29th September 2010
Ed Miliband is the 23rd leader of the Labour party
His task, as for all party leaders, is to lead his party back to government
THIS IS WHY I SUGGEST THAT TASK IS ALL BUT IMPOSSIBLE
In the period of the Labour party’s existence, over 100 years, there have only EVER been FOUR Labour party leaders who have led their party into government. FOUR. Ever. MacDonald in 1923. Attlee in 1945. Wilson in 1964. Blair in 1997.
I do hate to be a party pooper, but I feel somehow duty bound to remind the present Labour party what it lost when it allowed the removal of Tony Blair. He was their most successful leader ever, and the only Labour leader to win three consecutive general elections.
So, soak up these facts and in particular note the number of years between each first election victory of each winner and the next winner’s first election victory: 22/19/33.
If Ed Miliband aims to be the FIFTH leader to lead his party to power he will indeed be a record-breaker. It is only four months since Labour was ousted. The Labour party may, if history is indicative of anything at all, have another 24 years to wait before they are led into power once more. Perhaps that is why Mr Miliband talks of ‘a new generation’. They’re likely to need a few.
Leaders of the Labour Party since 1906 (source)
- Keir Hardie, 1906–1908 (2yrs)
- Arthur Henderson, 1908–1910 (2)
- George Nicoll Barnes, 1910–1911 (1)
- Ramsay MacDonald, 1911–1914 (3)
- Arthur Henderson, 1914–1917 (3)
- William Adamson, 1917–1921 (4)
- John Robert Clynes, 1921–1922 (1)
- Ramsay MacDonald, 1922–1931 (9)
- Arthur Henderson, 1931–1932 (1)
- George Lansbury, 1932–1935 (3)
- Clement Attlee, 1935–1955 (20)
- Hugh Gaitskell, 1955–1963 (8)
- George Brown, 1963 †
- Harold Wilson, 1963–1976 (13)
- James Callaghan, 1976–1980 (4)
- Michael Foot, 1980–1983 (3)
- Neil Kinnock, 1983–1992 (9)
- John Smith, 1992–1994 (2)
- Margaret Beckett, 1994 †
- Tony Blair, 1994–2007 (13)
- Gordon Brown, 2007–2010 (3)
- Harriet Harman, 2010 †
- Ed Miliband, 2010 – present
†Although these were technically leaders of the Labour Party, they only assumed this role because of the death or resignation of the incumbent and were not elected to the post. They were in effect acting temporary leaders. Margaret Beckett was deputy leader when leader John Smith unexpectedly died, and she automatically became leader as a result of his death. Similarly, George Brown, who became leader after the death of Hugh Gaitskell, had been deputy leader at the time of Gaitskell’s death. Harriet Harman was deputy leader when Gordon Brown resigned the leadership in the wake of his May 2010 election defeat.
Another striking aspect of the length of time Labour party leaders have served is how short most of them were. With Clement Attlee way out ahead at 20 years , only Blair and Wilson served 10 years or more (both served 13). Excluding those three and the three temporary leaders of 1963, 1994 and 2010, the average time served as leaders was 5.3 years.
Please note that as Prime Minister, Blair outdid all of them, even Wilson by two years, at 10 and 8 respectively.
Sign the Ban Blair-Baiting petition here
“Mr. Blair is one of the finest politicians to have had the priviledge of serving the United Kingdom, and Britons are fortunate to have had him as their Prime Minister. Time will show that Mr. Blair’s approach to affairs in the Middle East were and remain correct. From a member of the Commonwealth, thank you, Mr. Blair, for your continued service to legitimate and lasting (and not convenient or politically expedient) freedom.”
AND – “Tony Blair was the greatest Prime Minister since Winston Churchill and the only regret I have he didn’t get my vote as I live in Canada.”
AND – ““I am sick and tired of television and radio interviewers asking the same old questions over and over, regarding the decision to go to war in Iraq, presumably they hope Mr Blair will let slip some secret information which they would then use against him. History will show if the decision was the right one, (I believe it was) but people must accept that Tony Blair is a honourable man, and made his decision based on the known facts and not with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.”
Tags: a new generation, ageist, Arthur Henderson, BBC, Clement Attlee, David Miliband, Ed Miliband, Gordon Brown, Harold Wilson, harriet harman, Hugh Gaitskell, Keir Hardie, labour, labour conference, labour government, Labour leader, Leader of the Labour Party, new generation, Pitt the Younger, politics, Ramsay MacDonald, speech, Tony Blair, victory