Was Clement Attlee an effective leader from 1945-51?



  • Attlee had gained ministerial experience in both interwar Labour governments. He was part of the Simon Commission which was excellent preparation for nationalisation and Indian Independence. He was an effective manager of government business and flourished as dominions secretary and deputy prime minister in the Second World War. As the Prime Ministers deputy, Attlee's chairmanship became more and more practised when Churchill was abroad.


  • Attlee was not flamboyant and had few oratorical skills. Nor did he have any real capacity to inspire. He was a shy man. Yet this diffidence was not a sign of any lack of confidence in his judgement. He was Chairman like, very reserved, unemotional and blunt in public. Yet he was dignified (shown by his reponse to Churchill's Gestapo Speech) decisive on matters he as confident in and accepting when he did not know areas such as the economy. He was always well-informed, and everyone recognised that he was solid and efficient. Above all, he was an excellent chairman of Cabinet with a remarkably ability to get through an agenda and when necessary, to silence over-talkative colleagues.

Policy Handling

  • He thought of himself as a facilitator in decision-making and coped with several pressing issues in the summer of 1947 with great effectiveness; Indian Independence, economic crisis, seeking a compromise on the nationalisation of iron and steel and negotiating Marshal


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