How effective were the various PMs of the NG?


RMD 1931-1935

Should take CREDIT for:

  • Proved that Lab fit to govern by pursing moderate policies
  • Foregin policy contributed to better international relations, not afraid to confront difficult issues eg Indian Independence
  • By leading NG he put "country before party" + advanced notion of concensus politics

Can be CRITICISED for:

  • Held on as Pm for too long-> end bit of an embarrassment "ramshackle Mac"
  • Split labour party in 1931, not re-elected in 1945
  • No genuine answers to economic problems that were the MAIN issue
  • Refused to consider alternative solutions to econ problems-> stuck to orthodox economics
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SB 1935-37

Should take CREDIT for:

  • Policy of "masterly activity" + pipe-smoking calmness attractive at time of crisis to voters
  • Ensured Tory support for NG = main reason for NG's stabillity. Even when RMD PM SB was a stabilising influence
  • Handled the abdication crisis well- advising King to abdicate but did not pass judg on him
  • Arguably helped britain avoid political extremism
  • Wanted class divisions eradicated from British politics-> some Cons in his party branded his ideas as "half socialism"

Can be CRITICISED for:

  • Laissez faire attitude to econ policy even in darkest days of depression. 
  • Even if econ policies were the right thing for GB in 1930s (some historians and economists argue) His gov offered little MITIGATING solutions to depressed regions of the north-west.
  • Econ recovery of 1930s mostly factors beyond gov's control (Rearmament, Housing Boom, New industries) 
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NC 1937-40

Should take CREDIT for:

  • Wide ministerial experience before becoming PM
  • Active part in diplomacy to prevent outbreak of war
  • Began rearmament in earnest

Can be CRITICISED for:

  • Lacked personal appeal fo RMD and SB
  • Intolerant of criticism within party
  • Over-confident of his own ability to persuade dictators to keep their word
  • Policy of appeasement ultimately failed
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