This book offers an innovative and distinctive analysis of the Conservative Party Leadership of John Major. It addresses the absence of an in depth exploration of the much maligned, but largely misunderstood, Conservative Party Leadership tenure of John Major. A comprehensive and accessible evaluation of the complexity of managing the tensions of the post-Thatcherite Conservative Party, this book breaks new ground and provides a compelling insight into the crisis of contemporary British Conservatism.
John Major's autobiography is one of the most personal and revealing ever written by a former British Prime Minister. Eagerly awaited, the remarkable story of his life, from an extraordinary childhood to becoming an influential leader at the forefront of global politics and subsequent fall, is candid, scrupulous, and unsparing. With complete candor and compelling insight, Major describes how he left school at fifteen, was unemployed, and through hard work and determination was elected to Parliament as a member of Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Party, which would transform Britain. Quickly becoming one of Thatcher's Cabinet members, he served as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Foreign Secretary, and then Chancellor of the Exchequer, the powerful position from which he vaulted to Prime Minister in 1990 when, after Thatcher fell, he fought and won a shrewd campaign to succeed her. Major vividly recounts his role in shaping some of the most profound world events, including conferring with George Bush on the Gulf War, making the most decisive steps in a generation toward peace in Northern Ireland, leading Britain through the formation of the European Upon, and calling a general election in 1992 in which his party won the most votes in British political history. Yet within months of the 1992 election his government was in troubled waters, and Major is candid about his difficulties and losses and the controversies and divisions within his own party. Through it all, including the landslide defeat of his Conservative Party on May 1, 1997, and his immediate stepping down as party leader and Prime Minister, John Major acted with a dignity rare in politics. As he talks about his leadership triumphs and defeats and his work with a diverse range of inter-national figures including George Bush, Bill Clinton, Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin, Helmut Kohl, and Nelson Mandela, he offers invaluable insight into how political power is exercised both in the United Kingdom and abroad. Here is a fascinating story of a man, his passion for politics, and the genuine and significant contributions he has made to the lives ofthe British and people around the world.
This book seeks to re-examine John Major’s leadership using techniques developed through Presidential Studies: namely using Fred Greenstein’s seminal study of Presidential Leadership, The Presidential Difference, and its six criteria for leadership (public communicator, organisational capacity, political skill, public policy vision, cognitive style, and, finally, emotional intelligence). It is through Greenstein’s model that a fresh look can be taken at not only Major’s time in office, but equally the man himself, which proves to be just as revealing. Major’s tenure has often been characterised as being weak and incompetent, as he presided over a sleaze-ridden and divided party on the issue of Europe. With almost a quarter of a century having passed since Major left office, it looks to be an appropriate moment to re-assess his premiership and important role in the recent seismic events surrounding the 2016 Brexit referendum and its outcome.
Timothy Heppell brings together a renowned group of contributors to consider the role of the Leader of the Opposition in British Politics. The book argues that the neglect of opposition studies needs to be addressed, especially given the increasing importance attached to the performance the Leader of the Opposition in the British political system.
This year marks the twentieth anniversary of one of the most momentous general elections this country has ever seen. John Major's defeat in 1997 ended a record eighteen years of Tory government, prompting accusations of failure and ignominy. A controversial leader, Major oversaw numerous crises in international and domestic policy. Between 1990 and 1997, he presided over Britain's participations in the Gulf War, the start of the Northern Ireland peace process, the Maastricht Treaty negotiations and, famously, Black Wednesday and Britain's exit from the ERM. Towards the end, Major's government was split over Europe and ridden with allegations of sleaze. Widely criticised by the media and politicians from all parties, Major went on to be crushed by Tony Blair and New Labour in the 1997 general election. An Unsuccessful Prime Minister? is the first wide-ranging appraisal of John Major's government in nearly two decades. This book reconsiders the role of John Major as Prime Minister and the policy achievements of his government. Major's government faced many more constraints and left behind a more enduring legacy than his critics allowed at the time or since.
What does conservatism, as a body of political thought, say about the legal regulation of intimate relationships, and to what extent has this thought influenced the Conservative Party's approach to family law? With this question as its focus, this book explores the relationship between family law, conservatism and the Conservative Party since the 1980s. Taking a politico- and socio-legal perspective, the discussion draws on an expansive reading of Hansard as well as recently released archival material. The study first sets out the political tradition of conservatism, relying largely on the work of Edmund Burke, before going on to analyse the discourse around the development of four crucial statutes in the field, namely: the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984; the Family Law Act 1996; the Civil Partnership Act 2004; and the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013. This work offers the first extended synthesis of family law, conservative political thought and Conservative Party politics, and as such provides significant new insight into how family law is made.
This book offers a comprehensive and accessible study of the electoral strategies, governing approaches and ideological thought of the British Conservative Party from Winston Churchill to David Cameron. Timothy Heppell integrates a chronological narrative with theoretical evaluation, examining the interplay between the ideology of Conservatism and the political practice of the Conservative Party both in government and in opposition. He considers the ethos of the Party within the context of statecraft theory, looking at the art of winning elections and of governing competently. The book opens with an examination ofthe triumph and subsequent degeneration of one-nation Conservatism in the 1945 to 1965 period,and closes with an analysis of the party's re-entry into government as a coalition with the Liberal Democrats in 2010, and of the developing ideology and approach of the Cameron-led Tory party in government.
Michael Foot’s political career can simplistically be characterised by cataclysmic failures within the period between 1979 and 1983, culminating in Labour’s substantial electoral defeat. Developments within political discourse have since sought to perpetuate this characterisation by utilising the defeat as a justification for the subsequent modernisations. However, this analysis does not entirely appreciate the significance of Foot’s leadership. This book argues that far from being a disaster, Foot’s leadership in fact contributed to the survival of the Labour Party. Foot’s political education, political evolution, and experiences between him joining the Party in 1935 and the end of his ministerial career in 1979 enabled him to emerge as the unity candidate in opposition to the divisive potential of a Denis Healey or Tony Benn leadership. Foot’s support base included moderate social democrats and moderate left-wing MP’s as well as centrists who opposed radicals from both sides. This subverts the orthodox assumption of Foot’s election being indicative of a sudden and simplistic left-wing domination after 1979. This book will be of particular interest to those seeking to develop their knowledge of Michael Foot, the Labour Party and their ideological diversity.
This book explores the role of television in the 1950s and early 1960s, with a focus on the relationship between Tories and TV. The early 1950s were characterized by recovery from war and high politics. Television was a new medium that eventually came to dominate mass media and political culture. But what impact did this transition have on political organization and elite power structures? Winston Churchill avoided it; Anthony Eden wanted to control it; Harold Macmillan tried to master it; and Alec Douglas-Home was not Prime Minister long enough to fully utilize it. The Conservative Party’s relationship with the new medium of television is a topic rich with scholarly questions and interesting quirks that were characteristic of the period. This exploration examines the changing dynamics between politics and the media, at grassroots and elite levels. Through analysing rich and diverse source materials from the Conservative Party Archive, Anthony Ridge-Newman takes a case study approach to comparing the impact of television at different points in the party’s history. In mapping changes across a thirteen year period of continual Conservative governance, this book argues that the advent of television contributed to the party’s transition from a membership-focused party to a television-centric professionalized elite.
Never far from centre stage, Edwina Currie falls comfortably into that category of celebrity you simply cannot ignore. Her first published diaries explosively revealed an affair with former Prime Minister John Major. This second volume, which begins in 1992 with her refusal to serve in Major's government, is no less revelatory about her colleagues, encounters with others in the public eye and, of course, her extraordinary career. Honest, compulsive and of the moment, this collection covers her life in Parliament up to the election of Blair's Labour government, but more importantly sees Edwina's emergence as a mainstay in the public imagination, first as a bestselling author, then as a commentator, broadcaster, presenter and performer. Shot through with her trademark effervescence and sense of fun, this volume of diaries documents one of the biggest characters in British public life at her saucy, scathing best.
This book provides a comparative overview and account of how the parties in Western Europe have perceived contemporary challenges of electoral dealignment and how they have responded - whether organizationally, programmatically, or institutionally.