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Marking the third centenary of the office of Prime Minister, this book tells its extraordinary story, explaining how and why it has endured longer than any other democratic political office in world history. Sir Anthony Seldon, historian of Number 10 Downing Street, explores the lives and careers, loves and scandals, successes and failures, of all our great Prime Ministers. From Robert Walpole and William Pitt the Younger, to Clement Attlee and Margaret Thatcher, Seldon discusses which of our Prime Ministers have been most effective and why. He reveals the changing relationship between the Monarchy and the office of the Prime Minister in intimate detail, describing how the increasing power of the Prime Minister in becoming leader of Britain coincided with the steadily falling influence of the Monarchy. This book celebrates the humanity and frailty, work and achievement, of these 55 remarkable individuals, who averted revolution and civil war, leading the country through times of peace, crisis and war.
The British general election of May 2010 delivered the first coalition government since the Second World War. David Cameron and Nick Clegg pledged a 'new politics' with the government taking office in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the 1930s. Five years on, a team of leading experts drawn from academia, the media, Parliament, Whitehall and think tanks assesses this 'coalition effect' across a broad range of policy areas. Adopting the contemporary history approach, this pioneering book addresses academic and policy debates across this whole range of issues. Did the coalition represent the natural 'next step' in party dealignment and the evolution of multi-party politics? Was coalition in practice a historic innovation in itself, or did the essential principles of Britain's uncodified constitution remain untroubled? Fundamentally, was the coalition able to deliver on its promises made in the coalition agreement, and what were the consequences - for the country and the parties - of this union?
This is the fifth volume in the series which analyses the impact of British contemporary government. The earlier volumes, often co-edited with Dennis Kavanagh, The Thatcher Effect, The Major Effect, The Blair Effect 1997–2001 and The Blair Effect 2001–05, were published in 1989, 1994, 2001 and 2005, respectively. The focus of enquiry has remained always the same. What dierence does a prime minister make across the waterfront of policy and government? The books were inspired by the Institute (now Centre) of Contemporary British History, founded in 1986.
The formula in all five volumes has not changed. Leading authorities from academe and the commentariat were asked to address common themes in their own specialist area:
What was the state of your area when Labour took office in May 1997?
What was the state of the area in June 2007, when Tony Blair left office?
What changed and why?
How successful or effective have the changes been?
Where relevant, why was more not achieved?
To what extent was change driven by the Prime Minister himself, by No. 10 in general, by Gordon Brown, by other ministers, departments, think-tanks, or by any other factors?
What has been the net ‘Blair effect’ in your area between 1994/7 and 2007?
To what extent did policy mark a departure from traditional Labour (and Thatcher/Major) policy?