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Samizdata quote of the day – worst Prime Minister ever?

Go on, try to remember what Theresa May achieved in politics at all, let alone as prime minister. It’s not easy.

Gawain Towler

13 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – worst Prime Minister ever?

  • John

    A case study in modern politics:-

    A sort of anti Peter Principle as that is at least based on the individual having been competent in one position before being promoted. I defy anyone to identify a single incidence of competence throughout her procession from MP to Party Chairman to Minster for something irrelevant to Home Secretary to PM.

    The personification of Hubris throughout her career. Even after near rejection by the electorate and utter rejection by her party she refuses to step away from politics and, as the article describes, still seeks the limelight. It wouldn’t completely surprise me if next autumn, after a soundly beaten Rishi buggers off back to the private sector, she tosses her moth-eaten hat back into the ring as a “safe pair of hands” to lead the party into the desert – something she might for once actually be capable of.

    Vile woman.

  • DiscoveredJoys

    And yet… she started off well, see her Lancaster House speech. We were going to get a proper Brexit. Then as time wore on she became less determined, settling for a poor agreement and a poor BRINO. I don’t know who got to her or why but we are still suffering the political repercussions of that period, even though others have tried to bring us back on course.

  • Paul Marks.

    The worst British Prime Minister of the 19th century was Disraeli – who broke his word about ending income tax (which could have been done after the election of 1874 – the last chance to end it), imposed about 40 spending obligations on local government in 1875 (whether local taxpayers wanted to do them or not), put unions above the Common Law of obstructing the entrance of a property (the military term “picket line” is used) – and gave the unions other privileges that helped lead to the relative decline of British industry, got the national government involved in such things as housing, and followed a high tax policy in such places as Cyprus – following the taxation policy of the Ottomans even though the place was now under British rule.

    It is often forgotten that it was not just the Corn Laws that led Disraeli and Lord Derby to break with Sir Robert Peel in the the late 1840s, both Derby and Disraeli had a very active view of the state (with Derby, then Lord Stanley, one can see this as early as 1831 when he pushed a system of state education on Ireland).

    That the historian David Starkey regards Disraeli as the “greatest Prime Minister of the 19th century” shows just how varied the British “right” is – what some of the British right regard as the greatest, others regard as the worst.

    The worst British Prime Minister of the 20th century was Clement Atlee (also the worst British Prime Minister of all time) – at the time when other nations, America, Germany, Japan…. were rolling back statism (the late 1940s) the Atlee government went on a mad orgy of statism which is all too well known (from health, education and welfare schemes, to the nationalisation of industry, to a spider’s web of regulations that crippled many aspects of economic life), the Atlee Government, NOT World War II, ended the United Kingdom as a great economic power.

    As for Mrs May in the 21st century – a nonentity who did little (either good or bad).

    If one wishes to see the vast government spending that has financially crippled the United Kingdom – then one must turn to Prime Minister Johnson and Chancellor Sunak, their response to Covid. Although I believe Mrs May would have been just as bad – and the demented Labour Party wanted even worse lockdowns and spending.

  • Paul Marks.

    There has only been one British Prime Minister of my life time who has a reasonably good, although mixed, record – Margaret Thatcher. The rest have done harm.

    “Liz Truss”, Mary Elizabeth O’Leary, wanted to roll back statism – but was betrayed by the establishment (the politically motivated Bank of England and the vast international corporations with their agenda of world “governance”).

    Was it still possible, as late as 2022, to save the United Kingdom from the economic collapse that is coming? I do not know – indeed we shall never know now.

    It is the same with most other Western nations – if (if) there was a chance to prevent collapse – that chance has now passed us by.

  • Martin

    If you can’t remember anything Theresa May achieved, that probably means she wasn’t the worst PM. Genuinely bad PMs tend to achieve ‘things’. Bad things. I wouldn’t rate her a good PM at all but at least in my life time would be somewhere in the middle of the pack. She didn’t have good instincts and couldn’t win an election but the lack of electoral support probably stopped her from doing anything worse. I’d say Blair was by far the worst in my lifetime. He certainly achieved a lot of things, all of them bad. And Theresa May as a backbench MP seems a less problematic influence than what Blair is up to with his Tony Blair Institute globally.

  • She achieved the Net Zero policy and the latest bill that all but 19 MPs voted for, is a manifestation of that. A final declaration of war by parliament on the British public.

  • Paul Marks.

    Good points Martin.

    Longrider – yes, as with the “Critical Theory” Marxist Equality Act of 2010, the Members of Parliament who voted for the Energy Bill in 2023 knew what they were doing – they were warned in the speeches of the few Members of Parliament who opposed this terrible measure.

    But this did not originate in Parliament (nor did the “Critical Theory – the international Western establishment (the “international community”, the “rules based international order” or whatever the international Corporate State is called) has declared war on ordinary people – the objective is plain, to reduce ordinary people to poverty stricken serfs rather than free men and women.

    It is both horrifying and astonishing. How did we come to this?

  • Mark

    What about filthy lying traitor and ultimate euro-whore, Heath?

    There is a case to be made that had it not been for his total obsessive desire to sacrifice anything and everything to get into “yorop” (as I believe he pronounced it) – his total idolatry – we might not have been dragged in. Or at least not on such catastrophically bad terms (but would any terms ultimately have been good?)

    The cost to this country must be in the trillions by now! And that’s just the economic price.

    I would posit that the deep and profound lie which was the basis of this fraud (although, it has to be admitted, he could not have got away with it had there not been plenty of willing confederates within the establishment at the time), that it was just about economics – a lie that is still extant even after we have left! – has metastasized to infect the whole political class.

    There have always been liars in politics, but the sheer scope and all encompassing nature of political lies about essentially EVERYTHING.

    As with the march through the institutions, did Heath’s uber- lie kick this all encompassing political lying off?

    I can look back on him now, with the benefits of hindsight. Like some weird anti-Christ, sounding so reasonable, playing cynically and ruthlessly on peoples general trust that the political class wouldn’t lie (yes, hard to believe now) in the full knowledge of the lie he was telling.

    Can a price be put on this?

    As for his actual government: huge inflation, shortages, three day weeks, power cuts, regulation of prices and incomes by statute! (well if Kweer gets in perhaps I will look back on this with fondness!)

  • Paul Marks.


    Yes Edward Heath was a dreadful Prime Minister.

    I would still argue that Clement Atlee was worse – but, yes, a case could be made either way.

  • Zerren Yeoville

    This crude but telling meme essentially sums up her premiership.

  • Y. Knott

    – worst Prime Minister ever? – PLEASE, specify “of the United Kingdom”! We here in Canada have a really hot contender for “Worst prime minister EVER, ANYWHERE!!!

  • Mark

    @ Y. Knott

    You know, I think you may well be right!

    So far!

  • DMDavies

    There is always the Human Slavery Act of 2015.
    Which we didn’t need because we already had equivalent offences and which was badly drafted and which introduced being trafficked as a defence to numerous criminal offences with stating who had the burden of proof and to what standard.