A Century of Premiers: Salisbury to Blair by D. Leonard

By D. Leonard

Throughout the process the 20th century, nineteen males and one woman--from the 3rd Marquis of Salisbury to Tony Blair--have occupied the put up of leading Minister of the uk. In a sequence of biographical essays, Dick Leonard, a number one political journalist and previous MP, recounts the conditions that took them to the head of ''the greasy pole'', probes their own and political strengths and weaknesses, assesses their functionality within the best workplace and asks what lasting impact they've got had.

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His rational approach was shared by few of his party colleagues. In the grip of ideological fervour, both sides continuously fuelled the dispute – uncannily foreshadowing the contortions over Europe of the Major government in the 1990s – and gravely damaging party unity. A more tactically aware politician would have sought to divert the attention of his supporters by spectacular initiatives in other directions. Yet Balfour appeared to have no shots in his locker. He did not believe that social engineering was the business of government.

10). When he was 26, his Uncle Robert came to his rescue, suggesting a political career. He provided him with a safe seat, close to his Hatfield estate, and Balfour was elected unopposed for Hertford in the 1874 election, which led to the formation of Disraeli’s government. Balfour was in no hurry to make his mark, waiting for two years before making his maiden speech, and remained a fairly obscure backbencher until 1878 when Salisbury again gave him a push up, taking him with him to the Congress of Berlin as his private secretary, an invaluable experience for a (much) later Foreign Secretary.

B. Haldane (with Lord Rosebery hovering in the background), who expressed wholehearted support for the government. They felt particularly committed to Lord Milner, the High Commissioner in South Africa (and a former Radical) who was the leading advocate of a fight to the finish with the Boers, with an insistence on unconditional surrender. On the left wing of the Liberal Party were the so-called pro-Boers. These included Harcourt and Morley, and especially the young David Lloyd George, who braved severe public hostility and press vilification for their opposition to the war.

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