Adv. & Disadv. of John Major

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  • John Major
    • advantages
      • statesmanlike conduct in the 1991 Gulf War
      • bolstered Anglo-American relations
      • impressive debut as PM
      • Maastricht Treaty 1992
      • improved Anglo-European relations
      • employed a number of opt-outs which allowed Britain the benefits of the EU & ERM but with fewer commitments (like a single currency)
      • less aggressive & hostile than Thatcher
      • more open to European relations
      • withdrew the Poll Tax in 1991
      • 1992 Election
        • saw Cons. gain largest amount of popular votes in history with an outright electoral win
        • effective political style
        • soap-box politics
      • engaged with the IRA  resulting in Good Friday Agreement in 1998
      • Major's support for NATO in the 1995 Bosnian War proved popular
        • opoular as dignitary of the Dayton Peace Agreement 1995
    • disadvantages
      • likeable but generally uninspiring person
      • attacked by media and press for his focus on small details (spitting image 'grey man')
      • did not have Thatcher's appeal
      • crisis in Europe
      • After T. had entered the ERM Major saw £ become worryingly overvalued
      • after a short while the value of the £ rapidly fell so Chancellor (Norman Lamont) raised the interest rate from 10% to 12% and later 15%
      • eventually B. forced to leave ERM after failing to keep up with value of the Deutschmark
        • interest rate returned to 12%
        • seriously damaged B's international economy & provided stronger argument for Eurosceptics
          • Lab. gained lead in the polls
      • Cons. neck deep in 'sleaze' scandals

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