect forms of revenue, with partial success, and having learnt from his previous government attempted to control the raging influences of the unions by court action and asset confiscation. Economic recovery, although steady, was slow. Ian Gilmour, the Chancellor, struggled to implement effective means to reduce unemployment and by the beginning of 1983 the government was struggling in the polls. However, despite these troubles the Opposition were also flailing; Labour remained divided between bitter factions, narrowly avoiding a total split in 1980 - partly due to the weakening of the Liberals following their own crises in the late-1970s. As a result Heath narrowly retained his majority, conceding that it would be his last election as Conservative leader (a post he had held since 1965). His last ministry would largely revolve around foreign policy - the controversial re-assessment of the Special Relationship, economic pressure on Argentina following the Beagle War (1982-1983) and, of course, further strengthening of Anglo-European ties.

[3] “From the Greengrocer to the Farmer”.
The last years of the “Grocer Heath” leadership were an extended farewell tour, both domestically and throughout the EEC. Then on Sunday July 28 1985, it finally happened. After 20 years as Leader of the Conservative Party and a combined decade as Prime Minister, Edward Heath resigned. Many expected the resulting leadership contest to be a non-event, as although Heath had “left the decision in the hands of my peers”, it was widely known that he had anointed his successor in Deputy Leader James Prior. However, a late stand from backbencher Airey Neave opened the doors to candidates from both the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ factions of the party and Prior was pushed to the third ballot before he could make his way to Buckingham Palace. Prior followed largely in his predecessors international and economical footsteps, but attempted a more conciliatory approach with the unions, with some of the more hyperbolic political press comparing him to a combination of Australian Labor Bob Hawke and Canadian Progressive Conservative Brian Mulroney. However, only time would tell whether the premiership of “Farmer Jim” would bear fruit or he would need to be put out to an early pasture.

[4] For those who where sick of Heath, Jim Prior represented change although no actual change in policy occurred. While the self declared lead of the Tory right Norman Tebbit resigning the Tory Whip and encouraging all other “Browns” to do so, Prior and the “Blues” remained on top of them despite there small majority. When the 1988 Parliament was announced as a Hung one, Prior looked to the SDP and David Owen to break away from the Liberals in a confidence deal.
 
1976: Jim Callaghan (Labour)
1979: Ted Heath (Conservative) [1]
1983: Ted Heath (Conservative) [2]

1985: Jim Prior (Conservative) [3]
1988: Jim Prior (Conservative-
SDP Confidence Deal) [4]
1992: Chris Patten (Conservative
-SDP Confidence Deal)
1993: Chris Patten (Conservative) [5]



[1] Heath wins 1979 in a landslide against Callaghan after surviving a challenge from the right-wing of the party in 1975; with Callaghan fatally weakened by the Winter of Discontent, Heath entered government for the second time - becoming the first Prime Minister to return non-consecutively to Downing Street since Ramsay MacDonald (in 1923 and 1929 respectively).

[2] In many ways victory in 1979 was a poisoned chalice, as while a Conservative victory had been seen by many as inevitable the dire domestic situation posed a hefty challenge to any prospective government. Heath attempted to swing the Exchequer away from direct taxation to indirect forms of revenue, with partial success, and having learnt from his previous government attempted to control the raging influences of the unions by court action and asset confiscation. Economic recovery, although steady, was slow. Ian Gilmour, the Chancellor, struggled to implement effective means to reduce unemployment and by the beginning of 1983 the government was struggling in the polls. However, despite these troubles the Opposition were also flailing; Labour remained divided between bitter factions, narrowly avoiding a total split in 1980 - partly due to the weakening of the Liberals following their own crises in the late-1970s. As a result Heath narrowly retained his majority, conceding that it would be his last election as Conservative leader (a post he had held since 1965). His last ministry would largely revolve around foreign policy - the controversial re-assessment of the Special Relationship, economic pressure on Argentina following the Beagle War (1982-1983) and, of course, further strengthening of Anglo-European ties.

[3] “From the Greengrocer to the Farmer”.
The last years of the “Grocer Heath” leadership were an extended farewell tour, both domestically and throughout the EEC. Then on Sunday July 28 1985, it finally happened. After 20 years as Leader of the Conservative Party and a combined decade as Prime Minister, Edward Heath resigned. Many expected the resulting leadership contest to be a non-event, as although Heath had “left the decision in the hands of my peers”, it was widely known that he had anointed his successor in Deputy Leader James Prior. However, a late stand from backbencher Airey Neave opened the doors to candidates from both the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ factions of the party and Prior was pushed to the third ballot before he could make his way to Buckingham Palace. Prior followed largely in his predecessors international and economical footsteps, but attempted a more conciliatory approach with the unions, with some of the more hyperbolic political press comparing him to a combination of Australian Labor Bob Hawke and Canadian Progressive Conservative Brian Mulroney. However, only time would tell whether the premiership of “Farmer Jim” would bear fruit or he would need to be put out to an early pasture.

[4] For those who where sick of Heath, Jim Prior represented change although no actual change in policy occurred. While the self declared lead of the Tory right Norman Tebbit resigning the Tory Whip and encouraging all other “Browns” to do so, Prior and the “Blues” remained on top of them despite there small majority. When the 1988 Parliament was announced as a Hung one, Prior looked to the SDP and David Owen to break away from the Liberals in a confidence deal.

[5] Few people expected Jim Prior's SDP-Conservative pact to last anything like a full term. But Prior turned out to be surprisingly adept at managing the difficulties of coalition government. With the Tories having been in power for 9 years and with a major splinter party (Tebbit's 'National Conservatives') on the right, few people blamed him for losing the government's majority, and a short-lived leadership challenge by Norman Lamont came to nothing. He also received a major popularity boost when he sponsored the 1991 Maundy Thursday Agreement, a compromise brokered between unionists and nationalists in Northern Ireland that much lessened sectarianism. Prior, who confessed he was tired of politics, saw this as the capstone on his career and retired in 1992, when he was replaced by Chris Patten - who continued taking the Conservative Party down the Heath/Prior direction of a European social market economy together with elements of Christian Democracy, moderate social conservatism, and classic one-nation policies. Patten's relations with the Deputy Prime Minister David Owen remained harmonious, although the SDP was crashing in the polls after it had been forced to abandon its pledges for electoral reform as a condition of entering government. Come election day in 1993, Labour (now led by Jack Straw) was slightly ahead in the opinion polls, and most people expected Straw to become Prime Minister since the right-of-centre vote was split between Patten and Tebbit. But the polls were wrong - the Conservatives won the popular vote by 2% and outperformed this in marginals, taking many seats from their coalition partners (with Owen losing his own seat), and making a surprising number of gains in Scotland including two seats from Labour. Against all the odds, Patten had led the Tories to a majority of 10 - their fourth consecutive victory.
 
1976: Jim Callaghan (Labour)
1979: Ted Heath (Conservative) [1]
1983: Ted Heath (Conservative) [2]

1985: Jim Prior (Conservative) [3]
1988: Jim Prior (Conservative-
SDP Confidence Deal) [4]
1992: Chris Patten (Conservative
-SDP Confidence Deal)
1993: Chris Patten (Conservative) [5]

1998: Tony Blair (Labour) [6]

[1] Heath wins 1979 in a landslide against Callaghan after surviving a challenge from the right-wing of the party in 1975; with Callaghan fatally weakened by the Winter of Discontent, Heath entered government for the second time - becoming the first Prime Minister to return non-consecutively to Downing Street since Ramsay MacDonald (in 1923 and 1929 respectively).

[2] In many ways victory in 1979 was a poisoned chalice, as while a Conservative victory had been seen by many as inevitable the dire domestic situation posed a hefty challenge to any prospective government. Heath attempted to swing the Exchequer away from direct taxation to indirect forms of revenue, with partial success, and having learnt from his previous government attempted to control the raging influences of the unions by court action and asset confiscation. Economic recovery, although steady, was slow. Ian Gilmour, the Chancellor, struggled to implement effective means to reduce unemployment and by the beginning of 1983 the government was struggling in the polls. However, despite these troubles the Opposition were also flailing; Labour remained divided between bitter factions, narrowly avoiding a total split in 1980 - partly due to the weakening of the Liberals following their own crises in the late-1970s. As a result Heath narrowly retained his majority, conceding that it would be his last election as Conservative leader (a post he had held since 1965). His last ministry would largely revolve around foreign policy - the controversial re-assessment of the Special Relationship, economic pressure on Argentina following the Beagle War (1982-1983) and, of course, further strengthening of Anglo-European ties.

[3] “From the Greengrocer to the Farmer”.
The last years of the “Grocer Heath” leadership were an extended farewell tour, both domestically and throughout the EEC. Then on Sunday July 28 1985, it finally happened. After 20 years as Leader of the Conservative Party and a combined decade as Prime Minister, Edward Heath resigned. Many expected the resulting leadership contest to be a non-event, as although Heath had “left the decision in the hands of my peers”, it was widely known that he had anointed his successor in Deputy Leader James Prior. However, a late stand from backbencher Airey Neave opened the doors to candidates from both the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ factions of the party and Prior was pushed to the third ballot before he could make his way to Buckingham Palace. Prior followed largely in his predecessors international and economical footsteps, but attempted a more conciliatory approach with the unions, with some of the more hyperbolic political press comparing him to a combination of Australian Labor Bob Hawke and Canadian Progressive Conservative Brian Mulroney. However, only time would tell whether the premiership of “Farmer Jim” would bear fruit or he would need to be put out to an early pasture.

[4] For those who where sick of Heath, Jim Prior represented change although no actual change in policy occurred. While the self declared lead of the Tory right Norman Tebbit resigning the Tory Whip and encouraging all other “Browns” to do so, Prior and the “Blues” remained on top of them despite there small majority. When the 1988 Parliament was announced as a Hung one, Prior looked to the SDP and David Owen to break away from the Liberals in a confidence deal.

[5] Few people expected Jim Prior's SDP-Conservative pact to last anything like a full term. But Prior turned out to be surprisingly adept at managing the difficulties of coalition government. With the Tories having been in power for 9 years and with a major splinter party (Tebbit's 'National Conservatives') on the right, few people blamed him for losing the government's majority, and a short-lived leadership challenge by Norman Lamont came to nothing. He also received a major popularity boost when he sponsored the 1991 Maundy Thursday Agreement, a compromise brokered between unionists and nationalists in Northern Ireland that much lessened sectarianism. Prior, who confessed he was tired of politics, saw this as the capstone on his career and retired in 1992, when he was replaced by Chris Patten - who continued taking the Conservative Party down the Heath/Prior direction of a European social market economy together with elements of Christian Democracy, moderate social conservatism, and classic one-nation policies. Patten's relations with the Deputy Prime Minister David Owen remained harmonious, although the SDP was crashing in the polls after it had been forced to abandon its pledges for electoral reform as a condition of entering government. Come election day in 1993, Labour (now led by Jack Straw) was slightly ahead in the opinion polls, and most people expected Straw to become Prime Minister since the right-of-centre vote was split between Patten and Tebbit. But the polls were wrong - the Conservatives won the popular vote by 2% and outperformed this in marginals, taking many seats from their coalition partners (with Owen losing his own seat), and making a surprising number of gains in Scotland including two seats from Labour. Against all the odds, Patten had led the Tories to a majority of 10 - their fourth consecutive victory.

[6] By 1998, the Conservative government looked tired. Shortly following his defeat in 1993, Straw resigned and was succeeded by John Smith, who died two years later. The buck now passed to young Labourite, Tony Blair. Blair promised a 'New' Labour Party and a 'New Britain.' With the economic debacle of Black Friday tarnishing the Tories economic image, forcing Britain out of the ERM as well as the 1994 breakdown of the Maundy Thursday Agreement leading to renewed conflict in Northern Ireland, the country seemed ready for a change. Kicking the Tories centrist platform from underneath them by shifting the Labour Party to the centre and promising to rebuild the 'Special Relationship,' which he claimed the Tories had neglected, Blair won the popular vote: 42% to 32% and got Labour 400 seats in the House of Commons.
 
Last edited:
1976: Jim Callaghan (Labour)
1979: Ted Heath (Conservative) [1]
1983: Ted Heath (Conservative) [2]

1985: Jim Prior (Conservative) [3]
1988: Jim Prior (Conservative-
SDP Confidence Deal) [4]
1992: Chris Patten (Conservative
-SDP Confidence Deal)
1993: Chris Patten (Conservative) [5]

1998: Tony Blair (Labour) [6]
2003: Gordon Brown (Labour) [7]


[1] Heath wins 1979 in a landslide against Callaghan after surviving a challenge from the right-wing of the party in 1975; with Callaghan fatally weakened by the Winter of Discontent, Heath entered government for the second time - becoming the first Prime Minister to return non-consecutively to Downing Street since Ramsay MacDonald (in 1923 and 1929 respectively).

[2] In many ways victory in 1979 was a poisoned chalice, as while a Conservative victory had been seen by many as inevitable the dire domestic situation posed a hefty challenge to any prospective government. Heath attempted to swing the Exchequer away from direct taxation to indirect forms of revenue, with partial success, and having learnt from his previous government attempted to control the raging influences of the unions by court action and asset confiscation. Economic recovery, although steady, was slow. Ian Gilmour, the Chancellor, struggled to implement effective means to reduce unemployment and by the beginning of 1983 the government was struggling in the polls. However, despite these troubles the Opposition were also flailing; Labour remained divided between bitter factions, narrowly avoiding a total split in 1980 - partly due to the weakening of the Liberals following their own crises in the late-1970s. As a result Heath narrowly retained his majority, conceding that it would be his last election as Conservative leader (a post he had held since 1965). His last ministry would largely revolve around foreign policy - the controversial re-assessment of the Special Relationship, economic pressure on Argentina following the Beagle War (1982-1983) and, of course, further strengthening of Anglo-European ties.

[3] “From the Greengrocer to the Farmer”.
The last years of the “Grocer Heath” leadership were an extended farewell tour, both domestically and throughout the EEC. Then on Sunday July 28 1985, it finally happened. After 20 years as Leader of the Conservative Party and a combined decade as Prime Minister, Edward Heath resigned. Many expected the resulting leadership contest to be a non-event, as although Heath had “left the decision in the hands of my peers”, it was widely known that he had anointed his successor in Deputy Leader James Prior. However, a late stand from backbencher Airey Neave opened the doors to candidates from both the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ factions of the party and Prior was pushed to the third ballot before he could make his way to Buckingham Palace. Prior followed largely in his predecessors international and economical footsteps, but attempted a more conciliatory approach with the unions, with some of the more hyperbolic political press comparing him to a combination of Australian Labor Bob Hawke and Canadian Progressive Conservative Brian Mulroney. However, only time would tell whether the premiership of “Farmer Jim” would bear fruit or he would need to be put out to an early pasture.

[4] For those who where sick of Heath, Jim Prior represented change although no actual change in policy occurred. While the self declared lead of the Tory right Norman Tebbit resigning the Tory Whip and encouraging all other “Browns” to do so, Prior and the “Blues” remained on top of them despite there small majority. When the 1988 Parliament was announced as a Hung one, Prior looked to the SDP and David Owen to break away from the Liberals in a confidence deal.

[5] Few people expected Jim Prior's SDP-Conservative pact to last anything like a full term. But Prior turned out to be surprisingly adept at managing the difficulties of coalition government. With the Tories having been in power for 9 years and with a major splinter party (Tebbit's 'National Conservatives') on the right, few people blamed him for losing the government's majority, and a short-lived leadership challenge by Norman Lamont came to nothing. He also received a major popularity boost when he sponsored the 1991 Maundy Thursday Agreement, a compromise brokered between unionists and nationalists in Northern Ireland that much lessened sectarianism. Prior, who confessed he was tired of politics, saw this as the capstone on his career and retired in 1992, when he was replaced by Chris Patten - who continued taking the Conservative Party down the Heath/Prior direction of a European social market economy together with elements of Christian Democracy, moderate social conservatism, and classic one-nation policies. Patten's relations with the Deputy Prime Minister David Owen remained harmonious, although the SDP was crashing in the polls after it had been forced to abandon its pledges for electoral reform as a condition of entering government. Come election day in 1993, Labour (now led by Jack Straw) was slightly ahead in the opinion polls, and most people expected Straw to become Prime Minister since the right-of-centre vote was split between Patten and Tebbit. But the polls were wrong - the Conservatives won the popular vote by 2% and outperformed this in marginals, taking many seats from their coalition partners (with Owen losing his own seat), and making a surprising number of gains in Scotland including two seats from Labour. Against all the odds, Patten had led the Tories to a majority of 10 - their fourth consecutive victory.

[6] By 1998, the Conservative government looked tired. Shortly following his defeat in 1993, Straw resigned and was succeeded by John Smith, who died two years later. The buck now passed to young Labourite, Tony Blair. Blair promised a 'New' Labour Party and a 'New Britain.' With the economic debacle of Black Friday tarnishing the Tories economic image, forcing Britain out of the ERM as well as the 1994 breakdown of the Maundy Thursday Agreement leading to renewed conflict in Northern Ireland, the country seemed ready for a change. Kicking the Tories centrist platform from underneath them by shifting the Labour Party to the centre and promising to rebuild the 'Special Relationship,' which he claimed the Tories had neglected, Blair won the popular vote: 42% to 32% and got Labour 400 seats in the House of Commons.
[7] Blair along with President Gore was able to restore the NI Assembly in 2000 leading to he and Gore winning the Nobel Peace price. The exit from the ERM in the early 90's cast a long shadow over Blair's premiership. He secretly wished for the UK to re-enter the mechanism but was warned by his left wing deputy John Prescott that that would destroy the party. In 2001 the USA was rocked to its core by the destruction of the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and the White House where President Gore was killed. Blair along with new president Lieberman invaded Afghanistan leading to the death of Bin Laden in November 2001. In early 2003 Blair was rushed to hospital with a heart attack. Although he survived he suffered long term heart damage and resigned as PM. Chancellor Brown saw off a weak challenge from Jeremy Corbyn to win the leadership and Premiership.
 
1976: Jim Callaghan (Labour)
1979: Ted Heath (Conservative) [1]
1983: Ted Heath (Conservative) [2]

1985: Jim Prior (Conservative) [3]
1988: Jim Prior (Conservative-
SDP Confidence Deal) [4]
1992: Chris Patten (Conservative
-SDP Confidence Deal)
1993: Chris Patten (Conservative) [5]

1998: Tony Blair (Labour) [6]
2003: Gordon Brown (Labour) [7]
2008: Edward Leigh (Reform) [8]

[1] Heath wins 1979 in a landslide against Callaghan after surviving a challenge from the right-wing of the party in 1975; with Callaghan fatally weakened by the Winter of Discontent, Heath entered government for the second time - becoming the first Prime Minister to return non-consecutively to Downing Street since Ramsay MacDonald (in 1923 and 1929 respectively).

[2] In many ways victory in 1979 was a poisoned chalice, as while a Conservative victory had been seen by many as inevitable the dire domestic situation posed a hefty challenge to any prospective government. Heath attempted to swing the Exchequer away from direct taxation to indirect forms of revenue, with partial success, and having learnt from his previous government attempted to control the raging influences of the unions by court action and asset confiscation. Economic recovery, although steady, was slow. Ian Gilmour, the Chancellor, struggled to implement effective means to reduce unemployment and by the beginning of 1983 the government was struggling in the polls. However, despite these troubles the Opposition were also flailing; Labour remained divided between bitter factions, narrowly avoiding a total split in 1980 - partly due to the weakening of the Liberals following their own crises in the late-1970s. As a result Heath narrowly retained his majority, conceding that it would be his last election as Conservative leader (a post he had held since 1965). His last ministry would largely revolve around foreign policy - the controversial re-assessment of the Special Relationship, economic pressure on Argentina following the Beagle War (1982-1983) and, of course, further strengthening of Anglo-European ties.

[3] “From the Greengrocer to the Farmer”.
The last years of the “Grocer Heath” leadership were an extended farewell tour, both domestically and throughout the EEC. Then on Sunday July 28 1985, it finally happened. After 20 years as Leader of the Conservative Party and a combined decade as Prime Minister, Edward Heath resigned. Many expected the resulting leadership contest to be a non-event, as although Heath had “left the decision in the hands of my peers”, it was widely known that he had anointed his successor in Deputy Leader James Prior. However, a late stand from backbencher Airey Neave opened the doors to candidates from both the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ factions of the party and Prior was pushed to the third ballot before he could make his way to Buckingham Palace. Prior followed largely in his predecessors international and economical footsteps, but attempted a more conciliatory approach with the unions, with some of the more hyperbolic political press comparing him to a combination of Australian Labor Bob Hawke and Canadian Progressive Conservative Brian Mulroney. However, only time would tell whether the premiership of “Farmer Jim” would bear fruit or he would need to be put out to an early pasture.

[4] For those who where sick of Heath, Jim Prior represented change although no actual change in policy occurred. While the self declared lead of the Tory right Norman Tebbit resigning the Tory Whip and encouraging all other “Browns” to do so, Prior and the “Blues” remained on top of them despite there small majority. When the 1988 Parliament was announced as a Hung one, Prior looked to the SDP and David Owen to break away from the Liberals in a confidence deal.

[5] Few people expected Jim Prior's SDP-Conservative pact to last anything like a full term. But Prior turned out to be surprisingly adept at managing the difficulties of coalition government. With the Tories having been in power for 9 years and with a major splinter party (Tebbit's 'National Conservatives') on the right, few people blamed him for losing the government's majority, and a short-lived leadership challenge by Norman Lamont came to nothing. He also received a major popularity boost when he sponsored the 1991 Maundy Thursday Agreement, a compromise brokered between unionists and nationalists in Northern Ireland that much lessened sectarianism. Prior, who confessed he was tired of politics, saw this as the capstone on his career and retired in 1992, when he was replaced by Chris Patten - who continued taking the Conservative Party down the Heath/Prior direction of a European social market economy together with elements of Christian Democracy, moderate social conservatism, and classic one-nation policies. Patten's relations with the Deputy Prime Minister David Owen remained harmonious, although the SDP was crashing in the polls after it had been forced to abandon its pledges for electoral reform as a condition of entering government. Come election day in 1993, Labour (now led by Jack Straw) was slightly ahead in the opinion polls, and most people expected Straw to become Prime Minister since the right-of-centre vote was split between Patten and Tebbit. But the polls were wrong - the Conservatives won the popular vote by 2% and outperformed this in marginals, taking many seats from their coalition partners (with Owen losing his own seat), and making a surprising number of gains in Scotland including two seats from Labour. Against all the odds, Patten had led the Tories to a majority of 10 - their fourth consecutive victory.

[6] By 1998, the Conservative government looked tired. Shortly following his defeat in 1993, Straw resigned and was succeeded by John Smith, who died two years later. The buck now passed to young Labourite, Tony Blair. Blair promised a 'New' Labour Party and a 'New Britain.' With the economic debacle of Black Friday tarnishing the Tories economic image, forcing Britain out of the ERM as well as the 1994 breakdown of the Maundy Thursday Agreement leading to renewed conflict in Northern Ireland, the country seemed ready for a change. Kicking the Tories centrist platform from underneath them by shifting the Labour Party to the centre and promising to rebuild the 'Special Relationship,' which he claimed the Tories had neglected, Blair won the popular vote: 42% to 32% and got Labour 400 seats in the House of Commons.

[7] Blair along with President Gore was able to restore the NI Assembly in 2000 leading to he and Gore winning the Nobel Peace price. The exit from the ERM in the early 90's cast a long shadow over Blair's premiership. He secretly wished for the UK to re-enter the mechanism but was warned by his left wing deputy John Prescott that that would destroy the party. In 2001 the USA was rocked to its core by the destruction of the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and the White House where President Gore was killed. Blair along with new president Lieberman invaded Afghanistan leading to the death of Bin Laden in November 2001. In early 2003 Blair was rushed to hospital with a heart attack. Although he survived he suffered long term heart damage and resigned as PM. Chancellor Brown saw off a weak challenge from Jeremy Corbyn to win the leadership and Premiership.

[8] Never has a Prime Minister made a more grievous mistake than Gordon Brown in failing to call an election in May 2007. His approval ratings and favourability as 'preferred Prime Minister' were sky-high, as he seemed a welcome and refreshing contrast with the flashier Blair; but his personal favourability did not translate into a huge lead for Labour in the opinion polls, with them averaging a consistent but slim 3% lead. The Afghanistan War, which had degenerated into a stalemate as the forces tried to put down guerilla insurrections, was dragging down Labour's ratings, and Brown gambled that delaying for another year would be more likely to guarantee Labour's re-election. But by 2008 the subprime mortgage crisis had begun to bite hard, and Labour, fairly or not, was getting much of the blame for Britain crashing into recession. By the middle of the year Labour's five-year mandate had run out and Brown was forced to call an election in an unfavourable political climate. As for the Conservatives, now led by Liam Fox, they had been hampered in the last two elections by the National Conservative Party, now led by John Redwood; although the NatCons were in decline and only had a dozen seats, they took valuable votes from the Conservatives in marginal seats. Consequently, in 2006 National Conservative Deputy Leader Nigel Farage reached out to the Conservative leadership, and the two parties organised a joint conference. The upshot of this was that the two right-of-centre parties reunited under the moniker of the Reform Party, adopting a new, Eurosceptic manifesto and selecting as their leader Edward Leigh, a veteran Eurosceptic rebel acceptable to the right who had nonetheless remained in the official Conservative Party instead of defecting to Tebbit's NatCon splinter group. Detractors claimed that Leigh was too right-wing, and three Conservative shadow cabinet members, Kenneth Clarke, Stephen Dorrell and Bill Newton Dunn, resigned from the party in protest and formed a new Progressive Conservative party which entered into an electoral pact with the Liberal Party. But despite this, Labour's unpopularity in 2008 was such that Leigh was able to win 38% of the vote in the general election and secure a thirty-seat majority. He appointed Redwood as Chancellor, Fox as Home Secretary, and David Cameron as Foreign Secretary.
 
Last edited:
1976: Jim Callaghan (Labour)
1979: Ted Heath (Conservative) [1]
1983: Ted Heath (Conservative) [2]

1985: Jim Prior (Conservative) [3]
1988: Jim Prior (Conservative-SDP Confidence Deal) [4]

1992: Chris Patten (Conservative-SDP Confidence Deal)
1993: Chris Patten (Conservative) [5]
1998: Tony Blair (Labour) [6]
2003: Gordon Brown (Labour) [7]
2008: Edward Leigh (Reform) [8]
2011: Edward Leigh (Reform-Progressive Conservative Liberal Alliance) [9]

[9]
The unofficial ABC of the Government's Manifesto; ‘Austerity Now, Britain First, Conservatism Forever’ could easily stand for the economic, international and domestic policy of the ‘Reform Experiment’. The results of that experiment were still being vigorously debated when, not wanting to repeat the previous mistake of Labour, an early election was called. Results were both expected but shocking. Labour, perhaps as united as they had been in a generation under a new pragmatic Leader, managed to rebound from their previous disappointing result, but still failed to achieve a majority. They attempted to form a coalition with the PCLA (who had made up small but significant ground, led by a charismatic and pro-Europe Leader), until Leigh using his privileges as sitting PM, highlighted their common roots and made sweeping concessions on all aspects (most importantly the international) of the Reform platform. The Sun’s headline of “Not Tonight Darling!” over the dejected face of the Labour Leader became an iconic image, but the question was - what would the next stage of the Experiment be, now that such new variables had entered the mix?
 
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1976: Jim Callaghan (Labour)
1979: Ted Heath (Conservative) [1]
1983: Ted Heath (Conservative) [2]

1985: Jim Prior (Conservative) [3]
1988: Jim Prior (Conservative-
SDP Confidence Deal) [4]
1992: Chris Patten (Conservative
-SDP Confidence Deal)
1993: Chris Patten (Conservative) [5]
1998: Tony Blair (Labour) [6]
2003: Gordon Brown (Labour)
2003: Gordon Brown (Labour) [7]
2008: Edward Leigh (Reform) [8]
2011: Edward Leigh (Reform-
Progressive Conservative Liberal Alliance
) [9]
2015: Edward Leigh (Reform) [10]

2018: David Cameron (Reform)

[1] Heath wins 1979 in a landslide against Callaghan after surviving a challenge from the right-wing of the party in 1975; with Callaghan fatally weakened by the Winter of Discontent, Heath entered government for the second time - becoming the first Prime Minister to return non-consecutively to Downing Street since Ramsay MacDonald (in 1923 and 1929 respectively).

[2] In many ways victory in 1979 was a poisoned chalice, as while a Conservative victory had been seen by many as inevitable the dire domestic situation posed a hefty challenge to any prospective government. Heath attempted to swing the Exchequer away from direct taxation to indirect forms of revenue, with partial success, and having learnt from his previous government attempted to control the raging influences of the unions by court action and asset confiscation. Economic recovery, although steady, was slow. Ian Gilmour, the Chancellor, struggled to implement effective means to reduce unemployment and by the beginning of 1983 the government was struggling in the polls. However, despite these troubles the Opposition were also flailing; Labour remained divided between bitter factions, narrowly avoiding a total split in 1980 - partly due to the weakening of the Liberals following their own crises in the late-1970s. As a result Heath narrowly retained his majority, conceding that it would be his last election as Conservative leader (a post he had held since 1965). His last ministry would largely revolve around foreign policy - the controversial re-assessment of the Special Relationship, economic pressure on Argentina following the Beagle War (1982-1983) and, of course, further strengthening of Anglo-European ties.

[3] “From the Greengrocer to the Farmer”.
The last years of the “Grocer Heath” leadership were an extended farewell tour, both domestically and throughout the EEC. Then on Sunday July 28 1985, it finally happened. After 20 years as Leader of the Conservative Party and a combined decade as Prime Minister, Edward Heath resigned. Many expected the resulting leadership contest to be a non-event, as although Heath had “left the decision in the hands of my peers”, it was widely known that he had anointed his successor in Deputy Leader James Prior. However, a late stand from backbencher Airey Neave opened the doors to candidates from both the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ factions of the party and Prior was pushed to the third ballot before he could make his way to Buckingham Palace. Prior followed largely in his predecessors international and economical footsteps, but attempted a more conciliatory approach with the unions, with some of the more hyperbolic political press comparing him to a combination of Australian Labor Bob Hawke and Canadian Progressive Conservative Brian Mulroney. However, only time would tell whether the premiership of “Farmer Jim” would bear fruit or he would need to be put out to an early pasture.

[4] For those who where sick of Heath, Jim Prior represented change although no actual change in policy occurred. While the self declared lead of the Tory right Norman Tebbit resigning the Tory Whip and encouraging all other “Browns” to do so, Prior and the “Blues” remained on top of them despite there small majority. When the 1988 Parliament was announced as a Hung one, Prior looked to the SDP and David Owen to break away from the Liberals in a confidence deal.

[5] Few people expected Jim Prior's SDP-Conservative pact to last anything like a full term. But Prior turned out to be surprisingly adept at managing the difficulties of coalition government. With the Tories having been in power for 9 years and with a major splinter party (Tebbit's 'National Conservatives') on the right, few people blamed him for losing the government's majority, and a short-lived leadership challenge by Norman Lamont came to nothing. He also received a major popularity boost when he sponsored the 1991 Maundy Thursday Agreement, a compromise brokered between unionists and nationalists in Northern Ireland that much lessened sectarianism. Prior, who confessed he was tired of politics, saw this as the capstone on his career and retired in 1992, when he was replaced by Chris Patten - who continued taking the Conservative Party down the Heath/Prior direction of a European social market economy together with elements of Christian Democracy, moderate social conservatism, and classic one-nation policies. Patten's relations with the Deputy Prime Minister David Owen remained harmonious, although the SDP was crashing in the polls after it had been forced to abandon its pledges for electoral reform as a condition of entering government. Come election day in 1993, Labour (now led by Jack Straw) was slightly ahead in the opinion polls, and most people expected Straw to become Prime Minister since the right-of-centre vote was split between Patten and Tebbit. But the polls were wrong - the Conservatives won the popular vote by 2% and outperformed this in marginals, taking many seats from their coalition partners (with Owen losing his own seat), and making a surprising number of gains in Scotland including two seats from Labour. Against all the odds, Patten had led the Tories to a majority of 10 - their fourth consecutive victory.

[6] By 1998, the Conservative government looked tired. Shortly following his defeat in 1993, Straw resigned and was succeeded by John Smith, who died two years later. The buck now passed to young Labourite, Tony Blair. Blair promised a 'New' Labour Party and a 'New Britain.' With the economic debacle of Black Friday tarnishing the Tories economic image, forcing Britain out of the ERM as well as the 1994 breakdown of the Maundy Thursday Agreement leading to renewed conflict in Northern Ireland, the country seemed ready for a change. Kicking the Tories centrist platform from underneath them by shifting the Labour Party to the centre and promising to rebuild the 'Special Relationship,' which he claimed the Tories had neglected, Blair won the popular vote: 42% to 32% and got Labour 400 seats in the House of Commons.

[7] Blair along with President Gore was able to restore the NI Assembly in 2000 leading to he and Gore winning the Nobel Peace price. The exit from the ERM in the early 90's cast a long shadow over Blair's premiership. He secretly wished for the UK to re-enter the mechanism but was warned by his left wing deputy John Prescott that that would destroy the party. In 2001 the USA was rocked to its core by the destruction of the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and the White House where President Gore was killed. Blair along with new president Lieberman invaded Afghanistan leading to the death of Bin Laden in November 2001. In early 2003 Blair was rushed to hospital with a heart attack. Although he survived he suffered long term heart damage and resigned as PM. Chancellor Brown saw off a weak challenge from Jeremy Corbyn to win the leadership and Premiership.

[8] Never has a Prime Minister made a more grievous mistake than Gordon Brown in failing to call an election in May 2007. His approval ratings and favourability as 'preferred Prime Minister' were sky-high, as he seemed a welcome and refreshing contrast with the flashier Blair; but his personal favourability did not translate into a huge lead for Labour in the opinion polls, with them averaging a consistent but slim 3% lead. The Afghanistan War, which had degenerated into a stalemate as the forces tried to put down guerilla insurrections, was dragging down Labour's ratings, and Brown gambled that delaying for another year would be more likely to guarantee Labour's re-election. But by 2008 the subprime mortgage crisis had begun to bite hard, and Labour, fairly or not, was getting much of the blame for Britain crashing into recession. By the middle of the year Labour's five-year mandate had run out and Brown was forced to call an election in an unfavourable political climate. As for the Conservatives, now led by Liam Fox, they had been hampered in the last two elections by the National Conservative Party, now led by John Redwood; although the NatCons were in decline and only had a dozen seats, they took valuable votes from the Conservatives in marginal seats. Consequently, in 2006 National Conservative Deputy Leader Nigel Farage reached out to the Conservative leadership, and the two parties organised a joint conference. The upshot of this was that the two right-of-centre parties reunited under the moniker of the Reform Party, adopting a new, Eurosceptic manifesto and selecting as their leader Edward Leigh, a veteran Eurosceptic rebel acceptable to the right who had nonetheless remained in the official Conservative Party instead of defecting to Tebbit's NatCon splinter group. Detractors claimed that Leigh was too right-wing, and three Conservative shadow cabinet members, Kenneth Clarke, Stephen Dorrell and Bill Newton Dunn, resigned from the party in protest and formed a new Progressive Conservative party which entered into an electoral pact with the Liberal Party. But despite this, Labour's unpopularity in 2008 was such that Leigh was able to win 38% of the vote in the general election and secure a thirty-seat majority. He appointed Redwood as Chancellor, Fox as Home Secretary, and David Cameron as Foreign Secretary.

[9] The unofficial ABC of the Government's Manifesto; ‘Austerity Now, Britain First, Conservatism Forever’ could easily stand for the economic, international and domestic policy of the ‘Reform Experiment’. The results of that experiment were still being vigorously debated when, not wanting to repeat the previous mistake of Labour, an early election was called. Results were both expected but shocking. Labour, perhaps as united as they had been in a generation under a new pragmatic Leader, managed to rebound from their previous disappointing result, but still failed to achieve a majority. They attempted to form a coalition with the PCLA (who had made up small but significant ground, led by a charismatic and pro-Europe Leader), until Leigh using his privileges as sitting PM, highlighted their common roots and made sweeping concessions on all aspects (most importantly the international) of the Reform platform. The Sun’s headline of “Not Tonight Darling!” over the dejected face of the Labour Leader became an iconic image, but the question was - what would the next stage of the Experiment be, now that such new variables had entered the mix?

[10] The 2015 election is seen as one of the biggest turning points in British Political History. The Liberal Party, which had twice been betrayed in a pact in favour of propping up the Tories, lost all parliamentary representation and voted to dissolve soon after and encouraged all members to join the Progressive Tories. Labour was criticised for not exploiting the Tories’ divisions and in the end both there leader (Chuka Ummuna) and Shadow Chancellor (Ed Balls) lost there seats. Edward Leigh was able to restore his majority against all the odds. The 2016 EU membership Referendum would see Britain vote with 58% to leave the EU, with Article 50 being triggered 4 months later. After securing a deal with the EU, Leigh resigned on the night that Britain left, stating he had done what he had set out to do. Despite being an opportunist, Redwood declined to stand for Reform Leadership feeling his time had come, but added he would continue to serve on the frontbenches. Fox was viewed as far too divisive, still blamed for the collapse of the Conservative Party and chose no to run. In the end, the Eurosceptic Foreign Secretary David Cameron ran and easily crushed his opponent.

[Edit: Sorry I was in a rush. Feel free to add to my paragraph]
 
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BYE BYE HAROLD
(POD. Harold Wilson resigns as Labour Leader in 1970. Jim Callaghan becomes Labour Leader)
Edward Heath 1970
Jim Callaghan 1974 [1]

[1] Callaghan led a minority government with two major issues. Bringing the industrial crisis to an end and forced to carry through a referendum on EEC membership. The former he was able to deal fairly well thanks mainly to Employment Secretary Michael Foot but Europe was the sticking point. He was pro-USA but knew that his position as leader depended on a large swathe of pro Europe MP's. His appointment of Roy Jenkins as Foreign Secretary was seen as a necessity. Securing a three seat majority in October 1974 helped. The "Yes" campaign in 1975 won the referendum with 67% of the vote.
 
BYE BYE HAROLD
(POD. Harold Wilson resigns as Labour Leader in 1970. Jim Callaghan becomes Labour Leader)
Edward Heath 1970
Jim Callaghan 1974 [1]
Keith Joseph 1979 [2]

[1] Callaghan led a minority government with two major issues. Bringing the industrial crisis to an end and forced to carry through a referendum on EEC membership. The former he was able to deal fairly well thanks mainly to Employment Secretary Michael Foot but Europe was the sticking point. He was pro-USA but knew that his position as leader depended on a large swathe of pro Europe MP's. His appointment of Roy Jenkins as Foreign Secretary was seen as a necessity. Securing a three seat majority in October 1974 helped. The "Yes" campaign in 1975 won the referendum with 67% of the vote.


[2] By 1979, with Britain facing economic humiliation following the IMF imposing spending cuts upon her and with union unrest reaching it's zenith with the Winter of Discontent, the country had had enough. In 1975, Ted Heath had been ousted by the right-wing intellectual Keith Joseph and in 1979, Joseph led the Conservative party to a thumping majority over Labour. Joseph immediately set about with an economic policy of privatization of national industry, bringing down inflation, and enacting a temporary nationwide payroll tax holiday.
 
BYE BYE HAROLD
(POD. Harold Wilson resigns as Labour Leader in 1970. Jim Callaghan becomes Labour Leader)

1970: Edward Heath
1974: Jim Callaghan [1]
1979:
Keith Joseph [2]
1983: Keith Joseph [3]

[1]
Callaghan led a minority government with two major issues. Bringing the industrial crisis to an end and forced to carry through a referendum on EEC membership. The former he was able to deal fairly well thanks mainly to Employment Secretary Michael Foot but Europe was the sticking point. He was pro-USA but knew that his position as leader depended on a large swathe of pro Europe MP's. His appointment of Roy Jenkins as Foreign Secretary was seen as a necessity. Securing a three seat majority in October 1974 helped. The "Yes" campaign in 1975 won the referendum with 67% of the vote.

[2] By 1979, with Britain facing economic humiliation following the IMF imposing spending cuts upon her and with union unrest reaching it's zenith with the Winter of Discontent, the country had had enough. In 1975, Ted Heath had been ousted by the right-wing intellectual Keith Joseph and in 1979, Joseph led the Conservative party to a thumping majority over Labour. Joseph immediately set about with an economic policy of privatization of national industry, bringing down inflation, and enacting a temporary nationwide payroll tax holiday.

[3] Joseph's first four years in power had not been an easy time. Unemployment increased during the first three years of his premiership and the economy went through a recession. However, the British victory in the Falklands War led to a recovery of his personal popularity; the economy also returned to growth. The Labour Party, led by Callaghan protege Denis Healey had fared well in opinion polls and local elections during this time, but some within the party wished he would promote a stronger left-wing platform. The early election in October 1983 was much as expected; despite a swing against the government, the Conservative's secured a second term. Healey felt vindicated, arguing he had prepared Labour for future victory. Meanwhile, the Liberals dropped into single-figure seats again.
 
Last edited:
BYE BYE HAROLD
What if Harold Wilson resigned in 1970, with Jim Callaghan becoming Labour Leader?

1970: Edward Heath (Conservative)
1974: Jim Callaghan (Labour) [1]
1979:
Keith Joseph (Conservative) [2]
1983: Keith Joseph (Conservative) [3]
1987: Bryan Gould (Labour) [4]

[1]
Callaghan led a minority government with two major issues - bringing the industrial crisis to an end and forced to carry through a referendum on EEC membership. The former he was able to deal fairly well thanks mainly to Employment Secretary Michael Foot but Europe was the sticking point. He was pro-USA but knew that his position as leader depended on a large swathe of pro Europe MPs. His appointment of Roy Jenkins as Foreign Secretary was seen as a necessity. Securing a three seat majority in October 1974 helped. The "Yes" campaign in 1975 won the referendum with 67% of the vote.

[2] By 1979, with Britain facing economic humiliation following the IMF imposing spending cuts upon her and with union unrest reaching it's zenith with the Winter of Discontent, the country had had enough. In 1975, Ted Heath had been ousted by the right-wing intellectual Keith Joseph and in 1979 he led the Conservative party to a thumping majority over Labour. Joseph immediately set about with an economic policy of privatization of national industry, bringing down inflation, and enacting a temporary nationwide payroll tax holiday.

[3] Joseph's first four years in power had not been an easy time. Unemployment increased during the first three years of his premiership and the economy went through a recession. However, the British victory in the Falklands War led to a recovery of his personal popularity; the economy also returned to growth. The Labour Party, led by Callaghan protégé Denis Healey, had fared well in opinion polls and local elections during this time, but some within the party wished he would promote a stronger left-wing platform. The early election in October 1983 was much as expected; despite a swing against the government, the Conservatives secured a second term. Healey felt vindicated, arguing he had prepared Labour for future victory. Meanwhile, the Liberals dropped into single-figure seats again.

[4] The second Joseph ministry was the defining end of the Post-War Consensus, as the Conservatives turned upon the nationalized industries with their healthy majority. British Coal, already struggling, was broken up in the midst of strike action and violence in the north and for much of 1988 a General Strike looked likely. Inflation nevertheless fell despite the difficulties of the 1980s economic recession, with major (and controversial) reforms to the tax code. Sweeping tuition fees were introduced for universities, while the first tendrils of partially-privatized medicine were introduced to the National Health Service. Labour picked up in the polls amid the domestic unrest, continuing their progress with Healey, but in 1986 the Tribune Group conspired against him. Healey, although popular among the public, had become overly-complacent about his party support - leading to criticism both from the centre and, more vocally, the left. Although initially Healey looked certain to defeat Benn, the unexpected dark-horse candidacy of Bryan Gould set the cat among the pigeons. The surprise victory of the latter shook the party, but invigorated the national competition against Joseph (who was, by then, known to be looking for a successor). In 1987, two new and young leaders - Gould and John Moore - fought the first 'modern' electoral campaign. Gould would squeak a narrow majority over Moore, pledging to reverse the worse excesses of 'Josephism' with a manifesto hoping to restore Britain as an economic powerhouse; Private Eye would cheekily refer to these policies as a return to the 'Gould Standard'.
 
Last edited:
BYE BYE HAROLD
What if Harold Wilson resigned in 1970, with Jim Callaghan becoming Labour Leader?

1970: Edward Heath (Conservative)
1974: Jim Callaghan (Labour Minority) [1]
1979: Keith Joseph (Conservative) [2]
1983: Keith Joseph (Conservative) [3]

1987: John Moore (Conservative)
1987: Bryan Gould (Labour) [4]
1991: Margaret Thatcher (Conservative) [5]


[1] Callaghan led a minority government with two major issues - bringing the industrial crisis to an end and forced to carry through a referendum on EEC membership. The former he was able to deal fairly well thanks mainly to Employment Secretary Michael Foot but Europe was the sticking point. He was pro-USA but knew that his position as leader depended on a large swathe of pro Europe MPs. His appointment of Roy Jenkins as Foreign Secretary was seen as a necessity. Securing a three seat majority in October 1974 helped. The "Yes" campaign in 1975 won the referendum with 67% of the vote.

[2] By 1979, with Britain facing economic humiliation following the IMF imposing spending cuts upon her and with union unrest reaching it's zenith with the Winter of Discontent, the country had had enough. In 1975, Ted Heath had been ousted by the right-wing intellectual Keith Joseph and in 1979 he led the Conservative party to a thumping majority over Labour. Joseph immediately set about with an economic policy of privatization of national industry, bringing down inflation, and enacting a temporary nationwide payroll tax holiday.

[3] Joseph's first four years in power had not been an easy time. Unemployment increased during the first three years of his premiership and the economy went through a recession. However, the British victory in the Falklands War led to a recovery of his personal popularity; the economy also returned to growth. The Labour Party, led by Callaghan protégé Denis Healey, had fared well in opinion polls and local elections during this time, but some within the party wished he would promote a stronger left-wing platform. The early election in October 1983 was much as expected; despite a swing against the government, the Conservatives secured a second term. Healey felt vindicated, arguing he had prepared Labour for future victory. Meanwhile, the Liberals dropped into single-figure seats again.

[4] The second Joseph ministry was the defining end of the Post-War Consensus, as the Conservatives turned upon the nationalized industries with their healthy majority. British Coal, already struggling, was broken up in the midst of strike action and violence in the north and for much of 1988 a General Strike looked likely. Inflation nevertheless fell despite the difficulties of the 1980s economic recession, with major (and controversial) reforms to the tax code. Sweeping tuition fees were introduced for universities, while the first tendrils of partially-privatized medicine were introduced to the National Health Service. Labour picked up in the polls amid the domestic unrest, continuing their progress with Healey, but in 1986 the Tribune Group conspired against him. Healey, although popular among the public, had become overly-complacent about his party support - leading to criticism both from the centre and, more vocally, the left. Although initially Healey looked certain to defeat Benn, the unexpected dark-horse candidacy of Bryan Gould set the cat among the pigeons. The surprise victory of the latter shook the party, but invigorated the national competition against Joseph (who was, by then, known to be looking for a successor). In 1987, two new and young leaders - Gould and John Moore - fought the first 'modern' electoral campaign. Gould would squeak a narrow majority over Moore, pledging to reverse the worse excesses of 'Josephism' with a manifesto hoping to restore Britain as an economic powerhouse; Private Eye would cheekily refer to these policies as a return to the 'Gould Standard'.

[5] By 1988 the Tories had found Moore’s successor, but it was thought to be too late. Margaret Thatcher has served as education secretary under Edward Heath and after ending free school milk had been dubbed “Maggie Thatcher the Milk Snatcher”. Having served as Environment Secretary in Joseph’s first ministry and Home Secretary during his second term. When Moore resigned, he was made deputy leader by Thatcher, who had beaten George Young for the leadership. For the first three years of the Gould Ministry it looked as if he would go down as one of the greatest Post-War Prime Ministers. Having undone many privatisations and an upwards looking economy, his only real challenge was the invigorated opposition of Thatcher. With both leaders agreeing on not signing Maastricht, it looked as if Gould would maybe lose a seat or two at the next election. However with recessions in 1990 and 1991, Gould was forced out with Thatcher being swept in with a majority of three.
 
BYE BYE HAROLD
What if Harold Wilson resigned in 1970, with Jim Callaghan becoming Labour Leader?

1970: Edward Heath (Conservative)
1974: Jim Callaghan (Labour Minority) [1]
1979: Keith Joseph (Conservative) [2]
1983: Keith Joseph (Conservative) [3]

1987: John Moore (Conservative)
1987: Bryan Gould (Labour) [4]
1991: Margaret Thatcher (Conservative) [5]
1996: Margaret Thatcher (Conservative-
Liberal Coalition) [6]


[1] Callaghan led a minority government with two major issues - bringing the industrial crisis to an end and forced to carry through a referendum on EEC membership. The former he was able to deal fairly well thanks mainly to Employment Secretary Michael Foot but Europe was the sticking point. He was pro-USA but knew that his position as leader depended on a large swathe of pro Europe MPs. His appointment of Roy Jenkins as Foreign Secretary was seen as a necessity. Securing a three seat majority in October 1974 helped. The "Yes" campaign in 1975 won the referendum with 67% of the vote.

[2] By 1979, with Britain facing economic humiliation following the IMF imposing spending cuts upon her and with union unrest reaching it's zenith with the Winter of Discontent, the country had had enough. In 1975, Ted Heath had been ousted by the right-wing intellectual Keith Joseph and in 1979 he led the Conservative party to a thumping majority over Labour. Joseph immediately set about with an economic policy of privatization of national industry, bringing down inflation, and enacting a temporary nationwide payroll tax holiday.

[3] Joseph's first four years in power had not been an easy time. Unemployment increased during the first three years of his premiership and the economy went through a recession. However, the British victory in the Falklands War led to a recovery of his personal popularity; the economy also returned to growth. The Labour Party, led by Callaghan protégé Denis Healey, had fared well in opinion polls and local elections during this time, but some within the party wished he would promote a stronger left-wing platform. The early election in October 1983 was much as expected; despite a swing against the government, the Conservatives secured a second term. Healey felt vindicated, arguing he had prepared Labour for future victory. Meanwhile, the Liberals dropped into single-figure seats again.

[4] The second Joseph ministry was the defining end of the Post-War Consensus, as the Conservatives turned upon the nationalized industries with their healthy majority. British Coal, already struggling, was broken up in the midst of strike action and violence in the north and for much of 1988 a General Strike looked likely. Inflation nevertheless fell despite the difficulties of the 1980s economic recession, with major (and controversial) reforms to the tax code. Sweeping tuition fees were introduced for universities, while the first tendrils of partially-privatized medicine were introduced to the National Health Service. Labour picked up in the polls amid the domestic unrest, continuing their progress with Healey, but in 1986 the Tribune Group conspired against him. Healey, although popular among the public, had become overly-complacent about his party support - leading to criticism both from the centre and, more vocally, the left. Although initially Healey looked certain to defeat Benn, the unexpected dark-horse candidacy of Bryan Gould set the cat among the pigeons. The surprise victory of the latter shook the party, but invigorated the national competition against Joseph (who was, by then, known to be looking for a successor). In 1987, two new and young leaders - Gould and John Moore - fought the first 'modern' electoral campaign. Gould would squeak a narrow majority over Moore, pledging to reverse the worse excesses of 'Josephism' with a manifesto hoping to restore Britain as an economic powerhouse; Private Eye would cheekily refer to these policies as a return to the 'Gould Standard'.

[5] By 1988 the Tories had found Moore’s successor, but it was thought to be too late. Margaret Thatcher has served as education secretary under Edward Heath and after ending free school milk had been dubbed “Maggie Thatcher the Milk Snatcher”. Having served as Environment Secretary in Joseph’s first ministry and Home Secretary during his second term. When Moore resigned, he was made deputy leader by Thatcher, who had beaten George Young for the leadership. For the first three years of the Gould Ministry it looked as if he would go down as one of the greatest Post-War Prime Ministers. Having undone many privatisations and an upwards looking economy, his only real challenge was the invigorated opposition of Thatcher. With both leaders agreeing on not signing Maastricht, it looked as if Gould would maybe lose a seat or two at the next election. However with recessions in 1990 and 1991, Gould was forced out with Thatcher being swept in with a majority of three.

[6] The first Thatcher Ministry was a turbulent one, with the Conservative Party's renewed popularity dwindling in the face of Labour's new leadership in the form of charismatic and reformist Labour leader Tony Blair, who had reversed the previous party policy of seizing the means of production with a vague commitment to "democratic socialism" in 1993, and whose 1996 manifesto pledged not to reverse the privatisations of the 1980s, and the Tories faced increased internal divisions over the EU, with Thatcher opposing the single currency despite most of her party and the opposition supporting it. However, the economy began to recover in the mid-1990s, the popular and successful military intervention to expel Saddam Hussein's forces from Kuwait in 1993 and two years later a popular and successful 4-month bombing campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina which forced the Serbs to agree to a peace agreement all caused the Conservative Party to be once again ahead in the polls by the 1996 General Election. Thatcher won the election, but fell eight seats short of a majority, forcing her into a coalition with the Liberal Party, which demanded key concessions on European issues from the Conservatives, including a commitment to supporting a single currency, which was unpopular with Thatcher's right-wing base.
 
BYE BYE HAROLD
What if Harold Wilson resigned in 1970, with Jim Callaghan becoming Labour Leader?

1970: Edward Heath (Conservative)
1974: Jim Callaghan (Labour Minority) [1]
1979: Keith Joseph (Conservative) [2]
1983: Keith Joseph (Conservative) [3]

1987: John Moore (Conservative)
1987: Bryan Gould (Labour) [4]
1991: Margaret Thatcher (Conservative) [5]
1996: Margaret Thatcher (Conservative-
Liberal Coalition) [6]


[1] Callaghan led a minority government with two major issues - bringing the industrial crisis to an end and forced to carry through a referendum on EEC membership. The former he was able to deal fairly well thanks mainly to Employment Secretary Michael Foot but Europe was the sticking point. He was pro-USA but knew that his position as leader depended on a large swathe of pro Europe MPs. His appointment of Roy Jenkins as Foreign Secretary was seen as a necessity. Securing a three seat majority in October 1974 helped. The "Yes" campaign in 1975 won the referendum with 67% of the vote.

[2] By 1979, with Britain facing economic humiliation following the IMF imposing spending cuts upon her and with union unrest reaching it's zenith with the Winter of Discontent, the country had had enough. In 1975, Ted Heath had been ousted by the right-wing intellectual Keith Joseph and in 1979 he led the Conservative party to a thumping majority over Labour. Joseph immediately set about with an economic policy of privatization of national industry, bringing down inflation, and enacting a temporary nationwide payroll tax holiday.

[3] Joseph's first four years in power had not been an easy time. Unemployment increased during the first three years of his premiership and the economy went through a recession. However, the British victory in the Falklands War led to a recovery of his personal popularity; the economy also returned to growth. The Labour Party, led by Callaghan protégé Denis Healey, had fared well in opinion polls and local elections during this time, but some within the party wished he would promote a stronger left-wing platform. The early election in October 1983 was much as expected; despite a swing against the government, the Conservatives secured a second term. Healey felt vindicated, arguing he had prepared Labour for future victory. Meanwhile, the Liberals dropped into single-figure seats again.

[4] The second Joseph ministry was the defining end of the Post-War Consensus, as the Conservatives turned upon the nationalized industries with their healthy majority. British Coal, already struggling, was broken up in the midst of strike action and violence in the north and for much of 1988 a General Strike looked likely. Inflation nevertheless fell despite the difficulties of the 1980s economic recession, with major (and controversial) reforms to the tax code. Sweeping tuition fees were introduced for universities, while the first tendrils of partially-privatized medicine were introduced to the National Health Service. Labour picked up in the polls amid the domestic unrest, continuing their progress with Healey, but in 1986 the Tribune Group conspired against him. Healey, although popular among the public, had become overly-complacent about his party support - leading to criticism both from the centre and, more vocally, the left. Although initially Healey looked certain to defeat Benn, the unexpected dark-horse candidacy of Bryan Gould set the cat among the pigeons. The surprise victory of the latter shook the party, but invigorated the national competition against Joseph (who was, by then, known to be looking for a successor). In 1987, two new and young leaders - Gould and John Moore - fought the first 'modern' electoral campaign. Gould would squeak a narrow majority over Moore, pledging to reverse the worse excesses of 'Josephism' with a manifesto hoping to restore Britain as an economic powerhouse; Private Eye would cheekily refer to these policies as a return to the 'Gould Standard'.

[5] By 1988 the Tories had found Moore’s successor, but it was thought to be too late. Margaret Thatcher has served as education secretary under Edward Heath and after ending free school milk had been dubbed “Maggie Thatcher the Milk Snatcher”. Having served as Environment Secretary in Joseph’s first ministry and Home Secretary during his second term. When Moore resigned, he was made deputy leader by Thatcher, who had beaten George Young for the leadership. For the first three years of the Gould Ministry it looked as if he would go down as one of the greatest Post-War Prime Ministers. Having undone many privatisations and an upwards looking economy, his only real challenge was the invigorated opposition of Thatcher. With both leaders agreeing on not signing Maastricht, it looked as if Gould would maybe lose a seat or two at the next election. However with recessions in 1990 and 1991, Gould was forced out with Thatcher being swept in with a majority of three.

[6] The first Thatcher Ministry was a turbulent one, with the Conservative Party's renewed popularity dwindling in the face of Labour's new leadership in the form of charismatic and reformist Labour leader Tony Blair, who had reversed the previous party policy of seizing the means of production with a vague commitment to "democratic socialism" in 1993, and whose 1996 manifesto pledged not to reverse the privatisations of the 1980s, and the Tories faced increased internal divisions over the EU, with Thatcher opposing the single currency despite most of her party and the opposition supporting it. However, the economy began to recover in the mid-1990s, the popular and successful military intervention to expel Saddam Hussein's forces from Kuwait in 1993 and two years later a popular and successful 4-month bombing campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina which forced the Serbs to agree to a peace agreement all caused the Conservative Party to be once again ahead in the polls by the 1996 General Election. Thatcher won the election, but fell eight seats short of a majority, forcing her into a coalition with the Liberal Party, which demanded key concessions on European issues from the Conservatives, including a commitment to supporting a single currency, which was unpopular with Thatcher's right-wing base.
2000: Michael Portillo (Conservative/UKIP Coalition) [7}
[7] Thatcher stepped down in 1999 due to ill health. Home Secretary Portillo won in a tight battle with Chancellor John Major. The 2000 election saw the Tories fall short by 3 seats of an overall majority and entered into an alliance with UKIP who's leader Alan Skedd demanded a referendum on EU Membership. The 2001 Referendum was bitterly fought and resulted in a "yes" vote win of 50.3 % to 49.7%.
 
BYE BYE HAROLD
What if Harold Wilson resigned in 1970, with Jim Callaghan becoming Labour Leader?

1970: Edward Heath (Conservative)
1974: Jim Callaghan (Labour Minority) [1]
1979: Keith Joseph (Conservative) [2]
1983: Keith Joseph (Conservative) [3]

1987: John Moore (Conservative)
1987: Bryan Gould (Labour) [4]
1991: Margaret Thatcher (Conservative) [5]
1996: Margaret Thatcher (Conservative-Liberal Coalition) [6]
1999:
Michael Portillo (Conservative-Liberal Coalition)
2000: Michael Portillo (Conservative/UKIP Coalition) [7]
2002: Valerie Amos (Labour) [8]

[8]
Never had a government lurched from one alliance to another. The Conservative/UKIP Coalition made the previous Conservative/Liberal parliament look like a model of good governance. Having gone from a promise to support a single currency to a referendum on EU membership, it became obvious to the general public that the Conservatives would do anything to stay in power. Suffering a crisis of faith, Tony Blair was persuaded to step aside by former leader Bryan Gould in favour of Valerie Amos (with whom Gould had worked closely in Commonwealth networks) who presented a starker contrast to the tired Portillo/Skedd partnership. After Portillo went to the polls in mid 2002 (some say to break away from the influence of UKIP, others to take advantage of a 'patriotic' bump after the September 10 terrorist attacks), Amos entered Number 10 as the second female and first BAME Prime Minister. The question now was, could she heal a divided nation and get Labour reelected for the first time since the 1960's?
 
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BYE BYE HAROLD
What if Harold Wilson resigned in 1970, with Jim Callaghan becoming Labour Leader?

1970: Edward Heath (Conservative)
1974: Jim Callaghan (Labour Minority) [1]
1979: Keith Joseph (Conservative) [2]
1983: Keith Joseph (Conservative) [3]

1987: John Moore (Conservative)
1987: Bryan Gould (Labour) [4]
1991: Margaret Thatcher (Conservative) [5]
1996: Margaret Thatcher (Conservative-Liberal Coalition) [6]
2000
: Michael Portillo (Conservative/UKIP Coalition) [7]
2002: Valerie Amos (Labour) [8]
2005: Valerie Amos (Labour) [9]


[1] Callaghan led a minority government with two major issues - bringing the industrial crisis to an end and forced to carry through a referendum on EEC membership. The former he was able to deal fairly well thanks mainly to Employment Secretary Michael Foot but Europe was the sticking point. He was pro-USA but knew that his position as leader depended on a large swathe of pro Europe MPs. His appointment of Roy Jenkins as Foreign Secretary was seen as a necessity. Securing a three seat majority in October 1974 helped. The "Yes" campaign in 1975 won the referendum with 67% of the vote.

[2] By 1979, with Britain facing economic humiliation following the IMF imposing spending cuts upon her and with union unrest reaching it's zenith with the Winter of Discontent, the country had had enough. In 1975, Ted Heath had been ousted by the right-wing intellectual Keith Joseph and in 1979 he led the Conservative party to a thumping majority over Labour. Joseph immediately set about with an economic policy of privatization of national industry, bringing down inflation, and enacting a temporary nationwide payroll tax holiday.

[3] Joseph's first four years in power had not been an easy time. Unemployment increased during the first three years of his premiership and the economy went through a recession. However, the British victory in the Falklands War led to a recovery of his personal popularity; the economy also returned to growth. The Labour Party, led by Callaghan protégé Denis Healey, had fared well in opinion polls and local elections during this time, but some within the party wished he would promote a stronger left-wing platform. The early election in October 1983 was much as expected; despite a swing against the government, the Conservatives secured a second term. Healey felt vindicated, arguing he had prepared Labour for future victory. Meanwhile, the Liberals dropped into single-figure seats again.

[4] The second Joseph ministry was the defining end of the Post-War Consensus, as the Conservatives turned upon the nationalized industries with their healthy majority. British Coal, already struggling, was broken up in the midst of strike action and violence in the north and for much of 1988 a General Strike looked likely. Inflation nevertheless fell despite the difficulties of the 1980s economic recession, with major (and controversial) reforms to the tax code. Sweeping tuition fees were introduced for universities, while the first tendrils of partially-privatized medicine were introduced to the National Health Service. Labour picked up in the polls amid the domestic unrest, continuing their progress with Healey, but in 1986 the Tribune Group conspired against him. Healey, although popular among the public, had become overly-complacent about his party support - leading to criticism both from the centre and, more vocally, the left. Although initially Healey looked certain to defeat Benn, the unexpected dark-horse candidacy of Bryan Gould set the cat among the pigeons. The surprise victory of the latter shook the party, but invigorated the national competition against Joseph (who was, by then, known to be looking for a successor). In 1987, two new and young leaders - Gould and John Moore - fought the first 'modern' electoral campaign. Gould would squeak a narrow majority over Moore, pledging to reverse the worse excesses of 'Josephism' with a manifesto hoping to restore Britain as an economic powerhouse; Private Eye would cheekily refer to these policies as a return to the 'Gould Standard'.

[5] By 1988 the Tories had found Moore’s successor, but it was thought to be too late. Margaret Thatcher has served as education secretary under Edward Heath and after ending free school milk had been dubbed “Maggie Thatcher the Milk Snatcher”. Having served as Environment Secretary in Joseph’s first ministry and Home Secretary during his second term. When Moore resigned, he was made deputy leader by Thatcher, who had beaten George Young for the leadership. For the first three years of the Gould Ministry it looked as if he would go down as one of the greatest Post-War Prime Ministers. Having undone many privatisations and an upwards looking economy, his only real challenge was the invigorated opposition of Thatcher. With both leaders agreeing on not signing Maastricht, it looked as if Gould would maybe lose a seat or two at the next election. However with recessions in 1990 and 1991, Gould was forced out with Thatcher being swept in with a majority of three.

[6] The first Thatcher Ministry was a turbulent one, with the Conservative Party's renewed popularity dwindling in the face of Labour's new leadership in the form of charismatic and reformist Labour leader Tony Blair, who had reversed the previous party policy of seizing the means of production with a vague commitment to "democratic socialism" in 1993, and whose 1996 manifesto pledged not to reverse the privatisations of the 1980s, and the Tories faced increased internal divisions over the EU, with Thatcher opposing the single currency despite most of her party and the opposition supporting it. However, the economy began to recover in the mid-1990s, the popular and successful military intervention to expel Saddam Hussein's forces from Kuwait in 1993 and two years later a popular and successful 4-month bombing campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina which forced the Serbs to agree to a peace agreement all caused the Conservative Party to be once again ahead in the polls by the 1996 General Election. Thatcher won the election, but fell eight seats short of a majority, forcing her into a coalition with the Liberal Party, which demanded key concessions on European issues from the Conservatives, including a commitment to supporting a single currency, which was unpopular with Thatcher's right-wing base.

[7] Thatcher stepped down in 1999 due to ill health. Home Secretary Portillo won in a tight battle with Chancellor John Major. The 2000 election saw the Tories fall short by 3 seats of an overall majority and entered into an alliance with UKIP who's leader Alan Skedd demanded a referendum on EU Membership. The 2001 Referendum was bitterly fought and resulted in a "yes" vote win of 50.3 % to 49.7%.

[8] Never had a government lurched from one alliance to another. The Conservative/UKIP Coalition made the previous Conservative/Liberal parliament look like a model of good governance. Having gone from a promise to support a single currency to a referendum on EU membership, it became obvious to the general public that the Conservatives would do anything to stay in power. Following the fallout from the 2001 referendum, Tony Blair (suffering a crisis of faith) was persuaded to step aside by former leader Bryan Gould in favour of Valerie Amos (with whom Gould had worked closely in Commonwealth networks) who presented a stark contrast to the tired Portillo/Skedd partnership. After Portillo took the government to the polls in mid 2002 (some say to break away from the influence of UKIP, others to take advantage of a 'patriotic' bump after the September 10 terrorist attacks), Amos became the second female and first BAME Prime Minister.

[9] Amos's first Ministry saw a boost in the popularity of the Labour Party, with the introduction of her chancellor Tony Blair's economic policy (Blairnomics) which saw Britain's economy moved to a more european-style Social Market Economy, with many key industries, most notably Royal Mail in 2003 and the Railways in 2005, being put under arangements which saw them managed by private companies which had 100% of their shares owned by the Government, creating a compromise position between traditional privatisation and nationalisation. This economic model proved effective and by 2004 Britain was operating at its first economic surplus since 1963. Amos realigned Britain's European stance, abandoning a previous Labour Party commitment to joining the single currency and seeking to negotiate greater independence from Brussels to prevent the public from desiring another EU Referendum along the lines of the one called in 2001, which had saw the prospect of leaving the EU (dubbed 'Brexit') become very real and very possible in the minds of Amos's Government. Amos is often credited for preventing an invasion of Iraq, as her opposition to the 2002 Bush Administration proposal to do so is often cited as the main cause for the United States eventually backing down from launching the invasion. She called an early election in 2005, capitalising off of Labour's immense popularity, and won a second term with a majority of 89.
 
BYE BYE HAROLD
What if Harold Wilson resigned in 1970, with Jim Callaghan becoming Labour Leader?

1970: Edward Heath (Conservative)
1974: Jim Callaghan (Labour Minority) [1]
1979: Keith Joseph (Conservative) [2]
1983: Keith Joseph (Conservative) [3]

1987: John Moore (Conservative)
1987: Bryan Gould (Labour) [4]
1991: Margaret Thatcher (Conservative) [5]
1996: Margaret Thatcher (Conservative-Liberal Coalition) [6]
2000
: Michael Portillo (Conservative/UKIP Coalition) [7]
2002: Valerie Amos (Labour) [8]
2005: Valerie Amos (Labour) [9]


[1] Callaghan led a minority government with two major issues - bringing the industrial crisis to an end and forced to carry through a referendum on EEC membership. The former he was able to deal fairly well thanks mainly to Employment Secretary Michael Foot but Europe was the sticking point. He was pro-USA but knew that his position as leader depended on a large swathe of pro Europe MPs. His appointment of Roy Jenkins as Foreign Secretary was seen as a necessity. Securing a three seat majority in October 1974 helped. The "Yes" campaign in 1975 won the referendum with 67% of the vote.

[2] By 1979, with Britain facing economic humiliation following the IMF imposing spending cuts upon her and with union unrest reaching it's zenith with the Winter of Discontent, the country had had enough. In 1975, Ted Heath had been ousted by the right-wing intellectual Keith Joseph and in 1979 he led the Conservative party to a thumping majority over Labour. Joseph immediately set about with an economic policy of privatization of national industry, bringing down inflation, and enacting a temporary nationwide payroll tax holiday.

[3] Joseph's first four years in power had not been an easy time. Unemployment increased during the first three years of his premiership and the economy went through a recession. However, the British victory in the Falklands War led to a recovery of his personal popularity; the economy also returned to growth. The Labour Party, led by Callaghan protégé Denis Healey, had fared well in opinion polls and local elections during this time, but some within the party wished he would promote a stronger left-wing platform. The early election in October 1983 was much as expected; despite a swing against the government, the Conservatives secured a second term. Healey felt vindicated, arguing he had prepared Labour for future victory. Meanwhile, the Liberals dropped into single-figure seats again.

[4] The second Joseph ministry was the defining end of the Post-War Consensus, as the Conservatives turned upon the nationalized industries with their healthy majority. British Coal, already struggling, was broken up in the midst of strike action and violence in the north and for much of 1988 a General Strike looked likely. Inflation nevertheless fell despite the difficulties of the 1980s economic recession, with major (and controversial) reforms to the tax code. Sweeping tuition fees were introduced for universities, while the first tendrils of partially-privatized medicine were introduced to the National Health Service. Labour picked up in the polls amid the domestic unrest, continuing their progress with Healey, but in 1986 the Tribune Group conspired against him. Healey, although popular among the public, had become overly-complacent about his party support - leading to criticism both from the centre and, more vocally, the left. Although initially Healey looked certain to defeat Benn, the unexpected dark-horse candidacy of Bryan Gould set the cat among the pigeons. The surprise victory of the latter shook the party, but invigorated the national competition against Joseph (who was, by then, known to be looking for a successor). In 1987, two new and young leaders - Gould and John Moore - fought the first 'modern' electoral campaign. Gould would squeak a narrow majority over Moore, pledging to reverse the worse excesses of 'Josephism' with a manifesto hoping to restore Britain as an economic powerhouse; Private Eye would cheekily refer to these policies as a return to the 'Gould Standard'.

[5] By 1988 the Tories had found Moore’s successor, but it was thought to be too late. Margaret Thatcher has served as education secretary under Edward Heath and after ending free school milk had been dubbed “Maggie Thatcher the Milk Snatcher”. Having served as Environment Secretary in Joseph’s first ministry and Home Secretary during his second term. When Moore resigned, he was made deputy leader by Thatcher, who had beaten George Young for the leadership. For the first three years of the Gould Ministry it looked as if he would go down as one of the greatest Post-War Prime Ministers. Having undone many privatisations and an upwards looking economy, his only real challenge was the invigorated opposition of Thatcher. With both leaders agreeing on not signing Maastricht, it looked as if Gould would maybe lose a seat or two at the next election. However with recessions in 1990 and 1991, Gould was forced out with Thatcher being swept in with a majority of three.

[6] The first Thatcher Ministry was a turbulent one, with the Conservative Party's renewed popularity dwindling in the face of Labour's new leadership in the form of charismatic and reformist Labour leader Tony Blair, who had reversed the previous party policy of seizing the means of production with a vague commitment to "democratic socialism" in 1993, and whose 1996 manifesto pledged not to reverse the privatisations of the 1980s, and the Tories faced increased internal divisions over the EU, with Thatcher opposing the single currency despite most of her party and the opposition supporting it. However, the economy began to recover in the mid-1990s, the popular and successful military intervention to expel Saddam Hussein's forces from Kuwait in 1993 and two years later a popular and successful 4-month bombing campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina which forced the Serbs to agree to a peace agreement all caused the Conservative Party to be once again ahead in the polls by the 1996 General Election. Thatcher won the election, but fell eight seats short of a majority, forcing her into a coalition with the Liberal Party, which demanded key concessions on European issues from the Conservatives, including a commitment to supporting a single currency, which was unpopular with Thatcher's right-wing base.

[7] Thatcher stepped down in 1999 due to ill health. Home Secretary Portillo won in a tight battle with Chancellor John Major. The 2000 election saw the Tories fall short by 3 seats of an overall majority and entered into an alliance with UKIP who's leader Alan Skedd demanded a referendum on EU Membership. The 2001 Referendum was bitterly fought and resulted in a "yes" vote win of 50.3 % to 49.7%.

[8] Never had a government lurched from one alliance to another. The Conservative/UKIP Coalition made the previous Conservative/Liberal parliament look like a model of good governance. Having gone from a promise to support a single currency to a referendum on EU membership, it became obvious to the general public that the Conservatives would do anything to stay in power. Following the fallout from the 2001 referendum, Tony Blair (suffering a crisis of faith) was persuaded to step aside by former leader Bryan Gould in favour of Valerie Amos (with whom Gould had worked closely in Commonwealth networks) who presented a stark contrast to the tired Portillo/Skedd partnership. After Portillo took the government to the polls in mid 2002 (some say to break away from the influence of UKIP, others to take advantage of a 'patriotic' bump after the September 10 terrorist attacks), Amos became the second female and first BAME Prime Minister.

[9] Amos's first Ministry saw a boost in the popularity of the Labour Party, with the introduction of her chancellor Tony Blair's economic policy (Blairnomics) which saw Britain's economy moved to a more european-style Social Market Economy, with many key industries, most notably Royal Mail in 2003 and the Railways in 2005, being put under arangements which saw them managed by private companies which had 100% of their shares owned by the Government, creating a compromise position between traditional privatisation and nationalisation. This economic model proved effective and by 2004 Britain was operating at its first economic surplus since 1963. Amos realigned Britain's European stance, abandoning a previous Labour Party commitment to joining the single currency and seeking to negotiate greater independence from Brussels to prevent the public from desiring another EU Referendum along the lines of the one called in 2001, which had saw the prospect of leaving the EU (dubbed 'Brexit') become very real and very possible in the minds of Amos's Government. Amos is often credited for preventing an invasion of Iraq, as her opposition to the 2002 Bush Administration proposal to do so is often cited as the main cause for the United States eventually backing down from launching the invasion. She called an early election in 2005, capitalising off of Labour's immense popularity, and won a second term with a majority of 89.
2009 Harriet Harman (Labour) [10} Amos stepped down in 2009. Foreign Secretary Harman won election unopposed and continued Amos' realignment plans. A healthy economy and low interest rates led to Labour winning a third term in 2010 with a slightly lower majority of 71. Harman's second term was dominated by European affairs.

In a shock result Donald Trump won the US presidential election in 2008 and intimated that he was considering withdrawing the US from NATO. Harman concerned about Europe's ability to respond to threats proposed the creation of the Transatlantic Defence Force (TDF) which would effectively be Nato without the US and would comprise both the EU and Canada.

The US's eventual withdrawal in 2011 led to fears that Washington would embark on an isolationist stance The UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia responded by creating the Commonwealth Trading Alliance (CTA) which was nicknamed CANZUK)
 
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