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Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, PC, DL, FRS, Hon. RA (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was a British politician andstatesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the great wartime leaders and served as Prime Minister twice (1940–45 and 1951–55). Sony VAIO VPCW111XX/P Battery

A noted statesman and orator, Churchill was also an officer in the British Army, a historian, a writer, and an artist. He is the only British prime minister to have received the Nobel Prize in Literature, and was the first person to be made an Honorary Citizen of the United States.Sony VAIO VPCW111XX/PC Battery

Churchill was born into the aristocratic family of the Dukes of Marlborough. His father, Lord Randolph Churchill, was a charismatic politician who served asChancellor of the Exchequer; his mother, Jenny Jerome, an American socialite. As a young army officer, he saw action in British India, the Sudan and theSecond Boer War.Sony VAIO VPCW111XX/T Battery

He gained fame as a war correspondent and through books he wrote about his campaigns.

At the forefront of politics for fifty years, he held many political and cabinet positions. Before the First World War, he served as President of the Board of Trade, Home Secretary and First Lord of the Admiralty as part of the Asquith Liberal government. Sony VAIO VPCW111XX/W Battery

During the war, he continued as First Lord of the Admiralty until the disastrous Gallipoli Campaign, which he had sponsored, caused his departure from government. He then served briefly on the Western Front, commanding the 6th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers. Sony VAIO VPCW111XXP Battery

He returned to government as Minister of Munitions, Secretary of State for War, andSecretary of State for Air. After the War, Churchill served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Conservative (Baldwin) government of 1924–29, controversially returning the pound sterling in 1925 to the gold standard at its pre-War parity, a move widely seen as creating deflationary pressure on the UK economy. Sony VAIO VPCW111XXT Battery

Also controversial were Churchill's opposition to increased home rule for India, and his resistance to the 1936 abdication of Edward VIII.

Out of office and politically "in the wilderness" during the 1930s, Churchill took the lead in warning about the danger from Hitler and in campaigning for rearmament.Sony VAIO VPCW111XXW Battery

On the outbreak of the Second World War, he was again appointed First Lord of the Admiralty. Following the resignation of Neville Chamberlain on 10 May 1940, Churchill became Prime Minister. His steadfast refusal to consider defeat, surrender or a compromise peace helped inspire British resistance, Sony VAIO VPCW115XG Battery

especially during the difficult early days of the War when Britain stood alone in its active opposition to Hitler. Churchill was particularly noted for his speeches and radio broadcasts, which helped inspire the British people. He led Britain as Prime Minister until victory had been secured over Nazi Germany.Sony VAIO VPCW115XGP Battery

After the Conservative Party lost the 1945 election, he became Leader of the Opposition. In 1951, he again became Prime Minister, before retiring in 1955. Upon his death, Elizabeth II granted him the honour of a state funeral, which saw one of the largest assemblies of world statesmen ever.Sony VAIO VPCW115XW/P Battery

Named theGreatest Briton of all-time in a 2002 poll, Churchill is widely regarded as being among the most influential men in British history.

Family and early life

Born into the aristocratic Spencer family,[2] Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, like his father, used the surnameChurchill in public life.Sony VAIO VPCW115XW/T Battery

His ancestor George Spencer had changed his surname to Spencer-Churchill in 1817 when he became duke of Marlborough, to highlight his descent from John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough. Winston's father,Lord Randolph Churchill, the third son of John Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough, was a politician; Sony VAIO VPCW115XW/W Battery

and his mother, Lady Randolph Churchill (née Jennie Jerome) was the daughter of American millionaire Leonard Jerome. Born on 30 November 1874, two months prematurely, in a bedroom in Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, From age two to six he lived in Dublin, when his Grandfather was appointed Viceroy, who had Churchill's father as his private secretary. Sony VAIO VPCW117XC/P Battery

Churchill had one brother, John Strange Spencer-Churchill who was born during this time in Ireland.It has been claimed that the young Winston first developed his fascination with militarism from watching the many military parades pass by the Vice Regal Lodge.Sony VAIO VPCW117XC/T Battery

Winston's earliest attempts at education occurred in Dublin. A Governess tried teaching him reading, writing and sums. His first reading book was called 'Reading Without Tears'. His Nanny 'Mrs' Everest was his confidante, nurse and mother and they spent many happy hours playing in the Phoenix Park.Sony VAIO VPCW117XC/W Battery

Independent and rebellious by nature, Churchill generally did poorly in school, for which he was punished. He was educated at three independent schools: St. George's School, Ascot, Berkshire, followed by Brunswick School in Hove, near Brighton (the school has since been renamed Stoke Brunswick School and relocated to Ashurst Wood in West Sussex), Sony VAIO VPCW119XJ Battery

and then at Harrow School from 17 April 1888, where his military career began. Within weeks of his arrival, he had joined the Harrow Rifle Corps.[8] He earned high marks in English and History and was the school's fencingchampion.

He was rarely visited by his mother (then known as Lady Randolph Churchill) and wrote letters begging her to either come to the school or to allow him to come home.Sony VAIO VPCW119XJ/P Battery

His relationship with his father was a distant one; he once remarked that they barely spoke to each other. Because of the lack of parental contact, he became very close to his nanny, Elizabeth Anne Everest, whom he used to call "Old Woom". His father died on 24 January 1895, aged 45, leaving Churchill with the conviction that he too would die young and so should be quick about making his mark on the world. Sony VAIO VPCW119XJ/W Battery

Speech impediment

Various authors in the 1920s–1940s mentioned Churchill's stutter and Churchill described himself as having a "speech impediment", which he consistently worked to overcome. His dentures were specially designed to aid his speech (Demosthenes' pebbles).Sony VAIO VPCW11AXJ Battery

After many years, he could finally state, "My impediment is no hindrance".

The Churchill Centre, however, flatly denies the claim that Churchill stuttered, while confirming that he did have difficulty pronouncing the letter S and spoke with a lisp[14] as did his father.Sony VAIO VPCW11S1E/P Battery

Marriage and children

Churchill met his future wife, Clementine Hozier, in 1904 at a ball in Crewe House, home of the Earl of Crewe and Crewe's wife Margaret Primrose (daughter of Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery).Sony VAIO VPCW11S1E/T Battery

In 1908, they met again at a dinner party hosted by Lady St Helier. Churchill found himself seated beside Clementine, and they soon began a lifelong romance. He proposed to Clementine during a house party at Blenheim Palace on 10 August 1908, in a smallTemple of Diana.Sony VAIO VPCW11S1E/W Battery

On 12 September 1908, they were married in St. Margaret's, Westminster. The church was packed; the Bishop of St Asaph conducted the service. The couple spent their honeymoon at Highgrove House inEastcote.[20] In March 1909, the couple moved to a house at 33 Eccleston Square.Sony VAIO VPCW121AX Battery

Their first child, Diana, was born in London on 11 July 1909. After the pregnancy, Clementine moved to Sussex to recover, while Diana stayed in London with her nanny. On 28 May 1911, their second child, Randolph, was born at 33 Eccleston Square. Their third child, Sarah, was born on 7 October 1914 at Admiralty House. Sony VAIO VPCW126AG Battery

The birth was marked with anxiety for Clementine, as Winston had been sent to Antwerp by the Cabinet to "stiffen the resistance of the beleaguered city" after news that the Belgians intended to surrender the town.

Clementine gave birth to her fourth child, Marigold Frances Churchill, on 15 November 1918, four days after the official end of the First World War.Sony VAIO VPCW127JC/P Battery

In the early days of August 1921, the Churchills' children were entrusted to a French nursery governess in Kent named Mlle Rose. Clementine, meanwhile, travelled to Eaton Hall to play tennis with Hugh Grosvenor, 2nd Duke of Westminster and his family. While still under the care of Mlle Rose, Marigold had a cold, but was reported to have recovered from the illness. Sony VAIO VPCW127JC/T Battery

As the illness progressed with hardly any notice, it turned into septicaemia. Following advice from a landlady, Rose sent for Clementine. However the illness turned fatal on 23 August 1921, and Marigold was buried in the Kensal Green Cemetery three days later.Sony VAIO VPCW127JC/W Battery

On 15 September 1922, the Churchills' last child was born, Mary. Later that month, the Churchills bought Chartwell, which would be Winston's home until his death in 1965.

Military service

After Churchill left Harrow in 1893, he applied to attend the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. It took three attempts before he passed the entrance exam;Sony VAIO VPCW127JC/WZ Battery

he applied for cavalry rather than infantry because the grade requirement was lower and did not require him to learn mathematics, which he disliked. He graduated eighth out of a class of 150 in December 1894, and although he could now have transferred to an infantry regiment as his father had wished,Sony VAIO VPCW12AAJ Battery

chose to remain with the cavalry and was commissioned as a Cornet (Second Lieutenant) in the 4th Queen's Own Hussars on 20 February 1895.  In 1941, he received the honour of being appointed Colonel of the Hussars.

Churchill's pay as a second lieutenant in the 4th Hussars was £300. Sony VAIO VPCW12AKJ Battery

However, he believed that he needed at least a further £500 (equivalent to £25,000 in 2001 terms) to support a style of life equal to other officers of the regiment. His mother provided an allowance of £400 per year, but this was repeatedly overspent. According to biographer Roy Jenkins, this is one reason he took an interest in war correspondence.Sony VAIO VPCW12AVJ Battery

He did not intend to follow a conventional career of promotion through army ranks, but to seek out all possible chances of military action and used his mother's and family influence in high society to arrange postings to active campaigns. His writings both brought him to the attention of the public, and earned him significant additional income. Sony VAIO VPCW12S1E/P Battery

He acted as a war correspondent for several London newspapers and wrote his own books about the campaigns.


In 1895, Churchill travelled to Cuba to observe the Spanish fight the Cuban guerrillas; he had obtained a commission to write about the conflict from the Daily Graphic. Sony VAIO VPCW12S1E/T Battery

To his delight, he came under fire for the first time on his twenty-first birthday. He had fond memories of Cuba as a "...large, rich, beautiful island..."  While there, he soon acquired a taste for Havana cigars, which he would smoke for the rest of his life. While in New York, he stayed at the home of Bourke Cockran, an admirer of his mother.Sony VAIO VPCW12S1E/W Battery

Bourke was an established American politician, and a member of the House of Representatives. He greatly influenced Churchill, both in his approach to oratory and politics, and encouraging a love of America.

He soon received word that his nanny, Mrs Everest, was dying;Sony VAIO VPCW213AG/L Battery

he then returned to England and stayed with her for a week until she died. He wrote in his journal "She was my favourite friend." In My Early Life he wrote: "She had been my dearest and most intimate friend during the whole of the twenty years I had lived."Sony VAIO VPCW213AG/P Battery


In early October 1896, he was transferred to Bombay, British India. He was considered one of the best polo players in his regiment and led his team to many prestigious tournament victories.Sony VAIO VPCW213AG/T Battery

In 1897, Churchill attempted to travel to both report and, if necessary, fight in the Greco-Turkish War, but this conflict effectively ended before he could arrive. Later, while preparing for a leave in England, he heard that three brigades of the British Army were going to fight against a Pashtun tribe in the North West Frontier of India and he asked his superior officer if he could join the fight.Sony VAIO VPCW213AG/W Battery

He fought under the command of General Jeffery, who was the commander of the second brigade operating in Malakand, in the Frontier region of British India. Jeffery sent him with fifteen scouts to explore the Mamund Valley; while on reconnaissance, they encountered an enemy tribe, dismounted from their horses and opened fire. Sony VAIO VPCW215AG/L Battery

After an hour of shooting, their reinforcements, the 35thSikhs arrived, and the fire gradually ceased and the brigade and the Sikhs marched on. Hundreds of tribesmen then ambushed them and opened fire, forcing them to retreat. As they were retreating four men were carrying an injured officer but the fierceness of the fight forced them to leave him behind. Sony VAIO VPCW217JC Battery

The man who was left behind was slashed to death before Churchill's eyes; afterwards he wrote of the killer, "I forgot everything else at this moment except a desire to kill this man." However the Sikhs' numbers were being depleted so the next commanding officer told Churchill to get the rest of the men and boys to safety.Sony VAIO VPCW217JC/L Battery

Before he left he asked for a note so he would not be charged with desertion. He received the note, quickly signed, and headed up the hill and alerted the other brigade, whereupon they then engaged the army. The fighting in the region dragged on for another two weeks before the dead could be recovered. Sony VAIO VPCW217JC/P Battery

He wrote in his journal: "Whether it was worth it I cannot tell." An account of the Siege of Malakand was published in December 1900 as The Story of the Malakand Field Force. He received £600 for his account. During the campaign, he also wrote articles for the newspapers The Pioneer and The Daily Telegraph.Sony VAIO VPCW217JC/T Battery

His account of the battle was one of his first published stories, for which he received £5 per column from The Daily Telegraph.

Sudan and Oldham

Churchill was transferred to Egypt in 1898. He visited Luxor before joining an attachment of the 21st Lancers serving in the Sudan under the command of General Herbert Kitchener.Sony VAIO VPCW217JC/W Battery

During this time he encountered two military officers with whom he would work during the First World War: Douglas Haig, then a captain and David Beatty, then a gunboat lieutenant. While in the Sudan, he participated in what has been described as the last meaningful British cavalry charge, at the Battle of Omdurman in September 1898.Sony VAIO VPCW218JC Battery

He also worked as a war correspondent for the Morning Post. By October 1898, he had returned to Britain and begun his two-volume work; The River War, an account of the reconquest of the Sudan which was published the following year. Churchill resigned from the British Army effective from 5 May 1899.Sony VAIO VPCW218JC/L Battery

He soon had his first opportunity to begin a Parliamentary career, when he was invited by Robert Ascroft to be the second Conservative Party candidate in Ascroft's Oldham constituency. Ascroft's sudden death caused a double by-election and Churchill was one of the candidates. Sony VAIO VPCW218JC/P Battery

In the midst of a national trend against the Conservatives, both seats were lost; however Churchill impressed by his vigorous campaigning.

South Africa

Having failed at Oldham, Churchill looked about for some other opportunity to advance his career.Sony VAIO VPCW218JC/T Battery

On 12 October 1899, the Second Boer War between Britain and the Boer Republics broke out and he obtained a commission to act as war correspondent for the Morning Post with a salary of £250 per month. He rushed to sail on the same ship as the newly appointed British commander, Sir Redvers Buller. Sony VAIO VPCW218JC/W Battery

After some weeks in exposed areas he accompanied a scouting expedition in an armoured train, leading to his capture and imprisonment in a POW camp in Pretoria (converted school building for Pretoria High School for Girls). His actions during the ambush of the train led to speculation that he would be awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain's highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy, but this did not occur. Sony VAIO VPCW219AJ/L Battery

He escaped from the prison camp and travelled almost 300 miles (480 km) to Portuguese Lourenço Marques in Delagoa Bay, with the assistance of an English mine manager. His escape made him a minor national hero for a time in Britain, though instead of returning home, he rejoined General Buller's army on its march to relieve the British at the Siege of Ladysmith and take Pretoria.Sony VAIO VPCW219AJ/P Battery

This time, although continuing as a war correspondent, he gained a commission in the South African Light Horse. He was among the first British troops into Ladysmith and Pretoria. He and his cousin, the Duke of Marlborough, were able to get ahead of the rest of the troops in Pretoria, where they demanded and received the surrender of 52 Boer prison camp guards.Sony VAIO VPCW219AJ/W Battery

In 1900, Churchill returned to England on the RMS Dunottar Castle, the same ship on which he set sail for South Africa eight months earlier. He there published London to Ladysmith and a second volume of Boer war experiences, Ian Hamilton's March. Sony VAIO VPCW21AAJ Battery

Churchill stood again for parliament in Oldham in the general election of 1900 and won (his Conservative colleague, Crisp, was defeated) in the contest for two seats. After the 1900 general election he embarked on a speaking tour of Britain, followed by tours of the United States and Canada, earning in excess of £5,000.Sony VAIO VPCW21AKJ Battery

Territorial service

In 1900, he retired from the regular army and in 1902 joined the Imperial Yeomanry where he was commissioned as a Captain in theQueen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars on 4 January 1902. In April 1905, he was promoted to Major and appointed to command of the Henley Squadron of the Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars.Sony VAIO VPCW21AVJ Battery

In September 1916, he transferred to the territorial reserves of officers where he remained till retiring in 1924, at the age of fifty.

Western front

Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty at the start of the First World War, but was obliged to leave the war cabinet after the disastrous Battle of Gallipoli. Sony VAIO VPCY115FGS Battery

He attempted to obtain an appointment as a brigade commander, but settled for command of a battalion. After spending some time as a Major with the 2nd Battalion, Grenadier Guards, he was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel, commanding the 6th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers (part of the 9th (Scottish) Division), on 1 January 1916. Sony VAIO VPCY115FX/BI Battery

Correspondence with his wife shows that his intent in taking up active service was to rehabilitate his reputation, but this was balanced by the serious risk of being killed. As a commander he continued to exhibit the reckless daring which had been a hallmark of all his military actions, although he disapproved strongly of the mass slaughter involved in many western front actions.Sony VAIO VPCY115FXBI Battery

Lord Deedes opined to a gathering of the Royal Historical Society in 2001 why Churchill went to the front line: "He was with Grenadier Guards, who were dry at battalion headquarters. They very much liked tea and condensed milk, which had no great appeal to Winston, but alcohol was permitted in the front line, in the trenches. Sony VAIO VPCY118EC Battery

So he suggested to the colonel that he really ought to see more of the war and get into the front line. This was highly commended by the colonel, who thought it was a very good thing to do."

Early years in Parliament

Churchill stood again for the seat of Oldham at the 1900 general election. Sony VAIO VPCY118GX/BI Battery

After winning the seat, he went on a speaking tour throughout Britain and the United States, raising £10,000 for himself (about £800,000 today ). In Parliament, he became associated with a faction of the Conservative Party led by Lord Hugh Cecil; the Hughligans. Sony VAIO VPCY119FJ/S Battery

During his first parliamentary session, he opposed the government's military expenditure  and Joseph Chamberlain's proposal of extensive tariffs, which were intended to protect Britain's economic dominance. His own constituency effectively deselected him, although he continued to sit for Oldham until the next general election. Sony VAIO VPCY11AFJ Battery

After the Whitsun recess in 1904 he crossed the floor to sit as a member of the Liberal Party. As a Liberal, he continued to campaign for free trade. When the Liberals took office with Henry Campbell-Bannerman as prime minister, in December 1905, Churchill becameUnder-Secretary of State for the Colonies dealing mainly with South Africa after the Boer War.Sony VAIO VPCY11AGJ Battery

From 1903 until 1905, Churchill was also engaged in writingLord Randolph Churchill, a two-volume biography of his father which was published in 1906 and received much critical acclaim.

Following his deselection in the seat of Oldham, Churchill was invited to stand for Manchester North West. He won the seat at the 1906 general election with a majority of 1,214 and represented the seat for two years, until 1908.Sony VAIO VPCY11AHJ Battery

When Campbell-Bannerman was succeeded by Herbert Henry Asquith in 1908, Churchill was promoted to the Cabinet as President of the Board of Trade. Under the law at the time, a newly appointed Cabinet Minister was obliged to seek re-election at a by-election; Churchill lost his seat but was soon back as a member for Dundee constituency. Sony VAIO VPCY11AVJ Battery

As President of the Board of Trade he joined newly appointed Chancellor Lloyd George in opposing First Lord of the Admiralty, Reginald McKenna's proposed huge expenditure for the construction of Navy dreadnought warships, and in supporting the Liberal reforms.Sony VAIO VPCY11M1E/S Battery

In 1908, he introduced the Trade Boards Bill setting up the first minimum wages in Britain,In 1909, he set up Labour Exchanges to help unemployed people find work. He helped draft the first unemployment pension legislation, theNational Insurance Act of 1911.Sony VAIO VPCY11S1E Battery

As a supporter of eugenics, he participated in the drafting of the Mental Deficiency Act 1913, although the Act eventually passed rejected his preferred method of sterilisation of the feeble-minded in favour of their confinement in institutions.Sony VAIO VPCY11V9E/S Battery

Churchill also assisted in passing the People's Budget  becoming President of the Budget League, an organisation set up in response to the opposition's "Budget Protest League". The budget included the introduction of new taxes on the wealthy to allow for the creation of new social welfare programmes. Sony VAIO VPCY218EC/BI Battery

After the budget bill was sent to the Commons in 1909 and passed, it went to the House of Lords, where it was vetoed. The Liberals then fought and won two general elections in January and December 1910 to gain a mandate for their reforms. The budget was then passed following the Parliament Act 1911 for which he also campaigned.Sony VAIO VPCY218EC/G Battery

In 1910, he was promoted to Home Secretary. His term was controversial, after his responses to the Siege of Sidney Street and thedispute at the Cambrian Colliery and the suffragettes.

In 1910, a number of coal miners in the Rhondda Valley began what has come to be known as the Tonypandy Riot.Sony VAIO VPCY218EC/L Battery

The Chief Constable of Glamorgan requested troops be sent in to help police quell the rioting. Churchill, learning that the troops were already travelling, allowed them to go as far as Swindon andCardiff but blocked their deployment. On 9 November, The Timescriticised this decision. Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/L Battery

In spite of this, the rumour persists that Churchill had ordered troops to attack, and his reputation in Wales and in Labour circles never recovered.

In early January 1911, Churchill made a controversial visit to the Siege of Sidney Street in London. Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/P Battery

There is some uncertainty as to whether he attempted to give operational commands, and his presence attracted much criticism. After an inquest, Arthur Balfour remarked, "he [Churchill] and a photographer were both risking valuable lives. I understand what the photographer was doing, but what was the right honourable gentleman doing?"Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/SI Battery

A biographer, Roy Jenkins, suggests that he went simply because "he could not resist going to see the fun himself" and that he did not issue commands. Another account said the police had the miscreants – Latvian anarchists wanted for murder – surrounded in a house but Churchill,Sony VAIO VPCZ110 Battery

called in the Scots Guards from the Tower of London and, dressed in top hat and astrakhan collar greatcoat, directed operations. The house caught fire and Churchill prevented the fire brigade from dousing the flames so the men inside were burned to death. "I thought it better to let the house burn down rather than spend good British lives in rescuing those ferocious rascals,"Sony VAIO VPCZ110GB/BI Battery

Churchill's proposed solution to the suffragette issue was a referendum on the issue, but this found no favour with Herbert Henry Asquith and women's suffrage remained unresolved until after the First World War.

In 1911, Churchill was transferred to the office of the First Lord of the Admiralty, a post he held into the First World War.Sony VAIO VPCZ112GD/S Battery

He gave impetus to several reform efforts, including development of naval aviation(he undertook flying lessons himself),the construction of new and larger warships, the development of tanks, and the switch from coal to oil in the Royal Navy. Sony VAIO VPCZ112GX/S Battery

First World War and the Post War Coalition

On 5 October 1914, Churchill went to Antwerp, which the Belgian government proposed to evacuate. The Royal Marine Brigade was there and at Churchill's urgings the 1st and 2nd Naval Brigades were also committed. Antwerp fell on 10 October with the loss of 2500 men. Sony VAIO VPCZ114GX/S Battery

At the time he was attacked for squandering resources. It is more likely that his actions prolonged the resistance by a week (Belgium had proposed surrendering Antwerp on 3 October) and that this time saved Calais and Dunkirk.

Churchill was involved with the development of the tank, which was financed from naval research funds.Sony VAIO VPCZ115 Battery

He then headed the Landships Committee which was responsible for creating the first tank corps and, although a decade later development of the battle tank would be seen as a tactical victory, at the time it was seen as misappropriation of funds.Sony VAIO VPCZ115FC/B Battery

In 1915, he was one of the political and military engineers of the disastrous Gallipoli landings on the Dardanelles during the First World War. He took much of the blame for the fiasco, and when Prime Minister Asquith formed an all-partycoalition government, the Conservatives demanded his demotion as the price for entry.Sony VAIO VPCZ115FC/S Battery

For several months Churchill served in the sinecure of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. However on 15 November 1915 he resigned from the government, feeling his energies were not being used and, though remaining an MP, served for several months on the Western Front commanding the 6th Battalion of theRoyal Scots Fusiliers, with the rank of lieutenant colonel.Sony VAIO VPCZ116 Battery

While in command he personally made 36 forays into no man's land, and his section of the front at Ploegsteert became one of the most active. In March 1916, Churchill returned to England after he had become restless in France and wished to speak again in the House of Commons.Sony VAIO VPCZ116GX/S Battery

Future prime minister David Lloyd George acidly commented: "You will one day discover that the state of mind revealed in (your) letter is the reason why you do not win trust even where you command admiration. In every line of it, national interests are completely overshadowed by your personal concern."Sony VAIO VPCZ117 Battery

In July 1917, Churchill was appointed Minister of Munitions, and in January 1919, Secretary of State for War and Secretary of State for Air. He was the main architect of the Ten Year Rule, a principle that allowed the Treasury to dominate and control strategic, foreign and financial policies under the assumption that "there would be no great European war for the next five or ten years".Sony VAIO VPCZ117FC/B Battery

A major preoccupation of his tenure in the War Office was the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War. Churchill was a staunch advocate of foreign intervention, declaring that Bolshevism must be "strangled in its cradle". He secured, from a divided and loosely organised Cabinet,Sony VAIO VPCZ118 Battery

intensification and prolongation of the British involvement beyond the wishes of any major group in Parliament or the nation—and in the face of the bitter hostility of Labour. In 1920, after the last British forces had been withdrawn, Churchill was instrumental in having arms sent to the Poles when they invaded Ukraine.Sony VAIO VPCZ118GC/B Battery

He was also instrumental in having para-military forces (Black and Tans & Auxiliaries) intervene in the Anglo-Irish War. JORDAN ANTHONY J. "CHURCHILL - A FOUNDER ON MODERN IRELAND" Westport Books 1995 pp.70-75] He became Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1921 and was a signatory of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, which established the Irish Free State.Sony VAIO VPCZ118GX/S Battery

Churchill was involved in the lengthy negotiations of the treaty and to protect British maritime interests, he engineered part of theIrish Free State agreement to include three Treaty Ports—Queenstown (Cobh), Berehaven and Lough Swilly—which could be used as Atlantic bases by the Royal Navy.Sony VAIO VPCZ119 Battery

In 1938, however, under the terms of the Chamberlain-De Valera Anglo-Irish Trade Agreement the bases were returned to the Irish Free State.

Churchill advocated the use of tear gas on Kurdish tribesmen in Iraq,Though the British did consider the use of poison gas in putting down Kurdish rebellions, it was not used, as conventional bombing was considered effective.Sony VAIO VPCZ119FJ/S Battery

In 1923, he acted as a paid consultant for Burmah Oil (now BP plc) to lobby the British government to allow Burmah to have exclusive rights to Persian (Iraqi) oil resources, which were successfully granted.Sony VAIO VPCZ119GC/X Battery

Rejoining the Conservative Party—Chancellor of the Exchequer

In September, the Conservative Party withdrew from the Coalition government following a meeting of backbenchers dissatisfied with the handling of the Chanak Crisis, a move that precipitated the looming October 1922 General Election. Sony VAIO VPCZ119L Battery

Churchill fell ill during the campaign, and had to have an appendicectomy. This made it difficult for him to campaign, and a further setback was the internal division that continued to beset the Liberal Party. He came only fourth in the poll for Dundee, losing to the prohibitionist Edwin Scrymgeour. Sony VAIO VPCZ119R/B Battery

Churchill later quipped that he left Dundee "without an office, without a seat, without a party and without an appendix". He stood for the Liberals again in the 1923 general election, losing in Leicester, and then as an independent, first without success in a by-election in the Westminster Abbey constituency, and then successfully in the general election of 1924 for Epping. Sony VAIO VPCZ119R/S Battery

The following year, he formally rejoined the Conservative Party, commenting wryly that "anyone can rat, but it takes a certain ingenuity to re-rat."

Churchill was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1924 under Stanley Baldwin and oversaw Britain's disastrous return to the Gold Standard, which resulted in deflation, unemployment, and the miners' strike that led to the General Strike of 1926.Sony VAIO VPCZ11AFJ Battery

His decision, announced in the 1924 Budget, came after long consultation with various economists including John Maynard Keynes, the Permanent Secretary to the Treasury, Sir Otto Niemeyer and the board of the Bank of England. This decision prompted Keynes to write The Economic Consequences of Mr. Churchill,Sony VAIO VPCZ11AGJ Battery

arguing that the return to the gold standard at the pre-war parity in 1925 (£1=$4.86) would lead to a world depression. However, the decision was generally popular and seen as 'sound economics' although it was opposed by Lord Beaverbrook and the Federation of British Industries. Sony VAIO VPCZ11AVJ Battery

Churchill later regarded this as the greatest mistake of his life. However in discussions at the time with former Chancellor McKenna, Churchill acknowledged that the return to the gold standard and the resulting 'dear money' policy was economically bad. 27570.htm">Sony VAIO VPCZ11CGX/X Battery

In those discussions he maintained the policy as fundamentally political—a return to the pre-war conditions in which he believed. In his speech on the Bill he said "I will tell you what it [the return to the Gold Standard] will shackle us to. It will shackle us to reality."Sony VAIO VPCZ11DGX/SJ Battery

The return to the pre-war exchange rate and to the Gold Standard depressed industries. The most affected was the coal industry. Already suffering from declining output as shipping switched to oil, as basic British industries like cotton came under more competition in export markets, the return to the pre-war exchange was estimated to add up to 10% in costs to the industry. Sony VAIO VPCZ11FHX/XQ Battery

In July 1925, a Commission of Inquiry reported generally favouring the miners, rather than the mine owners' position.  Baldwin, with Churchill's support proposed a subsidy to the industry while a Royal Commission prepared a further report.Sony VAIO VPCZ11V9R/B Battery

That Commission solved nothing and the miners' dispute led to the General Strike of 1926, Churchill was reported to have suggested that machine guns be used on the striking miners. Churchill edited the Government's newspaper, the British Gazette, and, during the dispute, he argued that "either the country will break the General Strike,Sony VAIO VPCZ11X9E/B Battery

or the General Strike will break the country" and claimed that the fascism of Benito Mussolini had "rendered a service to the whole world," showing, as it had, "a way to combat subversive forces"—that is, he considered the regime to be a bulwark against the perceived threat of Communist revolution. Sony VAIO VPCZ11Z9E/B Battery

At one point, Churchill went as far as to call Mussolini the "Roman genius... the greatest lawgiver among men."

Later economists, as well as people at the time, also criticised Churchill's budget measures. Sony VAIO VPCZ125GX/S Battery

These were seen as assisting the generally prosperous rentier banking and salaried classes (to which Churchill and his associates generally belonged) at the expense of manufacturers and exporters which were known then to be suffering from imports and from competition in traditional export markets, and as paring the Armed Forces too heavily.Sony VAIO VPCZ127FC Battery

Political isolation

The Conservative government was defeated in the 1929 General Election. Churchill did not seek election to the Conservative Business Committee, the official leadership of the Conservative MPs. Sony VAIO VPCZ128GC Battery

Over the next two years, Churchill became estranged from the Conservative leadership over the issues of protective tariffs and Indian Home Rule and by his political views and by his friendships with press barons, financiers and people whose characters were seen as dubious.Sony VAIO VPCZ12M9E/B Battery

When Ramsay MacDonald formed the National Government in 1931, Churchill was not invited to join the Cabinet. He was at the low point in his career, in a period known as "the wilderness years".

He spent much of the next few years concentrating on his writing, including Marlborough: His Life and Times—a biography of his ancestor John Churchill, Sony VAIO VPCZ13M9E/B Battery

1st Duke of Marlborough—and A History of the English Speaking Peoples (though the latter was not published until well after the Second World War), Great Contemporaries and many newspaper articles and collections of speeches. He was one of the best paid writers of his time.Sony VAIO VPCZ13V9E/X Battery

His political views, set forth in his 1930 Romanes Election and published as Parliamentary Government and the Economic Problem(republished in 1932 in his collection of essays "Thoughts and Adventures") involved abandoning universal suffrage, a return to a property franchise, proportional representation for the major cities and an economic 'sub parliament'.Sony VAIO VPCZ13Z9E/X Battery

Indian independence

Churchill opposed Mohandas Gandhi's peaceful disobedience revolt and the Indian Independence movement in the 1930s, arguing that the Round Table Conference "was a frightful prospect". Later reports indicate that Churchill favoured letting Gandhi die if he went on a hunger strike.Sony VAIO VPCZZZHJ Battery

During the first half of the 1930s, Churchill was outspoken in his opposition to granting Dominion status to India. He was a founder of the India Defence League, a group dedicated to the preservation of British power in India. Churchill brooked no moderation.Sony VAIO VPZ117 Battery

"The truth is," he declared in 1930, "that Gandhi-ism and everything it stands for will have to be grappled with and crushed." In speeches and press articles in this period he forecast widespread unemployment in Britain and civil strife in India should independence be granted.Sony VAIO VPZ118 Battery

The Viceroy Lord Irwin, who had been appointed by the prior Conservative Government, engaged in the Round Table Conference in early 1931 and then announced the Government's policy that India should be granted Dominion Status. In this the Government was supported by the Liberal Party and, officially at least, by the Conservative Party. Sony VAIO VPZ119 Battery

Churchill denounced the Round Table Conference.At a meeting of the West Essex Conservative Association specially convened so Churchill could explain his position he said, "It is alarming and also nauseating to see Mr Gandhi, a seditious Middle Temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well-known in the East,Sony VPCM11M1E/B Battery

striding half-naked up the steps of the Vice-regal palace... to parley on equal terms with the representative of the King-Emperor." He called the Indian National Congress leaders "Brahmins who mouth and patter principles of Western Liberalism".

Two incidents damaged Churchill's reputation greatly within the Conservative Party in this period. Sony VPCM11M1E/W Battery

Both were taken as attacks on the Conservative front bench. The first was his speech on the eve of theSt George by-election in April 1931. In a secure Conservative seat, the official Conservative candidate Duff Cooper was opposed by an independent Conservative.Sony VPCM12M1E/L Battery

The independent was supported by Lord Rothermere, Lord Beaverbrook and their respective newspapers. Although arranged before the by-election was set, Churchill's speech was seen as supporting the independent candidate and as a part of the press baron's campaign against Baldwin.Sony VPCM12M1E/P Battery

Baldwin's position was strengthened when Duff Cooper won, and when the civil disobedience campaign in India ceased with the Gandhi-Irwin Pact. The second issue was a claim by Churchill that Sir Samuel Hoare and Lord Derby had pressured the Manchester Chamber of Commerce to change evidence it had given to the Joint Select Committee considering the Government of India Bill, and in doing so had breached Parliamentary privilege. Sony VPCM12M1E/W Battery

He had the matter referred to the House of Commons Privilege Committee which after investigations, in which Churchill gave evidence, reported to the House that there had been no breach. The report was debated on 13 June. Churchill was unable to find a single supporter in the House and the debate ended without a division.Sony VPCM13M1E/L Battery

Churchill permanently broke with Stanley Baldwin over Indian independence and never again held any office while Baldwin was prime minister. Some historians see his basic attitude to India as being set out in his book My Early Life (1930).Sony VPCM13M1E/P Battery

Another source of controversy about Churchill's attitude towards Indian affairs arises over what some historians term the Indian 'nationalist approach' to theBengal famine of 1943, which has sought to place significant blame on Churchill's wartime government for the excessive mortality of up to three million people.Sony VPCM13M1E/W Battery

While some commentators point to the disruption of the traditional marketing system and maladministration at the provincial level, Arthur Herman, author of Churchill and Gandhi, contends, 'The real cause was the fall of Burma to the Japanese, which cut off India's main supply of rice imports when domestic sources fell short...Sony VAIO VGN-Z11MN/B Battery

it is true that Churchill opposed diverting food supplies and transports from other theatres to India to cover the shortfall: this was wartime.' In response to an urgent request by the Secretary of State for India, Leo Amery, and Viceroy of India, Wavell, to release food stocks for India, Sony VAIO VGN-Z11VN/X Battery

Churchill responded with a telegram to Wavell asking, if food was so scarce, "why Gandhi hadn't died yet." In July 1940, newly in office, he welcomed reports of the emerging conflict between the Muslim League and the Indian Congress, hoping "it would be bitter and bloody".Sony VAIO VGN-Z11VN/X Battery

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Media depictions

Depictions of Margaret Thatcher have featured in a number of television programmes, documentaries, films and plays; Sony VAIO VPCEB16FX/G Battery

she was played by Patricia Hodge in Ian Curteis's long unproduced The Falklands Play (2002) and Lindsay Duncan in Margaret(2009). She was portrayed by Andrea Riseborough in the TV film The Long Walk to Finchley. Thatcher will be played by Meryl Streep in the 2011 film The Iron Lady.Sony VAIO VPCEB16FX/L Battery

Thatcher was lampooned by satirist John Wells in several media. Wells collaborated with Richard Ingrams on the spoof "Dear Bill" letters which ran as a column in Private Eye magazine, were published in book form, and were then adapted into a West End stage revue as Anyone for Denis?, starring Wells as Denis Thatcher. Sony VAIO VPCEB16FX/P Battery

The stage show was followed by a 1982 TV special directed byDick Clement.In 1979, Wells was commissioned by comedy producer Martin Lewis to write and perform on a comedy record album titled Iron Lady: The Coming Of The Leader on which Thatcher was portrayed by comedienne and noted Thatcher impersonator Janet Brown. Sony VAIO VPCEB16FX/W Battery

The album consisted of skits and songs satirising Thatcher's rise to power.

In Spitting Image, Thatcher was portrayed as a bullying tyrant, wearing trousers, and ridiculing her own ministers.

Protest songs

Thatcher was the subject or the inspiration for a number of protest songs including The Specials' "Ghost Town", (1981),Sony VAIO VPCEB17FX Battery

and The Jam's "Town Called Malice" (Number One in February 1982). Elvis Costello's "Shipbuilding" protested against the Falklands war. Songwriter Billy Bragg released Workers Playtime in 1988. Paul Weller was a founding member of Red Wedge collective, which unsuccessfully sought to oust Thatcher with the help of music. Sony VAIO VPCEB17FX/B Battery

In 1987, they organised a comedy tour with British comedians Lenny Henry, Ben Elton, Robbie Coltrane, Harry Enfield and others.

There is no adamantine law that says we have to produce as much in the way of manufactures as we consume. If it does turn out that we are relatively more efficient in world terms at providing services than at producing goods, then our national interest lies in a surplus on services and a deficit on goods. Sony VAIO VPCEB17FX/G Battery

The Premiership of Margaret Thatcher began on 4 May 1979, with a mandate to reverse the UK's economic decline and to reduce the role of the state in the economy. Margaret Thatcher was incensed by one contemporary view within the Civil Service, that its job was to manage the UK's decline from the days of Empire, Sony VAIO VPCEB17FX/L Battery

and she wanted the country to assert a higher level of influence and leadership in international affairs. She was a philosophic soul-mate of Ronald Reagan, elected in 1980 in the United States, and to a lesser extent Brian Mulroney, who was elected in 1984 in Canada.Sony VAIO VPCEB17FX/P Battery

Thatcher would go on to radically transform Britain more so than any leader of Britain since Clement Attlee, rejuvenating a stagnant world power but socially dividing much of the population

Deflationary strategy

Under the Thatcher government the taming of inflation displaced high employment as the primary policy objective.Sony VAIO VPCEB17FX/W Battery

As a monetarist, Thatcher started out in her economic policy by increasing interest rates to slow the growth of the money supply and thus lower inflation. She had a preference for indirect taxation over taxes on income, and value added tax (VAT) was raised sharply to 15%, with a resultant actual short-term rise in inflation.Sony VAIO VPCEB190X Battery

The fiscal and monetary squeeze, combined with the North Sea oil effect, appreciated the real exchange rate. These moves hit businesses—especially the manufacturing sector—and unemployment quickly passed two million, doubling the one million unemployed under the previous Labour government.Sony VAIO VPCEB19FX Battery

Political commentators harked back to the Heath Government's "U-turn" and speculated that Thatcher would follow suit, but she repudiated this approach at the 1980 Conservative party conference, telling the party: "To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catch-phrase—the U-turn—I have only one thing to say: you turn if you want to; the Lady's not for turning."Sony VAIO VPCEB19GX Battery

That she meant what she said was confirmed in the 1981 budget, when, despite concerns expressed in an open letter from 364 leading economists, taxes were increased in the middle of a recession, leading to newspaper headlines the following morning of "Howe it Hurts", a reference to the Chancellor Geoffrey Howe.Sony VAIO VPCEB1AFX Battery

In 1981, as unemployment soared and the government's popularity plunged, the party chairman, Lord Thorneycroft, and two cabinet ministers, Lord Carrington and Humphrey Atkins, confronted the prime minister and suggested she should resign; according to her adviser, Tim Bell, "Margaret just told them to go away".Sony VAIO VPCEB1AFX/B Battery

Thatcher's key ally in the party was home secretary and later deputy prime minister William Whitelaw. His moral authority and support allowed her to resist the internal threat from the Heathite wets.

After the 1981 Brixton riot, Employment Secretary Norman Tebbit, responding to a suggestion that rioting was caused by unemployment, Sony VAIO VPCEB1AGX Battery

observed that the unemployment of the 1930s was far worse than that of the 1980s—and that his father's generation never reacted by rioting. 'I grew up in the 1930s with an unemployed father,' Tebbit said. 'He did not riot. He got on his bike and looked for work, and he went on looking until he found it.'Sony VAIO VPCEB1AGX/BI Battery

Over two million manufacturing jobs were ultimately lost in the recession of 1979-81.This labour-shedding helped firms deal with long-standing X-inefficiency from over-manning, enabling the British economy to catch up to the productivity levels of other advanced capitalist countries.Sony VAIO VPCEB1BGX Battery

The link between the money supply and inflation was proven accurate and by January 1982, the inflation rate had dropped back to 8.6% from earlier highs of 18%. Interest rates were then allowed to fall. Unemployment continued to rise, reaching an official figure of 3.6 million—although the criteria for defining who was unemployed were amended allowing some to estimate that unemployment in fact hit 5 million.Sony VAIO VPCEB1BGX/BI Battery

However, Tebbit later suggested that, due to the high number of people claiming unemployment benefit while working, unemployment never reached three million.

By 1983, manufacturing output had dropped by 30% from 1978. The productivity turnaround from labour-shedding proved to be a one-off, and was not matched by growth in output.Sony VAIO VPCEB1CGX Battery

The industrial base was so reduced that thereafter the balance of payments in manufactured goods was in deficit. In 1983 Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson told the House of Lords Select Committee on Overseas Trade:

There is no adamantine law that says we have to produce as much in the way of manufactures as we consume. Sony VAIO VPCEB1CGX/BI Battery

If it does turn out that we are relatively more efficient in world terms at providing services than at producing goods, then our national interest lies in a surplus on services and a deficit on goods

Iranian embassy siege

Thatcher's determination to face down political violence was first demonstrated during the 1980 siege of the Iranian embassy in Princes Gate, Sony VAIO VPCEB1DGX Battery

London, when for the first time in 70 years the armed forces were authorised to use lethal force on the British mainland. 26 hostages were held by six gunmen for six days in May, until the siege came to a dramatic end with a successful raid by SAScommandos. Sony VAIO VPCEB1DGX/BI Battery

Later that day, 'Thatcher went to congratulate the SAS men involved and sat among them watching a re-run of the attack'. The breaking of the siege by the SAS was later celebrated by the public as one of television's greatest moments.

The appearance of decisiveness—christened the 'resolute approach' by the prime minister herself—became Thatcher's trademark, and a source of her popularity.Sony VAIO VPCEB1EGX Battery

In the words of one historian: 'The mood reflected Mrs Thatcher's Iron Lady stance, her proclaimed intention of laying the "Suez Syndrome" to rest and again projecting Britain as a great power. Celebration of the SAS was a key component in the popular militarism of the 1980s, fuelled by the continuing "war" against international terrorism and by the Falklands conflict and Gulf War.Sony VAIO VPCEB1EGX/BI Battery

The storming of the Iranian Embassy had shown that Britain could meet terror with counter-terror: Mrs Thatcher's black-clad "terminators" would protect us.'

Commenting on the SAS's action, social services secretary Norman Fowler agreed: 'Mrs. Sony VAIO VPCEB1FGX Battery

Thatcher attracted public support because she seemed to be taking action which the public overwhelmingly thought was right but never thought any government would have the nerve to carry out.’

Northern Ireland

In May 1980, one day before Thatcher was due to meet the Irish Taoiseach, Charles Haughey, to discuss Northern Ireland, Sony VAIO VPCEB1FGX/BI Battery

she announced in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom that "the future of the constitutional affairs of Northern Ireland is a matter for the people of Northern Ireland, this government, this parliament, and no-one else."

In 1981, a number of Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) and Irish National Liberation Army prisoners in Northern Ireland's Maze Prison Sony VAIO VPCEB1GGX Battery

(known in Northern Ireland as 'Long Kesh', its previous official name) went on hunger strike to regain the status of political prisoners, which had been revoked five years earlier under the preceding Labour government. Bobby Sands, the first of the strikers, was elected as a Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of Fermanagh and South Tyrone a few weeks before he died.Sony VAIO VPCEB1GGX/BI Battery

Thatcher refused to countenance a return to political status for republican prisoners, famously declaring, 'Crime is crime is crime; it is not political.'After nine more men had starved themselves to death and the strike had ended, some rights were restored to paramilitary prisoners, but official recognition of their political status was not granted.Sony VAIO VPCEB1HGX Battery

Thatcher later asserted, 'The outcome was a significant defeat for the IRA.'

Thatcher also continued the policy of 'Ulsterisation' of the previous Labour government and its Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Roy Mason, believing that the Unionists of Northern Ireland should be at the forefront in combating Irish republicanism.Sony VAIO VPCEB1HGX/BI Battery

This meant relieving the burden on the mainstream British army and elevating the role of the Ulster Defence Regiment and the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

The Falklands

On 2 April 1982, a ruling military junta in Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, a British overseas territory that Argentina had claimed since an 1810 dispute on the British settlement.Sony VAIO VPCEB1JFX Battery

The following day, Thatcher sent a naval task force to back diplomatic efforts with the threat of the use of force, and if negotiations failed, to recapture the islands and eject the invaders. The conflict escalated from there, evolving into an amphibious and ground combat operation. Sony VAIO VPCEB1JFX/B Battery

An opinion poll published prior to the British landing showed 70% support for military action. Argentina surrendered on 14 June and the operation was deemed a success, despite 258 British casualties. Victory brought a wave of patriotic enthusiasm and increased support for the Thatcher government, with Newsweek declaring "The Empire Strikes Back".Sony VAIO VPCEB1JFX/G Battery

One poll suggested that 84% of the electorate approved of the prime minister's handling of the crisis.

1983 General election

The 'Falklands Factor', along the resumption of economic growth by the end of 1982, bolstered the government's popularity. Sony VAIO VPCEB1JFX/L Battery

The Labour party at this time had split, and there was a new challenge in theSDP-Liberal Alliance, formed by an electoral pact between the Social Democratic Party and the Liberal Party. However, this grouping failed to make its intended breakthrough, despite briefly holding an opinion poll lead.Sony VAIO VPCEB1JFX/P Battery

In the June 1983 general election, the Conservatives won 42.4% of the vote, the Labour party 27.6% and the Alliance 25.4% of the vote (though the gap between Labour and the Alliance was narrow in terms of votes, the Alliance attained only a fraction of the seats that Labour held).Sony VAIO VPCEB1JFX/W Battery

Although the Conservatives' share of the vote had fallen slightly (1.5%) since 1979, Labour's vote had fallen by far more (9.3%) and in Britain's first past the post system, the Conservatives won alandslide victory. Under Margaret Thatcher, the Conservatives now had an overall majority of 144 MPs.Sony VAIO VPCEB1KGX Battery

Industrial relations

Thatcher was committed to reducing the power of the trades unions but, unlike the Heath government, adopted a strategy of incremental change rather than a single Act. Several unions launchedstrikes in response, but these actions eventually collapsed. Gradually, Thatcher's reforms reduced the power and influence of the unions. Sony VAIO VPCEB1KGX/B Battery

The changes were chiefly focused upon preventing the recurrence of the large-scale industrial actions of the 1970s, but were also intended to ensure that the consequences for the participants would be severe if any future action was taken. The reforms were also aimed, Thatcher claimed, to democratise the unions, and return power to the members.Sony VAIO VPCEB1KGX/W Battery

The most significant measures were to make secondary industrial action illegal, to force union leadership to first win a ballot of the union membership before calling a strike, and to abolish the closed shop. Further laws banned workplace ballots and imposed postal ballots.Sony VAIO VPCEB1LFX Battery

Miners' strike

The National Coal Board received the largest amount of public subsidies going to any nationalised industry: by 1984 the annual cost to taxpayers of uneconomic pits had reached £1 billion. The year-long confrontation over strikes carried out from April 1984 by the National Union of Mineworkers(NUM),Sony VAIO VPCEB1LFX/BI Battery

in opposition to proposals to close a large number of unprofitable mines, proved decisive. The government had made preparations to counter a strike by the NUM long in advance by building up coal stocks, ensuring that cuts in the electricity supply—the legacy of the industrial disputes of 1972—would not be repeated.Sony VAIO VPCEB1LFX/WI Battery

Police tactics during the strikes came under criticism from civil libertarians, but the images of crowds of militant miners attempting to prevent other miners from working proved a shock even to some supporters of the strikes. The mounting desperation and poverty of the striking families led to divisions within the regional NUM branches,Sony VAIO VPCEB1MFX Battery

and a breakaway union, the Union of Democratic Mineworkers (UDM), was soon formed. A group of workers, resigned to the impending failure of the actions and worn down by months of protests, began to defy the Union's rulings, starting splinter groups and advising workers that returning to work was the only viable option.Sony VAIO VPCEB1MFX/BI Battery

The miners' strike lasted a full year before the NUM leadership conceded without a deal. Conservative governments proceeded to close all but 15 of the country's pits, with the remaining 15 being sold off and privatised in 1994. Private companies have since then acquired licences to open new pits and open-cast sites, with the majority of the original mines destroyed and the land redeveloped.Sony VAIO VPCEB1NFX Battery

The defeat of the miners' strike led to a long period of demoralisation in the whole of the trade union movement. Nigel Lawson, then chancellor of the exchequer, later recalled:

The miners' strike was the central political event of the second Thatcher Administration. Sony VAIO VPCEB1NFX/B Battery

Just as the victory in the Falklands War exorcized the humiliation of Suez, so the eventual defeat of the NUM etched in the public mind the end of militant trade unionism which had wrecked the economy and twice played a major part in driving elected governments from office.Sony VAIO VPCEB1NFX/L Battery


The Thatcher government opposed the apartheid policy of the white-minority government of South Africa, but resisted international pressure to impose economic sanctions on the former colony, where the United Kingdom was the biggest foreign investor and principal trading partner.Sony VAIO VPCEB1NFX/P Battery

At the end of March 1984, four South Africans were arrested in Coventry, remanded in custody, and charged with contravening the UN arms embargo, which prohibited exports to South Africa of military equipment. Thatcher took a personal interest in the Coventry Four, Sony VAIO VPCEB1NFX/W Battery

and 10 Downing Street requested daily summaries of the case from the prosecuting authority, HM Customs and Excise. Within a month, the Coventry Four had been freed from jail and allowed to travel to South Africa, on condition that they returned to England for their trial later that year. Sony VAIO VPCEB1PFX Battery

However in August 1984 South African foreign minister Pik Botha decided not to allow the Coventry Four to return to stand trial, forfeiting £200,000 bail money put up by the South African embassy in London.

In April 1984, Thatcher sent senior British diplomat, Sir John Leahy, to negotiate the release of 16 Britons who had been taken hostage by the Angolan rebel leader, Jonas Savimbi. Sony VAIO VPCEB1PFX/B Battery

At the time, Savimbi's UNITA guerrilla movement was financed and supported militarily by the apartheid regime of South Africa. On April 26, 1984 Leahy succeeded in securing the release of the British hostages at the UNITA base in Jamba, Angola.

In June 1984 Thatcher received a visit from P. W. Botha, the first South African premier to come to Britain since his nation had left the Commonwealth in 1961.Sony VAIO VPCEB1QGX Battery

The leader of the oppositioncondemned the visit as a 'diplomatic coup' for the South African government, and Labour MEP Barbara Castle rallied European Socialists in an unsuccessful attempt to stop it. In talks atChequers Thatcher told Botha the policy of racial separation was 'unacceptable'.Sony VAIO VPCEB1QGX/BI Battery

She urged him to free jailed black leader Nelson Mandela; to halt the harassment of black dissidents; to stop the bombing of African National Congress (ANC) guerrilla bases in front-line states; and to comply with UN Security Council resolutions and withdraw from Namibia.Sony VAIO VPCEB1RGX Battery

Thatcher defended Botha's visit as an encouragement to reform, but he ignored her concern over Mandela's continued detainment,  and although a new constitution brought coloured people of mixed race and Indians into a tricameral assembly, 22 million blacks continued to be excluded from the representation.Sony VAIO VPCEB1RGX/BI Battery

After the outbreak of violence in September 1984, Thatcher granted temporary sanctuary to six African anti-apartheid leaders in the British consulate in Durban.

In July 1985 Thatcher, citing the support of Helen Suzman, a South African anti-apartheid MP, Sony VAIO VPCEB20 Battery

reaffirmed her belief that economic sanctions against Pretoria would be immoral because they would make thousands of black workers unemployed; instead she characterised industry as the instrument that was breaking down apartheid. She also believed sanctions would disproportionately injure Britain  and neighbouring African countries,Sony VAIO VPCEC20 Battery

and argued that political and military measures were more effective.

Thatcher's opposition to economic sanctions was challenged by visiting anti-apartheid activists, including South African bishop Desmond Tutu, whom she met in London, and Oliver Tambo, exiled leader of the outlawed ANC guerrilla movement,Sony VAIO VPCEE20 Battery

whose links to the Soviet bloc she viewed with suspicion, and whom she declined to see because he espoused violence and refused to condemn guerrilla attacks and mob killings of black policemen, local officials and their families.

At a Commonwealth summit in Nassau in October 1985 Thatcher agreed to impose limited sanctions and to set up a contact group to promote a dialogue with Pretoria,Sony VAIO VPCEF20 Battery

after she was warned byThird World leaders, including Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, that her opposition threatened to break up the 49-nation organisation. In return, calls for a total embargo were abandoned, and the existing restrictions adopted by member states against South Africa were lifted.Sony VAIO VPCF112FX/B Battery

ANC president Tambo expressed disappointment at this major compromise.

Brighton bombing

On the early morning of 12 October 1984, the day before her 59th birthday, Thatcher escaped injury in the Brighton hotel bombing during the Conservative Party Conference when her hotel room was bombed by the Provisional Irish Republican Army. Sony VAIO VPCF115FG/B Battery

Five people died in the attack, including Roberta Wakeham, wife of the government's Chief Whip John Wakeham, and the Conservative MP Sir Anthony Berry. A prominent member of the Cabinet, Norman Tebbit, was injured, and his wife Margaret was left paralysed.Sony VAIO VPCF116FGBI Battery

Thatcher herself would have been injured if not for the fact that she was delayed from using the bathroom (which suffered more damage than the room she was in at the time the IRA bomb detonated). Thatcher insisted that the conference open on time the next day and made her speech as planned in defiance of the bombers, Sony VAIO VPCF117FJ/W Battery

a gesture which won widespread approval across the political spectrum.

Anglo-Irish Agreement

On 15 November 1985, Thatcher signed the Hillsborough Anglo-Irish Agreement with Irish Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald, the first time a British government gave the Republic of Ireland a say (albeit advisory) in the governance of Northern Ireland. The agreement was greeted with fury by Northern Irish unionists.Sony VAIO VPCF117HG/BI Battery

The Ulster Unionists and Democratic Unionists made an electoral pact and on 23 January 1986, staged an ad-hoc referendum by resigning their seats and contesting the subsequent by-elections, losing only one, to the nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). Sony VAIO VPCF118FJ/W Battery

However, unlike the Sunningdale Agreement of 1974, they found they could not bring the agreement down by a general strike. This was another effect of the changed balance of power in industrial relations.


Thatcher's political and economic philosophy emphasised reduced state intervention, free markets, and entrepreneurialism. Sony VAIO VPCF119FC Battery

Since gaining power, she had experimented in selling off a small nationalised company, the National Freight Company, to its workers, with a surprisingly positive response. After the 1983 election, the Government became bolder and, starting with British Telecom, sold off most of the large utilities which had been in public ownership since the late 1940s.Sony VAIO VPCF119FC/BI Battery

Many people took advantage of share offers, although many sold their shares immediately for a quick profit and therefore the proportion of shares held by individuals rather than institutions did not increase. The policy of privatisation, while anathema to many on the left, has become synonymous with Thatcherismand was also followed by Tony Blair's government.Sony VAIO VPCF119FJ/BI Battery

Wider share-ownership and council house sales became known as "popular capitalism" to its supporters (a term coined by John Redwood). One critic on the left described privatisation as 'the biggest electoral bribe in history'.

Cold War

In the Cold War, Thatcher supported United States President Ronald Reagan's policies of deterrence against the Soviets.Sony VAIO VPCF11AFJ Battery

This contrasted with the policy ofdétente which the West had pursued during the 1970s, and caused friction with allies who still adhered to the idea of détente. U.S. forces were permitted by Thatcher to station nuclear cruise missiles at British bases, arousing mass protests by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Sony VAIO VPCF11AGJ Battery

However, she later was the first Western leader to respond warmly to the rise of the future reformist Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, declaring that she liked him and describing him as "a man we can do business with" after a meeting in 1984, three months before he came to power. Sony VAIO VPCF11AHJ Battery

This was a start of a move by the West back to a new détente with the USSR under Gorbachev's leadership, which coincided with the final erosion of Soviet power prior to its eventual collapse in 1991. Thatcher outlasted the Cold War, which ended in 1989, and those who share her views on it credit her with a part in the West's victory, by both the deterrence and détente postures.Sony VAIO VPCF11JFX/B Battery

The West won the Cold War 'without firing a shot', Thatcher said, because the Soviet Union would not risk confrontation with its armed forces.

Domestic criticism

In February 1985, in what was generally viewed as a significant snub from the centre of the British establishment, the University of Oxford voted to refuse Thatcher an honorary degree in protest against her cuts in funding for higher education.Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E Battery

This award had previously been given to all prime ministers since the Second World War. Although the government's counter-claim of increased expenditure was also challenged, the decision of the Oxford dons was widely condemned as 'petty and vindictive'.Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E/H Battery

The Chancellor of the university, Lord Stockton, noted that the decision represented a break with tradition, and predicted that the snub would rebound on the university.

In December 1985 Thatcher was criticised from another former Tory bastion when the Church of England report Faith in the City blamed decay of the inner cities on the government's financial stringency and called for a redistribution of wealth.Sony VAIO VPCF11MFX/B Battery

However the government had already introduced special employment and training measures, and ministers dismissed the report as 'muddle-headed' and uncosted.The breach with the Church and its liberal bishops remained unhealed until William Hague called for renewed co-operation in 1998.Sony VAIO VPCF11S1E Battery

Soon after, Thatcher suffered her government's only defeat in the House of Commons, with the failure of the Shops Bill 1986. The bill, which would have legalised Sunday shopping, was defeated by aChristian right backbench rebellion, with 72 Conservatives voting against the government bill.Sony VAIO VPCF11S1E/B Battery

As well as Thatcher's only defeat, it was the last occasion on which a government bill fell at second reading. The defeat was immediately overshadowed by the US intervention in Libya.

Bombing of Libya

In the aftermath of a series of terrorist attacks on U.S. military personnel in Europe, which were believed to have been executed at Colonel Qaddafi's command, President Reagan decided to carry out a bombing raid on Libya. Sony VAIO VPCF11Z1E Battery

Both France and Spain refused to allow U.S. aircraft to fly over their territory for the raid. Thatcher herself had earlier expressed opposition to "retaliatory strikes that are against international law" and had not followed the U.S. in an embargo of Libyan oil.Sony VAIO VPCF11Z1E/BI Battery

However Thatcher felt that as the U.S. had given support to Britain during the Falklands War but she had opposed the U.S.invasion of Grenada and that America was a major ally against a possible Soviet attack in Western Europe, she felt obliged to allow U.S. aircraft to use bases situated in Britain.Sony VAIO VPCF11ZHJ Battery

Later that year in America, President Reagan persuaded Congress to approve of an extradition treaty which closed a legal loophole by which IRA members/Volunteers escaped extradition by claiming their murders were "political". This had been previously opposed by Irish-Americans for years but was passed after Reagan used Thatcher's support in the Libyan raid as a reason to pass it.Sony VAIO VPCF127HGBI Battery

Westland affair

Thatcher's preference for defence ties with the United States was demonstrated in the Westland affair when she acted with colleagues to allow the helicopter manufacturer Westland, a vital defence contractor, to refuse to link with the Italian firm Agusta in order for it to link with the management's preferred option, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation of the United States.Sony VAIO VPCF137HG/BI Battery

Defence Secretary Michael Heseltine, who had pushed the Agusta deal, resigned in protest after this, and remained an influential critic and potential leadership challenger. He would eventually prove instrumental in Thatcher's fall in 1990.

Local government

In April 1986 the Thatcher government, enacting a policy set out in its 1983 manifesto, abolished the Greater London Council (GLC) and six top-tier Metropolitan County Councils (MCCs):Sony VAIO VPC-P111KX/B Battery

Greater Manchester, Merseyside (including Liverpool), South Yorkshire (including Sheffield), Tyne and Wear (including Newcastle and Sunderland), West Midlands (including Birmingham and Coventry), andWest Yorkshire (including Leeds).Sony VAIO VPC-P111KX/D Battery

The GLC was the biggest council in Europe; under the leadership of the Labour socialist radical Ken Livingstone it had doubled its spending in three years, and Thatcher insisted on its abolition as an efficiency measure, transferring most duties to the boroughs, with veto power over major building, engineering and maintenance projects being given to the environment secretary.Sony VAIO VPC-P111KX/G Battery

The government also argued that the transfer of power to local councils would increase electoral accountability.

Critics contended that 'the excesses of a few "loony left" councils helped Mrs Thatcher to launch a party-political assault',as all the eliminated councils were controlled by the Labour party, favoured higher local government taxes and public spending, and were vocal centres of opposition to her government. Sony VAIO VPC-P111KX/P Battery

The GLC also warned that the break-up of the county councils would lead to the creation of 'endless joint committees and over 60 quangos'.

Several of the councils including the GLC had however rendered themselves vulnerable by committing scarce public funds to controversial causes such as Babies Against the Bomb,Sony VAIO VPC-P111KX/W Battery

the Antiracist Year, and lesbian mothers seeking custody of their children; the Save the GLC campaign itself was estimated to have cost ratepayers £10 million, climaxing in a final defiant week of festivities that cost ratepayers £500,000.

Hong Kong

In 1984 Thatcher visited China and signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration with Deng Xiaoping on 19 December,Sony VAIO VPC-P112KX/B Battery

which committed the People's Republic of China to award Hong Kong the status of a "Special Administrative Region". Under the terms of the One Country, Two Systems agreement, China was obliged to leave Hong Kong's economic status unchanged after the handover on 1 July 1997 for a period of fifty years – until 2047.Sony VAIO VPC-P112KX/D Battery

European rebate

At the Dublin European Council in November 1979, Thatcher argued that the United Kingdom paid far more to the European Economic Community (EEC) than it received in spending. She famously declared at the summit: "We are not asking the Community or anyone else for money. We are simply asking to have our own money back". Sony VAIO VPC-P112KX/G Battery

Her arguments were successful and at the June 1984 Fontainbleau Summit, the EEC agreed on an annual rebate for the United Kingdom, amounting to 66% of the difference between Britain's EU contributions and receipts. This still remains in effect, although Tony Blair later agreed to significantly reduce the size of the rebate.Sony VAIO VPC-P112KX/P Battery

It periodically causes political controversy among the members of the European Union.

Lawson boom, 1984-8

During the 1980s there was a great improvement in the United Kingdom's productivity growth relative to other advanced capitalist countries.Sony VAIO VPC-P112KX/W Battery

Nigel Lawson, Chancellor of the Exchequer, identified inflation as 'the judge and jury of a government's record', but while the country also improved its OECD inflation ranking from fifteenth in 1979 to tenth in the so-called 'Lawson boom' year of 1987, when inflation had fallen to 4.2%, in the decade as a whole the country still had the second highest inflation rate of the G7 countries.Sony VAIO VPCP113KX/B Battery

The United Kingdom's growth rate was more impressive, ranking first in the OECD-16 in 1987, a statistical achievement that the Thatcher government exploited to the full in the general election campaign of that year. However, the balance of payments record had deteriorated, faring even worse than those of non-oil-exporting countries,Sony VAIO VPC-P113KX/B Battery

and there was a decline in the country's relative standing in terms of unemployment. The resulting welfare payments meant that, even though the Thatcher government in 1979 had taken the view that 'public expenditure is at the heart of Britain's present economic difficulties', Sony VAIO VPCP113KX/D Battery

it was not until the boom year of 1987 that the expenditure ratio fell below the 1979 level, and for most of the 1980s the average tax take was actually higher than in 197


1987 General election

By leading her party to victory in the 1987 general election with a 102 seat majority, riding the Lawson boom against a weak Labour opposition advocating unilateral nuclear disarmament, Sony VAIO VPC-P113KX/D Battery

Margaret Thatcher became the longest continuously serving British prime minister since Lord Liverpool (1812 to 1827), and the first to win three successive elections since Lord Palmerston in 1865. Mostnational newspapers supported her—with the exception of The Daily Mirror, The Guardian and The Independent—and were rewarded with regular press briefings by her press secretary, Sony VAIO VPCP113KX/G Battery

Bernard Ingham. She was informally dubbed 'Maggie' by the tabloids, and political protesters were given to chanting the slogan 'Maggie Out!' Despite her third straight victory she remained a polarising figure, her unpopularity on the left is evident from the lyrics of several contemporary pop-music songs.Sony VAIO VPC-P113KX/G Battery

Boom to bust

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nigel Lawson, overreacted to a market fall with his reflationary 1988 budget, stoking inflation and precipitating a slide in the government's fortunes. By the time of Thatcher's resignation in 1990, inflation had again hit 10%, the same level she had found it in 1979.Sony VAIO VPCP113KX/P Battery

Overall, the Thatcher government's economic record is disputed. In relative terms, it could be held there was a modest revival of British fortunes. Real gross domestic product had grown by 26.8% over 1979-89 in the United Kingdom as against 24.3% for the EC-12 average.Sony VAIO VPC-P113KX/P Battery

Measured by total factor productivity, labour, and capital, British productivity growth between 1979 and 1993 compared favourably with the OECD average.

However under Thatcherite management the macro-economy was unstable, even by the standards of the Keynesian era of stop-go.Sony VAIO VPCP113KX/W Battery

The amplitude of fluctuations in gross domestic product and real gross private non-residential fixed capital formation was greater in the United Kingdom than for the OECD.

In the Thatcher years the top 10% of earners received almost 50% of the tax remissions, but there proved to be no simple trade-off between equality and efficiency.Sony VAIO VPC-P113KX/W Battery

The receipts ratio did not fall below the 1979 level until 1992. The expenditure ratio rose again after Thatcher's resignation in 1990, even climbing for a time above the 1979 figure. The cause was the heavy budget charge of the recessions of 1979-81 and 1990–92 and the extra funding required to meet the higher level of unemployment.Sony VAIO VPC-P114KX/B Battery

Section 28

Though an early backer of decriminalisation of male homosexuality, Thatcher, at the 1987 Conservative party conference, issued the statement that "Children who need to be taught to respect traditional moral values are being taught that they have an inalienable right to be gay". Sony VAIO VPC-P114KX/D Battery

Backbench Conservative MPs and Peers had already begun a backlash against the 'promotion' of homosexuality and, in December 1987, the controversial 'Section 28' was added as an amendment to what became the Local Government Act 1988. This legislation was repealed by Tony Blair's Labour administration between 2000 and 2003.Sony VAIO VPC-P114KX/G Battery

Welfare reforms

Welfare reforms in her third term created an adult Employment Training system that included full-time work done for the dole plus a £10 top-up, on the workfare model from the United States.Sony VAIO VPC-P114KX/P Battery


Thatcher, the former chemist, became publicly concerned with environmental issues in the late 1980s. In 1988, she made a major speech accepting the problems of global warming, ozone depletionand acid rain. In 1990, she opened the Hadley Centre for climate prediction and research.Sony VAIO VPC-P114KX/W Battery

In her book Statecraft (2002), she described her later regret in supporting the concept of human-induced global warming, outlining the negative effects she perceived it had upon the policy-making process. "Whatever international action we agree upon to deal with environmental problems, Sony VAIO VPCP115JC Battery

we must enable our economies to grow and develop, because without growth you cannot generate the wealth required to pay for the protection of the environment" .

European integration

At Bruges, Belgium, in 1988, Thatcher made a speech in which she outlined her opposition to proposals from the European Community for a federal structure and increasing centralisation of decision-making.Sony VAIO VPCP115JC/B Battery

Although she had supported British membership, Thatcher believed that the role of the EC should be limited to ensuring free trade and effective competition, and feared that new EC regulations would reverse the changes she was making in the UK: "We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, Sony VAIO VPCP115JC/D Battery

only to see them re-imposed at a European level, with a European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels". She was specifically against Economic and Monetary Union, through which a single currency would replace national currencies, and for which the EC was making preparations, Sony VAIO VPCP115JC/G Battery

now known as the euro and in force as legal tender since 2002 in twelve European countries. Britain has so far remained outside the so-called eurozone. The speech caused an outcry from other European leaders, and exposed for the first time the deep split that was emerging over European policy inside her Conservative Party.Sony VAIO VPCP115JC/P Battery

Thatcher's popularity once again declined, in 1989, as the economy suffered from high interest rates imposed to temper a potentially unsustainable boom. She blamed her Chancellor, Nigel Lawson, who had been following an economic policy which was a preparation for monetary union; Sony VAIO VPCP115JC/W Battery

in an interview for the Financial Times, in November 1987, Thatcher claimed not to have been told of this and did not approve.

At a meeting before the Madrid European Community summit in June 1989, Lawson and Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe forced Thatcher to agree to the circumstances under which she would join theExchange Rate Mechanism, a preparation for monetary union and the abolishment of the Pound Sterling. Sony VAIO VPCP115KG Battery

At the meeting, they both claimed they would resign if their demands were not met.[85]Thatcher responded by demoting Howe and by listening more to her adviser Sir Alan Walters on economic matters. Lawson resigned that October, feeling that Thatcher had undermined him.Sony VAIO VPCP116KG Battery

Leadership election, 1989

In November 1989 Thatcher was challenged for the leadership of the Conservative Party by Sir Anthony Meyer. As Meyer was a virtually unknown backbench MP, he was viewed as a "stalking horse" candidate for more prominent members of the party. Sony VAIO VPC-P116KX/B Battery

Thatcher easily defeated Meyer's challenge, but there were sixty ballot papers either cast for Meyer or abstaining, a surprisingly large number for a sitting Prime Minister. Her supporters in the Party, however, viewed the results as a success, claiming that after ten years as Prime Minister and with approximately 370 Conservative MPs voting, the opposition was surprisingly small.Sony VAIO VPC-P116KX/D Battery

Release of Mandela

Thatcher continued to be the leading international advocate of a policy of contact with South Africa, and the most forthright opponent of economic sanctions against the country, which was ruled by a white minority government.Sony VAIO VPC-P116KX/G Battery

Her stand had divided the Commonwealth 48-1 at three conferences since 1985, but had brought her influence in South Africa's white community. Rejecting the U.S. policy of disinvestment as a mistake, she argued a prosperous society would be more receptive to change.Sony VAIO VPC-P116KX/P Battery

In October 1988 Thatcher said she would be unlikely to visit South Africa unless black nationalist leader Nelson Mandela was released from prison,and in March 1989 she stressed the need to release him in order for multi-party talks to take place,Sony VAIO VPC-P116KX/W Battery

urging that the African National Congress's promise to suspend violence should be enough to permit his release, and that the 'renunciation of violence' should not be an absolute condition for negotiations for a settlement. At the end of March 1989, Thatcher’s six-day, 10,000-mile tour through southern Africa—a follow-up to her 'look and learn' exercise in Kenya and Nigeria in 1988—did not include South Africa because Mandela had not yet been released. Sony VAIO VPCP118JC Battery

Thatcher met reformist South African president-in-waiting F.W. de Klerk in London in June 1989, and stressed that Mandela must be freed and reforms put in place before she would visit the country. In July 1989 she called for the release not only of Mandela, but also Walter Sisulu and Oscar Mpetha, before all-group talks could continue.Sony VAIO VPCP118JC/B Battery

Thatcher therefore welcomed de Klerk's decision in February 1990 to release Mandela and lift the ban on the ANC, and said the change vindicated her positive policy: 'We believe in carrots as well as sticks.' However Thatcher had also set the freeing of Mandela as a condition of friendship with the white government.Sony VAIO VPCP118JC/P Battery

Thatcher said the European Community's voluntary ban on new investment should be lifted when Mandela was released. However her call to the world to reward reforms was countered by Mandela himself, who while still in jail argued sanctions must be maintained until the end of white rule, and criticised her decision to lift a ban on new investment unilaterally.Sony VAIO VPCP118JC/W Battery

Mandela declared:We regard the attitude of the British Government on the question of sanctions as of primary importance ... My release from prison was the direct result of the people inside and outside South Africa. It was also the result of the immense pressure exerted on the South African Government by the international community, in particular from the people of the UK.Sony VAIO VPC-P118KX/B Battery

However Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd was adamant: 'We needed to make a practical response to a man, President F.W. de Klerk, who has taken his political life into his hands.' Nevertheless as a gesture of goodwill Thatcher agreed to begin aid to the ANC, which until its suspension of violence she had criticised as 'a typical terrorist organisation',  her disapproval reinforced by her anti-socialism.Sony VAIO VPC-P118KX/D Battery

Mandela spoke of his respect for Thatcher, even expressing disappointment that she would not be 'the very first person I would see' on release from prison. However Thatcher’s opposition to sanctions left her isolated within the Commonwealth and the European Community, and Mandela did not take up an early offer to meet her, opposing her proposed visit to his country as premature.Sony VAIO VPC-P118KX/G Battery

Mandela rejected all concessions to the South African government, which he accused of seeking the easing of sanctions before it had offered 'profound and irreversible change'.

Mandela delayed meeting Thatcher until he had gathered support for sanctions from other world leaders in the course of a four-week, 14-nation tour of Europe and the United States.Sony VAIO VPC-P118KX/P Battery

While Thatcher and Mandela agreed about the importance of getting rid of apartheid, their first meeting failed to resolve differences over her unilateral lifting of sanctions and his refusal to renounce armed struggle until existing conditions in South Africa changed.Sony VAIO VPC-P118KX/W Battery

In their economic discussions, Mandela initially favoured nationalisation as a preferred method for redistributing wealth between blacks and whites, but with British investment in South Africa in 1989 accounting for half of the total, and with bilateral trade worth just over $3.2 billion,Sony VAIO VPCP119JC Battery

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Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, LG, OM, PC, FRS (née Roberts; born 13 October 1925) is a former Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom who served from 1979 to 1990.

Born in Grantham, Lincolnshire, Thatcher studied chemistry at Somerville College, Oxford before qualifying as a barrister. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ350N/B Battery

In the 1959 general election she became MP for Finchley. Edward Heath appointed Thatcher Secretary of State for Education and Science in his 1970 government. In 1975 she was elected Leader of the Conservative Party, the first woman to head a major UK political party, and in 1979 she became the UK's first female Prime Minister.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ350N/N Battery

After entering 10 Downing Street, Thatcher was determined to reverse what she perceived as a precipitous national decline.[nb 1]Her political philosophy and economic policies emphasised deregulation, particularly of the financial sector, flexible labour markets, the sale or closure of state-owned companies, and the withdrawal of subsidies to others. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ350N/P Battery

Thatcher's popularity waned amid recession and high unemployment, until economic recovery and the 1982Falklands War brought a resurgence of support resulting in her re-election in 1983.

Thatcher survived an assassination attempt in 1984, and her hard line against trade unions and tough rhetoric in opposition to the Soviet Union earned her the nickname of the "Iron Lady". Sony VAIO VGN-TZ370N/B Battery

Thatcher was re-elected for a third term in 1987, but her Community Charge was widely unpopular and her views on theEuropean Community were not shared by others in her Cabinet. She resigned as Prime Minister and party leader in November 1990 after Michael Heseltine's challenge to her leadership of the Conservative Party.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ37N/G Battery

Thatcher holds a life peerage as Baroness Thatcher, of Kesteven in the County of Lincolnshire, which entitles her to sit in the House of Lords.

Early life and education

Margaret Roberts was born on 13 October 1925. Her father was Alfred Roberts, originally from Northamptonshire, and her mother was Beatrice Ethel (née Stephenson) from Lincolnshire.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ37N/P Battery

She spent her childhood in Grantham, where her father owned two grocery shops. She and her older sister Muriel were raised in the flat above the larger of the two, located near the railway line. Her father was active in local politics and religion, serving as an alderman and a Methodist lay preacher, and brought up his daughter as a strict Methodist.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ37N/R Battery

He came from a Liberal family but stood – as was then customary in local government – as an Independent. He was Mayor of Grantham in 1945–46 and lost his position as alderman in 1952 after theLabour Party won its first majority on Grantham Council in 1950.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ37N/X Battery

Roberts attended Huntingtower Road Primary School and won a scholarship to Kesteven and Grantham Girls' School.Her school reports showed hard work and continual improvement; her extracurricular activities included the piano, field hockey, poetry recitals, swimming and walking.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ38N/X Battery

She was head girl in 1942–43. In her upper sixth year she applied for a scholarship to study chemistry at Somerville College, Oxford but was initially rejected, and only offered a place after another candidate withdrew.  She arrived at Oxford in 1943 and graduated in 1947 with Second Class Honours in the four-year Chemistry Bachelor of Science degree;Sony VAIO VGN-TZ398U/XC Battery

in her final year she specialised in X-ray crystallography under the supervision of Dorothy Hodgkin.

Roberts became President of the Oxford University Conservative Association in 1946. She was influenced at university by political works such as Friedrich von Hayek's The Road to Serfdom (1944), which condemned economic intervention by government as a precursor to an authoritarian state. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ50B Battery

After graduating, Roberts moved to Colchester in Essex to work as a research chemist for BX Plastics. She joined the local Conservative Association and attended the party conference at Llandudno in 1948, as a representative of the University Graduate Conservative Association.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ90HS Battery

One of her Oxford friends was also a friend of the Chair of the Dartford Conservative Association in Kent, who were looking for candidates. Officials of the association were so impressed by her that they asked her to apply, even though she was not on the Conservative party's approved list: she was selected in January 1951 and added to the approved list post ante.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ90NS Battery

At a dinner following her formal adoption as Conservative candidate for Dartford in February 1951 she met Denis Thatcher, a successful and wealthy divorced businessman, who drove her to her Essex train. In preparation for the election Roberts moved to Dartford, Sony VAIO VGN-TZ90S Battery

where she supported herself by working as a research chemist for J. Lyons and Co. in Hammersmith, part of a team developing emulsifiers for ice cream.

Early political career

In the February 1950 and October 1951 general elections she campaigned for the safe Labour seat of Dartford, where she attracted media attention as the youngest and the only female candidate.Sony VAIO VPC CW2MFX/PU Battery

She lost both times to Norman Dodds, but reduced the Labour majority by 6,000, and then a further 1,000. During the campaigns, she was supported by her parents and by Denis Thatcher, whom she married in December 1951. Denis funded his wife's studies for the bar;Sony VAIO VPC S11V9E/B Battery

she qualified as a barrister in 1953 and specialised in taxation. That same year her twins, Caroland Mark, were born.

Member of Parliament (1959–1970)

Thatcher began looking for a safe Conservative seat in the mid-1950s. She was narrowly rejected as the candidate for Orpington in 1955, but was selected for Finchley in April 1958. Sony VAIO VPCB119GJ/B Battery

She won the seat after a hard campaign in the 1959 election and was elected as a Member of Parliament (MP). Her maiden speech was in support of her private member's bill (Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960), requiring local authorities to hold their council meetings in public. Sony VAIO VPCB11AGJ Battery

In 1961 she went against the Conservative Party's official position by voting for the restoration of birching.

In October 1961, Thatcher was promoted to the front bench as Parliamentary Undersecretary at the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance in Harold Macmillan's administration.Sony VAIO VPCB11AVJ Battery

After the loss of the 1964 election she became Conservative spokesman on Housing and Land, in which position she advocated her party's policy of allowing tenants to buy their council houses.She moved to the Shadow Treasury team in 1966, and as Treasury spokesman opposed Labour's mandatory price and income controls, arguing that they would produce contrary effects to those intended and distort the economy.Sony VAIO VPCB11V9E Battery

At the Conservative Party Conference of 1966 she criticised the high-tax policies of the Labour Government as being steps "not only towards Socialism, but towards Communism". She argued that lower taxes served as an incentive to hard work. Sony VAIO VPCB11X9E Battery

Thatcher was one of the few Conservative MPs to support Leo Abse's Bill to decriminalise male homosexuality and voted in favour of David Steel's Bill to legalise abortion, as well as a ban on hare coursing. She supported the retention of capital punishment[37] and voted against the relaxation of divorce laws.Sony VAIO VPCCW18FJ/P Battery

In 1967, she was selected by the United States Embassy in London to take part in the International Visitor Leadership Program (then called the Foreign Leader Program), a professional exchange programme that gave her the opportunity to spend about six weeks visiting various US cities, political figures, and institutions such as the International Monetary Fund.Sony VAIO VPCCW18FJ/R Battery

Thatcher joined the Shadow Cabinet later that year as Shadow Fuel spokesman. Shortly before the 1970 general election, she was promoted to Shadow Transport, and then to Education.

Education Secretary (1970–1974)

The Conservative party under Edward Heath won the 1970 general election, and Thatcher was appointed Secretary of State for Education and Science. Sony VAIO VPCCW18FJ/W Battery

In her first months in office she attracted public attention as a result of the administration's attempts to cut spending. She gave priority to academic needs in schools, and imposed public expenditure cuts on the state education system, resulting in the abolition of free milk for schoolchildren aged seven to eleven.Sony VAIO VPCCW19FJ/W Battery

She held that few children would suffer if schools were charged for milk, but she agreed to provide younger children with a third of a pint daily, for nutritional purposes. Her decision provoked a storm of protest from the Labour party and the press, and led to the moniker "Margaret Thatcher, Milk Snatcher".Sony VAIO VPCCW1AFJ Battery

Thatcher wrote in her autobiography: "I learned a valuable lesson [from the experience]. I had incurred the maximum of political odium for the minimum of political benefit."

Thatcher's term of office was marked by proposals for more local education authorities to close grammar schools and to adopt comprehensive secondary education.Sony VAIO VPCCW1AHJ Battery

Although she was committed to a tiered secondary modern–grammar school system of education, and determined to preserve grammar schools, during her tenure as Education Secretary she turned down only 326 of 3,612 proposals for schools to become comprehensives; the proportion of pupils attending comprehensives rose from 32% to 62%.Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E Battery

Leader of the Opposition (1975–1979)

The Heath government continued to experience difficulties with oil embargoes and union demands for wage increases in 1973, and was defeated in the February 1974 general election. The Conservative result in the general election of October 1974 was even worse, and Thatcher mounted a challenge for the leadership of the party.Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/B Battery

Promising a fresh start, her main support came from the Conservative 1922 Committee.  She defeated Heath on the first ballot and he resigned the leadership.In the second ballot she defeated Heath's preferred successor, William Whitelaw, and became party leader on 11 February 1975;Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/L Battery

she appointed Whitelaw as her deputy. Heath remained disenchanted with Thatcher to the end of his life for what he, and many of his supporters, perceived as her disloyalty in standing against him.

Thatcher began regularly to attend lunches at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), a think tank founded by the poultry magnate Antony Fisher, a disciple of Friedrich von Hayek; Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/P Battery

she had been visiting the IEA and reading its publications since the early 1960s. There she was influenced by the ideas of Ralph Harris and Arthur Seldon, and she became the face of the ideological movement opposing the welfare state Keynesian economics they believed was weakening Britain. Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/R Battery

The institute's pamphlets proposed less government, lower taxes, and more freedom for business and consumers.

Thatcher began to work on her voice and screen image. The critic Clive James, writing in The Observer in 1977, compared her voice of 1973 to a cat sliding down a blackboard, but acknowledged her intelligence and mental agility.Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/W Battery

On 19 January 1976 Thatcher made a speech in Kensington Town Hall in which she made a scathing attack on the Soviet Union:

The Russians are bent on world dominance, and they are rapidly acquiring the means to become the most powerful imperial nation the world has seen. Sony VAIO VPCCW21FX/B Battery

The men in the Soviet Politburo do not have to worry about the ebb and flow of public opinion. They put guns before butter, while we put just about everything before guns.

In response, the Soviet Defence Ministry newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star) gave her the nickname "Iron Lady". She took delight in the name, and it soon became associated with her image.Sony VAIO VPCCW21FX/L Battery

Despite an economic recovery in the late 1970s, the Labour government faced public unease about the direction of the country and a damaging series of strikes during the winter of 1978–79, popularly dubbed the "Winter of Discontent". The Conservatives attacked the Labour government's unemployment record, using advertising with the slogan Labour Isn't Working. Sony VAIO VPCCW21FX/R Battery

A general election was called after James Callaghan's government lost a motion of no confidence in early 1979. The Conservatives won a 44-seat majority in the House of Commons, and Margaret Thatcher became the UK's first female Prime Minister.Sony VAIO VPCCW21FX/W Battery

Prime Minister (1979–1990)

Thatcher became Prime Minister on 4 May 1979. Arriving at 10 Downing Street, she said, in a paraphrase of the "Prayer of Saint Francis":

Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Sony VAIO VPCCW26EC Battery

Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope.

Domestic affairs

Thatcher was Prime Minister at a time of great racial tension in Britain. Her standing in the polls rose by 11 percent after she said in a TV interview during campaigning for the 1979 election:Sony VAIO VPCCW26FX/B Battery

"The moment a minority threatens to become a big one, people get frightened. The British character has done so much for democracy, for law, that if there is any fear that it might be swamped, people are going to react and be rather hostile to those coming in".Sony VAIO VPCCW28EC Battery

The Conservatives attracted voters from the National Front, whose support almost collapsed.  The Economist noted "The Tory tide swamped the smaller parties, specifically the National Front, which suffered a clear decline". In confidential official documents she objected to the number of Asian immigrants in July 1979,Sony VAIO VPCCW28FJ/P Battery

in the context of limiting the number of Vietnamese boat people allowed to settle in the UK. Her stance on these issues was perceived as part of a rising racist public discourse, which professor Martin Barker called "new racism".

As Prime Minister, Thatcher met weekly with Queen Elizabeth II to discuss government business, and their relationship came under close scrutiny.Sony VAIO VPCCW28FJ/R Battery

In July 1986 the Sunday Times reported claims attributed to the Queen's advisers of a "rift" between Buckingham Palace and Downing Street "over a wide range of domestic and international issues". The Palace issued an official denial, heading off speculation about a possible constitutional crisis.Sony VAIO VPCCW28FJ/W Battery

After Thatcher's retirement a senior Palace source again dismissed as "nonsense" the "stereotyped idea" that she had not got along with the Queen, or that they had fallen out over Thatcherite policies. Thatcher later wrote "... I always found the Queen's attitude towards the work of the Government absolutely correct. Sony VAIO VPCCW29FJ/W Battery

... stories of clashes between 'two powerful women' were just too good not to make up."

Economy and taxation

Thatcher's economic policy was influenced by monetarist thinking and economists such as Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek.Sony VAIO VPCCW2AFJ Battery

Together with Chancellor of the Exchequer Geoffrey Howe, she lowered direct taxes on income and increased indirect taxes. She increased interest rates to slow the growth of the money supply and thereby lower inflation, introduced cash limits on public spending, and reduced expenditures on social services such as education and housing.Sony VAIO VPCCW2AHJ Battery

Her cuts in higher education spending resulted in her being the first Oxford-educated post-war Prime Minister not to be awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Oxford, after a 738 to 319 vote of the governing assembly and a student petition.Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E Battery

Her new centrally-funded City Technology Colleges did not enjoy much success, and the Funding Agency for Schools was set up to control expenditure by opening and closing schools; the Social Market Foundation, a right-wing think tank, described it as having "an extraordinary range of dictatorial powers".Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E/B Battery

Some Heathite Conservatives in the Cabinet, the so-called "wets", expressed doubt over Thatcher's policies. The 1981 riots in England resulted in the British media discussing the need for a policy U-turn. At the 1980 Conservative Party conference, Thatcher addressed the issue directly,Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E/L Battery

with a speech written by the playwright Ronald Millar  that included the lines: "You turn if you want to. The lady's not for turning!"

Thatcher's job approval rating fell to 23% by December 1980, lower than recorded for any previous Prime Minister. As the recession of the early 1980s deepened she increased taxes,Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E/P Battery

despite concerns expressed in a statement signed by 364 leading economists issued towards the end of March 1981.

By 1982 the UK began to experience signs of economic recovery;  inflation was down to 8.6% from a high of 18%, but unemployment was over 3 million for the first time since the 1930s.Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E/R Battery

By 1983 overall economic growth was stronger and inflation and mortgage rates were at their lowest levels since 1970, although manufacturing output had dropped by 30% since 1978  and unemployment remained high, peaking at 3.3 million in 1984.

However, by 1987, unemployment was falling, the economy was stable and strong, and inflation was low. Sony VAIO VPCCW2S5C CN1 Battery

Opinion polls showed a comfortable Conservative lead, and local council election results had also been successful, prompting Thatcher to call a general election for 11 June that year, despite the deadline for an election still being 12 months away. The election saw Thatcher re-elected for a third successive term.Sony VAIO VPCF112FX/B Battery

Throughout the 1980s revenue from the 90% tax on North Sea oil extraction was used as a short-term funding source to balance the economy and pay the costs of reform.

Thatcher reformed local government taxes by replacing domestic rates—a tax based on the nominal rental value of a home—with the Community Charge (or poll tax) in which the same amount was charged to each adult resident.Sony VAIO VPCF115FG/B Battery

The new tax was introduced in Scotland in 1989 and in England and Wales the following year, and proved to be among the most unpopular policies of her premiership. Public disquiet culminated in a 70,000-strong demonstration in London on 31 March 1990;Sony VAIO VPCF116FGBI Battery

the demonstration around Trafalgar Square deteriorated into the Poll Tax Riots, leaving 113 people injured and 340 under arrest. The Community Charge was abolished by her successor, John Major.

Foreign affairs

Thatcher took office in the final decade of the Cold War and became closely aligned with the policies of United States President Ronald Reagan,Sony VAIO VPCF117FJ/W Battery

based on their mutual distrust of Communism,  although she strongly opposed Reagan's October 1983 invasion of Grenada. During her first year as Prime Minister she supported NATO's decision to deploy US nuclear cruise and Pershing missiles in Western Europe,Sony VAIO VPCF117HG/BI Battery

and permitted the US to station more than 160 cruise missiles at RAF Greenham Common, starting on 14 November 1983 and triggering mass protests by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. She bought the Trident nuclear missile submarine system from the US to replace Polaris, tripling the UK's nuclear forces at an eventual cost of more than £12 billion (at 1996–97 prices).Sony VAIO VPCF118FJ/W Battery

Thatcher's preference for defence ties with the US was demonstrated in the Westland affair of January 1986, when she acted with colleagues to allow the struggling helicopter manufacturer Westland to refuse a takeover offer from the Italian firm Agusta in favour of the management's preferred option, a link with Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation. Sony VAIO VPCF119FC Battery

The UK Defence Secretary, Michael Heseltine, who had supported the Agusta deal, resigned in protest.

On 2 April 1982 the ruling military junta in Argentina ordered the invasion of the British Falkland Islands and South Georgia, triggering the Falklands War.Sony VAIO VPCF119FC/BI Battery

The subsequent crisis was "a defining moment of her [Thatcher's] premiership". At the suggestion of Harold Macmillan and Robert Armstrong, she set up and chaired a small War Cabinet (formally called ODSA, Overseas and Defence committee, South Atlantic) to take charge of the conduct of the war, which by 5–6 April had authorised and dispatched a naval task force to retake the islands. Sony VAIO VPCF119FJ/BI Battery

Argentina surrendered on 14 June and the operation was hailed a success, notwithstanding the deaths of 255 British servicemen and 3 Falkland Islanders. Argentinian deaths totalled 649, half of them after the nuclear-powered submarine HMS Conqueror torpedoed and sank the cruiser ARA General Belgrano on 2 May.Sony VAIO VPCF11AFJ Battery

Thatcher was criticised for the neglect of the Falklands' defence that led to the war, and notably by Tam Dalyell in parliament for the decision to sink the Belgrano, but overall she was considered a highly talented and committed war leader. The "Falklands factor", an economic recovery beginning early in 1982,Sony VAIO VPCF11AGJ Battery

and a bitterly divided Labour opposition contributed to Thatcher's second election victory in 1983.

The Thatcher government supported the Khmer Rouge keeping their seat in the UN after they were ousted from power in Cambodia by the Cambodian–Vietnamese War.Sony VAIO VPCF11AHJ Battery

Although denying it at the time they also sent the SAS to train the Khmer Rouge alliance to fight against the Vietnamese-backed People's Republic of Kampuchea government.

Thatcher's antipathy towards European integration became more pronounced during her premiership, particularly after her third election victory in 1987. Sony VAIO VPCF11JFX/B Battery

During a 1988 speech in Bruges she outlined her opposition to proposals from the European Community (EC), forerunner of the European Union, for a federal structure and increased centralisation of decision making. She had supported British membership of the EC, Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E Battery

despite believing that the role of the organisation should be limited to ensuring free trade and effective competition, and feared that the EC's approach was at odds with her views on smaller government and deregulation; in 1988, she remarked, "We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E/H Battery

only to see them re-imposed at a European level, with a European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels". Thatcher was firmly opposed to the UK's membership of the Exchange Rate Mechanism, a precursor to European monetary union, believing that it would constrain the British economy,Sony VAIO VPCF11MFX/B Battery

despite the urging of her Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson and Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe,but she was persuaded by John Major to join in October 1990, at what proved to be too high a rate.

In April 1986, Thatcher permitted US F-111s to use Royal Air Force bases for the bombing of Libya in retaliation for the alleged Libyan bombing of a Berlin discothèque, Sony VAIO VPCF11S1E Battery

citing the right of self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter. Polls suggested that less than one in three British citizens approved of Thatcher's decision. She was in the US on a state visit when Iraqi leaderSaddam Hussein invaded neighbouring Kuwait in August 1990.Sony VAIO VPCF11S1E/B Battery

During her talks with US President George H. W. Bush, who had succeeded Reagan in 1989, she recommended intervention, and put pressure on Bush to deploy troops in the Middle East to drive the Iraqi army out of Kuwait. Bush was somewhat apprehensive about the plan, prompting Thatcher to remark to him during a telephone conversation that "This was no time to go wobbly!"Sony VAIO VPCF11Z1E Battery

Thatcher's government provided military forces to the international coalition in the build-up to the Gulf War, but she had resigned by the time hostilities began on 17 January 1991.

Thatcher was one of the first Western leaders to respond warmly to reformist Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.Sony VAIO VPCF11Z1E/BI Battery

Following Reagan–Gorbachev summit meetings and reforms enacted by Gorbachev in the USSR, she declared in November 1988 that "We're not in a Cold War now", but rather in a "new relationship much wider than the Cold War ever was". She went on a state visit to the Soviet Union in 1984, and met with Gorbachev and Nikolai Ryzhkov, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers.Sony VAIO VPCF11ZHJ Battery

Thatcher was initially opposed to German reunification, telling Gorbachev that it "would lead to a change to postwar borders, and we cannot allow that because such a development would undermine the stability of the whole international situation and could endanger our security". Sony VAIO VPCF127HGBI Battery

She expressed concern that a united Germany would align itself more closely with the Soviet Union and move away from NATO. In contrast she was an advocate of Croatian and Slovenian independence. In a 1991 interview for Croatian Radiotelevision, Thatcher commented on the Yugoslav Wars; Sony VAIO VPCF137HG/BI Battery

she was critical of Western governments for not recognising the breakaway republics of Croatia and Slovenia as independent states and supplying them with arms after the Serbian-led Yugoslav Army attacked.

Industrial relations

Thatcher was committed to reducing the power of the trade unions, whose leadership she accused of undermining parliamentary democracy and economic performance through strike action.Sony VAIO VPCS111FM/S Battery

Several unions launched strikes in response to legislation introduced to curb their power, but resistance eventually collapsed. Only 39% of union members voted for Labour in the 1983 general election. According to the BBC, Thatcher "managed to destroy the power of the trade unions for almost a generation".Sony VAIO VPCS115EC Battery

The miners' strike was the biggest confrontation between the unions and the Thatcher government. In March 1984 the National Coal Board (NCB) proposed to close 20 of the 174 state-owned mines and cut 20,000 jobs out of 187,000. Two-thirds of the country's miners, led by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) under Arthur Scargill, downed tools in protest.Sony VAIO VPCS115FG Battery

Thatcher refused to meet the union's demands and compared the miners' dispute to the Falklands conflict two years earlier, declaring in a speech in 1984: "We had to fight the enemy without in the Falklands. We always have to be aware of the enemy within, which is much more difficult to fight and more dangerous to liberty."Sony VAIO VPCS117GG Battery

After a year out on strike, in March 1985, the NUM leadership conceded without a deal. The cost to the economy was estimated to be at least £1.5 billion, and the strike was blamed for much of the pound's fall against the US dollar.The government closed 25 unprofitable coal mines in 1985, and by 1992 a total of 97 had been closed;Sony VAIO VPCS117GGB Battery

those that remained were privatised in 1994. The eventual closure of 150 coal mines, not all of which were losing money, resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs and devastated entire communities. Miners had helped bring down the Heath government, and Thatcher was determined to succeed where he had failed. Sony VAIO VPCS118EC Battery

Her strategy of preparing fuel stocks, appointing a union-busting NCB leader in Ian MacGregor, and ensuring police were adequately trained and equipped with riot gear, contributed to her victory.

The number of stoppages across the UK peaked at 4583 in 1979, when more than 29 million working days were lost. Sony VAIO VPCS119FJ/B Battery

In 1984, the year of the miners' strike, there were 1221, resulting in the loss of more than 27 million working days. Stoppages then fell steadily throughout the rest of Thatcher's premiership; in 1990 there were 630 and fewer than 2 million working days lost, and they continued to fall thereafter.Sony VAIO VPCS119GC Battery

Trade union membership also fell, from 13.5 million in 1979 to less than 10 million by the time Thatcher left office in 1990.


The policy of privatisation has been called "a crucial ingredient of Thatcherism". After the 1983 election the sale of state utilities accelerated;Sony VAIO VPCS11AFJ Battery

more than £29 billion was raised from the sale of nationalised industries, and another £18 billion from the sale of council houses.

The process of privatisation, especially the preparation of nationalised industries for privatisation, was associated with marked improvements in performance, particularly in terms of labour productivity.Sony VAIO VPCS11AGJ Battery

A number of the privatised industries including gas, water, and electricity, were natural monopolies for which privatisation involved little increase in competition. The privatised industries that demonstrated improvement often did so while still under state ownership. Sony VAIO VPCS11AHJ Battery

British Steel, for instance, made great gains in profitability while still a nationalised industry under the government-appointed chairmanship of Ian MacGregor, who faced down trade-union opposition to close plants and reduce the workforce by half.Regulation was also significantly expanded to compensate for the loss of direct government control,Sony VAIO VPCS11AVJ Battery

with the foundation of regulatory bodies like Ofgas, Oftel and the National Rivers Authority. There was no clear pattern to the degree of competition, regulation, and performance among the privatised industries; in most cases privatisation benefitted consumers in terms of lower prices and improved efficiency, but the results overall were "mixed".Sony VAIO VPCS123FGB Battery

Thatcher always resisted rail privatisation, and was said to have told Transport Secretary Nicholas Ridley "Railway privatisation will be the Waterloo of this government. Please never mention the railways to me again." Shortly before her resignation, she accepted the arguments for privatising British Rail, which her successor John Major implemented in 1994.Sony VAIO VPCS125EC Battery

The Economist later considered the move to have been "a disaster".

The privatisation of public assets was combined with financial deregulation in an attempt to fuel economic growth. Geoffrey Howe abolished Britain's exchange controls in 1979, allowing more capital to be invested in foreign markets, and the Big Bang of 1986 removed many restrictions on the London Stock Exchange. Sony VAIO VPCS128EC Battery

The Thatcher government encouraged growth in the finance and service sectors to compensate for Britain's ailing manufacturing industry. Political economist Susan Strange called this new financial growth model "casino capitalism", reflecting her view that speculation and financial trading were becoming more important to the economy than industry.Sony VAIO VPCS129GC Battery

Northern Ireland

In 1981, Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) and Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) prisoners in Northern Ireland's Maze Prison began a hunger strike in an effort to regain the status of political prisoners that had been removed five years earlier under the preceding Labour government.Sony VAIO VPCS12C7E/B Battery

Bobby Sands began the strike, saying that he would fast until death unless prison inmates won concessions over their living conditions. Thatcher refused to countenance a return to political status for the prisoners, declaring "Crime is crime is crime; it is not political",Sony VAIO VPCS12L9E/B Battery

but nevertheless the UK government privately contacted republican leaders in a bid to bring the hunger strikes to an end. After the deaths of Sands and nine others some rights were restored to paramilitary prisoners, but not official recognition of their political status.Sony VAIO VPCS12V9E/B Battery

Violence in Northern Ireland escalated significantly during the hunger strikes; in 1982 Sinn Féin politician Danny Morrison described Thatcher as "the biggest bastard we have ever known".

Thatcher narrowly escaped injury in a PIRA assassination attempt at a Brighton hotel early in the morning on 12 October 1984.Sony VAIO VPCY115FGS Battery

Five people were killed, including the wife of Cabinet Minister John Wakeham. Thatcher was staying at the hotel to attend the Conservative Party Conference, which she insisted should open as scheduled the following day.She delivered her speech as planned, a move that was widely supported across the political spectrum and enhanced her popularity with the public.-sony-vaio-vpcy115fx-bi-battery-27516.htm">Sony VAIO VPCY115FX/BI Battery

On 6 November 1981 Thatcher and Irish Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald had established the Anglo-Irish Inter-Governmental Council, a forum for meetings between the two governments. On 15 November 1985, Thatcher and FitzGerald signed the Hillsborough Anglo-Irish Agreement, the first time a British government had given the Republic of Ireland an advisory role in the governance of Northern Ireland. Sony VAIO VPCY115FXBI Battery

In protest the Ulster Says No movement attracted 100,000 to a rally in Belfast, Ian Gow resigned as Minister of State in the HM Treasury,  and all fifteen Unionist MPs resigned their parliamentary seats; only one was not returned in the subsequent by-elections on 23 January 1986.Sony VAIO VPCY118EC Battery


Thatcher was challenged for the leadership of the Conservative Party by virtually unknown backbench MP Sir Anthony Meyer in the 1989 leadership election. Of the 374 Conservative MPs eligible to vote 314 voted for Thatcher and 33 for Meyer.Sony VAIO VPCY118GX/BI Battery

Her supporters in the party viewed the result as a success, and rejected suggestions that there was discontent within the party.

During her premiership Thatcher had the second-lowest average approval rating, at 40 percent, of any post-war Prime Minister. Polls consistently showed that she was less popular than her party.Sony VAIO VPCY119FJ/S Battery

A self-described conviction politician, Thatcher always insisted that she did not care about her poll ratings, pointing instead to her unbeaten election record.

Opinion polls in September 1990 reported that Labour had established a 14% lead over the Conservatives,and by November the Conservatives had been trailing Labour for 18 months.Sony VAIO VPCY11AFJ Battery

These ratings, together with Thatcher's combative personality and willingness to override colleagues' opinions, contributed to discontent within the Conservative party.

On 1 November 1990 Geoffrey Howe, the last remaining member of Thatcher's original 1979 cabinet, resigned from his position as Deputy Prime Minister over her refusal to agree to a timetable for Britain to join the European single currency.Sony VAIO VPCY11AGJ Battery

In his resignation speech on 13 November, Howe commented on Thatcher's European stance: "It is rather like sending your opening batsmen to the crease only for them to find the moment that the first balls are bowled that their bats have been broken before the game by the team captain." His resignation was fatal to Thatcher's premiership.Sony VAIO VPCY11AHJ Battery

The next day, Michael Heseltine mounted a challenge for the leadership of the Conservative Party. Opinion polls had indicated that he would give the Conservatives a national lead over Labour. Although Thatcher won the first ballot, Heseltine attracted sufficient support (152 votes) to force a second ballot.Sony VAIO VPCY11AVJ Battery

Thatcher initially stated that she intended to "fight on and fight to win" the second ballot, but consultation with her Cabinet persuaded her to withdraw. After seeing the Queen, calling other world leaders, and making one final Commons speech, she left Downing Street in tears. She regarded her ousting as a betrayal.Sony VAIO VPCY11M1E/S Battery

Thatcher was replaced as Prime Minister and party leader by her Chancellor John Major, who oversaw an upturn in Conservative support in the 17 months leading up to the 1992 general election and led the Conservatives to their fourth successive victory on 9 April 1992.Sony VAIO VPCY11S1E Battery

Thatcher favoured Major over Heseltine in the leadership contest, but her support for him weakened in later years.

Later years

Thatcher returned to the backbenches as MP for Finchley for two years after leaving the premiership.Sony VAIO VPCY11V9E/S Battery

She retired from the House at the 1992 election, aged 66, saying that leaving the Commons would allow her more freedom to speak her mind.


After leaving the House of Commons, Thatcher became the first former Prime Minister to set up a foundation; it closed down in 2005 because of financial difficulties.Sony VAIO VPCY218EC/BI Battery

he wrote two volumes of memoirs, The Downing Street Years (1993) and The Path to Power (1995).

In July 1992, Thatcher was hired by the tobacco company Philip Morris as a "geopolitical consultant" for $250,000 per year and an annual contribution of $250,000 to her foundation.Sony VAIO VPCY218EC/G Battery

She also earned $50,000 for each speech she delivered.

In August 1992, Thatcher called for NATO to stop the Serbian assault on Goražde and Sarajevo to end ethnic cleansing during the Bosnian War. Sony VAIO VPCY218EC/L Battery

She compared the situation in Bosnia to "the worst excesses of the Nazis", and warned that there could be a "holocaust". She made a series of speeches in the Lords criticising the Maastricht Treaty, describing it as "a treaty too far" and stated "I could never have signed this treaty".Sony VAIO VPCY218EC/P Battery

She cited A. V. Dicey when stating that as all three main parties were in favour of revisiting the treaty, the people should have their say.

Thatcher was honorary Chancellor of the College of William and Mary in Virginia (1993–2000) and also of the University of Buckingham (1992–1999), the UK's first private university, which she had opened in 1975.Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/L Battery

After Tony Blair's election as Labour Party leader in 1994, Thatcher praised Blair in an interview as "probably the most formidable Labour leader since Hugh Gaitskell. I see a lot of socialism behind their front bench, but not in Mr Blair. I think he genuinely has moved."Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/P Battery

In 1998, Thatcher called for the release of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet when Spain had him arrested and sought to try him for human rights violations, citing the help he gave Britain during the Falklands War. In 1999, she visited him while he was under house arrest near London.Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/SI Battery

Pinochet was released in March 2000 on medical grounds by the Home Secretary Jack Straw, without facing trial.

In the 2001 general election Thatcher supported the Conservative general election campaign, but did not endorse Iain Duncan Smith as she had done for John Major and William Hague. Sony VAIO VPCCW2S5C CN1 Battery

In the Conservative leadership election shortly after, she supported Smith over Kenneth Clarke.

In March 2002, Thatcher's book Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World, dedicated to Ronald Reagan, was released. In it, she claimed there would be no peace in the Middle East until Saddam Hussein was toppled,Sony VAIO VPCEA20 Battery

that Israel must trade land for peace, and that the European Union (EU) was "fundamentally unreformable", "a classic utopian project, a monument to the vanity of intellectuals, a programme whose inevitable destiny is failure". She argued that Britain should renegotiate its terms of membership or else leave the EU and join the North American Free Trade Area. Sony VAIO VPCEB10 Battery

The book was serialised in The Times on 18 March; on 23 March she announced that on the advice of her doctors she would cancel all planned speaking engagements and accept no more.

Since 2003

Sir Denis Thatcher died on 26 June 2003 and was cremated on 3 July.Sony VAIO VPCEB11FM Battery

She had paid tribute to him in The Downing Street Years, writing "Being Prime Minister is a lonely job. In a sense, it ought to be: you cannot lead from the crowd. But with Denis there I was never alone. What a man. What a husband. What a friend".

On 11 June 2004, Thatcher attended the state funeral service for Ronald Reagan.Sony VAIO VPCEB11FM/BI Battery

] She delivered her eulogy via videotape; in view of her health, the message had been pre-recorded several months earlier.Thatcher then flew to California with the Reagan entourage, and attended the memorial service and interment ceremony for the president at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.Sony VAIO VPCEB11FM/T Battery

Thatcher celebrated her 80th birthday at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hyde Park, London, on 13 October 2005, at which the guests included the Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, Princess Alexandra and Tony Blair. Geoffrey Howe, by then Lord Howe of Aberavon, was also present, and said of his former leader: Sony VAIO VPCEB11FM/WI Battery

"Her real triumph was to have transformed not just one party but two, so that when Labour did eventually return, the great bulk of Thatcherism was accepted as irreversible."

In 2006, Thatcher attended the official Washington, D.C. memorial service to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the 11 September 2001 attacks on the United States.Sony VAIO VPCEB11FX Battery

She was a guest of Vice President Dick Cheney, and met with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during her visit.

In February 2007, Thatcher became the first living UK Prime Minister to be honoured with a statue in the Houses of Parliament.Sony VAIO VPCEB11FX/BI Battery

The bronze statue stands opposite that of her political hero, Sir Winston Churchill, and was unveiled on 21 February 2007 with Thatcher in attendance; she made a rare and brief speech in the members' lobby of the House of Commons, responding: "I might have preferred iron – but bronze will do ... It won't rust."Sony VAIO VPCEB11FX/T Battery

The statue shows her addressing the House of Commons, with her right arm outstretched.

Thatcher returned to 10 Downing Street in late November 2009 for the unveiling of an official portrait by the artist Richard Stone,[194] an unusual honour for a living ex-Prime Minister.Sony VAIO VPCEB11FX/WI Battery

Stone had previously painted portraits of the Queen and the Queen Mother.

Thatcher suffered several small strokes in 2002 and was advised by her doctors not to engage in any more public speaking. After collapsing at a House of Lords dinner, she was admitted to St Thomas' Hospital in central London on 7 March 2008 for tests. Her daughter Carol has recounted ongoing memory loss.Sony VAIO VPCEB11GX Battery

At the Conservative Party conference in 2010, the new Prime Minister David Cameron announced that he would invite Thatcher back to 10 Downing Street on her 85th birthday for a party to be attended by past and present ministers. She pulled out of the celebration because of flu.Sony VAIO VPCEB11GX/BI Battery

She was invited to the Royal Wedding on 29 April 2011 but did not attend, reportedly due to ill health.

On American Independence Day 2011 (4 July) Lady Thatcher was to attend a ceremony for the unveiling of a 10-foot statue to former American President Ronald Reagan, outside the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square, London but was unable to attend due to frail health.Sony VAIO VPCEB11GX/T Battery

On 31 July 2011 it was announced that the former prime minister’s office in the House of Lords had been closed down.

Also in July 2011, Thatcher was named the most competent British Prime Minister of the past 30 years in an Ipsos Mori poll. Sony VAIO VPCEB11GX/WI Battery


Thatcher remains identified with her remarks to the reporter Douglas Keay, for Woman's Own magazine in September 1987:

I think we have gone through a period when too many children and people have been given to understand "I have a problem, it is the Government's job to cope with it!" or "I have a problem, I will go and get a grant to cope with it!"Sony VAIO VPCEB12FX Battery

"I am homeless, the Government must house me!" and so they are casting their problems on society and who is society? There is no such thing! There are individual men and women and there are families and no government can do anything except through people and people look to themselves first. Sony VAIO VPCEB12FX/BI Battery

It is our duty to look after ourselves and then also to help look after our neighbour and life is a reciprocal business and people have got the entitlements too much in mind without the obligations.

To her supporters, Margaret Thatcher remains a figure who revitalised Britain's economy, impacted the trade unions, and re-established the nation as a world power.Sony VAIO VPCEB12FX/BIC Battery

She oversaw an increase from 7% to 25% of adults owning shares, and more than a million families bought their council houses, giving an increase from 55% to 67% in owner-occupiers. Total personal wealth rose by 80%. Victory in the Falklands conflict and her strong alliance with the United States are also remembered as some of her greatest achievements.Sony VAIO VPCEB12FX/T Battery

Thatcher's premiership was also marked by high unemployment and social unrest, and many critics fault her economic policies for the unemployment level; many of the areas affected by high unemployment as a result of her monetarist economic policies have still not fully recovered and are also blighted by social problems including drug abuse and family breakdown.Sony VAIO VPCEB14FX Battery

Speaking in Scotland in April 2009, before the 30th anniversary of her election as Prime Minister, Thatcher insisted she had no regrets, and was right to introduce the poll tax and to remove subsidies from "outdated industries, whose markets were in terminal decline" which had created "the culture of dependency, which had done such damage to Britain".Sony VAIO VPCEB14FX/BI Battery

Thatcher often referred after the war to the "Falklands Spirit"; Hastings and Jenkins (1983) suggested that this reflected her preference for the streamlined decision-making of her War Cabinet over the painstaking deal-making of peace-time cabinet government.Sony VAIO VPCEB14FX/T Battery

Critics have regretted Thatcher's influence in the abandonment of full employment, poverty reduction and a consensual civility as bedrock policy objectives. Many recent biographers have been critical of aspects of the Thatcher years and Michael White, writing in New Statesman in February 2009, challenged the view that her reforms had brought a net benefit.Sony VAIO VPCEB14FX/WI Battery

Despite being Britain's first woman Prime Minister, some critics contend Thatcher did "little to advance the political cause of women", either within her party or the government, and some British feminists regarded her as "an enemy".

The term "Thatcherism" came to refer to her policies as well as aspects of her ethical outlook and personal style,Sony VAIO VPCEB15FM Battery

including moral absolutism, nationalism, interest in the individual, and an uncompromising approach to achieving political goals. Influenced at the outset by Keith Joseph, Thatcherism remains a potent byword in British political parlance, with both Tony Blair andGordon Brown defining policies in post-Thatcherite terms, Sony VAIO VPCEB15FM/BI Battery

and David Cameron saying after a dinner with Thatcher in February 2009: "You have got to do the right thing even if it is painful. Don't trim or track all over the place. Set your course and take the difficult decisions because that is what needs to be done ... I think that influence, that character she had, that conviction she had, I think that will be very important."Sony VAIO VPCEB15FM/T Battery

Thatcher's tenure of 11 years and 209 days as Prime Minister was the longest since Lord Salisbury (13 years and 252 days in three spells starting in 1885), and the longest continuous period in office since Lord Liverpool (14 years and 305 days starting in 1812).Sony VAIO VPCEB15FM/WI Battery


Thatcher became a Privy Councillor (PC) upon becoming Secretary of State for Education and Science in 1970. She was appointed a Member of the Order of Merit (OM) (an order within the personal gift of the Queen) within two weeks of leaving office. Denis Thatcher was made a Baronet at the same time.Sony VAIO VPCEB15FX Battery

She became a peer in the House of Lords in 1992 with a life peerage as Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven in the County of Lincolnshire. She was appointed a Lady Companion of the Order of the Garter, the UK's highest order of chivalry, in 1995.

She was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1983, and was the first woman entitled to full membership rights as an honorary member of the Carlton Club on becoming leader of the Conservative Party in 1975.Sony VAIO VPCEB15FX/BI Battery

In the Falkland Islands, Margaret Thatcher Day has been marked every 10 January since 1992, commemorating her visit in 1983. Thatcher Drive in Stanley is named for her, as is Thatcher Peninsula in South Georgia, where the task force troops first set foot on the Falklands.Sony VAIO VPCEB15FX/T Battery

Thatcher has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour awarded by the US; the Republican Senatorial Medal of Freedom; and the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award. She is a patron of the Heritage Foundation,which established the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom in 2005.Sony VAIO VPCEB15FX/WI Battery

Speaking of Heritage president Ed Feulner, at the first Clare Booth Luce lecture in September 1993, Thatcher said: "You didn't just advise President Reagan on what he should do; you told him how he could do it. And as a practising politician I can testify that that is the only advice worth having."Sony VAIO VPCEB16FX Battery
Other awards include Dame Grand Cross of the Croatian Grand Order of King Dmitar Zvonimir.

A statue of her likeness sits on the Hillsdale College campus in Hillsdale, MI, both in honor of her role as a speaker there in March of 1995 and her continued support of the college and its emphasis on the Western tradition. It remains the first and only statue of the former Prime Minister within the United States.Sony VAIO VPCEB16FX/B Battery

Upon Thatcher's eventual death, it is rumoured that she will be honoured with a state funeral at St Paul's Cathedral. If so, she will be the first Prime Minister to be honoured this way since Sir Winston Churchill in 1965.

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Personal life

Major married Norma Johnson (now Dame Norma Major, DBE) on 3 October 1970. She was a teacher and a member of the Young Conservatives. They met onpolling day for the Greater London Council elections in London. He and his wife are one of the few couples who both hold titles in their own right.Sony VAIO VGN-SR90NS Battery

They became engaged after only ten days. They had two children; a son, James, and a daughter, Elizabeth. They have a holiday home on the coast of north Norfolk, near Weybourne, that has round-the-clock police surveillance.

Major's elder brother, Terry, who died in 2007, became a minor media personality during Major's period in Downing Street, with an autobiography, Major Major.Sony VAIO VGN-SR90S Battery

He also wrote newspaper columns, and appeared on TV shows such as Have I Got News For You. He faced criticism about his brother but always remained loyal.

His son James married model Emma Noble on 29 May 1999  and their son Harrison (later diagnosed as autistic) was born the following year.Sony VAIO VGN-SR90US Battery

However, it was announced in April 2003 that the couple had separated They divorced later that year. His daughter Elizabeth married Luke Salter on 26 March 2000,  having been in a relationship since 1988. Salter died on 22 November 2002 from cancer, just months after qualifying as a doctor.Sony VAIO VGN-SR91NS Battery

He is an enthusiastic follower of cricket, motor racing and also a supporter of Chelsea F.C.

In politics and economics, Black Wednesday refers to the events of 16 September 1992 when the British Conservative government was forced to withdraw the pound sterling from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) after they were unable to keep it above its agreed lower limit.Sony VAIO VGN-SR91PS Battery

George Soros, the most high profile of the currency market investors, made over US$1 billion profit byshort selling sterling.

In 1997 the UK Treasury estimated the cost of Black Wednesday at £3.4 billion, with the actual cost being £3.3 billion which was revealed in 2005 under the Freedom of Information Act (FoI).Sony VAIO VGN-SR91US Battery

The trading losses in August and September were estimated at £800 million, but the main loss to taxpayers arose because the devaluation could have made them a profit. The papers show that if the government had maintained $24 billion foreign currency reserves and the pound had fallen by the same amount, the UK would have made a £2.4 billion profit on sterling's devaluation.Sony VAIO VGN-SR92NS Battery

Newspapers also revealed that the Treasury spent £27 billion of reserves in propping up the pound.


When the ERM was set up in 1979, Britain declined to join. This was a controversial decision, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Geoffrey Howe, was staunchly pro-European. Sony VAIO VGN-SR92PS Battery

His successor Nigel Lawson, a believer in a fixed exchange rate, admired the low inflationary record of West Germany. He attributed it to the strength of the Deutsche Mark and the management of the Bundesbank.

Thus although Britain had not joined the ERM, from early 1987 to March 1988 the Treasury followed a semi-official policy of 'shadowing' the Deutsche Mark.Sony VAIO VGN-SR92S Battery

Matters came to a head in a clash between Lawson and Margaret Thatcher's economic adviser Alan Walters, when Walters claimed that the Exchange Rate Mechanism was "half baked". This led to Lawson resigning as chancellor to be replaced by his old protégé John Major, who, with Douglas Hurd, the then Foreign Secretary, Sony VAIO VGN-SR92US Battery

convinced the Cabinet to sign Britain up to the ERM in October 1990, effectively guaranteeing that the British Government would follow an economic  and monetary policy that would prevent the exchange rate between the pound and other member currencies from fluctuating by more than 6%.Sony VAIO VGN-SR93DS Battery

The pound entered the mechanism at DM 2.95 to the pound. Hence, if the exchange rate ever neared the bottom of its permitted range, DM 2.778, the government would be obliged to intervene. With UK inflation at three times the rate of Germany's, interest rates at 15% and the "Lawson Boom" about to bust, the conditions for joining the ERM were not favourable at that time.Sony VAIO VGN-SR93JS Battery

From the beginning of the 1990s, high German interest rates, set by the Bundesbank to counteract inflationary effects related to excess expenditure on German reunification, caused significant stress across the whole of the ERM. The UK and Italy had additional difficulties with their double deficits, Sony VAIO VGN-SR93PS Battery

while the UK was also hurt by the rapid depreciation of the US Dollar – a currency in which many British exports were priced – that summer. Issues of national prestige and the commitment to a doctrine that the fixing of exchange rates within the ERM was a pathway to a single European currency inhibited the adjustment of exchange rates. Sony VAIO VGN-SR93YS Battery

In the wake of the rejection of the Maastricht Treaty by the Danish electorate in a referendum in the spring of 1992, and announcement that there would be a referendum in France as well, those ERM currencies that were trading close to the bottom of their ERM bands came under pressure from foreign exchange traders.Sony VAIO VGN-SR94FS Battery

Currency traders act

The UK's prime minister and cabinet members tried vehemently to prop up a sinking pound and withdrawal from the monetary system the country had joined two years prior was the last resort. Sony VAIO VGN-SR94GS Battery

Major raised interest rates to 10 percent and authorised the spending of billions of pounds to buy up the sterling being frantically sold on the currency markets but the measures failed to prevent the pound falling lower than its minimum level in the ERM.

The Treasury took the decision to defend Sterling's position, believing that to devalue would be to promote inflation.Sony VAIO VGN-SR94HS Battery

On 16 September the British government announced a rise in the base interest ratefrom an already high 10 to 12 percent in order to tempt speculators to buy pounds. Despite this and a promise later the same day to raise base rates again to 15 percent, dealers kept selling pounds, convinced that the government would not stick with its promise.Sony VAIO VGN-SR94VS Battery

By 19:00 that evening, Norman Lamont, then Chancellor, announced Britain would leave the ERM and rates would remain at the new level of 12 percent (however, on the next day interest rate was back on 10%). It was later revealed that the decision to withdraw had been agreed at an emergency meeting during the day betweenNorman LamontSony VAIO VGN-SZ35B/B Battery

Prime Minister John Major, Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd, President of the Board of Trade Michael Heseltine and Home Secretary Kenneth Clarke (the latter three all being strong pro-Europeans as well as senior Cabinet Ministers), and that the interest rate hike to 15 percent had only been a temporary measure to prevent a rout in the pound that afternoon.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ54B/B Battery


Other ERM countries such as Italy, whose currencies had breached their bands during the day, returned to the system with broadened bands or with adjusted central parities. Even in this relaxed form, ERM-I proved vulnerable, and ten months later the rules were relaxed further to the point of imposing very little constraint on the domestic monetary policies of member states.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ55B/B Battery

The effect of the high German interest rates, and high British interest rates, had been arguably to put Britain into recession as large numbers of businesses failed and the housing market crashed. Some commentators, following Norman Tebbit, took to referring to ERM as an "Eternal Recession Mechanism"  after the UK fell into recession during the early 1990s. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ55GN/B Battery

Whilst many people in the UK recall 'Black Wednesday' as a national disaster, some conservatives claim that the forced ejection from the ERM was a "Golden Wednesday"  which paved the way for an economic revival, the Conservatives handing Tony Blair's New Labour a much stronger economy in 1997 than had existed in 1992 Sony VAIO VGN-SZ56 Battery

as the new economic policy swiftly devised in the aftermath of Black Wednesday led to re-establishment of economic growth with falling unemployment and inflation (the latter of which had already been falling before Black Wednesday).

The economic performance after 1992 did little to repair the reputation of the Conservatives. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ561N Battery

Instead, the government's image had been damaged to the extent that the electorate were more inclined to believe opposition arguments of the time – that the economic recovery ought to be credited to external factors, as opposed to good government policies. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ562N Battery

The Conservatives had recently won the 1992 general election, and the Gallup poll for September showed a 2.5% Conservative lead. By the October poll, following Black Wednesday, their share of the intended vote in the poll had plunged from 43% to 29%, while Labour jumped into a lead which they held almost continuouslySony VAIO VGN-SZ57N Battery

(except for several brief periods such as during the 2000 Fuel Protests) for the next 14 years, during which time they won three consecutive general elections under the leadership of Tony Blair (who became party leader in 1994 following the death of his predecessor John Smith).Sony VAIO VGN-SZ58GN Battery

Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign in the United Kingdom. Its membership is mostly made up of senior politicians who are (or have been) members of either the House of Commons or the House of Lords.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ58GN/C Battery

The Privy Council, the modern-day successor to the Privy Council of England, was formerly a powerful institution, but its policy decisions are now exclusively in the hands of one of its committees, the Cabinet. The Council formally advises the Sovereign on the exercise of the Royal Prerogative,Sony VAIO VGN-SZ58N Battery

and together (as the Queen in Council) they issue executive instruments known as Orders in Council, which amongst other things are used to make regulations. The Council by itself also has a delegated authority to issue Orders of Council, which are mostly used to regulate certain public institutions. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ61MN/B Battery

The Council also advises the Sovereign on the issuing ofRoyal Charters, which are used to grant special status to incorporated bodies, and city or borough status to local authorities.

Certain judicial functions are also performed by the Queen in Council, although in practice the actual work of hearing and deciding upon cases is carried out exclusively by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ61VN/X Battery

The Judicial Committee consists of senior judges appointed as Privy Counsellors: Justices of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, judges of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, judges of the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland, judges of the Inner House of the Court of Session (the supreme civil court in Scotland), Sony VAIO VGN-SZ61WN/C Battery

and judges from various other Commonwealth member states. The Council was formerly a supreme court of appeal for the entire British Empire (other than for the United Kingdom itself), and continues to hear appeals from the Crown Dependencies, the British Overseas Territories, and a number of Commonwealth member countries.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ640N/B Battery


During the reigns of the Norman monarchs, the English Crown was advised by a royal court, which consisted of magnates, ecclesiastics and high officials. The body originally concerned itself with advising the Sovereign on legislation, administration and justice.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ645P3 Battery

Later, different bodies assuming distinct functions evolved from the court. The courts of law took over the business of dispensing justice, while Parliament became the supreme legislature of the kingdom.[2] Nevertheless, the Council retained the power to hear legal disputes, either in the first instance or on appeal.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ650N/C Battery

Furthermore, laws made by the Sovereign on the advice of the Council, rather than on the advice of Parliament, were accepted as valid. Powerful Sovereigns often used the body to circumvent the courts and Parliament. For example, a committee of the Council—which later became the Court of the Star Chamber—Sony VAIO VGN-SZ660N/C Battery

was during the fifteenth century permitted to inflict any punishment except death, without being bound by normal court procedure.  During Henry VIII's reign, the Sovereign, on the advice of the Council, was allowed to enact laws by mere proclamation. The legislative pre-eminence of Parliament was not restored until after Henry VIII's death.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ670N/C Battery

Though the royal Council retained legislative and judicial responsibilities, it became a primarily administrative body.[7] The Council consisted of forty members in 1553,[8] but the Sovereign relied on a smaller committee, which later evolved into the modern Cabinet.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ680ND Battery

By the end of the English Civil War, the monarchy, House of Lords and Privy Council were abolished. The remaining house of Parliament, the House of Commons, instituted a Council of State to execute laws and to direct administrative policy. The forty-one members of the Council were elected by the Commons;Sony VAIO VGN-SZ691N/X Battery

the body was headed by Oliver Cromwell, the de facto military dictator of the nation. In 1653, however, Cromwell became Lord Protector, and the Council was reduced to between thirteen and twenty-one members, all elected by the Commons. In 1657, the Commons granted Cromwell even greater powers, some of which were reminiscent of those enjoyed by monarchs. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ71E/B Battery

The Council became known as the Protector's Privy Council; its members were appointed by the Lord Protector, subject to Parliament's approval.

In 1659, shortly before the restoration of the monarchy, the Protector's Council was abolished.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ71VN/X Battery

Charles II restored the royal Privy Council, but he, like previous Stuart monarchs, chose to rely on a small committee of advisers.[10] Under George I even more power passed to this committee. It now began to meet in the absence of the Sovereign, communicating their decisions to him after the fact. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ71WN/C Battery

Thus the Privy Council, as a whole, ceased to be a body of important confidential advisers to the Sovereign; the role passed to a committee of the Privy Council, now known as the Cabinet.

Origin of the term

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the definition of the word "privy" in Privy Council is an obsolete one meaning "of or pertaining exclusively to a particular person or persons; Sony VAIO VGN-SZ750N/C Battery

one's own", insofar as the Council is personal to the Sovereign. It is closely related to the word "private".


The Sovereign, when acting on the Council's advice, is known as the "King-in-Council" or "Queen-in-Council".Sony VAIO VGN-SZ75B/B Battery

The members of the Council are collectively known as "The Lords of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council" (sometimes "The Lords and others of ..."). The chief officer of the body is the Lord President of the Council, who is the fourth highest Great Officer of State, a member of the Cabinet, and normally, the Leader of either the House of Lords or the House of Commons.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ76 Battery

Another important official is the Clerk, whose signature is appended to all orders made in the Council .

Both "Privy Counsellor" and "Privy Councillor" may be correctly used to refer to a member of the Council. The former, however, is preferred by the Privy Council Office,Sony VAIO VGN-SZ770N/C Battery

emphasising English usage of the term "Counsellor" as "one who gives counsel", as opposed to "one who is a member of a council." A Privy Counsellor is said to be "sworn of" the Council when he or she first joins it.

The Sovereign may appoint anyone a Privy Counsellor, but in practice appointments are made only on the advice of the Government,Sony VAIO VGN-SZ77N Battery

and generally consist only of senior members of parliament, the church and judiciary. There is no limit to the numbers sworn in as members. As of August 2008 there are 538 members.  However, the members have no right to attend all meetings of the Privy Council, and only some are summoned to each meeting (in practice at the Prime Minister's discretion).Sony VAIO VGN-SZ780 Battery

The Church of England's three senior bishops—the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of York[22] and the Bishop of London are made Privy Counsellors on their appointment. Senior members of the Royal Family may also be appointed[22]—Prince Philip is a member, Sony VAIO VGN-SZ78N Battery

the most senior at present in terms of service, and is the only present member not to be appointed by the current monarch, having been appointed to the council by her father. The Private Secretary to the Sovereign is always appointed to the Council.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ791N/X Battery

Several senior judges—Justices of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom,  judges of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, judges of the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland  and judges of the Inner House of the Court of Session (the highest court in Scotland) —are also named to the Privy Council.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ84NS Battery

The bulk of Privy Counsellors, however, are politicians. The Prime Minister, ministers in the cabinet, and the Leader of the Opposition must be sworn of the Privy Council on appointment. Leaders of large parties in the House of Commons, First Ministers of the devolved assemblies,Sony VAIO VGN-SZ84PS Battery

some senior ministers outside the cabinet,  and on occasion senior Parliamentarians  are appointed Privy Counsellors. As Privy Counsellors are bound by their oath to keep matters discussed at Council meetings secret, the appointment of the leaders of Opposition parties as Privy Counsellors allows the Government to share confidential information with them "on Privy Council terms".Sony VAIO VGN-SZ84S Battery

This usually only happens in special circumstances, such as in matters of national security. For example, Tony Blair met Leader of the Opposition Iain Duncan Smith and Leader of the Liberal Democrats Charles Kennedy on privy council terms to discuss the evidence for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ84US Battery

Although the Privy Council is primarily a British institution, officials from some other Commonwealth realms are also appointed to the body.[22] By 2000, the most notable instance was New Zealand, whose Prime Minister, senior politicians, Chief Justice and Court of Appeal judges were conventionally made Privy Counsellors.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ85NS Battery

However, appointments of New Zealand members have since been discontinued. The Prime Minister, the Speaker and the Governor General of New Zealand are still granted the prefix Right Honourable, but without membership in the council.  Until the latter part of the 20th century, the prime ministers and chief justices of Canada and Australia were also appointed to Privy Counsellors.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ85S Battery

Prime Ministers of some other Commonwealth countries which retain the Queen as their sovereign continue to be sworn as Privy Counsellors.

Privy Council oath

It was formerly regarded by the Privy Council as criminal, and possibly treasonous, to disclose the oath administered to Privy Counsellors as they take office.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ85US Battery

However, the oath was officially made public in a written parliamentary answer in 1998, as follows:

You do swear by Almighty God to be a true and faithful Servant unto the Queen's Majesty, as one of Her Majesty's Privy Council. You will not know or understand of any manner of thing to be attempted, done, or spoken against Her Majesty's Person, Sony VAIO VGN-SZ94NS Battery

Honour, Crown, or Dignity Royal, but you will lett and withstand the same to the uttermost of your Power, and either cause it to be revealed to Her Majesty Herself, or to such of Her Privy Council as shall advertise Her Majesty of the same. You will, in all things to be moved, treated, and debated in Council, faithfully and truly declare your Mind and Opinion,Sony VAIO VGN-SZ94PS Battery

according to your Heart and Conscience; and will keep secret all Matters committed and revealed unto you, or that shall be treated of secretly in Council. And if any of the said Treaties or Counsels shall touch any of the Counsellors, you will not reveal it unto him, but will keep the same until such time as, by the Consent of Her Majesty,Sony VAIO VGN-SZ94S Battery

or of the Council, Publication shall be made thereof. You will to your uttermost bear Faith and Allegiance unto the Queen's Majesty; and will assist and defend all Jurisdictions, Pre-eminences, and Authorities, granted to Her Majesty, and annexed to the Crown by Acts of Parliament, or otherwise, against all Foreign Princes,Sony VAIO VGN-SZ94US Battery

Persons, Prelates, States, or Potentates. And generally in all things you will do as a faithful and true Servant ought to do to Her Majesty. So help you God.

Privy Counsellors can choose to affirm their allegiance in similar terms if they prefer not to take a religious oath.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ95NS Battery

Term of office

Membership is generally for life. Formerly, the death of a monarch brought an immediate dissolution of the Council, as all Crown appointments automatically lapsed. By the 18th century, it was enacted that the Council would not be dissolved until up to six months after the demise of the Crown.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ95S Battery

By convention, however, the Sovereign would reappoint all members of the Council after its dissolution. In practice, therefore, membership continued without a break.  Reappointment was made unnecessary from 1901 when the law was changed to ensure that Crown appointments were wholly unaffected by a change of monarch.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ95US Battery

The Sovereign may however remove an individual from the Council. On 8 June 2011 Elliot Morley was expelled following his conviction on charges of false accounting in connection with an expenses scandal. Before this, the last individual to be expelled from the Council against his will was Sir Edgar Speyer, Sony VAIO VGN-TZ121 Battery

1st Baronet, who was removed on 13 December 1921  for pro-German activities during the First World War. Individuals may choose to resign to avoid expulsion. The last individual to leave the Privy Council voluntarily was Jonathan Aitken, who left on 25 June 1997 following allegations of perjury.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ13 Battery

He was one of only three Privy Counsellors to resign in the twentieth century (the others being John Profumo, who resigned on 26 June 1963, and John Stonehouse, who resigned on 17 August 1976).


Meetings of the Privy Council are normally held once each month wherever the Sovereign may be residing at the time.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ130N/B Battery

The quorum, according to the Privy Council Office, is three,  though some statutes provide for other quorum (for example, section 35 of Opticians Act 1989(c. 44)  provides for a lower quorum of two).

The Sovereign attends the meeting, though his or her place may be taken by two or more Counsellors of State.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ131 Battery

Under the Regency Acts 1937 to 1953,  Counsellors of State may be chosen from amongst the Sovereign's spouse and the four individuals next in the line of succession who are over 21 years of age (18 for the Heir to the Throne).  Normally the Sovereign remains standing at meetings of the Privy Council, so that no other members may sit down,Sony VAIO VGN-TZ132/N Battery

thereby keeping meetings short. The Lord President reads out a list of Orders to be made, and the Sovereign merely says "Approved".

Only a few privy counsellors attend these regular meetings. The settled practice is that day-to-day meetings of the Council are attended by four privy counsellors, usually the Ministers responsible for the matters being approved.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ132N Battery

Unless prevented from attending, the Government Minister holding office as Lord President of the Council is usually among the privy counsellors present.  Under Britain's modern conventions of parliamentary government and constitutional monarchy, Sony VAIO VGN-TZ150N/B Battery

every order made in Council has been drafted by a Government Department and has already been approved by the responsible Ministers—the action taken by the Queen in Council is a mere formality required for the valid adoption of the measure. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ150N/N Battery

Full meetings of the Privy Council are only held when the reigning Sovereign announces his or her own engagement (which last happened on 23 November 1839,  in the reign of Queen Victoria); or when there is a Demise of the Crown, either by the death or abdication of the monarch.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ160CB Battery

A full meeting of the Privy Council was also held on 6 February 1811, when George, Prince of Wales, took the oaths upon entering into the execution of the royal authority as Prince Regent, as required by Act of Parliament.  The current statutes regulating the establishment of a Regency in the case of minority or incapacity of the Sovereign also require any Regents to take their oaths before the Privy Council. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ160N/B Battery

In the case of a demise of the crown, the Privy Council—together with the Lords Spiritual, the Lords Temporal, the Lord Mayor of the City of London, the Aldermen of the City of London and representatives of Commonwealth nations—makes a proclamation declaring the accession of the new Sovereign and receives an oath from the new monarch relating to the security of the Church of Scotland, as required by law. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ16GN/B Battery

It is also customary for the new Sovereign to make an allocution to the Privy Council on that occasion, and the Sovereign's speech is published in the London Gazette. That special assembly of the Privy Council and others held to proclaim the accession of the new Sovereign and to receive the required statutory oath from the monarch,Sony VAIO VGN-TZ16N Battery

is known as an Accession Council. The last such meetings were held on 6 February and 8 February 1952. As the present Queen was abroad when the last Demise of the Crown took place, the Accession Council had to meet twice, once to proclaim the Sovereign (meeting of 6 February 1952), Sony VAIO VGN-TZ16N/B Battery

and then again after the new Queen had returned to Britain, to receive from her the oath required by statute (meeting of 8 February 1952).


The Sovereign exercises executive authority by making Orders-in-Council upon the advice of the Privy Council. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ17/N Battery

Orders-in-Council, which are drafted by the government rather than by the Sovereign, are secondary legislation and are used to make government regulations and to make government appointments. Furthermore, Orders-in-Council are used to grant the Royal Assent to Measures of the National Assembly for Wales, and laws passed by the legislative authorities of British Crown dependencies.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ170N/B Battery

Distinct from Orders-in-Council are Orders of Council. Whilst the former are made by the Sovereign on the advice of the Privy Council, the latter are made by members of the Privy Council without the participation of the Sovereign. They are issued under the specific authority of Acts of Parliament, and are normally used to regulate public institutions.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ170N/N Battery

The Sovereign, furthermore, issues Royal Charters on the advice of the Privy Council. Charters grant special status to incorporated bodies; they are used to grant city and borough status to towns, and "chartered" status to certain professional or educational bodies.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ17GN/B Battery

The Privy Council therefore deals with a wide variety of matters, including university statutes,  graveyards,  coinage, and dates of bank holidays.

The Crown-in-Council also performs certain judicial functions. Within the United Kingdom, the Crown-in-Council hears appeals from ecclesiastical courts,Sony VAIO VGN-TZ17N Battery

the Court of Admiralty of the Cinque Ports, prize courts and the Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, appeals against schemes of the Church Commissioners and appeals under certain Acts of Parliament (e.g., the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975).Sony VAIO VGN-TZ18/N Battery

The Crown-in-Council was formerly a supreme court of appeal for the entire British Empire,  however a number of Commonwealth countries have now abolished such appeals. The Privy Council does continue to hear appeals from several Commonwealth countries, from British Overseas Territories, Sovereign Base Areas and crown dependencies.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ180N/RC Battery

The aforementioned cases are theoretically decided by the monarch in Council, but are in practice heard and decided by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council,which consists of senior judges who are Privy Counsellors.  The decision of the Committee is presented in the form of "advice" to the monarch,Sony VAIO VGN-TZ185N/WC Battery

but in practice it is always followed by the Sovereign, who formally approves the recommendation of the Judicial Committee.The Judicial Committee had direct jurisdiction in cases relating to the Scotland Act 1998, the Government of Wales Act 1998 and the Northern Ireland Act 1998, but this was transferred to the new Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in 2009.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ18GN/X Battery

Notable orders

The Civil Service is formally governed by Privy Council orders, as an exercise of the royal prerogative. One such order implemented the government's ban of GCHQ staff from joining a trade union. Another, the Civil Service (Amendment) Order in Council 1997, permitted the Prime Minister to grant up to three political advisers management authority over some civil servants.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ18N Battery

In the 1960s, the Privy Council made an order to evict the 2,000 inhabitants of the 65-island Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, in preparation for the establishment of joint United States-United Kingdom military base on the largest outlying island Diego Garcia, some 60 miles (97 km) distant. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ190N/B Battery

In 2000 the High Court ruled the 1971 Immigration Ordinance preventing resettlement unlawful. In 2004, the Privy Council, under Jack Straw's tenure, overturned the ruling. In 2006 the High Court of Justice found the Privy Council's decision to be unlawful. Sir Sydney Kentridge, Sony VAIO VGN-TZ190N/BC Battery

QC described the treatment of the Chagossians as "outrageous, unlawful and a breach of accepted moral standards". He said there was no known precedent "for the lawful use of prerogative powers to remove or exclude an entire population of British subjects from their homes and place of birth". Sony VAIO VGN-TZ191N/XC Battery

Rights and privileges of members

Although the Privy Council as a whole is "The Most Honourable", individual Privy Counsellors are entitled to the style "The Right Honourable". Peers who are also members of the Privy Council append the post-nominal letters "PC" to indicate membership as they are already entitled to the style "The Right Honourable" (in the case of barons, viscounts and earls) Sony VAIO VGN-TZ195N/XC Battery

or other higher style (in the case ofdukes and marquesses), even when they are not Privy Counsellors. For commoners, on the other hand, "The Right Honourable" is sufficient identification of status as a Privy Counsellor. The Earl of Mar and Kellie and the Earl of Scarbrough prefer not to be addressed as 'The Rt Hon' at all on the grounds that the prefix more properly belongs to Privy Counsellors.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ198N/RC Battery

The Ministry of Justice takes a similar position.

Privy Counsellors are entitled to positions in the order of precedence in England and Wales.  At the beginning of each new Parliament, and at the discretion of the Speaker, members of the House of Commons who are Privy Counsellors usually take the oath of allegiance before all other members except the Speaker him- or herself and the Father of the House (the most senior member of the House).Sony VAIO VGN-TZ250N/B Battery

Often, whenever a Privy Counsellor rose to make a speech in the House of Commons at the same time as another member, the Speaker would first recognise the Privy Counsellor. This informal custom, however, was considered obsolete by 1998.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ250N/N Battery

Furthermore, only Privy Counsellors can signify, at the monarch's command, the royal consent to the examination of a bill affecting the rights of the Crown.

Privy Counsellors are allowed to sit on the steps to the Sovereign's Throne in the House of Lords Chamber during debates. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ250N/P Battery

They share this privilege with hereditary Lords who were members of theHouse of Lords before the reform of 1999, diocesan bishops of the Church of England (who are not yet Lords Spiritual), retired bishops who formerly sat in the House of Lords, the Dean of Westminster, Sony VAIO VGN-TZ27/N Battery

Peers of Ireland, the eldest child of members of the House of Lords, the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery and the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod.

Each Privy Counsellor has the individual right of personal access to the Sovereign. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ270N/B Battery

Peers are considered to enjoy the same right individually; members of the House of Commons possess the right collectively. In each case, personal access may only be used to tender advice on public affairs.

Other councils

The Privy Council is one of the four principal councils of the Sovereign.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ27N Battery

The other three are the courts of law, the Commune Concilium (Common Council, or Parliament) and the Magnum Concilium(Great Council, or the assembly of all the Peers of the Rea

lm). All are still in existence, or at least have never been formally abolished, but the Magnum Concilium has not been summoned since 1640 and was considered obsolete then.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ28/N Battery

Several other Privy Councils have advised the Sovereign. England and Scotland (see Privy Council of Scotland) once had separate Privy Councils, but the Acts of Union 1707, which united the two countries into the Kingdom of Great Britain, replaced both with a single body. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ285N/RC Battery

Ireland, on the other hand, continued to have a separate Privy Council even after the Act of Union 1800. The Privy Council of Ireland was abolished in 1922, when the southern part of Ireland separated from the United Kingdom; it was succeeded by the Privy Council of Northern Ireland, which became dormant after the suspension of the Parliament of Northern Ireland. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ28N Battery

No further appointments have been made since then, and no more than seven appointees were still living as of December 2010.

Canada has had its own Privy Council—the Queen's Privy Council for Canada—since 1867.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ290EAB Battery

While the Canadian Privy Council is specifically "for Canada", the Privy Council discussed above is not "for the United Kingdom"; in order to clarify the ambiguity where necessary, the latter is referred to as the Imperial Privy Council. Equivalent organs of state in other Commonwealth realms, such as Australia and New Zealand, are called Executive Councils.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ290EAN Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-TZ290EAP Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-TZ295N/XC Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-TZ298N/XC Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-TZ33/B Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-TZ33/N Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-TZ33/W Battery

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Sir John Major, KG, CH, ACIB (born 29 March 1943) is a British Conservative politician, who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1990–1997. He held the posts of Foreign Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer in the cabinet of Margaret Thatcher and was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Huntingdon 1979–2001.Sony VAIO VGN-NS190J/L Battery

Despite Thatcher's "notorious" assertion that "she expected to continue in control as a backseat driver," Major's mild and consensual style was seen as complete contrast to Thatcher's forceful and confrontational manner. Early in his term, he presided over British participation in the First Gulf War (March 1991) and negotiated "Game,Sony VAIO VGN-NS190J/S Battery

Set and Match for Britain" at the Maastricht Treaty (December 1991). Despite the British economy then being in recession he led the Conservatives to a fourth consecutive election victory, winning the most votes in British electoral history in the 1992 general election, albeit with a much reduced majority in the House of Commons.Sony VAIO VGN-NS190J/W Battery

Major's premiership saw the world go through a period of political and military transition after the end of the Cold War. This included the growing importance of the European Union, an issue which was already a source of friction within the Conservative Party owing to its importance in the decline and fall of Margaret Thatcher. Sony VAIO VGN-NS235J/L Battery

Major and his government were responsible for the United Kingdom's exit from the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) after Black Wednesday on 16 September 1992, after which his government never gained a lead in the opinion polls.Sony VAIO VGN-NS235J/P Battery

Despite successes such as the revival of economic growth and the beginnings of the Northern Ireland Peace Process, by the mid-1990s the Conservatives were embroiled in ongoing "sleaze" scandals involving various MPs and even Cabinet Ministers.Sony VAIO VGN-NS235J/S Battery

Criticism of Major's leadership reached such a pitch that he chose to resign, and be re-elected, as party leader in June 1995. By this time the "New" Labour Party was seen as a reformed and fresh alternative under the leadership of Tony Blair, and after eighteen years in office the Conservatives lost the 1997 general election in one of the worst electoral defeats since the Great Reform Act of 1832.Sony VAIO VGN-NS235J/W Battery

After the defeat, Major resigned as the leader of the party, and was succeeded by William Hague. He has since retired from active politics, leaving theHouse of Commons at the 2001 general election, but continues to be a sought-after speaker.Sony VAIO VGN-NS240E/L Battery

Early life

Major was born at the St. Helier Hospital in Sutton, Surrey, the son of Gwen Major and former Music Hall performer Tom Major-Ball (né Abraham Thomas Ball), who was 64 years old when John was born. He was christened as John Roy Major, but only "John" is shown on his birth certificate.Sony VAIO VGN-NS290J/L Battery

He used his middle name Roy until the early 1980s.He attended primary school at Cheam Common. From 1954, he attended Rutlish Grammar School in Merton. In 1955, with his father's garden ornaments business in decline, the family moved to Brixton.Sony VAIO VGN-NS290J/S Battery

The following year, Major watched his first debate in the House of Commons – Harold Macmillan's only budget – and has attributed his political ambitions to that event, and to a chance meeting with former Prime Minister Clement Attlee on the King's Road.Sony VAIO VGN-NS50B/L Battery

Major left school at age 16 in 1959, with three O-levels: History, English Language, and English Literature. He later gained three more O-levels bycorrespondence course, in the British Constitution, mathematics and economics. His first job was as a clerk in the insurance brokerage firm Pratt & Sons in 1959. Sony VAIO VGN-NS50B/W Battery

Disliking this job, he quit, and for a time he helped with his father's garden ornaments business along with his brother, Terry Major-Ball. Major joined the Young Conservatives in Brixton at this time.

Major was 19 years old when in 1962 his father died at the age of 83. His mother died eight years later at the age of 65.Sony VAIO VGN-NS51B/L Battery

After Major became prime minister, it was misreported that he had failed to get a job as a bus conductor due to failing a maths test, when in fact he passed all of the tests, but had been passed over for the job to another candidate due to his height. Sony VAIO VGN-NS51B/P Battery

After a period of unemployment, Major started working at the London Electricity Board (where his successor as the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, also worked when he was young) in 1963, and he decided to undertake a correspondence course in banking.Sony VAIO VGN-NS51B/W Battery

Major took up a post as an executive at theStandard Chartered Bank in May 1965, and he rose quickly through the ranks. He was sent to work in Nigeria by the bank in 1967, and he nearly died in a car accident there.

Early political career

Major was interested in politics from an early age. Encouraged by fellow conservative Derek Stone, he started giving speeches on a soap-box in Brixton market.Sony VAIO VGN-NS52JB/L Battery

He stood as a candidate for Lambeth London Borough Council at the age of 21 in 1964, and was unexpectedly elected in the Conservative landslide in 1968. While on the council he was Chairman of the Housing Committee, being responsible for the building of several council housing estates. Sony VAIO VGN-NS52JB/P Battery

Despite moving to a ward which was easier for the Conservatives to win, he lost his seat in May 1971.

Major was an active Young Conservative and according to his biographer Anthony Seldon brought "youthful exuberance" to the Tories in Brixton, but was often in trouble with the professional agent Marion Standing. Sony VAIO VGN-NS52JB/W Battery

Also according to Seldon, the formative political influence on Major was Jean Kierans, a divorcée 13 years his elder, who became his political mentor and his lover, too. Seldon writes "She... made Major smarten his appearance, groomed him politically, and made him more ambitious and worldly." Their relationship lasted from 1963 to sometime after 1968.Sony VAIO VGN-NS70B/W Battery

Major stood for election to Parliament in St Pancras North in both general elections in 1974, but did not win this traditionally Labour seat. In November 1976, Major was selected by the HuntingdonshireConservatives as its candidate, winning the safe seat in the 1979 general election. Sony VAIO VGN-NS71B/W Battery

Following boundary changes, Major became Member of Parliament (MP) for Huntingdon in 1983 and retained the seat in the 1987, 1992 and 1997 general elections. His majority in 1992 was 36,230 votes, the largest in British electoral history. He stood down at the 2001 general election.Sony VAIO VGN-NS72JB/W Battery

In the cabinet

He was a Parliamentary Private Secretary from 1981 and an assistant whip from 1983. He was made Under-Secretary of State for Social Security in 1985 and became Minister of State in the same department in 1986, first attracting national media attention over cold weather payments to the elderly in January 1987, when Britain was in the depths of a severe winter.Sony VAIO VGN-NS90HS Battery

Major entered the Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury in 1987, and in a surprise re-shuffle on 24 July 1989 a relatively inexperienced Major was appointed Foreign Secretary, succeeding Sir Geoffrey Howe. He spent only three months in that post before becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer after Nigel Lawson's resignation in October 1989. Sony VAIO VGN-NS92JS Battery

Major presented only one budget (the first one to be televised), in early 1990. He publicised it as a budget for savingsand announced the Tax-Exempt Special Savings Account (TESSA), arguing that measures were required to address the marked fall in the household savings ratio that had been apparent during the previous financial year. Sony VAIO VGN-NS92XS Battery

In June 1990 Major suggested that the proposed Single European Currency should be a "hard ecu", competing for use against existing national currencies; this idea was not in the end adopted. In October 1990 Major and Douglas Hurd, Foreign Secretary, finally persuaded Thatcher to allow Britain to join the Exchange Rate Mechanism, Sony VAIO VGN-NW11S/S Battery

a move which she had resisted for some years, and which had been a cause of her quarrels with Howe and Lawson.

When Michael Heseltine challenged Margaret Thatcher's leadership of the Conservative Party in November 1990, Major and Douglas Hurd were her proposer and seconder on her nomination papers.Sony VAIO VGN-NW11S/T Battery

Major entered the contest alongside Douglas Hurd on 22 November after Thatcher abandoned her plans to contest the second ballot, ending her 11 years as prime minister and 15 years as party leader. Major was at home in Huntingdon recovering from a wisdom tooth operation at this time. Sony VAIO VGN-NW11Z/S Battery

Thatcher's nomination papers for the second ballot were sent to him by car for him to sign – it later emerged that he had signed both Thatcher's papers and a set of papers for his own candidacy in case she withdrew.Sony VAIO VGN-NW11Z/T Battery

Though he fell two votes short of the required winning margin of 187 in the second ballot, the result was sufficient to secure immediate concessions from his rivals. He was named Leader of the Conservative Party on 27 November 1990, and was summoned to Buckingham Palace and appointed Prime Minister the following day.Sony VAIO VGN-NW21EF/S Battery

The Persian Gulf War

Major was Prime Minister during the first Gulf War of 1991, and played a key role in persuading American president George H. W. Bush to support no-fly zones. During the war Major and his Cabinet survived an IRA assassination attempt by mortar attack.Sony VAIO VGN-NW21JF Battery

Soap box election

The economy had been sliding into recession during the final months of Thatcher's spell in power, and the recession deepened during 1991 and continued until the end of 1992.

The Tories had slipped behind Labour in the opinion polls during 1989 and the gap widened during 1990,Sony VAIO VGN-NW21MF Battery

but within two months of Major taking over as prime minister the Tories had returned to the top of the opinion polls, briefly enjoying a comfortable lead after the Gulf War. Polls also showed that Major was the most popular prime minister in Britain since Harold Macmillan some 30 years previously. Sony VAIO VGN-NW21MF/W Battery

Labour Party and opposition leader Neil Kinnock made endless calls for a general election throughout 1991, but Major held out and decided not to call the election until he finally set an election date of 9 April 1992. During this time, the Tories and Labour had exchanged places at the top of the opinion polls on numerous occasions,Sony VAIO VGN-NW21ZF Battery

and by the time of the election most opinion polls were showing a slim Labour lead, which most observers predicted would translate into a hung parliament or a narrow Labour victory at the election.

Major took his campaign onto the streets, delivering many addresses from an upturned soapbox as in his Lambeth days. Sony VAIO VGN-NW31EF/W Battery

This approach stood in contrast to the Labour Party's seemingly slicker campaign and it chimed with the electorate, along with hard-hitting negative campaign advertising focusing on the issue of Labour's approach to taxation. Major won in excess of 14 million votes, the highest popular vote recorded by a British political party in a general election. Sony VAIO VGN-NW31JF Battery

However, this translated into a reduced majority of 21 seats, enough to form a practicable but small majority. The Tory election win led to the resignation of Neil Kinnock as Labour leader and the appointment of John Smith as his successor.

Black Wednesday

The Conservative majority proved too small for effective control over his backbenchers, Sony VAIO VGN-NW320F/B Battery

particularly after the United Kingdom's forced exit from theExchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) on "Black Wednesday", 16 September 1992, just five months into the new parliament, when billions of pounds were spent in a futile attempt to defend the currency's value.Sony VAIO VGN-NW320F/TC Battery

After the release of Black Wednesday government documents,  it became apparent that Major came very close to stepping down from office at this point, having even prepared an unsent letter of resignation addressed to the Queen.  Major continued to defend Britain's membership of the ERM, stating that "The ERM was the medicine to cure the ailment, but it was not the ailment".Sony VAIO VGN-NW35E Battery

Major kept his economic team unchanged for seven months after Black Wednesday before he replaced Norman Lamont with Kenneth Clarke asChancellor of the Exchequer, after months of press criticism of Lamont and disastrous defeat at a by-election in Newbury. Such a delay,Sony VAIO VGN-NW380F/S Battery

on top of the crisis, was exploited by Major's critics as proof of the indecisiveness that was to undermine his authority through the rest of his premiership. Britain's departure from the ERM led to a fall in the opinion poll ratings for the Conservative Party, which despite the improvement in the economic position, did not fully recover whilst John Major was Prime Minister.Sony VAIO VGN-NW380F/T Battery

The UK's forced withdrawal from the ERM was succeeded by a partial economic recovery with a new policy of flexible exchange rates, allowing lower interest rates and devaluation – increased demand for UK goods in export markets. The recession that had started just before Major came to office was declared over in April 1993, when the economy grew by 0.2%.Sony VAIO VGN-NW50JB Battery

Unemployment started to fall; by the start of 1993 it had reached almost 3,000,000, but by early 1997 it stood at 1,700,000.

Political infighting over Europe

On becoming Prime Minister Major had promised to keep Britain "at the very heart of Europe", and claimed to have won "game, Sony VAIO VGN-NW51FB/N Battery

set and match for Britain" – by negotiating the social chapter and single currency opt-outs from the Maastricht Treaty, and by ensuring that there was no overt mention of a "Federal" Europe and that foreign and defence policy were kept as matters of inter-governmental cooperation, in separate "pillars" from the supranational European Union. Sony VAIO VGN-NW51FB/W Battery

By 2010 some of these concessions, but not Britain's non-membership of the Single Currency, had been overtaken by subsequent events.

However, even these moves towards greater European integration met with vehement opposition from the Eurosceptic wing of the party and the Cabinet as the Government attempted to ratify theMaastricht Treaty in the first half of 1993. Sony VAIO VGN-NW70JB Battery

Although the Labour opposition supported the treaty, they were prepared to tactically oppose certain provisions in order to weaken the government. This opposition included passing an amendment that required a vote on the social chapter aspects of the treaty before it could be ratified.Sony VAIO VGN-NW71FB/N Battery

Several Conservative MPs, known as the Maastricht Rebels, voted against the treaty, and the Government was defeated. Major called another vote on the following day, 23 July 1993, which he declared a vote of confidence. He won by 40 votes, but the damage had been done to his authority in parliament.Sony VAIO VGN-NW71FB/W Battery

Later that day, Major gave an interview to ITN's Michael Brunson. During an unguarded moment when Major thought that the microphones had been switched off, Brunson asked why he did not sack the ministers who were conspiring against him. He replied: "Just think it through from my perspective. Sony VAIO VGN-NW91FS Battery

You are the prime minister, with a majority of 18... where do you think most of the poison is coming from? From the dispossessed and the never-possessed. Do we want three more of the bastards out there? What's Lyndon B. Johnson's maxim?" Major later said that he had picked the number three from the air and that he was referring to "Sony VAIO VGN-NW91GS Battery

former ministers who had left the government and begun to create havoc with their anti-European activities", but many journalists suggested that the three were Peter Lilley, Michael Portillo and Michael Howard, three of the more prominent "Eurosceptics" within his Cabinet.Sony VAIO VGN-NW91VS Battery

Throughout the rest of Major's premiership the exact identity of the three was blurred, with John Redwood's name frequently appearing in a list along with two of the others. The tape of this conversation was leaked to the Daily Mirror and widely reported, embarrassing Major.Sony VAIO VGN-SR11M Battery

Arguments continued over Europe. Early in 1994 Major vetoed the Belgian politician Dehaene as President of the European Commission (in succession to Jacques Delors) for being excessively federalist, only to find that he had to accept a Luxembourg politician of similar views, Santer, instead.Sony VAIO VGN-SR11MR Battery

Around this time Major – who in an unfortunate phrase denounced the Labour Leader John Smith as "Monsieur Oui, the poodle of Brussels" – tried to demand an increase in the Qualified Majority needed for voting in the newly-enlarged European Union (i.e. making it easier for Britain, in alliance with other countries, to block federalist measures). Sony VAIO VGN-SR140D Battery

After Major had to back down on this issue Tony Marlow called openly in the House of Commons for his resignation. In 1996 European governments banned British beef over claims that it was infected with "Mad Cow Disease" – the British government withheld cooperation with the EU over the issue, but did not succeed in getting the ban lifted.Sony VAIO VGN-SR140D/B Battery

For the rest of Major's premiership the main argument was over whether Britain would join the planned European Single Currency. Some leading Conservatives (e.g. Chancellor Ken Clarke) favoured joining and insisted that Britain retain a completely free choice, whilst increasing numbers of others expressed their reluctance to join. Sony VAIO VGN-SR140D/P Battery

By this time billionaire Sir James Goldsmith had set up his own Referendum Party, siphoning off some Conservative support, and at the 1997 General Election many Conservative candidates were openly expressing reluctance to join.


At the 1993 Conservative Party Conference, Major began the "Back to Basics" campaign,Sony VAIO VGN-SR140D/S Battery

which he intended to be about the economy, education, policing, and other such issues, but it was interpreted by many (including Conservative cabinet ministers) as an attempt to revert to the moral and family values that the Conservative Party were often associated with.Sony VAIO VGN-SR140E Battery

"Back to Basics", however, became synonymous with scandal, often exposed in lurid and embarrassing detail by tabloid newspapers such as The Sun. In 1992 David Mellor, a cabinet minister, had been exposed as having an extramarital affair, and for accepting hospitality from the daughter of a leading member of the PLO. Sony VAIO VGN-SR140E/B Battery

The wife of the Earl of Caithness committed suicide amongst rumours of the Earl committing adultery. Stephen Milligan was found dead having apparently auto-asphyxiated whilst performing a solitary sex act (his Eastleigh seat was lost in what was to be an ongoing stream of hefty by-election defeats). Sony VAIO VGN-SR140E/P Battery

David Ashby was 'outed' by his wife after sleeping with men. A string of other Conservative MPs, including Alan Amos, Tim Yeo and Michael Brown, were involved in sexual scandals.

Other debilitating scandals included "Arms to Iraq" – the ongoing inquiry into how government ministers including Alan Clark Sony VAIO VGN-SR140E/S Battery

(also involved in a unrelated scandal involving the revelation of his affair with the wife and both daughters of a South African judge) had encouraged businesses to supply arms to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s, in breach of the official arms embargo, and how senior ministers had, on legal advice, Sony VAIO VGN-SR140N/S Battery

attempted to withhold evidence of this official connivance when directors of Matrix Churchill were put trial for breaking the embargo.

Another scandal was "Cash for Questions", in which first Graham Riddick, Sony VAIO VGN-SR165E/B Battery

and David Tredinnick accepted money to ask questions in the House of Commons in a newspaper "sting", and later Tim Smith and Neil Hamilton were found to have received money from Mohamed Al Fayed, also to ask questions in the House. Later, David Willetts resigned as Paymaster General after he was accused of rigging evidence to do with Cash for Questions.Sony VAIO VGN-SR165E/P Battery

Defence Minister Jonathan Aitken was accused by the ITV investigative journalism series World In Action and The Guardiannewspaper of secretly doing deals with leading Saudi princes. He denied all accusations and promised to wield the "sword of truth" in libel proceedings which he brought against The Guardian and the producers of World In Action Granada Television.Sony VAIO VGN-SR165E/S Battery

At an early stage in the trial however, it became apparent that he had lied under oath, and he was subsequently (after the Major government had fallen from power) convicted of perjury and sentenced to a term of imprisonment.

Major attempted to draw some of the sting from the financial scandals by setting up public inquiries – the Nolan Report into standards expected in public life, and the Scott Report into the Arms to Iraq Scandal.Sony VAIO VGN-SR190EBJ Battery

Although Tim Smith stepped down from the House of Commons at the 1997 General Election, both Neil Hamilton and Jonathan Aitken sought re-election for their seats, and were both defeated, in Hamilton's case by the former BBC Reporter Martin Bell, who stood as an anti-sleaze candidate, Sony VAIO VGN-SR190EBQ Battery

both the Labour and LibDem candidates withdrawing in his favour, amidst further publicity unfavourable to the Conservatives.

Northern Ireland

Major opened talks with the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) upon taking office. Sony VAIO VGN-SR190EEJ/C Battery

When he declared to the House of Commons in November 1993 that "to sit down and talk with Mr. Adams and the Provisional IRA... would turn my stomach", Sinn Féin gave the media an outline of the secret talks indeed held regularly since that February.Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NAB Battery

The Downing Street Declaration was issued on 15 December 1993 by Major and Albert Reynolds, the Irish Taoiseach, with whom he had a friendly relationship: an IRA ceasefire followed in 1994. In the House of Commons Major refused to sign-up to the first draft of the "Mitchell Principles", which resulted in the ending of the ceasefire. Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NBB Battery

Major paved the way for the Belfast Agreement, also known as the 'Good Friday Agreement', which was signed after he left office.

In March 1995, Major refused to answer the phone calls of United States President Bill Clinton for several days because of his anger at Clinton's decision to invite Gerry Adams to the White House forSt Patrick's Day.Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NDB Battery


Major's premiership saw the ongoing war in Bosnia. Government policy was to maintain the United Nations arms embargo which restricted the flow of weapons into the region and to oppose air strikes against Bosnian Serbs. Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NEB Battery

The Government's reasoning was that an arms embargo would only create a 'level killing field' and that air strikes would endanger UN peacekeepers and the humanitarian aid effort. This policy was criticised by Thatcher and others who saw the Bosnian Muslims as the main victims of Serb aggression and compared the situation to events in WWII. Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NGB Battery

The Clinton administration, by contrast, was committed to a policy of 'lift and strike' (lifting the arms embargo and inflicting air strikes on the Serbs) causing tensions in the 'special relationship' (Douglas Hurd and others strongly opposed this policy).Sony VAIO VGN-SR190PAB Battery

Some commentators compared the Major Government's policy to 'amoral equivalency' because it appeared to judge the Bosnian Government and the Bosnian Serbs equally culpable . To some extent these critics of Major's policy were vindicated when in an article published in 2011, Sony VAIO VGN-SR190PCB Battery

the then Defence Secretary Malcolm Rifkind accepted that the arms embargo was a 'serious mistake' by the UN.

1995 leadership election

On 22 June 1995, tired of continual threats of leadership challenges that never arose, Major resigned as Leader of the Conservative Party and announced he would contest the resulting leadership election –Sony VAIO VGN-SR190PFB Battery

he continued to serve as Prime Minister while the leadership was vacant, but would have resigned had he not been re-elected by a large enough majority. John Redwood resigned asSecretary of State for Wales to stand against him. Major won by 218 votes to Redwood's 89 Sony VAIO VGN-SR19VN Battery

(with 12 spoiled ballots, eight 'active' abstentions and two MPs abstaining), enough to win in the first round, but only three more than the target he had privately set himself.

The Sun newspaper, still at this stage supporting the Conservative Party, had lost faith in Major and declared its support for Redwood in the leadership election, running the front page headline "Redwood versus Deadwood". Sony VAIO VGN-SR19VN Battery

1997 general election defeat

Major's re-election as leader of the party failed to restore his authority. Despite efforts to restore (or at least improve) the popularity of the Conservative party, Labour remained far ahead in the opinion polls as the 1997 election loomed, despite the economic boom that had followed the exit from recession four years earlier, and the swift fall in unemployment.Sony VAIO VGN-SR19VRN Battery

By December 1996 the Conservatives had lost their majority in the House of Commons. Major managed to survive to the end of the Parliament, but called an election on 17 March 1997 as the five-year limit for its timing approached. Major delayed the election in the hope that a still improving economy would help the Conservatives win a greater number of seats, but it did not.Sony VAIO VGN-SR19XN Battery

Few then were surprised when Major's Conservatives lost the 1 May 1997 general election to Tony Blair's "New Labour", although the immense scale of the defeat was not as widely predicted: in 1987 and 1992 the Conservatives had polled better than had been suggested by the opinion polls, but in 1997 this was no longer the case. Sony VAIO VGN-SR19XN Battery

In the event the Conservative party suffered the worst electoral defeat by a ruling party since the Great Reform Act of 1832. In the new parliament, Labour held 418 seats, the Conservatives 165, and the Liberal Democrats 46, giving Labour a majority of 179. Sony VAIO VGN-SR210J/S Battery

Major himself was re-elected in his own constituency of Huntingdon with a majority of 18,140. However, 179 other Conservative MPs were defeated, including present and former Cabinet ministers such asNorman Lamont, Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Michael Portillo.Sony VAIO VGN-SR21M/S Battery

The election defeat also meant that the Tories were left without any MPs in Scotland or Wales, failing to win a single seat outside England.

At about noon on 2 May 1997, Major officially returned his seals of office as Prime Minister to Queen Elizabeth II. Sony VAIO VGN-SR21RM/H Battery

Shortly before his resignation, he gave his final statement from 10 Downing Street, in which he said; "When the curtain falls, it is time to get off the stage". Major then famously announced to the press that he intended to go with his family to The Oval to watch cricket.Sony VAIO VGN-SR21RM/S Battery

Following his resignation as Prime Minister, Major briefly became Leader of the Opposition, and Shadow Foreign Secretary (as Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who was Foreign Secretary prior to the election, had lost his seat), and remained in this post until the election of William Hague as leader of the Conservative Party in June 1997.Sony VAIO VGN-SR220J/B Battery

His Resignation Honours were announced in August 1997.

Major retired from the House of Commons at the 2001 general election, made public on the Breakfast show with David Frost.


Major's mild-mannered style and moderate political stance made him theoretically well-placed to act as a conciliatory leader of his party. Sony VAIO VGN-SR220J/H Battery

However, conflict raged within the Conservative Party, particularly over the extent of Britain's integration with the European Union. Major never succeeded in reconciling the relatively small group of "Euro-rebels" among his MPs to his European policy, and episodes such as the Maastricht Rebellion inflicted serious political damage on him and his government. Sony VAIO VGN-SR240J/B Battery

During the 1990s, the bitterness on the right wing of the Conservative Party at the manner in which Margaret Thatcher had been removed from office did not make Major's task any easier. A series of scandals among leading Tory MP's also did Major and his government no favours.Sony VAIO VGN-SR240N/B Battery

His task became even more difficult after the well-received election of Tony Blair as Labour leader in July 1994.

On the other hand, it was during Major's premiership that the British economy recovered from the recession of 1990–1992. John Major wrote in his auto-biography that, "During my premiership interest rates fell from 14% to 6%;Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JTH Battery

unemployment was at 1.75 million when I took office, and at 1.6 million and falling upon my departure; and the government's annual borrowing rose from £0.5 billion to nearly £46 billion at its peak before falling to £1 billion".

The former Labour MP Tony Banks said of Major in 1994 that "He was a fairly competent chairman of Housing on Lambeth Council. Every time he gets up now I keep thinking, 'What on earth is Councillor Major doing?' I can't believe he's here and sometimes I think he can't either."Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JTJ Battery

Paddy Ashdown, the leader of the Liberal Democrats during Major's term of office, once described him in the House of Commons as a "decent and honourable man". Few observers doubted that he was an honest man, or that he made sincere and sometimes successful attempts to improve life in Britain and to unite his deeply divided party.Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JTQ Battery

He was also, however, perceived as a weak and ineffectual figure, and his approval ratings for most of his time in office were low, particularly after "Black Wednesday" in September 1992. Conversely on occasions he attracted criticism  for dogmatically pursuing schemes favoured by the right of his party,Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JVB/C Battery

notably the privatisation of British Rail, and for closing down most of the coal industry in advance of privatisation.


Since leaving office Major has maintained a low profile, indulging his love of cricket as president of Surrey County Cricket Club until 2002 (and Honorary Life Vice-President since 2002)Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JVH/C Battery

and commentating on political developments in the manner of a wise elder statesman. He has been a member of Carlyle Group's European Advisory Board since 1998 and was appointed Chairman of Carlyle Europe in May 2001.He stood down in August 2004.

Unlike most former prime ministers up until that time, Major turned down a peerage when he retired from the House of Commons in 2001. In recent history, onlySir Winston Churchill, Sir Edward Heath, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have not been elevated to the House of Lords.Sony VAIO VGN-SR290NTB Battery

In March 2001, he gave the tribute to Colin Cowdrey (Lord Cowdrey of Tonbridge) at his memorial service in Westminster Abbey. In 2005 he was elected to the Committee of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), historically the governing body of the sport, and still guardian of the laws of the game.Sony VAIO VGN-SR29VN/S Battery

Following the death ofDiana, Princess of Wales in 1997, Major was appointed a special guardian to Princes William and Harry, with responsibility for legal and administrative matters.

Major/Currie affair

Major's low profile in retirement was disrupted by Edwina Currie's revelation in September 2002 that, prior to his promotion to the Cabinet, Major had had a four-year extramarital affair with her.Sony VAIO VGN-SR29XN/S Battery

Commentators were quick to refer to Major's previous "Back to Basics" platform to throw charges of hypocrisy. He had also sued two magazines, New Statesman and Society and Scallywag plus their distributors, in 1993 for reporting rumours of an affair with a caterer, even though at least one of the magazines had said that the rumours were false.Sony VAIO VGN-SR2RVN/S Battery

Both considered legal action to recover their costs when the affair with Currie was revealed.

In a press statement, Major said that he was "ashamed" by the affair and that his wife had forgiven him. In response, Currie said "he wasn't ashamed of it at the time and he wanted it to continue."Sony VAIO VGN-SR390NAB Battery

Since 2005

In February 2005, it was reported that Major and Norman Lamont delayed the release of papers on Black Wednesday under the Freedom of Information Act. Major denied doing so, saying that he had not heard of the request until the scheduled release date and had merely asked to look at the papers himself. Sony VAIO VGN-SR390NAH Battery

He told BBC News that he and Lamont had been the victims of "whispering" to the press. He later publicly approved the release of the papers.

According to the Evening Standard, Major has become a prolific after-dinner speaker. Sony VAIO VGN-SR41M/P Battery

He earns over £25,000 per engagement for his "insights and his own opinions on the expanding European Union, the future of the world in the 21st century, and also about Britain", according to his agency.

In December 2006, Major led calls for an independent inquiry into Tony Blair's decision to invade Iraq,Sony VAIO VGN-SR41M/S Battery

following revelations made by Carne Ross, a former British senior diplomat, that contradict Blair's case for the invasion. He was touted as a possible Conservative candidate for the Mayor of London elections in 2008, but turned down an offer from Conservative leader David Camer

on. A spokesperson for Major said "his political career is behind him".Sony VAIO VGN-SR49VN/H Battery

In 2010, Major became a key loyalist to the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, and said that he hoped for a "liberal conservative" alliance beyond 2015, and has criticised Ed Miliband and the Labour Party, for "party games" rather than helping in the national interest.Sony VAIO VGN-SR51B/P Battery

He was among the guests at the Royal Wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge to Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey on 29 April 2011. Baroness Thatcher was also invited but declined to attend due to ill health.

Representation in the media

During his leadership of the Conservative Party, Major was portrayed as honest ("Honest John") but unable to rein in the philandering and bickering within his party.Sony VAIO VGN-SR51B/S Battery

Major's appearance was noted in its greyness, his prodigious philtrum, and large glasses, all of which were exaggerated in caricatures. For example, in Spitting Image, Major's puppet was changed from a circus performer to that of a grey man who ate dinner with his wife in silence, occasionally saying "nice peas, dear", Sony VAIO VGN-SR51MF Battery

whilst at the same time nursing an unrequited crush on his colleague Virginia Bottomley – an invention, but an ironic one in view of his affair with Edwina Currie, which was not then a matter of public knowledge. By the end of his premiership his puppet would often be shown observing the latest fiasco and murmuring "Oh Dear" in an ineffectual manner.Sony VAIO VGN-SR51MF/P Battery

The media (particularly The Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell) used the allegation by Alastair Campbell that he had observed Major tucking his shirt into his underpants to caricature him wearing his pants outside his trousers, as a pale grey echo of both Superman and Supermac, a parody of Harold Macmillan. Sony VAIO VGN-SR51MF/S Battery

Bell also used the humorous possibilities of the Cones Hotline, a means for the public to inform the authorities of potentially unnecessary traffic cones, which was part of the Citizen's Charter project established by John Major.

Private Eye parodied Sue Townsend's The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, age 13¾ to write The Secret Diary of John Major, age 47¾, in which Major was portrayed as a naive nincompoop Sony VAIO VGN-SR51MF/W Battery

(e.g. keeping lists of his enemies in a Rymans Notebook called his "Bastards Book") and featuring "my wife Norman" and "Mr Dr Mawhinney" as recurring characters. The magazine still runs one-off specials of this diary (with the age updated) on occasions when Major is in the news,Sony VAIO VGN-SR51MR Battery

such as on the breaking of the Edwina Currie story or the publication of his autobiography. The magazine also ran a series of cartoons called 101 Uses for a John Major (based on a comic book of some ten years earlier, called 101 Uses for a Dead Cat), in which Major was illustrated serving a number of bizarre purposes, such as a train-spotter's anorak.Sony VAIO VGN-SR59VG Battery

Major's Brixton roots were used in a campaign poster during the Conservative Party's 1992 election campaign: "What does the Conservative Party offer a working class kid from Brixton? They made him Prime Minister."

Major was often mocked for his nostalgic evocation of what sounded like the lost England of the 1950s (see Merry England).Sony VAIO VGN-SR59VG/H Battery

For example: "Fifty years on from now, Britain will still be the country of long shadows on cricket grounds, warm beer, invincible green suburbs, dog lovers and pools fillers".

Major complained in his memoirs that these words Sony VAIO VGN-SR70B/S Battery

(which drew upon a passage in the sociopolitical commentator and author George Orwell's "The Lion and the Unicorn" ) had been misrepresented as being more naive and romantic than he had intended , and indeed his memoirs were dismissive of the common conservative viewpoint that there was once a time of moral rectitude; Major wrote that "life has never been as simple as that".Sony VAIO VGN-SR72B/P Battery

Writing in 2011, the BBC's Home editor Mark Easton judged that "Majorism" had made little lasting impact.


  • Lord of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council (1987)
  • Member of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council (1987–present)  Sony VAIO VGN-SR72B/S Battery
  • Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour (1999)
  • Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter (2005)

In the New Year's Honours List of 1999 Major was made a Companion of Honour for his work on the Northern Ireland peace process.[50] In a 2003 interview he spoke about his hopes for peace in the region.Sony VAIO VGN-SR73JB/S Battery

On 23 April 2005, Major was made a Knight Companion of the Order of the Garter by Queen Elizabeth II. He was installed at St. George's Chapel, Windsor on 13 June. Membership of the Order of the Garter is limited in number to 24, and is an honour traditionally bestowed on former British Prime Ministers and is a personal gift of the Queen.Sony VAIO VGN-SR74FB/S Battery

Major has so far declined a life peerage on standing down from Parliament.

On 20 June 2008, Major was granted the Freedom of the City of Cork.

On 26 April 2010, Major gave a speech in the Cambridge Union, after which he was granted honorary membership of the society, joining figures includingJesse Jackson, Stephen Hawking and The Prince of Wales.Sony VAIO VGN-SR90FS Battery

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Blair in fiction and satire

When Blair resigned as Prime Minister, Robert Harris, a former Fleet Street political editor, dropped his other work to write The Ghost.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ70B Battery

The CIA-influenced British Prime Minister in the book is said to be a thinly disguised version of Blair. In November 2007 it was announced that Roman Polanski was to direct the film version of the novel, and would be writing the script with Harris. The film was released in February 2010 in the US.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ71B Battery

Polanski's film saw Pierce Brosnan portray former-Prime Minister Adam Lang, and dramatises Blair's relationship with the United States, as well as the possibility of war crime charges.

In May 2007, before his resignation, it was reported that Blair would be offered a knighthood in the Order of the Thistle, owing to his Scottish connections (rather than the Order of the Garter, which is usually offered to former Prime Ministers). Sony VAIO VGN-FZ72B Battery

No such move has been made since, and Blair has reportedly indicated that he does not want the traditional knighthood or peerage bestowed on former prime ministers.

On 22 May 2008, Blair received an honorary law doctorate from Queen's University Belfast, alongside former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, for distinction in public service and roles in the Northern Ireland peace process.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ90HS Battery

On 13 January 2009, Blair was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush. Bush stated that Blair was given the award "in recognition of exemplary achievement and to convey the utmost esteem of the American people" and cited Blair's support for the War on Terror and his role in achieving peace in Northern Ireland as two reasons for justifying his being presented with the award.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ90NS Battery

On 16 February 2009, Blair was awarded the Dan David Prize by Tel Aviv University for "exceptional leadership and steadfast determination in helping to engineer agreements and forge lasting solutions to areas in conflict". He was awarded the prize in May 2009.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ90S Battery

On 13 September 2010, Blair was awarded the Liberty Medal at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was presented by former President Bill Clinton, and is awarded annually to men and women of courage and conviction who strive to secure the blessings of liberty to people around the globe.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ91HS Battery

A Journey is a memoir written by Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom between 1997 and 2007. Published on 1 September 2010, it is an account of how he became leader of the Labour Party in 1994 and transformed the party into "New Labour"; the party held power for a record three successive terms.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ91NS Battery

The book also details events after his resignation and replacement as Prime Minister by his Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown. The memoir was initially titled The Journey, and plans to publish it were announced in March 2010; it was renamed A Journey prior to publishing. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ91S Battery

Blair donated his £4.6madvance, and all subsequent royalties, to the British Armed Forces charity the Royal British Legion; this decision received a mixed reception. Within hours of being launched, it became the fastest-selling autobiography of all time in one chain of book stores. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ92HS Battery

Protesters disapproving of the Iraq War disrupted a book signing in Dublin on the weekend after the launch. This led to the cancellation of a book signing and launch party in London, amid fears of further hostility.

The book covers much-debated issues such as Blair's latterly strained relationship with Brown after allegedly making a pact with him in 1994 to step down much earlier,Sony VAIO VGN-FZ92NS Battery

as well as his controversial decision to take Britain into war with the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the aftermath of which, Blair says in the book, was a "nightmare". The publication discusses Labour's future following Brown's defeat in the May 2010 general election; his relations with the Royal Family; and how he came to "like and admire" President George W. Bush. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ92S Battery

In the final chapter, Blair warns that Labour must not return to the left-wing policies of the 1980s. Mixed reviews of the memoir appeared in the media; some journalists criticised Blair's writing style, but others praised the publication, saying the book was "candid."Sony VAIO VGN-G118CN Battery

British novelist John Lanchester described the book as "a detailed account of scrambling, scraping, horse-trading, bluffing, and fudging the way to a deal—a remarkable combination of the ramshackle and the historic."

Along with media reaction, several prominent figures expressed their views about the book. Sony VAIO VGN-G118GN/B Battery

Gordon Brown was reportedly "seething" over the criticism he received from Blair in the book, but he told aides not to criticise the publication. Labour politician Alistair Darling said the book "shows us what can be done when we have confidence, clarity and a clear sense of purpose: we can win and change the country for the better."Sony VAIO VGN-G118GN/T Battery

Families of servicemen and servicewomen who were killed in Iraq reacted angrily to the book, in which Blair does not apologise for the invasion; a spokesperson for an organisation against the Iraq War described Blair's comments about regretting the loss of life as "completely meaningless." Sony VAIO VGN-G118TN/B Battery

Shortly after the release of the book, the screenwriter of the 2006 filmThe Queen, which depicts Blair's first months in office, accused Blair of plagiarising dialogue from the film in his description of a conversation with Elizabeth II.


In March 2010, it was reported that Blair's memoirs, titled The Journey, would be published in September of that year.Sony VAIO VGN-G118TN/S Battery

On 4 March, Gail Rebuck, chairman and chief executive of Random House, announced that the memoirs would be published by Hutchinson in the United Kingdom.Rebuck predicted that the book would "break new ground in prime ministerial memoirs just as Blair himself broke the mould of British politics."Sony VAIO VGN-G11VN/T Battery

Preliminary images of the book's cover, showing Blair in an open-neck shirt, were released. In July, the memoir was retitled as A Journey; one publishing expert said the decision was likely made to make Blair appear "less messianic". Random House did not give a specific reason for the decision, describing it as a "minor editorial decision".Sony VAIO VGN-G11VN/TC Battery

It was announced the book would by published by Knopf in the United States and Canada  under the title A Journey: My Political Life;  and in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and India, by Random House. The book was also released as an audiobook, read by Blair.Sony VAIO VGN-G11XN/B Battery

On 16 August 2010, Blair announced that he would give the £4.6m advance and all royalties from his memoirs to a sports centre for injured soldiers. BBC political correspondent Norman Smith said Blair's severest critics would see the donation as "guilt money" for taking the UK to war against Iraq in 2003.Sony VAIO VGN-G1AAPS Battery

The father of a soldier killed in Iraq said the donation was "blood money".  The father of a soldier killed by an improvised explosive device in Iraq said he did not think Blair made the donation "with a good heart," but because he had a "guilty conscience." Sony VAIO VGN-G1AAPSA Battery

A spokesperson for theStop the War Coalition welcomed the donation, but added, "[N]o proportion of Tony Blair's massive and ill-gotten fortune can buy him innocence or forgiveness. He took this country to war on a series of lies against the best legal advice and in defiance of majority opinion."Sony VAIO VGN-G1AAPSB Battery

A spokesman for Blair said that it had long been his intention to give the money to a charity; he added aiding soldiers undergoing rehabilitation at the Battle Back Challenge Centre was "his way of honouring their courage and sacrifice." The announcement was welcomed by Chris Simpkins, Sony VAIO VGN-G1AAPSC Battery

director general of the Royal British Legion, who said, "Mr Blair's generosity is much appreciated and will help us to make a real and lasting difference to the lives of hundreds of injured personnel."


A Journey was published on 1 September, and within hours of its launch it became the fastest-selling autobiography of all time at bookseller Waterstone's,Sony VAIO VGN-G1ABNS Battery

where it sold more copies in one day thanPeter Mandelson's The Third Man: Life at the Heart of New Labour had done in its first three weeks after publication in July; the book went straight to No. 1 on Amazon.co.uk's British bestseller list.Sony VAIO VGN-G1KAP Battery

On 8 September, Nielsen BookScan, which provides data for the book publishing industry, said that 92,000 copies of A Journey had been sold in the United Kingdom in less than a week, the best opening week for an autobiography since the company began keeping figures in 1998.Sony VAIO VGN-G1KBN Battery

The New York Times reported that in the United States, an initial print run of 50,000 copies had been extended by another 25,000, with the book set to debut at No. 3 on The New York Times hardcover best-seller list on 19 September. Commenting on its success, Andrew Lake, the political book-buyer at Waterstone's, said,Sony VAIO VGN-G1KBNA Battery

Nothing can compare to the level of interest shown in this book. You have to look at hugely successful fiction authors such as Dan Brown or JK Rowling to find books that have sold more quickly on their first day. Mandelson may remain the prince but Blair has reclaimed his title as king, certainly in terms of book sales.Sony VAIO VGN-G1LAP Battery

To coincide with the book's release, Blair recorded a series of promotional interviews for radio and television, which were broadcast on 1 September. Among the media to screen these interviews were the Arabic television network Al Jazeera, the ITV1 daytime magazine programme This Morning,Sony VAIO VGN-G1LBN Battery

and BBC Two, which aired an hour-long interview with Andrew Marr. Blair was in Washington, D. C. on the day of the book's launch to participate in peace talks with Middle East leaders, and to attend a White House dinner with Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Israeli and Palestinian leaders.Sony VAIO VGN-G218LN/T Battery

British newspaper The Independentreported that Blair's visit to the United States was a coincidence, and not an attempt to be out of the United Kingdom when the book was published. On 4 September, when Blair arrived for his first book signing at a leading bookshop on O'Connell Street, Sony VAIO VGN-G218N/B Battery

Dublin, demonstrators opposed to the Iraq War heckled, jeered and threw eggs and shoes at him; none of the objects hit him. One activist pretended to be a purchaser of the book in order to attempt a citizen's arrest of Blair for war crimes. Protestors clashed with Irish police and tried to push over a security barrier outside the shop. Sony VAIO VGN-G21XP/B Battery

The demonstrators—anti-war protestors and Irish republicans opposed to the peace process—shouted abuse at those queueing to meet Tony Blair, calling them "traitors" and "West Brits". Four people were arrested during the incident.

On 6 September, several days after the launch of the book, Blair appeared on the inaugural edition of British television programme Daybreak, Sony VAIO VGN-G2AANS Battery

where he criticised the Dublin protestors as a small minority given undue media attention. Citing the already good sales figures, he expressed doubts over whether a forthcoming book signing in London on 8 September was justifiable and worth the inevitable disruption, given fears that the British National Party and other hostile groups were planning to get involved in the protests.Sony VAIO VGN-G2AAPS Battery

Later in the day it was confirmed the signing at Waterstone's in Piccadilly would not go ahead. On 7 September, a spokesman for Blair announced that a planned launch party for the book scheduled for the next evening at the Tate Modern would take place despite plans by the Stop the War Coalition to hold a demonstration against the event.Sony VAIO VGN-G2AAPSA Battery

However, the following day this event was also cancelled as a result of threats of disruption by campaigners. In the weeks following the publication, a number of media organisations reported that copies of A Journey were being moved from autobiographical sections in bookshops to sections on crime and horror.Sony VAIO VGN-G2AAPSB Battery

More than 10,000 people.I don't condone the violent acts of protest, but I completely understand the public's anger. I feel it too, I just decided to lead by example on a funny idea that was knocked around the net. And funny it is—but there is a serious message. Tony Blair is a liar, a cheat and a coward.Sony VAIO VGN-G2AAPSC Battery


A Journey is Tony Blair's account of his time as leader of the Labour Party and his subsequent years as British Prime Minister following his party's victory at the 1997 general election. In the book, Blair describes his often difficult relationship with Chancellor Gordon Brown as being "like a couple who loved each other, Sony VAIO VGN-G2KAN Battery

arguing over whose career should come first", and he calls Brown a "strange guy". who had "zero" emotional intelligence, He says he promised Brown in 2003 that he would resign before the next general election, but later changed his mind. He accuses him of blackmail,Sony VAIO VGN-G2KANA Battery

claiming that his former Chancellor threatened to call for a Labour Party inquiry into the cash for honours affair during an argument over pension policy. Blair admits that he was behind the decision to hand control of interest rates to the Bank of England rather than Brown.Sony VAIO VGN-G2KBNA Battery

Labour's 2010 election defeat is blamed on Brown, who Blair accuses of abandoning New Labour's policies. He does have some praise for him, however, crediting him with being a good Chancellor and a committed public servant.  "So was he difficult, at times maddening? Sony VAIO VGN-NR160E/S Battery

Yes. But he was also strong, capable and brilliant, and those were qualities for which I never lost respect," he says of Brown. "When it's said that I should have sacked him, or demoted him, this takes no account of the fact that had I done so, the party and the Government would have been severely and immediately destabilised ... Sony VAIO VGN-NR160E/T Battery

It is easy to say now, in the light of his tenure as prime minister, that I should have stopped it; at the time that would have been well nigh impossible."

Blair discusses at length his thoughts on military intervention in Iraq, saying, "Friends opposed to the war think I'm being obstinate;Sony VAIO VGN-NR160E/W Battery

others, less friendly, think I'm being delusional," but he concedes that the aftermath of the invasion was a "nightmare".[37] Blair defends his decision to go to war, saying Saddam Hussein "[h]ad not abandoned the strategy of WMD [weapons of mass destruction], merely made a tactical decision to put it into abeyance".Sony VAIO VGN-NR180E/S Battery

He says that he would make the same decision again with regard to Iran, warning that if that country develops nuclear weapons it will change the balance of power of the Middle East to the region's detriment. Of the situation in Iraq, he writes that some problems require a "resolution" and fester if left unattended. Sony VAIO VGN-NR180E/T Battery

On the loss of life in Iraq, he says,Tears, though there have been many, do not encompass it. I feel desperately sorry for them, sorry for the lives cut short, sorry for the families whose bereavement is made worse by the controversy over why their loved ones died, sorry for the utterly unfair selection that the loss should be theirs.Sony VAIO VGN-NR290E/S Battery

He also writes of wanting George W. Bush, who spearheaded the Iraq invasion, to win a second term as President of the United States in 2004. "George had immense simplicity in how he saw the world," he says of Bush in the book. "Right or wrong, it led to decisive leadership. Sony VAIO VGN-NR290E/T Battery

I had come to like and admire George. I was asked recently which of the political leaders I had met had most integrity. I listed George near the top." On his role in the Northern Ireland peace process, Blair refers to having used "a certain amount of creative ambiguity" during negotiations, Sony VAIO VGN-NR298E/S Battery

saying that the process would not have succeeded without it. He claims to have stretched the truth "on occasions past breaking point" in the run-up to the 2007 power-sharing deal which enabled the return of devolved legislative powers from Westminster to theNorthern Ireland Executive.Sony VAIO VGN-NR460E/L Battery

He praises both Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness of Sinn Féin for the part they played in the peace process. On the subject of the British Royal Family, Blair writes of conversations he had with Elizabeth II. At their first meeting following his election he claims Elizabeth II told him, "You are my tenth prime minister. The first was Winston. Sony VAIO VGN-NR460E/P Battery

That was before you were born." He tells of another occasion following the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, in which he says Elizabeth II told him that lessons had to be learned from the way things had been handled after the Princess's death.Sony VAIO VGN-NR498E/L Battery

He also recounts a gathering at Balmoral Castle during which Prince Philip operated the barbecue and Elizabeth II donned a pair of rubber gloves to wash up afterwards.

While he denies a dependence on alcohol, Blair says that he started drinking while in office to cope with his relationship with Brown.Sony VAIO VGN-NR498E/S Battery

"By the standards of days gone by I was not even remotely a toper, and I couldn't do lunchtime drinking except on Christmas Day, but if you took the thing everyone always lies about—units per week—I was definitely at the outer limit," he says. "Stiff whisky or G&T before dinner, couple of glasses of wine or even half a bottle with it. Sony VAIO VGN-NR498E/T Battery

So not excessively excessive. I had a limit. But I was aware that it had become a prop."  Blair describes alcohol as "a relief to pressure. It is a stimulant. It can make a boring evening tolerable. But it plays a part in your life." Blair says that Brown was right to restructure British banks and introduce an economic stimulus after the financial crisis, Sony VAIO VGN-NR498E/W Battery

but says that he would have slowly increased VAT and other taxes—a process known as "stealth tax"—which his government was regularly criticised for doing. "The role of government is to stabilise and then get out of the way as quickly as economically sensible," Blair writes.Sony VAIO VGN-NR50 Battery

Blair claims in the publication that he had a premonition that his predecessor, John Smith, would die less than a month before he did so in 1994. Blair goes on to say that he knew that he would be the one to succeed Smith as Labour leader rather than Gordon Brown, who had been a strong contender for the job.Sony VAIO VGN-NR50B Battery

He talks of "devouring" his wife Cherie in a passionate lovemaking session on the night he decided to run for the leadership. The final chapter of the book is a critique of Labour Party policy and discusses the party's future, with Blair warning Gordon Brown's successor that if Labour is to remain electable they should continue with the policies of New Labour and not return to the left-wing policies of the 1980s.Sony VAIO VGN-NR51 Battery

He says,I won three elections. Up to then, Labour had never even won two successive full terms. The longest Labour government had lasted six years. This lasted 13. It could have gone on longer, had it not abandoned New Labour.


The book received a mixed reception from critics. Sony VAIO VGN-NR51B Battery

Lionel Barber, editor of The Financial Times wrote that Blair's autobiography was "part psychodrama, part treatise on the frustrations of leadership in a modern democracy," saying it is "written in a chummy style with touches of Mills & Boon". Barber further writes, "Blair comes across as likable, if manipulative; Sony VAIO VGN-NR52 Battery

capable of dissembling while wonderfully fluent; in short, a brilliant modern politician (whatever his moans about the media)." Writing in The Independent on Sunday, Geoffrey Beattie called the book "revelatory". He added the book offered an understanding of Blair's "underlying psychology."Sony VAIO VGN-NR52B Battery

He said,Tony Blair's A Journey is a revelatory book in many ways, offering a glimpse into the mind of a political leader during tumultuous times ... it is sufficiently candid and detailed to give us some insight into the man's underlying psychology, and sometimes it is the smallest detail that can be the most interesting.Sony VAIO VGN-NR71B Battery

John Rentoul, author of the Blair biography Tony Blair Prime Minister, was equally positive, giving particular praise to the chapter on the Iraq War. "The chapter on Iraq is tightly argued in some detail, which may persuade those with open minds to recognise that the decision to join the US invasion was a reasonable, Sony VAIO VGN-NR71B2 Battery

if not very successful, one, rather than a conspiracy against life, the universe and everything decent," he said. The New York Timespraised Blair for his openness in the publication, saying. "When speaking about the challenges of his first term in office, Blair writes honestly and openly," the newspaper said. "Sony VAIO VGN-NR72B Battery

The style is not the elegant Oxbridge prose that might have been expected of a former prime minister but one filled with Americanisms. It is breezy, informal and candid enough to keep the reader thoroughly engaged." However, the newspaper attacked Blair's "sweeping generalizations" about terrorism,Sony VAIO VGN-NS10E/S Battery

saying, "Regarding the war on terror, the book assumes a very different character. It is marked by grand statements, sweeping generalizations, constant evocations of destiny and national character, and long quotations from government reports and Blair’s speeches. All that was gray becomes black and white."Sony VAIO VGN-NS10J/S Battery

Other reviewers gave the book a less positive reception. Writing in The Observer, political journalist and author Andrew Rawnsley was critical of Blair's writing style. "It is Tony Blair's boast that he wrote every word in longhand 'on hundreds of notepads'. That I believe," he wrote. "Sony VAIO VGN-NS10L/S Battery

He was the most brilliant communicator of his era as a platform speaker or television interviewee, but he can be a ghastly writer. Anyone thinking about taking this journey needs to be given a travel advisory: much of the prose is execrable ... I could say that it is a pity that Tony Blair did not employ a ghostwriter to prettify the prose and organise his recollections more elegantly."Sony VAIO VGN-NS110E/L Battery

Rawnsley does, though, praise the book as being "a more honest political memoir than most and more open in many respects than I had anticipated." Mary Ann Sieghart, writing for The Independent said, "whatever its faults, and toe-curling passages, [A Journey] has many good lessons on how to succeed in both opposition and government.Sony VAIO VGN-NS110E/S Battery

The Daily Mail, on the other hand, dismissed the book as "more Bridget Jones than Henry Kissinger." Julian Glover, a columnist in The Guardian, said that "no political memoir has ever been like this: a book written as if in a dream—or a nightmare; a literary out-of-body experience. Sony VAIO VGN-NS110E/W Battery

By turns honest, confused, memorable, boastful, fitfully endearing, important, lazy, shallow, rambling and intellectually correct, it scampers through the last two decades like a trashy airport read." Glover also criticises Blair's prose, but says that "you can't put it down." Sony VAIO VGN-NS115N/S Battery

He adds, "At times its great flaws are magicked away by his brilliance as a politician, the man who can make you believe. Then, pages later, you feel almost sick. There are at least three gushing sexual passages, more Mills and Boon than prime ministerial memoir."Sony VAIO VGN-NS11ER/S Battery

British journalist Toby Young, author of How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, a memoir charting his failed five-year effort to become a contributing editor at Vanity Fair magazine, said that A Journey read like the "latest salvo from Katie Price in her ongoing battle with Peter André."Sony VAIO VGN-NS11E/S Battery

Young said, "I was expecting some high-minded lessons in the art of statesmanship, not a series of jaw-dropping revelations about Gordon Brown. Reading these memoirs, you get the impression that Tony Blair’s visceral hatred of his chief rival has clouded his political judgment. Sony VAIO VGN-NS11J/S Battery

Champagne corks will be popping in Downing Street tonight because A Journey does very little to enhance the reputation of either Blair or Brown." Anthony Seldon, author of a biography of Blair entitled Blair Unbound, said that the book "tells a lot." He told Sky News, Sony VAIO VGN-NS11L/S Battery

"It could have been a much better book if he had reflected more and he needed to be more candid about the most controversial war that Britain has fought in decades, about why he didn't do more to prepare for the aftermath in Iraq." Political blog politics.co.ukdescribed the book as "a rather clever bit of defensive rhetoric" which Blair uses to defend his decisions while in power.Sony VAIO VGN-NS11MR/S Battery

The article continued, however, to say the article is written in a different style to other political memoirs. "Reports that it was not ghost written must surely be true. You can almost hear him talking. Certain moments see his undoubted political genius translate into exquisite writing."Sony VAIO VGN-NS11M/S Battery

The Oxonian Review regards the "folksy, well-paced, and at times cinematic" memoir as reflecting Blair's attempt to grasp for "an understanding of his political life, its evolution from fearful popularity to courageous ignominy." Writing in American magazine The New Yorker,Sony VAIO VGN-NS11SR/S Battery

British novelist John Lanchester said that the book was "a detailed account of scrambling, scraping, horse-trading, bluffing, and fudging the way to a deal—a remarkable combination of the ramshackle and the historic." The Sunday Telegraph was extremely critical of Blair's writing style.Sony VAIO VGN-NS11S/S Battery

"If Blair wants to tell you a funny story, he makes the mistake of signalling in advance that you should be laughing—what happened was 'hilarious', his first weekend at Balmoral was 'utterly freaky'—thereby strangling the anecdote at birth. The book, like its author, is slightly embarrassing."Sony VAIO VGN-NS11ZR/S Battery

However, the newspaper said that the book was "all a little sad," saying,The author feels unappreciated. He says the book is 'a letter to the country I love', but at present it does not seem to love him back. This is perhaps because Tony Blair, at the height of his power, persuaded people that he really did understand them.Sony VAIO VGN-NS11Z/S Battery

Other reaction

On 3 September 2010 The Daily Telegraph reported that Elizabeth II felt a "profound sense of disappointment" in Blair for breaking with protocol by revealing in his memoirs sensitive details of private conversations he had with her during his time as Prime Minister. Sony VAIO VGN-NS12M/S Battery

It is generally accepted that a Prime Minister does not discuss details of conversations he has with the Queen. A spokesman forBuckingham Palace told the newspaper, "No prime minister before has ever done this and we can only hope that it will never happen again."Sony VAIO VGN-NS12M/W Battery

On 5 September, The Sunday Express claimed, quoting "renowned Royal biographer Hugo Vickers" and other "Royal insiders", that due to the book's contents, Elizabeth II would withhold granting him the Order of the Thistle, an honour which is bestowed on the sovereign's personal prerogative, which is given almost automatically to leaders of Scottish descent after leaving office.Sony VAIO VGN-NS12S/S Battery

On 3 September The Independent reported that Gordon Brown was said to be "seething" and "dismayed" over the criticism he received from Blair in the book, but had told aides not to criticise it. Ed Balls, a Brown ally who served in his government as Secretary of State for Children Schools and Families said,Sony VAIO VGN-NS21M/P Battery

"It would have been much better if the memoirs had been a celebration of success rather than recriminations. In that sense I thought it was all a bit sad. It was so one-sided. I didn't think it was comradely."

Several more of Blair's former colleagues and political opponents also commented on the book. Sony VAIO VGN-NS21M/W Battery

Former Conservative minister Norman Tebbit wrote in The Daily Telegraph, "A Journey seems to be dominated by Blair's anxiety to be seen as a great political leader who changed his country for the better. In fact it is, as I suppose all such books are to some extent, entirely about justifying himself and blaming others." Sony VAIO VGN-NS21S/S Battery

However, Tebbit admitted he had not read the book at the time of writing about it and bases his opinion on media coverage of its content. Writing in The Guardian, Alistair Darling, who was Chancellor under Gordon Brown's government, said that he "read with wry amusement how Tony Blair felt after much agonising that he couldn't sack his Chancellor. Sony VAIO VGN-NS21S/W Battery

History has a habit of repeating itself." He concluded that the book was "a good read and shows us what can be done when we have confidence, clarity and a clear sense of purpose: we can win and change the country for the better." Labour MP Tom Harris said that the book "will be a reminder that opposition doesn't have to be permanent, Sony VAIO VGN-NS21Z/S Battery

and that great things can be accomplished by a Labour government, but only if we have a leader capable of appealing to voters beyond our own party's core." Of Blair, he said, "There are still many, many Labour Party members who remember Blair as an election-winning genius who, in office, was popular for an awful lot longer than he was unpopular."Sony VAIO VGN-NS31M/P Battery

Ed Miliband, who was electedas Leader of the Labour Party several weeks after the release of the book, said on the day of its publication,I think it is time to move on from Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and Peter Mandelson and to move on from the New Labour establishment and that is the candidate that I am at this election who can best turn the page. Sony VAIO VGN-NS31M/W Battery

I think frankly most members of the public will want us to turn the page.

Families of servicemen and servicewomen who were killed in Iraq reacted angrily to the book, in which Blair does not apologise for the invasion.  "I can't regret the decision to go to war. I can say never did I guess the bloody, destructive and chaotic nightmare that unfolded—and that too is part of the responsibility," he says in the book.Sony VAIO VGN-NS31S/S Battery

Reg Keys, whose son Tom Keys was killed in the country in 2005, said that the book was "just crocodile tears from Blair." Keys said, "The tears he claims to have shed are nothing like the tears I and my wife have shed for our son. They are nothing like the tears that tens of thousands of Iraqis have shed for their loved ones. Sony VAIO VGN-NS31Z/P Battery

They don't even come close to it. They seem to me like crocodile tears. It is a cynical attempt to sanitise his legacy."A spokesperson for Military Families Against the War said that Blair's expression of regret over the loss of life was "completely meaningless." The spokesperson added, "He has to prove his regret and giving money to charity doesn't come close.Sony VAIO VGN-NS31Z/S Battery

He is giving a miniscule amount compared to the cost of war and rehabilitation of injured soldiers. It is laughable."

Some of the dialogue Blair uses to describe his first meeting with Elizabeth II led to accusations of possible plagiarism from Peter Morgan, the screenwriter of the 2006 biopic The Queen, which recounts events during the first few months of Blair's premiership.Sony VAIO VGN-NS31Z/W Battery

Blair recalls his first meeting with Elizabeth II in which she tells him, "You are my 10th prime minister. The first was Winston. That was before you were born." In the film, Helen Mirren's fictionalised Elizabeth II tells him, "You are my 10th prime minister, Mr. Blair. My first was Winston Churchill."Sony VAIO VGN-NS38M/P Battery

Morgan told The Daily Telegraphon 8 September that he had imagined the dialogue for this conversation, as no record of conversations between a Monarch and a Prime Minister are kept. He said,There are three possibilities.Sony VAIO VGN-NS38M/W Battery

The first is I guessed absolutely perfectly, which is highly unlikely; the second is Blair decided to endorse what I imagined as the official line; and the third is that he had one gin and tonic too many and confused the scene in the film with what had actually happened, and this I find amusing b

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Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ180U Battery

He resigned from all of these positions in June 2007.

Blair was elected Leader of the Labour Party in the leadership election of July 1994, following the sudden death of his predecessor, John Smith. Under his leadership, the party adopted the term "New Labour" and moved away from its traditional left wing position towards the centre ground.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ180U/B Battery

Blair subsequently led Labour to a landslide victory in the 1997 general election. At 43 years old, he became the youngest Prime Minister since Lord Liverpool in 1812. In the first years of the New Labour government, Blair's government implemented a number of 1997 manifesto pledges, Sony VAIO VGN-FZ180UB Battery

introducing the minimum wage, Human Rights Act and Freedom of Information Act, and carrying out devolution, establishing the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, and the Northern Ireland Assembly.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ18E Battery

Blair's role as Prime Minister was particularly visible in foreign and security policy, including in Northern Ireland, where he was involved in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. From the start of the War on Terror in 2001, Blair strongly supported the foreign policy of US President George W. Bush, notably by participating in the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and 2003 invasion of Iraq. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ18G Battery

Blair is the Labour Party's longest-serving Prime Minister, the only person to have led the Labour Party to three consecutive general election victories, and the only Labour Prime Minister to serve consecutive terms more than one of which was at least four years long.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ18M Battery

He was succeeded as Leader of the Labour Party on 24 June 2007 and as Prime Minister on 27 June 2007 by Gordon Brown.[5] On the day he resigned as Prime Minister, he was appointed the official Envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East. In May 2008, Blair launched his Tony Blair Faith Foundation.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ18ME Battery

This was followed in July 2009 by the launching of the Faith and Globalisation Initiative with Yale University in the USA, Durham University in the UK and theNational University of Singapore in Asia to deliver a postgraduate programme in partnership with the Foundation.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ18S Battery

Background and family life

Blair was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on 6 May 1953, the second son of Leo and Hazel Blair (née Corscadden). Leo Blair, the illegitimate son of two English actors, had been adopted as a baby by Glasgow shipyard worker James Blair and his wife, Mary.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ18T Battery

Hazel Corscadden was the daughter of George Corscadden, a butcher and Orangeman who moved to Glasgow in 1916 but returned to (and later died in) Ballyshannon in 1923, where his wife, Sarah Margaret (née Lipsett), gave birth to Blair's mother, Hazel, above her family's grocery shop.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ190 Battery

George Corscadden was from a family of Protestantfarmers in County Donegal, Ireland,who descended from Ulster-Scots settlers who took their family name from Garscadden, now part of Glasgow.

Life as a child

Blair has one elder brother, Sir William Blair, a High Court judge, and a younger sister, Sarah. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ190E Battery

Blair spent the first 19 months of his life at the family home in Paisley Terrace in the Willowbrae area of Edinburgh. During this period, his father worked as a junior tax inspector whilst also studying for a law degree from the University of Edinburgh.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ190E/1 Battery

In the 1950s, his family spent three and a half years in Adelaide, Australia, where his father was a lecturer in law at theUniversity of Adelaide.[14] The Blairs lived close to the university, in the suburb of Dulwich. The family returned to the UK in the late 1950s, living for a time with Hazel Blair's stepfather, William McClay, and her mother at their home in Stepps, near Glasgow. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ190E/2 Battery

He spent the remainder of his childhood in Durham, England, where his father lectured at Durham University. 


After attending The Chorister School in Durham from 1961 to 1966,Blair boarded at Fettes College, a prestigious independent school in Edinburgh,Sony VAIO VGN-FZ190E/B Battery

during which time he met Charlie Falconer (a pupil at the rival Edinburgh Academy), whom he later appointed Lord Chancellor. He reportedly modelled himself on Mick Jagger. His teachers were unimpressed with him, his biographer John Rentoul, reported that "All the teachers I spoke to when researching the book said he was a complete pain in the backside and they were very glad to see the back of him."Sony VAIO VGN-FZ190EB Battery

Blair was arrested at Fettes, having been mistaken for a burglar as he climbed into his dormitory using a ladder after having been out late.

After Fettes, Blair spent a year in London, where he attempted to find fame as a rock music promoter before readingjurisprudence at St John's College, Oxford.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ190N Battery

As a student, he played guitar and sang in a rock band called Ugly Rumours. During this time, he dated future American Psychodirector Mary Harron.

He was influenced by fellow student and Anglican priest Peter Thomson, who awakened within Blair a deep concern for religious faith and left-wing politics.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ190N2 Battery

While Blair was at Oxford, his mother Hazel died of cancer, which greatly affected him. After graduating from Oxford in 1975 with a Second Class Honours BA in Jurisprudence, Blair became a member of Lincoln's Inn, enrolled as a pupil barrister, and met his future wife, Cherie Booth (daughter of the actor Tony Booth) Sony VAIO VGN-FZ190N3 Battery

at the law chambers founded by Derry Irvine (who was to be Blair's first Lord Chancellor), 11 King's Bench Walk Chambers. He appears in a number of reported cases, for example as inNethermere (St Neots) Ltd v Gardiner where he represented employers unsuccessfully in an attempt to deny female factory workers holiday pay.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ190N4 Battery

Marriage and children

Blair married Cherie Booth, a Roman Catholic and future Queen's Counsel, on 29 March 1980. They have four children: Euan, Nicholas, Kathryn, and Leo. Leo was the first legitimate child born to a serving Prime Minister in over 150 years—since Francis Russell was born to Lord John Russell on 11 July 1849.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ190N5 Battery

Blair was criticised when it was discovered that one child had received private tuition from staff at Westminster School. All four children have Irish passports, by virtue of Blair's mother Hazel. The family's primary residence is in Connaught Square, and the Blairs own eight other residences.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ190U Battery

Personal health

Blair suffered from chest pains on Sunday 19 October 2003 and underwent a cardioversion at Hammersmith Hospital.

Religious faith

In an interview with Michael Parkinson broadcast on ITV1 on 4 March 2006, Blair referred to the role of his Christian faith in his decision to go to war in Iraq, Sony VAIO VGN-FZ19L Battery

stating that he had prayed about the issue, and saying that God would judge him for his decision: "I think if you have faith about these things, you realise that judgement is made by other people … and if you believe in God, it's made by God as well."

A longer exploration of his faith can be found in an interview with Third Way Magazine. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ19VN Battery

There he says that "I was brought up as [a Christian], but I was not in any real sense a practising one until I went to Oxford. There was an Australian priest at the same college as me who got me interested again. In a sense, it was a rediscovery of religion as something living, that was about the world around me rather than some sort of special one-to-one relationship with a remote Being on high.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ20 Battery

Suddenly I began to see its social relevance. I began to make sense of the world".

At one point Alastair Campbell, Blair's director of strategy and communications, intervened in an interview, preventing the Prime Minister from answering a question about his Christianity, explaining, "We don't do God".Sony VAIO VGN-FZ210CE Battery

Cherie Blair's friend and "spiritual guru" Carole Caplin is credited with introducing her and her husband to various New Age symbols and beliefs, including "magic pendants" known as "BioElectric Shields". The most controversial of the Blairs' New Age practices occurred when on holiday in Mexico. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21E Battery

The couple, wearing only bathing costumes, took part in a rebirthing procedure, which involved smearing mud and fruit over each others' bodies while sitting in a steam bath.

Later on, Blair questioned the Pope's attitude towards homosexuality, arguing that religious leaders must start "rethinking" the issue.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21J Battery

He was later rebuked by Vincent Nichols, the new archbishop of Westminster, who said that Catholic thinking was 'rather different' from the kind promoted by the former prime minister.

On 22 December 2007, it was disclosed that Blair, who in 1996, had been reprimanded by Cardinal Basil Hume for receiving Holy Communion at Mass despite not being a Catholic, in contravention of canon law, Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21M Battery

had converted to the Catholic faith, and that it was "a private matter". He had informed Pope Benedict XVI on 23 June 2007 that he wanted to become a Catholic. The Pope and his advisors criticised some of Blair's political actions, but followed up with a reportedly unprecedented red-carpet welcome, Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21S Battery

which included Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, who would be responsible for Blair's Catholic instruction.

On 14 January 2009, Blair, upon a visit to the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., described, in the guest book, his home as being 'Jerusalem'.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21Z Battery

This was followed shortly after, on the occasion of his addressing of the National Prayer Breakfast, by his discussion of the issue of religion in the world and the Middle East peace process in his address and how he spends so much of his time in the Holy Land and in the Holy City. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ220E Battery

He reported his Palestinian guide as bemoaning the fate of his nation looking to heaven and saying “Moses, Jesus, Mohammed: why did they all have to come here?" For Blair the Holy City is "a good place to reflect on religion: a source of so much inspiration; an excuse for so much evil."Sony VAIO VGN-FZ220E/B Battery

According to Alastair Campbell's diary, Blair often read the Bible before taking any important decisions. He states that Blair had a "wobble" and considered changing his mind on the eve of the bombing of Iraq in 1998.

Early political career

Blair joined the Labour Party shortly after graduating from Oxford in 1975. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ220EB Battery

During the early 1980s, he was involved in Labour politics in Hackney South and Shoreditch, where he aligned himself with the "soft left" of the party. He unsuccessfully attempted to secure selection as a candidate for Hackney London Borough Council. Through his father-in-law, Tony Booth, he contacted Labour MP Tom Pendry to ask for help in pursuing a Parliamentary career.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ220U Battery

Pendry gave him a tour of the House of Commons and advised him to stand for selection as a candidate in a forthcoming by-election in the safe Conservative seat of Beaconsfield, where Pendry knew a senior member of the local party. Blair was chosen as the candidate; Sony VAIO VGN-FZ220U/B Battery

at the Beaconsfield by-election, he won only 10% of the vote and lost his deposit, but he impressed Labour Party leader Michael Foot and acquired a profile within the party. In contrast to his later centrism, Blair made it clear in a letter he wrote to Foot in July 1982, that he had "come to Socialism through Marxism" and considered himself on the left. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ220UB Battery

The letter was eventually published in June 2006.

In 1983, Blair found the newly created constituency of Sedgefield, a notionally safe Labour seat near where he had grown up in Durham. The branch had not made a nomination, and Blair visited them. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ230E Battery

Several sitting MPs displaced by boundary changes were interested in securing selection to fight the seat. With the crucial support of John Burton, Blair won their endorsement; at the last minute, he was added to the short list and won the selection over Les Huckfield. Burton later became Blair's agent and one of his most trusted and longest-standing allies.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ230E/B Battery

Blair's election literature in the 1983 UK general election endorsed left-wing policies that Labour advocated in the early 1980s. He called for Britain to leave the EEC, though he had told his selection conference that he personally favoured continuing membership.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ230EB Battery

He also supported unilateral nuclear disarmament as a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Blair was helped on the campaign trail by soap opera actress Pat Phoenix, his father-in-law's girlfriend. Blair was elected as MP for Sedgefield despite the party's landslide defeat in the general election.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ240E Battery

In his maiden speech in the House of Commons on 6 July 1983, Blair stated, "I am a socialist not through reading a textbook that has caught my intellectual fancy, nor through unthinking tradition, but because I believe that, at its best, socialism corresponds most closely to an existence that is both rational and moral. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ240E/B Battery

It stands for cooperation, not confrontation; for fellowship, not fear. It stands for equality." The Labour Party is declared in its constitution to be a democratic socialist party rather than a social democratic party; Blair himself organised this declaration of Labour to be a socialist party when he dealt with the change to the party's Clause IV in their constitution.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ240EB Battery

Once elected, Blair's political ascent was rapid. He received his first front-bench appointment in 1984 as assistant Treasury spokesman. In May 1985, he appeared on BBC's Question Time, arguing that the Conservative Government's Public Order White Paper was a threat to civil liberties.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ240N Battery

Blair demanded an inquiry into the Bank of England's decision to rescue the collapsed Johnson MattheyBank in October 1985 and embarrassed the government by finding a EEC report critical of British economic policy that had been countersigned by a member of the Conservative government.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ240N/B Battery

By this time, Blair was aligned with the reforming tendencies in the party (headed by leader Neil Kinnock) and was promoted after the 1987 election to the shadow Trade and Industry team as spokesman on the City of London. In 1987, he stood for election to the Shadow Cabinet, receiving 71 votes.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ240NB Battery

Blair became Shadow Home Secretary under John Smith. John Smith died suddenly in 1994 of a heart attack. Blair beat John Prescott and Margaret Beckett in the subsequent leadership election and became Leader of the Opposition. As is customary for the holder of that office, Blair was appointed a Privy Councillor.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ25 Battery

Leader of the Labour Party

Blair announced at the end of his speech at the 1994 Labour Party conference that he intended to replace Clause IV of the party's constitution with a new statement of aims and values.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ250E Battery

This involved the deletion of the party's stated commitment to "the common ownership of the means of production and exchange", which was widely interpreted as referring to wholesale nationalisation. At a special conference in April 1995, the clause was replaced by a statement that the party is 'democratic socialist'.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ250E/B Battery

He inherited the Labour leadership at a time when the party was ascendant over the Tories in the opinion polls since the Tory government's reputation for monetary excellence was left in tatters by theBlack Wednesday economic disaster of September 1992.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ260E Battery

Blair's election as leader saw Labour support surge higher still  in spite of the continuing economic recovery and fall in unemployment that the Conservative government (led by John Major) had overseen since the end of the 1990–92 recession.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ27 Battery

At the 1996 Labour Party conference, Blair stated that his three top priorities on coming to office were "education, education, and education".

Aided by the unpopularity of John Major's Conservative government (itself deeply divided over the European Union),Sony VAIO VGN-FZ28 Battery

"New Labour" won a landslide victory in the 1997 general election, ending 18 years of Conservative Party government, with the heaviest Conservative defeat since 1832.

During Smith's leadership of the Labour Party, there were discussions with Paddy Ashdown, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, about forming a coalition government if the next general election resulted in a hung parliament. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ280E Battery

After Blair became leader, these talks continued – despite virtually every opinion poll since late 1992 having shown Labour with enough support to form a majority. However, the scale of the Labour victory meant that there was ultimately never any need for a coalition.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ280E/B Battery

Prime Minister

Blair became the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on 2 May 1997, serving concurrently as First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service and Leader of the Labour Party. The 43-year old Blair became the youngest person to become Prime Minister since Lord Liverpool in 1812, at the age of 42.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ280EB Battery

With victories in 1997, 2001, and 2005, Blair was the Labour Party's longest-serving prime minister, the only person to lead the party to three consecutive general election victories.

Northern Ireland

His contribution towards assisting the Northern Ireland Peace Process by helping to negotiate the Good Friday Agreement (after 30 years of conflict) was widely recognised.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ283BN Battery

Following the Omagh Bombing on 15 August 1998, by members of the Real IRA opposed to the peace process, which killed 29 people and wounded hundreds, Blair visited the County Tyrone town and met with victims at Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast.

War on Terror

In his first six years in office Blair ordered British troops into battle five times, more than any other prime minister in British history.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ285U Battery

This included Iraq in both 1998 and 2003; Kosovo (1999); Sierra Leone (2000) and Afghanistan (2001).

From the start of the War on Terror in 2001, Blair strongly supported the foreign policy of George W. Bush, participating in the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and 2003 invasion of Iraq. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ285U/B Battery

The invasion of Iraq was particularly controversial, as it attracted widespread public opposition and 139 of Blair's MPs opposed it. As a result, he faced criticism over the policy itself and the circumstances in which it was decided upon. Alastair Campbelldescribed Blair's statement that the intelligence on WMDs was "beyond doubt" as his "assessment of the assessment that was given to him."Sony VAIO VGN-FZ285UB Battery

In 2009, Blair stated that he would have supported removing Saddam Hussein from power even in the face of proof that he had no such weapons. Playwright Harold Pinter and former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad accused Blair of war crimes.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ290 Battery

Testifying before the Iraq Inquiryon 29 January 2010, Blair said Saddam was a "monster and I believe he threatened not just the region but the world." Blair said that British and American attitude towards Saddam Hussein had "changed dramatically" after 11 September attacks. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ290E Battery

Blair denied that he would have supported the invasion of Iraq even if he had thought Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction. He said he believed the world was safer as a result of the invasion. He also said that there was "no real difference between wanting regime change and wanting Iraq to disarm: regime change was US policy because Iraq was in breach of its UN obligations."Sony VAIO VGN-FZ290EAB Battery

Relationship with Parliament

One of his first acts as Prime Minister was to replace the then twice-weekly 15-minute sessions of Prime Minister's Questions held on Tuesdays and Thursdays with a single 30-minute session on Wednesdays. In addition to PMQs, Sony VAIO VGN-FZ290EBB Battery

Blair held monthly press conferences at which he fielded questions from journalists and – from 2002 – broke precedent by agreeing to give evidence twice yearly before the most senior Commons select committee, The Liaison Committee. Blair was sometimes perceived as paying insufficient attention both to the views of his own Cabinet colleagues and to those of the House of Commons.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ290EBW Battery

His style was sometimes criticised as not that of a prime minister and head of government, which he was, but of a president and head of state—which he was not. Blair was accused of excessive reliance on spin. He is the first British Prime Minister to have been formally questioned by police, though not under caution, while still in office.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ290ECB Battery

Events prior to resignation

As the casualties of the Iraq War mounted, Blair was accused of misleading Parliament, and his popularity dropped dramatically. The Labour party's overall majority in the 2005 general election was reduced to 66. As a combined result of the Blair-Brown pact, Iraq war and low approval ratings, pressure built up within the Labour party for Blair to resign.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ290EGB Battery

On 7 September 2006, Blair publicly stated he would step down as party leader by the time of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) conference held 10–13 September 2007, having promised to serve a full term during the previous general election campaign. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ290EGC Battery

On 10 May 2007, during a speech at the Trimdon Labour Club, Blair announced his intention to resign as both Labour Party leader and Prime Minister. At a special party conference in Manchester on 24 June 2007, he formally handed over the leadership of the Labour Party to Gordon Brown, who had been Chancellor of the Exchequer.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ290EGE Battery

Blair tendered his resignation on 27 June 2007 and his successor, Gordon Brown assumed office the same afternoon. He also resigned his seat in the House of Commons in the traditional form of accepting the Stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds to which he was appointed by Gordon Brown in one of the latter's last acts as Chancellor of the Exchequer.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ290EGS Battery

The resulting Sedgefield by-election was won by Labour's candidate, Phil Wilson. Blair decided not to issue a list of Resignation Honours, making him the first Prime Minister of the modern era not to do so.


In 2001, Blair said, "We are a left of centre party, pursuing economic prosperity and social justice as partners and not as opposites".Sony VAIO VGN-FZ290N Battery

Blair has rarely applied such labels to himself, but he promised before the 1997 election that New Labour would govern "from the radical centre", and according to one lifelong Labour Party member, has always described himself as a social democrat. However, Labour Party backbenchers and other left wing critics typically place Blair to the right of centre.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ290U Battery

A YouGov opinion poll in 2005 also found that a small majority of British voters, including many New Labour supporters, place Blair on the right of the political spectrum. The Financial Times on the other hand has argued that Blair is not conservative, but instead a populist.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ29VN Battery

The new Clause IVof the Labour Party's constitution defines the party as "Democratic Socialist".

Critics and admirers tend to agree that Blair's electoral success was based on his ability to occupy the centre ground and appeal to voters across the political spectrum, to the extent that he has been fundamentally at odds with traditional Labour Party values.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31B Battery

Some left wing critics have argued that Blair has overseen the final stage of a long term shift of the Labour Party to the right, and that very little now remains of a Labour Left.There is also evidence that Blair's long term dominance of the centre has forced his Conservative opponents to shift a long distance to the left, in order to challenge his hegemony there.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31E Battery

Blair has raised taxes (but did not increase income tax for high-earners ); introduced a minimum wage and some new employment rights (while keeping Margaret Thatcher's anti-trade union legislation ); introduced significant constitutional reforms; promoted new rights for gay people in the Civil Partnership Act 2004; Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31J Battery

and signed treaties integrating Britain more closely with the EU. He introduced substantial market-based reforms in the education and health sectors; introduced student tuition fees; sought to reduce certain categories of welfare payments, and introduced tough anti-terrorism and identity card legislation.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31M Battery

Under Blair's government the amount of new legislation increased which attracted criticism.  Blair increased police powers by adding to the number of arrestable offences, compulsory DNA recording and the use of dispersal orders.

Environmental record

Blair has criticised other governments for not doing enough to solve global climate change. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ320E/B Battery

In a 1997 visit to the United States, he made a comment on "great industrialised nations" that fail to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Again in 2003, Blair went before the United States Congress and said that climate change "cannot be ignored", insisting "we need to go beyond even Kyoto."Sony VAIO VGN-FZ320EB Battery

His record at home tends to say something different. Blair and his party have promised a 20% reduction in carbon dioxide but during his term the emissions rose. The Labour Party also claimed that by 2010 10% of the energy would come from renewable resources but in fact only 3% currently does.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ32B Battery

In 2000 Blair "flagged up" 100 million euros for green policies and urged environmentalists and businesses to work together.

Relationship with the United States

Along with enjoying a close relationship with Bill Clinton, Blair formed a strong political alliance with George W. Bush, particularly in the area of foreign policy.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ340E Battery

At one point, Nelson Mandela described Blair as "the U.S. foreign minister". Blair has also often openly been referred to as "Bush's poodle".Kendall Myers, a senior analyst at the State Department, reportedly said that he felt "a little ashamed" of Bush's treatment of the Prime Minister and that his attempts to influence U.S. policy were typically ignored:Sony VAIO VGN-FZ340E/B Battery

"It was a done deal from the beginning, it was a one-sided relationship that was entered into with open eyes... There was nothing, no payback, no sense of reciprocity".

For his part, Bush lauded Blair and the UK. In his post-11 September speech, for example, he stated that "America has no truer friend than Great Britain".Sony VAIO VGN-FZ340N Battery

The alliance between Bush and Blair seriously damaged Blair's standing in the eyes of many British people.  Blair argued it is in Britain's interest to "protect and strengthen the bond" with the United States regardless of who is in the White House. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ345E Battery

However, a perception of one-sided compromising personal and political closeness led to serious discussion of the term "Poodle-ism" in the UK media, to describe the "Special Relationship" of the UK government and Prime Minister with the US White House and President.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ345E/B Battery

A revealing conversation between Bush and Blair, with the former addressing the latter as "Yo, Blair" was recorded when they did not know a microphone was live at the G8 conference in Russia in 2006.

Middle East policy and links with Israel

According to comments in the book, Blair, written by Anthony Seldon, Blair had a deep feeling for Israel, born in part from his faith.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ345EB Battery

Blair has been a long time member of the pro-Israel lobby groupLabour Friends of Israel.

In 1994, Blair met Michael Levy, later Lord Levy, a pop music mogul and fundraiser. Blair and Levy became close friends and tennis partners.

During his first visit to Israel, Blair thought the Israelis bugged him in his car. He also went on to claim that the Israeli prime minister was merely an "armour-plated bullshitter".Sony VAIO VGN-FZ348E Battery

Levy ran the Labour Leader's Office Fund to finance Blair's campaign before the 1997 General Election and raised £12m towards Labour’s landslide victory, Levy was rewarded with a peerage, and in 2002, Blair appointed Levy as his personal envoy to the Middle East. Levy praised Blair for his 'solid and committed support of the State of Israel'.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ348E/B Battery

Tam Dalyell, while Father of the House of Commons, suggested in 2003 that Blair's foreign policy decisions were unduly influenced by a cabal of Jewish advisers, including Levy and Peter Mandelson.

Blair, on coming to office, had been 'cool towards the right-wing Netanyahu government'.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ348EB Battery

After the election in 1999 of Ehud Barak, with whom Blair forged a close relationship, he became much more sympathetic to Israel. From 2001 Blair also built up a relationship with Barak's successor, Ariel Sharon, and responded positively to Arafat, whom he had met thirteen times since becoming prime minister and regarded as essential to future negotiations.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ35 Battery

In 2004, 50 former diplomats, including ambassadors to Baghdad and Tel Aviv, stated they had 'watched with deepening concern' at Britain following the U.S. into war in Iraq in 2003. They criticised Blair's support for the Road map for peace which included the retaining of Israeli settlements on the West Bank.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ37 Battery

In 2006 Blair was criticised for his failure to immediately call for a ceasefire in the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict. The Observernewspaper claimed that at a cabinet meeting before Blair left for a summit with Bush on 28 July 2006, a significant number of ministers pressured Blair to publicly criticise Israel over the scale of deaths and destruction in Lebanon.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ38 Battery

Blair was criticised for his solid stance alongside U.S. President George W. Bush on Middle East policy.

In March 2010 the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments revealed that 14 months after resigning as Prime Minister, Blair had served as a paid business consultant to an oil firm with interests in Iraq.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ390 Battery

The news raised concerns that he had profited financially from contacts he made during the Iraq war.

Rupert Murdoch

Blair was reported to have been supported by Rupert Murdoch the founder of the News Corporation organisation.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ390EBB Battery

In 1995, while leader of the Opposition, Blair disclosed in the Commons register of interests that he was a guest of Murdoch when he flew to meet him in Hayman Island.

Contacts with UK media proprietors

A Cabinet Office freedom of information response, released the day after Blair handed over power to Gordon Brown,Sony VAIO VGN-FZ4000 Battery

documents Blair having various official phone calls and meetings with Rupert Murdoch of News Corporation and Richard Desmond of Northern and Shell Media.

The response includes contacts "clearly of an official nature" in the specified period, but excludes contacts "not clearly of an official nature."Sony VAIO VGN-FZ410E Battery

No details were given of the subjects discussed. In the period between September 2002 and April 2005, Blair and Murdoch are documented speaking 6 times; three times in the 9 days before the Iraq war, including the eve of the 20 March US and UK invasion, and on 29 January, 25 April and 3 October 2004. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ410E/B Battery

Between January 2003 and February 2004, Blair had three meetings with Richard Desmond; on 29 January and 3 September 2003 and 23 February 2004.

The information was disclosed after a three and a half year battle by the Liberal Democrats' Lord Avebury.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ410EB Battery

Lord Avebury's initial October 2003 information request was dismissed by then leader of the Lords, Baroness Amos. A following complaint was rejected, with Downing Street claiming the information compromised free and frank discussions, while Cabinet Office claimed releasing the timing of the PM's contacts with individuals is undesirable,Sony VAIO VGN-FZ420E Battery

as it might lead to the content of the discussions being disclosed. While awaiting a following appeal from Lord Avebury, the cabinet office announced that it would release the information. Lord Avebury said: "The public can now scrutinise the timing of his (Murdoch's) contacts with the former Prime Minister, to see whether they can be linked to events in the outside world."-vgn-fz430e-battery-29876.htm">Sony VAIO VGN-FZ430E Battery

Media portrayal

Blair is acknowledged by most to be a highly skilful media performer who comes over as charismatic, informal, and articulate. A few months after becoming Prime Minister he gave a tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales on the morning of her death in August 1997, in which he famously described her as "the People's Princess".Sony VAIO VGN-FZ430E/B Battery

After taking office in 1997, Blair gave particular prominence to his press secretary, who became known as the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (the two roles have since been separated). Blair's first PMOS was Alastair Campbell, who served in that role from May 1997 to 8 June 2001,Sony VAIO VGN-FZ430EB Battery

after which he served as the Prime Minister's Director of Communications and Strategy until his resignation on 29 August 2003 in the aftermath of the Hutton Inquiry.

Relationship with Labour Party

Blair's apparent refusal to set a date for his departure was criticised by the British press and Members of Parliament. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ440E Battery

It has been reported that a number of cabinet ministers believed that Blair's timely departure from office would be required to be able to win a fourth election. Some ministers viewed Blair's announcement of policy initiatives in September 2006 as an attempt to draw attention away from these issues.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ440N Battery

Blair forged friendships with several conservative European leaders, including Silvio Berlusconi of Italy, Angela Merkel of Germany and more recently Nicolas Sarkozy of France.

Gordon Brown

After the death of John Smith in 1994, Blair and his close colleague Gordon Brown (they shared an office at the House of Commons) were both seen as possible candidates for the party leadership. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ445E Battery

They agreed not to stand against each other, it is said, as part of a supposed Blair-Brown pact. Brown, who considered himself the senior of the two, understood that Blair would give way to him: opinion polls soon indicated, however, that Blair appeared to enjoy greater support among voters.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ445E/B Battery

Their relationship in power became so turbulent that (it was reported) the deputy prime minister,John Prescott, often had to act as "marriage guidance counsellor".

During the 2010 election campaign Blair publicly endorsed Gordon Brown's leadership, praising the way he had handled the financial crisis.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ445EB Battery


On 27 June 2007, Blair officially resigned as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom after ten years in office, and he was officially confirmed as Middle East envoy for the United Nations, European Union, United States, and Russia. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ455E Battery

Blair originally indicated that he would retain his parliamentary seat after his resignation as Prime Minister came into effect; however, on being confirmed for the Middle East role he resigned from the Commons by taking up an office of profit. President George W. Bush had preliminary talks with Blair to ask him to take up the envoy role. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ455E/B Battery

White House sources stated that "both Israel and the Palestinians had signed up to the proposal". In May 2008, Blair announced a new plan for peace and for Palestinian rights, based heavily on the ideas of thePeace Valley plan.

During the first nine days of the 2008–2009 Israel-Gaza conflict, Blair was allegedly spotted at the opening of the Armani store at Knightsbridge. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ455EB Battery

Aides said he had been in phone contact with other world leaders since the fighting began.

Private sector

In January 2008, it was confirmed that Blair would be joining investment bank JPMorgan Chase in a "senior advisory capacity" and that he would advise Zurich Financial Services on climate change. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ460E Battery

Some sources have claimed that his role at JP Morgan will pay more than $1m a year. This additional salary will contribute to annual earnings of over £7m.

Blair also gives lectures and earns up to US$250,000 for a 90-minute speech.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ460E/B Battery

Yale University announced on 7 March 2008 that Blair will teach a course on issues of faith and globalisation at the Yale Schools of Management and Divinity as a Howland distinguished fellow during the 2008–09 academic year.

Blair's links with, and receipt of an undisclosed sum from, UI Energy Corporation, a Korean company with oil interests in northern Iraq, have also been subject to media comment in the UK.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ460EB Battery

Speculation places his personal wealth at £60 million, mostly earned since his tenure as Prime Minister, and owns nine properties around the world. In July 2010 it was reported that his personal security guards claimed £250,000 a year in expenses from the tax payer, Sony VAIO VGN-FZ470E Battery

Foreign Secretary William Hague said; "we have to make sure that [Blair's security] is as cost-effective as possible, that it doesn't cost any more to the taxpayer than is absolutely necessary".

Tony Blair Associates

Blair has established Tony Blair Associates. This firm will "allow him to provide, in partnership with others, strategic advice on a commercial and pro bono [free] basis, on political and economic trends and governmental reform."Sony VAIO VGN-FZ470E/B Battery

European Council president speculation

In 2009, there there was speculation in the media that Blair was open to the idea of becoming the first President of the European Council, a post created in the Treaty of Lisbon that would come into force in 2009, if successfully ratified. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ470EB Battery

Gordon Brown added his support, but noted that it was premature to discuss candidates before the treaty was approved. A spokesman for Blair did not rule out him accepting the post, but said that he was concentrating on his current role in the Middle East.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ480E Battery

Blair was later invited to speak on European issues at a rally of President Sarkozy 's party, the Union for a Popular Movement, on 12 January 2008, which fuelled speculation further.

There was opposition to Blair's candidacy for the job. In the UK, the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats both said they would oppose Blair. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ480E/B Battery

In Germany, the leader of the Free Democrats,Guido Westerwelle, said that he preferred a candidate from a smaller European country. The Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker emerged as a rival to Blair's candidacy and had the backing for many of the smaller European member states. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ480EB Battery

In November 2009, the Belgian PM Herman Van Rompuy was named President of the European Council.


On 14 November 2007, Blair launched the Tony Blair Sports Foundation, which aims to "increase childhood participation in sports activities, Sony VAIO VGN-FZ485U Battery

especially in the North East of England, where a larger proportion of children are socially excluded, and to promote overall health and prevent childhood obesity." On 30 May 2008, Blair launched the Tony Blair Faith Foundation as a vehicle for encouraging different faiths to join together in promoting respect and understanding, as well as working to tackle poverty. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ485U/B Battery

Reflecting Blair's own faith but not dedicated to any particular religion, the Foundation aims to "show how faith is a powerful force for good in the modern world". "The Foundation will use its profile and resources to encourage people of faith to work together more closely to tackle global poverty and conflict," says its mission statement.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ485UB Battery

In February 2009, he applied to set up a charity called the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative, the application was approved in November 2009.


In March 2010, it was reported that Blair's memoirs, titled The Journey, would be published in September 2010.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ490 Battery

In July 2010 it was announced the memoirs would be retitled A Journey.It was announced on 16 August 2010 that Blair would give the £4.6 million advance and all royalties from his memoirs to a sports centre for badly injured soldiers. The book was published on 1 September and within hours of its launch had become the fastest-selling autobiography of all time.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ490EAB Battery

On 3 September Blair gave his first live interview since publication on The Late Late Show in Ireland, with protesters lying in wait there for him.On 4 September Blair was confronted by 200 anti-war and hardline Irish nationalist demonstrators before the first book signing of his memoirs at Eason'sbookstore on O'Connell Street in Dublin,Sony VAIO VGN-FZ50B Battery

with angry activists chanting "war criminal" and that he had "blood on his hands", and clashing with Irish Police (Garda Síochána) as they tried to break through a security cordon outside the Eason's store. Blair was pelted with eggs and shoes, and encountered an attempted citizen's arrest for war crimes.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ51B Battery

Social networking media have been used to protest Blair's policies and legacy of unjustified and criminal war on Iraq .


Blair made an animated cameo appearance as himself in The Simpsons episode, "The Regina Monologues" (2003) He has also appeared himself at the end of the first episode of The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard, Sony VAIO VGN-FZ52B Battery

a British TV series about an unknown housewife becoming Prime Minister. On 14 March 2007, Blair appeared as a celebrity judge on Masterchef goes Large after contestants had to prepare a three course meal in the Downing Street kitchens for Blair and Bertie Ahern.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ52B2 Battery

On 16 March 2007, Blair featured in a comedy sketch with Catherine Tate, who appeared in the guise of her character Lauren Cooper from The Catherine Tate Show. The sketch was made for the BBC Red Nose Day fundraising programme of 2007. During the sketch, Blair used Lauren's catchphrase "Am I bovvered?".Sony VAIO VGN-FZ61B Battery


Michael Sheen has portrayed Blair three times, in the films The Deal (2003), The Queen (2006), and The Special Relationship (2009). Blair was portrayed by Robert Lindsay in the TV programme A Very Social Secretary (2005), and reprised the role in The Trial of Tony Blair (2007). Sony VAIO VGN-FZ62B Battery

He was also portrayed by James Larkin in The Government Inspector (2005), and by Ioan Gruffudd in W.(2008).

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The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. Sony A1258274A Battery

The Prime Minister and Cabinet (consisting of all the most senior ministers, who are government department heads) are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and ultimately to the electorate.Sony VGP-BPL10 Battery

The position of Prime Minister was not created; it evolved slowly and erratically over three hundred years due to numerous acts of Parliament, political developments, and accidents of history. The office is therefore best understood from a historical perspective.Sony VGP-BPS10 Battery

The origins of the position are found in constitutional changes that occurred during the Revolutionary Settlement (1688–1720) and the resulting shift of political power from the Sovereign to Parliament. Although the Sovereign was not stripped of his ancient prerogotives and legally remained the head of government, Sony VGP-BPS10/S Battery

politically it gradually became necessary for him to govern through a Prime Minister who could command a majority in Parliament.

Early Prime Ministers (1720–1784) were at best ambivalent about the title; many refused to acknowledge or use it. The position was not mentioned at all in legal documents, and was given little formal recognition.Sony VGP-BPS10A/B Battery

Unofficial but popular acceptance of the office of Prime Minister gradually developed between 1784 and 1911. By the 1830s the Westminster System of government (or Cabinet Government) had emerged; and, the Prime Minister had became "first among equals" in the Cabinet and head of Her Majesty's Government.Sony VGP-BPS10B Battery

The political position of Prime Minister was enhanced by the development of modern political parties, the introduction of mass communication (inexpensive newspapers, radio, television and the internet), and photography. By the turn of the 20th century the modern Premiership had emerged; Sony VGP-BPS10A Battery

the office had become the pre-eminent position in the constitutional hierarchy vis-a-vis the Sovereign, Parliament and Cabinet.

As leader of the House of Commons, the Prime Minister's authority was further enhanced by the Parliament Act of 1911 which marginalised the influence of the House of Lords in the law-making process. Sony VGP-BPS11 Battery

The accretion of so much political power in one position gave rise to concerns that the office had become too "presidential", and that the Prime Minister was an "elected Monarch". Late in the 20th century several acts of Parliament and political changes placed some limits on the Premier's authority.Sony VGP-BPL11 Battery

The Prime Minister's official residence is 10 Downing Street in London. At present the Prime Minister receives a salary of £142,000 including £65,737 as a Member of Parliament.

The current Prime Minister, David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party, was appointed on 11 May 2010.Sony VGP-BPL12 Battery


As the "Head of Her Majesty's Government" the modern Prime Minister leads the Cabinet (the Executive). In addition the Prime Minister leads a major political party and generally commands a majority in the House of Commons (the lower house of the Legislature). Sony VGP-BPS12 Battery

As such the incumbent wields both legislative and executive powers. Under the British system there is a unity of powers rather thanseparation. In the House of Commons, the Prime Minister guides the law-making process with the goal of enacting the legislative agenda of their political party. Sony VGP-BPL13 Battery

In an executive capacity the Prime Minister appoints (and may dismiss) all other cabinet members and ministers, and co-ordinates the policies and activities of all government departments, and the staff of the Civil Service. The Prime Minister also acts as the public "face" and "voice" of Her Majesty's Government, both at home and abroad. Sony VGP-BPS13 Battery

Solely upon the advice of the Prime Minister, the Sovereign exercises many statutory and prerogative powers: they include the dissolution of Parliament; high judicial, political, official and Church of England ecclesiastical appointments; and the conferral of peerages, knighthoods, decorations and other honours.Sony VGP-BPS13/B Battery

Constitutional background

The British system of government is based on an "unwritten" constitution, meaning that it is not codified into a single document. Scattered across 800 years, the British constitution consists of many documents—such as Magna Carta (1215), Sony VGP-BPS13/S Battery

the Great Reform Bill (1832), and the Parliament Act (1911)—and, most important for the evolution of the office of Prime Minister, customs known as conventions that became accepted practice. In 1841, Prime Minister Lord Melbourne explained this feature of the British constitution in a letter to young Queen Victoria:Sony VGP-BPS13/S Battery

All the political part of the English Constitution is fully understood, and distinctly stated in Blackstone and many other books, but the Ministerial part, the work of conducting the executive government, has rested so much on practice, on usage, on understanding, that there is no particular publication to which reference can be made for the explanation and description of it. Sony VGP-BPS13A/B Battery

It is to be sought in debates, in protests, in letters, in memoirs, and wherever it can be picked up.

Almost one hundred years later, Prime Minister Herbert Asquith made the same point in his memoirs:Sony VGP-BPS13A/S Battery

In this country we live . . . under an unwritten Constitution. It is true that we have on the Statute-book great instruments like Magna Carta, the Petition of Right, and the Bill of Rights which define and secure many of our rights and privileges; but the great bulk of our constitutional liberties and . . . Sony VGP-BPS13AS Battery

our constitutional practices do not derive their validity and sanction from any Bill which has received the formal assent of the King, Lords and Commons. They rest on usage, custom, convention, often of slow growth in their early stages, not always uniform, but which in the course of time received universal observance and respect.Sony VGP-BPS13B/B Battery

Until the 20th century the relationship between the Prime Minister vis-a-vis the Sovereign, Parliament and Cabinet was defined entirely by these unwritten conventions of the constitution. Despite its growing dominance in the constitutional hierarchy, the Premiership was given little formal recognition;Sony VGP-BPS13B/Q Battery

the legal fiction was maintained that the Sovereign still governed directly. For example, many of the Prime Minister's executive and legislative powers are actually “royal prerogatives” and still formally vested in the Head of State, the Sovereign.

Under this arrangement Britain might appear to have two executives: the Prime Minister and Sovereign.Sony VGP-BPS13B/S Battery

The concept of "the Crown" resolves this paradox. The Crown symbolises the state’s authority to govern: to make laws and execute them, impose taxes and collect them, declare war and make peace. Before the "Glorious Revolution" of 1688 the Sovereign wore the Crown and exercised the powers it symbolises.Sony VGP-BPS13Q Battery

Afterwards Parliament gradually forced Sovereigns to assume a neutral political position. Parliament placed the Crown in "commission", entrusting its authority to responsible Ministers (the Prime Minister and Cabinet), accountable for their policies and actions to Parliament and the people.Sony VGP-BPS13S Battery

Although the Sovereign still wears the Crown and her prerogative powers are still legally intact,[note 1]Parliament has removed her from everyday governance, leaving her in practice with three constitutional rights: to be kept informed, to advise, and to warn.Sony VGP-BPL7 Battery

Revolutionary settlement

Because the Premiership was not intentionally created, there is no exact date when its evolution began. A meaningful starting point, however, is 1688-9 when James II fled England and the Parliament of England confirmed William and Mary as joint constitutional monarchs, enacting legislation that limited their authority and that of their successors:Sony VGP-BPS7 Battery

the Bill of Rights (1689), the Mutiny Bill (1689), theTriennial Bill (1694), the Treason Act (1696) and the Act of Settlement (1701).Known collectively as the Revolutionary Settlement, these acts transformed the constitution, shifting the balance of power from the Sovereign to Parliament. Sony VGP-BPL8 Battery

They also provided the basis for the evolution of the office of Prime Minister, which did not exist at that time.

Treasury Bench

The Revolutionary Settlement gave the Commons control over finances and legislation and changed the relationship between the Executive and the Legislature.Sony VGP-BPL8A Battery

For want of money, Sovereigns had to summon Parliament annually and could no longer dissolve or prorogue it without its advice and consent. Parliament became a permanent feature of political life.The veto fell into disuse because Sovereigns feared that if they denied legislation Parliament would deny them money. Sony VGP-BPL8B Battery

No Sovereign has denied royal assent since Queen Anne vetoed the Scottish Militia Bill in 1708.

Treasury officials and other department heads were drawn into Parliament serving as liaisons between it and the Sovereign. Ministers had to present the government's policies, and negotiate with Members to gain the support of the majority; Sony VGP-BPS8 Battery

they had to explain the government's financial needs, suggest ways of meeting them and give an account of how money had been spent. The Sovereign’s representatives attended Commons sessions so regularly that they were given reserved seats at the front, known as the Treasury Bench. Sony VGP-BPS8A Battery

This is the beginning of "unity of powers": the Sovereign's Ministers (the Executive) became leading members of Parliament (the Legislature). Today the Prime Minister (First Lord of the Treasury), the Chancellor of the Exchequer (responsible for The Budget)Sony VGP-BPS8B Battery

and other senior members of the Cabinet sit on the Treasury bench and present policies in much the same way Ministers did late in the 17th century.

Standing Order 66

After the Revolution there was a constant threat that non-government members of Parliament would ruin the country's finances by proposing ill-considered money bills. Sony VGP-BPL9 Battery

Vying for control to avoid chaos the Crown's Ministers gained an advantage in 1706 when the Commons informally declared, "That this House will receive no petition for any sum of money relating to public Service, but what is recommended from the Crown." Sony VGP-BPS9 Battery

On 11 June 1713 this non-binding rule became Standing Order 66: that "the Commons would not vote money for any purpose, except on a motion of a Minister of the Crown." Standing Order 66 remains in effect today (though renumbered as no. 48),essentially unchanged for three hundred years.Sony VGP-BPS9/B Battery

Empowering Ministers with sole financial initiative had an immediate and lasting impact. Apart from achieving its intended purpose – to stabilise the budgetary process – it gave the Crown a leadership role in the Commons; and, the Lord Treasurer assumed a leading position among Ministers.Sony VGP-BPS9/S Battery

The power of financial initiative was not, however, absolute. Only Ministers might initiate money bills, but Parliament now reviewed and consented to them. Standing Order 66 therefore represents the beginnings of Ministerial responsibility and accountability.Sony VGP-BPS9A Battery

The term "Prime Minister" appears at this time as an unofficial title for the leader of the government, usually the head of the Treasury.Jonathan Swift, for example, wrote in 1713 about "those who are now commonly called Prime Minister among us", referring to Sidney Godolphin, 1st Earl of Godolphin and Robert Harley, Queen Anne's Lord Treasurers and chief ministers.Sony VGP-BPS9A/B Battery

Since 1721, every head of the Sovereign's government – with one exception in the 18th century (William Pitt the Elder) and one in the 19th (Lord Salisbury) – has been First Lord of the Treasury.

Beginnings of the Prime Minister's party leadership

The modern Prime Minister is the leader of a major political party with millions of followers. Sony VGP-BPS9A/S Battery

In the general election of 1997, for example, 13.5 million people voted for the Labour Party led by Tony Blair; 9.6 million for the Conservative Party, led by John Major, the previous Prime Minister; and, 5.2 million for the Liberal Democrat Party led by Paddy Ashdown. Sony VGP-BPS9B Battery

Generally agreeing on policies, party leaders and their supporters suppress their differences of opinion at the polls for the sake of gaining a majority of seats in the Commons and being able to form a government.

Political parties first appeared during the Exclusion Crisis of 1678–1681. Sony VGP-BPX11 Battery

The Whigs, who believed in limited monarchy, wanted to exclude James Stuart from succeeding to the throne because he was a Catholic. The Tories, who believed in the "Divine Right of Kings", defended James' hereditary claim. These parties dominated British politics for over 150 years, Sony VGP-BPL18 Battery

with the Whigs evolving into the Liberal Party and the Tories into the Conservative. Even today, Conservatives are often called "Tories".

Political parties were not well organised or disciplined in the 17th century. Sony VGP-BPS18 Battery

They were more like factions with "members" drifting in and out, collaborating temporarily on issues when it was to their advantage, then disbanding when it was not. A major deterrent to the development of opposing parties was the idea that there could only be one "King's Party" and to oppose it would be disloyal or even treasonous. Sony VGP-BPL20 Battery

This idea lingered throughout the 18th century. Nevertheless it became possible at the end of the 17th century to identify Parliaments and Ministries as being either "Whig" or "Tory" in composition.


The modern Prime Minister is also the leader of the Cabinet. Sony VGP-BPS20/B Battery

A convention of the constitution, the modern Cabinet is a group of ministers who formulate policies. As the political heads of government departments Cabinet Ministers ensure that policies are carried out by permanent civil servants. Although the modern Prime Minister selects Ministers, appointment still rests with the Sovereign. Sony VGP-BPS20/S Battery

With the Prime Minister as its leader, the Cabinet forms the executive branch of government.

The term "Cabinet" first appears after the Revolutionary Settlement to describe those ministers who conferred privately with the Sovereign. Sony VGP-BPL21 Battery

The growth of the Cabinet met with widespread complaint and opposition because its meetings were often held in secret and it excluded the ancient Privy Council from the Sovereign's circle of advisers, reducing it to an honorary body. The early Cabinet, like that of today, included the Treasurer and other department heads who sat on the Treasury bench. Sony VGP-BPS21 Battery

However, it might also include individuals who were not members of Parliament such as household officers (i.e. the Master of the Horse) and members of the royal family. The exclusion of non-members of Parliament from the Cabinet was essential to the development of ministerial accountability and responsibility.Sony VGP-BPS21/S Battery

Both William and Anne appointed and dismissed Cabinet members, attended meetings, made decisions, and followed up on actions. Relieving the Sovereign of these responsibilities and gaining control over the Cabinet's composition was an essential part of evolution of the Premiership. Sony VGP-BPS21A Battery

This process began after the Hanoverian Succession. Although George I (1714–1727) attended Cabinet meetings at first, after 1717 he withdrew because he did not speak English and was bored with the discussions. George II (1727–1760) occasionally presided at Cabinet meetings but his grandson,Sony VGP-BPS21A/B Battery

George III(1760–1820), is known to have attended only two during his 60 year reign. Thus, the convention that Sovereigns do not attend Cabinet meetings was established primarily through royal indifference to the everyday tasks of governance. Sony VGP-BPS21B Battery

The Prime Minister became responsible for calling meetings, presiding, taking notes, and reporting to the Sovereign. These simple executive tasks naturally gave the Prime Minister ascendancy over his Cabinet colleagues.Sony VGP-BPL22 Battery

Although the first three Hanoverians rarely attended Cabinet meetings they insisted on their prerogatives to appoint and dismiss ministers and to direct policy even if from outside the Cabinet. It was not until late in the 18th century that Prime Ministers gained control over Cabinet composition (see section Emergence of Cabinet Government below).Sony VGP-BPS22 Battery

"One Party Government"

British governments (or Ministries) are generally formed by one party. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are usually all members of the same political party, almost always the one that has a majority of seats in the House of Commons. Sony VGP-BPS22/A Battery

Coalition governments (a ministry that consists of representatives from two or more parties) and minority governments (a one-party ministry formed by a party that does not command a majority in the Commons) are relatively rare. "One party government", as this system is sometimes called, has been the general rule for almost three hundred years.Sony VGP-BPS22A Battery

Early in his reign, William (1689–1702) preferred "Mixed Ministries" (or coalitions) consisting of both Tories and Whigs. William thought this composition would dilute the power of any one party and also give him the benefit of differing points of view. Sony VGP-BPL23 Battery

However, this approach did not work well because the members could not agree on a leader or on policies, and often worked at odds with each other.

In 1697, William formed a homogeneous Whig ministry. Known as the Junto, this government is often cited as the first true Cabinet because its members were all Whigs, reflecting the majority composition of the Commons.Sony VGP-BPS23 Battery

Anne (1702–1714) followed this pattern but preferred Tory Cabinets. This approach worked well as long as Parliament was also predominantly Tory. However, in 1708, when the Whigs obtained a majority, Anne did not call on them to form a government, refusing to accept the idea that politicians could force themselves on her merely because their party had a majority.Sony VGP-BPS23/B Battery

She never parted with an entire Ministry or accepted an entirely new one regardless of the results of an election. Anne preferred to retain a minority government rather than be dictated to by Parliament. Consequently, her chief ministers Sidney Godolphin, 1st Earl of Godolphin and Robert Harley,Sony VGP-BPS23/D Battery

who were called "Prime Minister" by some, had difficulty executing policy in the face of a hostile Parliament.

William's and Anne's experiments with the political composition of the Cabinet illustrated the strengths of one party government and the weaknesses of coalition and minority governments.Sony VGP-BPS23/G Battery

Nevertheless, it was not until the 1830s that the constitutional convention was established that the Sovereign must select the Prime Minister (and Cabinet) from the party whose views reflect those of the majority in Parliament. Since then, most ministries have reflected this one party rule.Sony VGP-BPS23/P Battery

Despite the "one party" convention, Prime Ministers may still be called upon to lead either minority or coalition governments. A minority government may be formed as a result of a "hung parliament" in which no single party commands a majority in the House of Commons after a general election or the death, resignation or defection of existing members. Sony VGP-BPS23/W Battery

By convention the serving Prime Minister is given first opportunity to reach agreements that will allow them to survive a vote of confidence in the House and continue to govern. The last minority government was led by Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson for eight months after the February 1974 general election produced a hung parliament. Sony Limited Edition 007 Battery

In the October 1974 general election, the Labour Party gained 18 seats, giving Wilson a majority of three.

A hung parliament may also lead to the formation of a coalition government in which two or more parties negotiate a joint programme to command a majority in the Commons. Sony VAIO VGC-LB15 Battery

Coalitions have also been formed during times of national crisis such as war. Under this circumstance, the parties agree to temporarily set aside their political differences and unite to face the national crisis. Coalitions are rare; since 1721, there have been fewer than a dozen. Sony VGN-AR Series Battery

When the general election of 2010 produced a hung parliament, the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties agreed to form Her Majesty's current coalition government, the first in seventy years. The last Coalition in the UK before 2010 was led by Conservative Prime Minister Winston Churchill during most of the Second World War from May 1940 to May 1945. Sony VGN-CR Series Battery

Clement Attlee, the leader of the Labour Party, served as Deputy Prime Minister.

Treasury Commission

The Premiership is still largely a convention of the constitution; its legal authority is derived primarily from the fact that the Prime Minister is also First Lord of the Treasury. Sony VIAO VGN-G Series Battery

The connection of these two offices – one a convention, the other a legal office – began with the Hanoverian Succession in 1714.

When George I succeeded to the English throne in 1714, his German ministers advised him to leave the office of Lord High Treasurer vacant because those who had held it in recent years had grown overly powerful, Sony VIAO VGN-G118 Battery

in effect, replacing the Sovereign as head of the government. They also feared that a Lord High Treasurer would undermine their own influence with the new King. They therefore suggested that he place the office in "commission", meaning that a committee of five ministers would perform its functions together.Sony VIAO VGN-G118CN/B Battery

Theoretically, this dilution of authority would prevent any one of them from presuming to be the head of the government. The King agreed and created the Treasury Commission consisting of the First Lord of the Treasury, the Second Lord, and three Junior Lords.Sony VIAO VGN-G118CN/T Battery

No one has been appointed Lord High Treasurer since 1714; it has remained in commission for three hundred years. The Treasury Commission ceased to meet late in the 18th century but has survived, albeit with very different functions: the First Lord of the Treasury is now the Prime Minister, Sony VIAO VGN-G218 Battery

the Second Lord is the Chancellor of the Exchequer (and actually in charge of the Treasury), and the Junior Lords are government Whips maintaining party discipline in the House of Commons; they no longer have any duties related to the Treasury, though when subordinate legislation requires the consent of the Treasury it is still two of the Junior Lords who sign on its behalf.Sony VGN-TZ121 Battery

"First" Prime Minister

Since the office was not created, there is no "first" Prime Minister. However, the honorary appellation is traditionally given to Sir Robert Walpole who became First Lord of the Treasury in 1721.Sony VGN-TZ13 Battery

In 1720, the South Sea Company, created to trade in cotton, agricultural goods and slaves, collapsed, causing the financial ruin of thousands of investors and heavy losses for many others including members of the royal family. King George I called on Robert Walpole, well-known for his political and financial acumen, to handle the emergency. Sony VGN-TZ131 Battery

With considerable skill and some luck , Walpole acted quickly to restore public credit and confidence, and led the country out of the crisis. A year later, the King appointed him First Lord of the Treasury, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Leader of the House of Commons making him the most powerful minister in the government. Sony VGN-TZ132N Battery

Ruthless, crude, and hard-working, he had a "sagacious business sense" and was a superb manager of men. At the head of affairs for the next two decades, Walpole stabilised the nation's finances, kept it at peace, made it prosperous, and secured the Hanoverian Succession. Sony VGN-TZ132/N Battery

Walpole demonstrated for the first time how a chief minister – a Prime Minister – could be the actual Head of the Government under the new constitutional framework. First, recognising that the Sovereign could no longer govern directly but was still the nominal head of the government, he insisted that he was nothing more than the "King's Servant".Sony VGN-TZ17N Battery

Second, recognising that power had shifted to the Commons, he conducted the nation's business there and made it dominant over the Lords in all matters. Third, recognising that the Cabinet had become the executive and must be united, he dominated the other members and demanded their complete support for his policies.Sony VGN-TZ16N Battery

Fourth, recognising that political parties were the source of ministerial strength, he led the Whig party and maintained discipline. In the Commons, he insisted on the support of all Whig members, especially those who held office. Finally, he set an example for future Prime Ministers by resigning his offices in 1742 after a vote of confidence, which he won by just 3 votes.Sony VGN-TZ18N Battery

This slim majority undermined his power even though he still retained the confidence of the Sovereign.

Ambivalence and denial

For all his contributions, Walpole was not a Prime Minister in the modern sense. Sony VAIO VGN-AR47G/E1 Battery

The King—not Parliament—chose him; and the King—not Walpole—chose the Cabinet. Walpole set an example, not a precedent, and few followed his example. For over 40 years after Walpole's fall in 1742, there was widespread ambivalence about the position.Sony VAIO VGN-AR520E Battery

In some cases, the Prime Minister was a figurehead with power being wielded by other individuals; in others there was a reversion to the "chief minister" model of earlier times in which the Sovereign actually governed. At other times, there appeared to be two prime ministers.Sony VAIO VGN-AR53DB Battery

During Britain's participation in the Seven Years War, for example, the powers of government were divided equally between the Duke of Newcastle and William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, leading to them both alternatively being described as Prime Minister.Sony VAIO VGN-AR54DB Battery

Furthermore, many thought that the title "Prime Minister" usurped the Sovereign's constitutional position as "head of the government" and that it was an affront to other ministers because they were all appointed by and equally responsible to the Sovereign.Sony VAIO VGN-AR550E Battery

For these reasons there was a reluctance to use the title. Although Walpole is now called the "first" Prime Minister, the title was not commonly used during his tenure. Walpole himself denied it. In 1741, during the attack that led to Walpole's downfall, Samuel Sandys declared that "According to our Constitution we can have no sole and prime minister.Sony VAIO VGN-AR55DB Battery

" In his defence, Walpole said "I unequivocally deny that I am sole or Prime Minister and that to my influence and direction all the affairs of government must be attributed." George Grenville, Prime Minister in the 1760s, said it was "an odious title" and never used it.Sony VAIO VGN-AR630E Battery

Lord North, the reluctant head of the King's Government during the American War of Independence, "would never suffer himself to be called Prime Minister, because it was an office unknown to the Constitution."

Denials of the Premiership's legal existence continued throughout the 19th century. Sony VAIO VGN-AR64DB Battery

In 1806, for example, one member of the Commons said, "the Constitution abhors the idea of a prime minister". In 1829, Lord Lansdowne said, "nothing could be more mischievous or unconstitutional than to recognise by act of parliament the existence of such an office."Sony VAIO VGN-AR65DB Battery

By the turn of the 20th century the Premiership had become, by convention, the most important position in the constitutional hierarchy. Yet there were no legal documents describing its powers or acknowledging its existence. Incumbents had no statutory authority in their own right. Sony VAIO VGN-AR660U Battery

As late as 1904, Arthur Balfour explained the status of his office in a speech at Haddington: "The Prime Minister has no salary as Prime Minister. He has no statutory duties as Prime Minister, his name occurs in no Acts of Parliament, and though holding the most important place in the constitutional hierarchy, he has no place which is recognised by the laws of his country. Sony VAIO VGN-AR690U Battery

This is a strange paradox."In 1905 the position was given some official recognition when the "Prime Minister" was named in the order of precedence, outranked, among non-royals, only by the Archbishops of Canterbury andYork, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and the Lord Chancellor.Sony VAIO VGN-AR71ZU Battery

The first Act of Parliament—albeit in a schedule—to mention the Premiership was the Chequers Estate Act on 20 December 1917. This law conferred the Chequers Estate owned by Sir Arthur and Lady Lee, as a gift to the Crown for use as a country home for future Prime Ministers.Sony VAIO VGN-AR730E/B Battery

Unequivocal legal recognition was given in the Ministers of the Crown Act 1937, which made provision for paying a salary to the person who is both "the First Lord of the Treasury and Prime Minister". Explicitly recognising two hundred years' of ambivalence,Sony VAIO VGN-AR73DB Battery

the act states that it intended "To give statutory recognition to the existence of the position of Prime Minister, and to the historic link between the Premiership and the office of First Lord of the Treasury, by providing in respect to that position and office a salary of ..."Sony VAIO VGN-AR74DB Battery

The Act made a distinction between the "position" (Prime Minister) and the "office" (First Lord of the Treasury), emphasising the unique political character of the former. Nevertheless, the brass plate on the door of the Prime Minister's home, 10 Downing Street, still bears the title of "First Lord of the Treasury", as it has since the 18th century.Sony VAIO VGN-AR75UDB Battery

Emergence of Cabinet government

Despite the reluctance to legally recognise the Premiership, ambivalence toward it waned in the 1780s. As noted previously, George III (1760–1820) is known to have attended only two Cabinet meetings. However, during the first twenty years of his reign, Sony VAIO VGN-AR790U/B Battery

he tried to be his own "prime minister" by controlling policy from outside the Cabinet, appointing and dismissing ministers, meeting privately with individual ministers, and giving them instructions. These practices caused confusion and dissension in Cabinet meetings,Sony VAIO VGN-AR820E Battery

especially during the dysfunctional ministries of the Earl of Chatham from 1766–1768 and of the Duke of Grafton from 1768-1770 when no one, not even the King, seemed to be in charge.

After the failure of Lord North's ministry (1770–1782) in March 1782 due to Britain's defeat in the American Revolutionary War and the ensuing vote of no confidence by Parliament,Sony VAIO VGN-AR830E Battery

the Marquess of Rockingham reasserted the Prime Minister's control over the Cabinet. Rockingham assumed the Premiership "on the distinct understanding that measures were to be changed as well as men; and that the measures for which the new ministry required the royal consent were the measures which they, while in opposition, had advocated.Sony VAIO VGN-AR83S Battery

" He and his Cabinet were united in their policies and would stand or fall together; they also refused to accept anyone in the Cabinet who did not agree. King George threatened to abdicate but in the end reluctantly agreed out of necessity: he had to have a government.Sony VAIO VGN-AR83US Battery

From this time, there was a growing acceptance of the position of Prime Minister and the title was more commonly used, if only unofficially. Associated initially with the Whigs, even the Tories started to accept it. Lord North, for example, who had said the office was "unknown to the constitution", reversed himself in 1783 when he said,Sony VAIO VGN-AR84S Battery

"In this country some one man or some body of men like a Cabinet should govern the whole and direct every measure."In 1803, William Pitt the Younger, also a Tory, suggested to a friend that "this person generally called the first minister" was an absolute necessity for a government to function, and expressed his belief that this person should be the minister in charge of the finances.Sony VAIO VGN-AR84US Battery

The Tories' wholesale conversion started when Pitt was confirmed as Prime Minister in the election of 1784. For the next 17 years until 1801 (and again from 1804 to 1806), Pitt, the Tory, was Prime Minister in the same sense that Walpole, the Whig, had been earlier.Sony VAIO VGN-AR85S Battery

Their conversion was reinforced after 1810. In that year, George III, who had suffered periodically from mental instability (due to a blood disorder now known asporphyria), became permanently insane and spent the remaining 10 years of his life unable to discharge his duties. Sony VAIO VGN-AR85US Battery

The Prince Regent was prevented from using the full powers of Kingship. The Regent became George IV in 1820, but during his 10 year reign was indolent and frivolous. Consequently, for 20 years the throne was virtually vacant and Tory Cabinets led by Tory Prime Ministers filled the void, governing virtually on their own.Sony VAIO VGN-AR870EA Battery

The Tories were in power for almost 50 years, except for a short Whig ministry from 1806 to 1807. Lord Liverpool was Prime Minister for 15 years; he and Pitt held the position for 34 years. Under their long, consistent leadership, Cabinet government became a convention of the constitution.Sony VAIO VGN-AR890U Battery

Although subtle issues remained to be settled, the Cabinet system of government is essentially the same today as it was in 1830.

Under this

form of government, called the Westminster System, the Sovereign is Head of State and titular head of Her Majesty's Government. Sony VAIO VGN-AR93S Battery

She selects as her Prime Minister the person who is able to command a working majority in the House of Commons, and invites him to form a government. As the actual Head of Government, the Prime Minister selects his Cabinet, choosing its members from among those in Parliament who agree or generally agree with his intended policies. Sony VAIO VGN-AR93US Battery

He then recommends them to the Sovereign who confirms his selections by formally appointing them to their respective offices. Led by the Prime Minister, the Cabinet is collectively responsible for everything the government does. The Sovereign does not confer with its members privately about policy or attend its meetings. Sony VAIO VGN-AR94S Battery

With respect to actual governance, the monarch has only three constitutional rights: to be kept informed, to advise, and to warn. In practice this means that the Sovereign reviews state papers and meets regularly with the Prime Minister, usually weekly, when she may advise and warn him regarding the proposed decisions and actions of Her Government.Sony VAIO VGN-AR94US Battery

Loyal Opposition

The modern British system includes not only a government formed by the majority party (or coalition of parties) in the House of Commons but also an organised and open opposition formed by those who are not members of the governing party. Sony VAIO VGN-AR95S Battery

Called the Loyal Opposition (or "Her Majesty's Opposition"), they occupy the benches to the Speaker's left. Seated in the front, directly across from the ministers on the Treasury Bench, the leaders of the opposition form a "Shadow Government", complete with a salaried "Shadow Prime Minister", Sony VAIO VGN-AR95US Battery

the Leader of the Opposition, ready to assume office if the government falls or loses the next election.

Opposing the King's government was considered disloyal, even treasonous, at the end of the 17th century. During the 18th century this idea waned and finally disappeared as the two party system developed. Sony VAIO VGN-AW110J/H Battery

The expression "His Majesty's Opposition" was coined by John Cam Hobhouse, Lord Broughton. In 1826, Broughton, a Whig, announced in the Commons that he opposed the report of a Bill. As a joke, he said, "It was said to be very hard on His Majesty's ministers to raise objections to this proposition. Sony VAIO VGN-AW11M/H Battery

For my part, I think it is much more hard on His Majesty's Opposition to compel them to take this course." The phrase caught on and has been used ever since. Sometimes translated as the "Loyal Opposition", it acknowledges the legitimate existence of the two party system, and describes an important constitutional concept:Sony VAIO VGN-AW11S/B Battery

opposing the government is not treason; reasonable men can honestly oppose its policies and still be loyal to the Sovereign and the nation.

Informally recognised for over a century as a convention of the constitution, the position of Leader of the Opposition was given statutory recognition in 1937 by theMinisters of the Crown Act.Sony VAIO VGN-AW11XU/Q Battery

Great Reform Bill and the Premiership

British Prime Ministers have never been elected directly by the public. They have all become Prime Minister indirectly because firstly, they were members of either the Commons or Lords; secondly, they were the leader of a great political party;Sony VAIO VGN-AW11Z/B Battery

and, thirdly, they either inherited a majority in the Commons, or won more seats than the opposition in a general election.

Since 1722, most Prime Ministers have been members of the Commons; since 1902, all have had a seat there.Sony VAIO VGN-AW120J/H Battery

Like other members, they are elected initially to represent only a constituency. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, for example, represented Sedgefield in County Durham from 1983 to 2007. He became Prime Minister because in 1994 he was elected Labour Party leader and then led the party to victory in the 1997 general election, Sony VAIO VGN-AW150Y/H Battery

winning 418 seats compared to 165 for the Conservatives and gaining a majority in the House of Commons.

Neither the Sovereign nor the House of Lords had any meaningful influence over who was elected to the Commons in 1997 or in deciding whether or not Blair would become Prime Minister. Sony VAIO VGN-AW160J/Q Battery

Their detachment from the electoral process and the selection of the Prime Minister has been a convention of the constitution for almost 200 years.

Prior to the 19th century, however, they had significant influence, using to their advantage the fact that most citizens were disenfranchised and seats in the Commons were allocated disproportionately.Sony VAIO VGN-AW170Y/Q Battery

The system was based on legislation passed in 1429 and virtually unchanged for 400 years. In 1832, only 440,000 met the voter qualifications in a population of 17 million. Although populations shifted, representation in the Commons remained the same. Consequently, some constituencies were over-represented;Sony VAIO VGN-AW180Y/Q Battery

others under-represented. Through patronage, corruption and bribery, the Crown and Lords "owned" about 30% of the seats (called "pocket" or "rotten boroughs") giving them a significant influence in the Commons and in the selection of the Prime Minister.Sony VAIO VGN-AW190JAH Battery

In 1830, Charles Grey, a life-long Whig, became Prime Minister determined to reform the electoral system. For two years, he and his Cabinet (including four future Prime Ministers – Melbourne, Russell, Palmerston and Derby – and one former one, Goderich) fought to pass what has come to be known as the Great Reform Bill of 1832.Sony VAIO VGN-AW190NAB Battery

The greatness of the Great Reform Bill lay less in substance than symbolism. As John Bright, the liberal statesman of the next generation, said, "It was not a good Bill, but it was a great Bill when it passed."

Substantively, it increased the franchise 65% to 717,000 with the middle class receiving most of the new votes. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190NBB Battery

The representation of 56 rotten boroughs was eliminated completely and half the representation of 30 others; the freed up seats were distributed to boroughs created for previously disenfranchised areas. However, many rotten boroughs remained and it still excluded millions of working class men and all women. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190NCB Battery

Symbolically, the Bill exceeded expectations and is now ranked with Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights as one of the most important pieces of legislation ever passed by Parliament.

First, the Great Reform Bill removed the Sovereign from the election process and the choice of Prime Minister.Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YAB Battery

Slowly evolving for 100 years, this convention was confirmed two years after the passage of the bill. In 1834 King William IV dismissed Melbourne as Premier, but was forced to recall him when Robert Peel, the King's choice, could not form a working majority. Since then, no Sovereign has tried to impose a Prime Minister on Parliament.Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YBB Battery

Second, the Bill reduced the Lords' power by eliminating many of their pocket boroughs and creating new ones where they had no influence. Weakened, they were unable to prevent the passage of more comprehensive electoral reforms in 1867, 1884, 1918 and 1928 when universal equal suffrage was achieved.Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YCB Battery

Ultimately, this erosion of power led to the Parliament Act of 1911 that marginalised the Lords' role in the legislative process and to the convention that a Prime Minister cannot sit in the House of Lords. The last to do so was Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, from 1895 to 1902.Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YDB Battery

Grey's bearing changed the Premiership. Often called the first "modern Prime Minister", he set both an example and a precedent for his successors. He was primus inter pares, "first among equals", as Bagehot said in 1867 of the Prime Minister's status. Using his Whig victory as a mandate for reform, Sony VAIO VGN-AW220J/B Battery

Grey was unrelenting in the pursuit of this goal, using every Parliamentary device to achieve it. Although respectful toward the King, he made it clear that his constitutional duty was to acquiesce to the will of the people and Parliament.

The Loyal Opposition acquiesced too. Some disgruntled Tories claimed they would repeal the Bill once they regained a majority.Sony VAIO VGN-AW230J/H Battery

But in 1834, Robert Peel, the new Conservative leader, put an end to this threat when he stated in his Tamworth Manifesto that the Bill was "a final and irrevocable settlement of a great constitutional question which no friend to the peace and welfare of this country would attempt to disturb".Sony VAIO VGN-AW235J/B Battery

Thus, Peel affirmed a convention of the constitution that promotes stability in the British system: the Parliament of the day must respect the settlement of constitutional issues made by previous Parliaments.

Populist Prime Ministers

The Premiership was a reclusive office prior to 1832.Sony VAIO VGN-AW290JFQ Battery

The incumbent worked with his Cabinet and other government officials; he occasionally met with the Sovereign, and attended Parliament when it was in session during the spring and summer. He never went out on the stump to campaign, even during elections; he rarely spoke directly to ordinary voters about policies and issues.Sony VAIO VGN-AW41JF Battery

After the passage of the Great Reform Bill, the nature of the position changed; Prime Ministers had to go out among the people. The Bill increased the electorate to 717,000. Subsequent legislation (and population growth) raised it to 2 million in 1867, 5.5 million in 1884 and 21.4 million in 1918. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41JF/H Battery

As the franchise increased, power shifted to the people and Prime Ministers assumed more responsibilities with respect to party leadership. It naturally fell on them to motivate and organise their followers, explain party policies, and deliver its "message". Successful leaders had to have a new set of skills:Sony VAIO VGN-AW41MF Battery

to give a good speech, present a favourable image, and interact with a crowd. They became the "voice", the “face” and the "image" of the party and ministry.

Robert Peel, often called the "model Prime Minister", was the first to recognise this new role.Sony VAIO VGN-AW41MF/H Battery

After the successful Conservative campaign of 1841, J. W. Croker said in a letter to Peel, "The elections are wonderful, and the curiosity is that all turns on the name of Sir Robert Peel. 'It's the first time that I remember in our history that the people have chosen the first Minister for the Sovereign.Sony VAIO VGN-AW41XH Battery

Mr. Pitt's case in '84 is the nearest analogy; but then the people only confirmed the Sovereign's choice; here every Conservative candidate professed himself in plain words to be Sir Robert Peel's man, and on that ground was elected."

Benjamin Disraeli and William Ewart Gladstone developed this new role further by projecting "images" of themselves to the public.Sony VAIO VGN-AW41XH/Q Battery

Known by their nicknames "Dizzy" and the "Grand Old Man", their colourful, sometimes bitter, personal and political rivalry over the issues of their time – Imperialism vs. Anti-Imperialism, expansion of the franchise, labour reform, and Irish Home Rule – spanned almost twenty years until Disraeli's death in 1881.Sony VAIO VGN-AW41ZF Battery

Documented by the penny press, photographs and political cartoons, their rivalry linked specific personalities with the Premiership in the public mind and further enhanced its status.

Each created a different public image of himself and his party. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41ZF/B Battery

Disraeli, who expanded the Empire to protect British interests abroad, cultivated the image of himself (and the Conservative Party) as "Imperialist", making grand gestures such as conferring the title "Empress of India" on Queen Victoria in 1876. Gladstone, who saw little value in the Empire, Sony VAIO VGN-AW50DB/H Battery

proposed an anti-Imperialist policy (later called "Little England"), and cultivated the image of himself (and the Liberal Party) as "man of the people" by circulating pictures of himself cutting down great oak trees with an axe as a hobby.Sony VAIO VGN-AW51JGB Battery

Gladstone went beyond image by appealing directly to the people. In his Midlothian Campaign – so called because he stood as a candidate for that county – Gladstone spoke in fields, halls and railway stations to hundreds, sometimes thousands, of students, farmers, labourers and middle class workers. Sony VAIO VGN-AW52JGB Battery

Although not the first leader to speak directly to voters – both he and Disraeli had spoken directly to party loyalists before on special occasions – he was the first to canvass an entire constituency delivering his message to anyone who would listen, encouraging his supporters and trying to convert his opponents. Sony VAIO VGN-AW53FB Battery

Publicised nationwide, Gladstone's message became that of the party. Noting its significance, Lord Shaftesburysaid, "It is a new thing and a very serious thing to see the Prime Minister on the stump."

Campaigning directly to the people became commonplace. Sony VAIO VGN-AW70B/Q Battery

Several 20th century Prime Ministers, such as David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill, were famous for their oratorical skills. After the introduction of radio, motion pictures, television, and the internet, many used these technologies to project their public image and address the nation.Sony VAIO VGN-AW71JB Battery

Stanley Baldwin, a master of the radio broadcast in the 1920s and 1930s, reached a national audience in his talks filled with homely advice and simple expressions of national pride. Churchill also used the radio to great effect, inspiring, reassuring and informing the people with his speeches during the Second World War. Sony VAIO VGN-AW72JB Battery

Two recent Prime Ministers, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair, achieved celebrity status, like rock stars but have been criticised for their more 'presidential' style of leadership.. According to Anthony King, ""The props in Blair's theatre of celebrity included ... his guitar, Sony VAIO VGN-AW73FB Battery

his casual clothes ... footballs bounced skilfully off the top of his head ... and carefully choreographed speeches-cum-performances at Labour Party conferences."

Parliament Act and the Premiership

In addition to being the leader of a great political party and the head of Her Majesty's Government, the modern Prime Minister is the leader of the House of Commons. Sony VAIO VGN-AW80NS Battery

From this commanding position, the Prime Minister directs the law-making process, enacting into law his party’s programme. For example, Tony Blair, whose Labour party was elected in 1997 partly on a promise to enact a British Bill of Rights and to create devolved governments for Scotland and Wales, Sony VAIO VGN-AW80S Battery

subsequently stewarded through Parliament the Human Rights Act (1998), the Scotland Act (1998) and the Government of Wales Act (1998).

From its appearance in the 14th century Parliament has been a bicameral legislature consisting of the Commons and the Lords.Sony VAIO VGN-AW80US Battery

Members of the Commons are elected; those in the Lords are not. Most Lords are called "Temporal" with titles such as Duke, Marquess, Earl and Viscount. The balance are Lords Spiritual (prelates of the Anglican Church).Sony VAIO VGN-AW81DS Battery

For most of the history of the Upper House, Lords Temporal were land owners who held their estates, titles and seats as an hereditary right passed down from one generation to the next in some cases for centuries. In 1910, for example, there were nineteen whose title was created before 1500.Sony VAIO VGN-AW81JS Battery

Until 1911, Prime Ministers had to guide legislation through the Commons and the Lords and obtain a majority approval in both to translate it into law. This was not always easy because political differences usually separated the chambers. Representing the landed aristocracy,Sony VAIO VGN-AW81YS Battery

Lords Temporal were generally Tory (later Conservative) who wanted to maintain the status quo and resisted progressive measures such as extending the franchise. The party affiliation of members of the Commons was less predictable. During the 18th century its makeup varied because the Lords had considerable control over elections:Sony VAIO VGN-AW82DS Battery

sometimes Whigs dominated it, sometimes Tories. After the passage of the Great Reform Bill in 1832, the Commons gradually became more progressive, a tendency that increased with the passage of each subsequent expansion of the franchise.Sony VAIO VGN-AW82JS Battery

In 1906, the Liberal party, led by Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, won an overwhelming victory on a platform that promised social reforms for the working class. With 379 seats compared to the Conservatives' 132, the Liberals could confidently expect to pass their legislative programme through the Commons.Sony VAIO VGN-AW82YS Battery

At the same time, however, the Conservative Party had a huge majority in the Lords; it could easily veto any legislation passed by the Commons that was against their interests.

For five years, the Commons and the Lords fought over one bill after another. Sony VAIO VGN-AW83FS Battery

The Liberals pushed through parts of their programme, but the Conservatives vetoed or modified others. When the Lords vetoed the "People's Budget" in 1909, the controversy moved almost inevitably toward a constitutional crisis. Sony VAIO VGN-AW83GS Battery

In 1910, Prime Minister Herbert Asquith introduced a bill "for regulating the relations between the Houses of Parliament" which would eliminate the Lords' veto power over legislation. Passed by the Commons, the Lords rejected it. In a general election fought on this issue, the Liberals were weakened but still had a comfortable majority. Sony VAIO VGN-AW83HS Battery

At Asquith's request, King George V then threatened to create a sufficient number of new Liberal Peers to ensure the bill's passage. Rather than accept a permanent Liberal majority, the Conservative Lords yielded, and the bill became law.

The Parliament Act 1911 established the supremacy of the Commons.Sony VAIO VGN-AW90NS Battery

It provided that the Lords could not delay for more than one month any bill certified by the Speaker of the Commons as a money bill. Furthermore, the act provided that any bill rejected by the Lords would nevertheless become law if passed by the Commons in three successive sessions provided that two years had elapsed since its original passage.Sony VAIO VGN-AW90S Battery

The Lords could still delay or suspend the enactment of legislation but could no longer veto it.Subsequently the Lords “suspending” power was reduced to one year by the Parliament Act 1949.

Indirectly, the Act enhanced the already dominant position of Prime Minister in the constitutional hierarchy.Sony VAIO VGN-AW90US Battery

Although the Lords are still involved in the legislative process and the Prime Minister must still guide legislation through both Houses, the Lords no longer have the power to veto or even delay enactment of legislation passed by the Commons. Sony VAIO VGN-AW91CDS Battery

Provided that he controls the Cabinet, maintains party discipline, and commands a majority in the Commons, the Prime Minister is assured of putting through his legislative agenda.

"Presidential" Premiership

The role and power of the Prime Minister have been subject to much change in the last fifty years. Sony VAIO VGN-AW91CJS Battery

There has gradually been a change from Cabinet decision making and deliberation to the dominance of the Prime Minister. As early as 1965, in a new introduction to Walter Bagehot's classic work The English Constitution, Richard Crossman identified a new era of "Prime Ministerial" government.Sony VAIO VGN-AW91CYS Battery

Some commentators, such as the political scientist Michael Foley, have argued there is a de facto "British Presidency". In Tony Blair's government, many sources such as former ministers have suggested that decision-making was centred around him and Gordon Brown, and the Cabinet was no longer used for decision making.Sony VAIO VGN-AW91DS Battery

Former ministers such as Clare Short and Chris Smith have criticised the lack of decision-making power in Cabinet. When she resigned, Short denounced "the centralisation of power into the hands of the Prime Minister and an increasingly small number of advisers" TheButler Review of 2004 condemned Blair's style of "sofa government".Sony VAIO VGN-AW91JS Battery

Prime Ministers may dominate the Cabinet so much that they become "Semi-Presidents". Examples include William Ewart Gladstone, David Lloyd George,Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, and Tony Blair. The powers of some Prime Ministers waxed or waned, depending upon their own level of energy, political skills or outside events: Sony VAIO VGN-AW91YS Battery

Ramsay MacDonald, for example, was dominant in his Labour governments, but during his National Government his powers diminished so that he was merely the figurehead of the government. In modern times, Prime Ministers have never been merely titular; dominant or somewhat dominant personalities are the norm.Sony VAIO VGN-AW92CDS Battery

Generally, however, the Prime Minister is held responsible by the nation for the consequences of legislation or of general government policy – indeed, this heavy burden has pictured as ageing Prime Ministers at two or three times the normal rate.Sony VAIO VGN-AW92CJS Battery

Margaret Thatcher's party forced her from power after the introduction of the poll tax; Sir Anthony Eden fell from power following the Suez Crisis; and Neville Chamberlain resigned after being criticised for his handling of negotiations with Germany prior to the outbreak of World War II, and for failing to prevent the fall of Norway to the Nazi onslaught.Sony VAIO VGN-AW92CYS Battery

The Prime Minister's powers are also limited by the House of Commons, whose support the Government is obliged to maintain. The Commons checks the powers of the Prime Minister through committee hearings and through Question Time, a weekly occurrence in which the Prime Minister is obliged to respond to the questions of the Leader of the Opposition and other members of the House.Sony VAIO VGN-AW92DS Battery

In practice, however, a Government with a strong majority need rarely fear "backbench rebellions".

Powers and constraints

When commissioned by the Sovereign, a potential Prime Minister's first requisite is to "form a Government" – create a cabinet of ministry that has the support of the House of Commons, of which they are expected to be a member. Sony VAIO VGN-AW92JS Battery

The Prime Minister then formally kisses the hands of his Sovereign, whose royal prerogative is thereafter exercised solely on the advice of the Prime Minister and Her Majesty's Government ("HMG"). The Prime Minister has weekly audiences with the Sovereign, whose functions are constitutionally limited "to advise, to be consulted, and to warn"; Sony VAIO VGN-AW92YS Battery

the extent of the Sovereign's ability to influence the nature of the Prime Ministerial advice is unknown, but presumably varies depending upon the personal relationship between the Sovereign and the Prime Minister of the day.Sony VAIO VGN-AW93FS Battery

The Prime Minister will appoint all other cabinet members (who then become active Privy Counsellors) and ministers, although consulting senior ministers on their junior ministers, without any Parliamentary or other control or process over these powers. Sony VAIO VGN-AW93GS Battery

At any time, he may obtain the appointment, dismissal or nominal resignation of any other minister; he may resign, either purely personally or with his whole government; or obtain the dissolution of Parliament, precipitating the loss of all MPs' seats and salaries and a general election (Ministers will remain in power pending the election of the new House of Commons). Sony VAIO VGN-AW93HS Battery

The Prime Minister generally co-ordinates the policies and activities of the Cabinet and Government departments, acting as the main public "face" of Her Majesty's Government.

Although the Commander-in-Chief of the British Armed Forces is legally the Sovereign, under constitutional practice the Prime Minister, Sony VAIO VGN-AW93ZFS Battery

with the Secretary of State for Defence whom he may appoint or dismiss, holds power over the deployment and disposition of British forces, and the declaration of war. The Prime Minister can authorise, but not directly order, the use of Britain's nuclear weapons and the Prime Minister is hence a Commander-in-Chief in all but name.Sony VAIO VGN-AW93ZGS Battery

The Prime Minister makes all the most senior Crown appointments, and most others are made by Ministers over whom he has the power of appointment and dismissal. Privy Counsellors, Ambassadorsand High Commissioners, senior civil servants, senior military officers,Sony VAIO VGN-AW93ZHS Battery

members of important committees and commissions, and other officials are selected, and in most cases may be removed, by the Prime Minister. He also formally advises the Sovereign on the appointment of Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of England, but his discretion is limited by the existence of the Crown Nominations Commission. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ11EN Battery

The appointment of senior judges, while constitutionally still on the advice of the Prime Minister, is now made on the basis of recommendations from independent bodies.

Peerages, knighthoods, and other honours are bestowed by the Sovereign only on the advice of the Prime Minister. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ11MN Battery

The only important British honours over which the Prime Minister does not have control are the Orders of the Garter, Thistle, and Merit; the Royal Victorian Order; and the Venerable Order of Saint John, which are all within the "personal gift" of the Sovereign.Sony VAIO VGN-BZ11XN Battery

The Prime Minister appoints Ministers known as the "Whips", who use his patronage to negotiate for the support of MPs and to discipline dissenters of the government parliamentary party. Party discipline is strong since electors generally vote for parties rather than individuals.Sony VAIO VGN-BZ12VN Battery

Members of Parliament may be expelled from their party for failing to support the Government on important issues, and although this will not mean they must resign as MPs, it will usually make re-election difficult. Members of Parliament who hold ministerial office or political privileges can expect removal for failing to support the Prime Minister. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ12XN Battery

Restraints imposed by the Commons grow weaker when the Government's party enjoys a large majority in that House, or in the electorate. In general, however, the Prime Minister and their colleagues may secure the Commons' support for almost any bill by internal party negotiations with little regard to opposition MPs.Sony VAIO VGN-BZ31VT Battery

However, even a government with a healthy majority can on occasion find itself unable to pass legislation. For example, on 31 January 2006, Tony Blair's Government was defeated over certain aspects of proposals to outlaw religious hatred, and, on 9 November 2005,Sony VAIO VGN-BZ31XT Battery

was defeated over plans which would have allowed police to detain terror suspects for up to 90 days without charge. On other occasions, the Government alters its proposals in order to avoid defeat in the Commons, as Tony Blair's Government did in February 2006 over education reforms.Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560 Battery

Formerly, a Prime Minister whose government lost a Commons vote would be regarded as fatally weakened, and his whole government would resign, usually precipitating a general election. In modern practice, when the Government party has an absolute majority in the House, Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560N24 Battery

only the express vote "that this House has no confidence in Her Majesty's Government" is treated as having this effect; dissentients on a minor issue within the majority party are unlikely to force an election with the probable loss of their seats and salaries, and any future in the party.Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560N30 Battery

Likewise, a Prime Minister is no longer just "first amongst equals" in HM Government; although theoretically his Cabinet might still outvote him, in practice he progressively entrenches his position by retaining only personal supporters in the Cabinet. In periodical reshuffles, Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560P Battery

the Prime Minister can sideline and simply drop from Cabinet the Members who have fallen out of favour: they remain Privy Counsellors, but the Prime Minister decides which of them are summoned to meetings. The Prime Minister is responsible for producing and enforcing the Ministerial Code.Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560P20 Battery

Precedence, privileges and form of address

By tradition, before a new Prime Minister can enter 10 Downing Street for the first time as its occupant, they are required to announce to the country and the world that they have kissed hands with the reigning monarch, and thus have become Prime Minister.Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560P22 Battery

This is usually done by saying words to the effect of:

Her Majesty the Queen [His Majesty the King] has asked me to form a government and I have accepted.

Throughout the United Kingdom, the Prime Minister outranks all other dignitaries except members of the Royal Family, the Lord Chancellor, and senior ecclesiastical figures.Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560P28 Battery

At present the Prime Minister receives £142,500 including a salary of £65,737 as a Member of Parliament.[78] Until 2006, the Lord Chancellor was the highest paid member of the government ahead of the Prime Minister. This reflected the Lord Chancellor's position as head of the judicial pay scale. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560P30 Battery

The Constitutional Reform Act 2005 eliminated the Lord Chancellor's judicial functions and also reduced the office's salary below that of the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister is customarily a member of the Privy Council and thus entitled to the appellation "The Right Honourable".Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560P34 Battery

Membership of the Council is retained for life. It is a constitutional convention that only a Privy Counsellor can be appointed Prime Minister. Most potential candidates have already attained this status. The only occasion when a non-Privy Counsellor was the natural appointment was Ramsay MacDonald in 1924. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ561 Battery

The issue was resolved by appointing him to the Council immediately prior to his appointment as Prime Minister.

According to the now defunct Department for Constitutional Affairs, the Prime Minister is made a Privy Counsellor as a result of taking office and should be addressed by the official title prefixed by "The Right Honourable" and not by a personal name. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ561N20 Battery

Although this form of address is employed at formal occasions it is rarely used by the media. Since "Prime Minister" is a position, not a title, the incumbent should be referred to as "the Prime Minister". The title "Prime Minister" (e.g. "Prime Minister David Cameron") is technically incorrect but is sometimes used erroneously outside the United Kingdom, Sony VAIO VGN-BZ561P20 Battery

and has more recently become acceptable within it. Within the UK, the expression "Prime Minister Cameron" (or "Prime Minister Brown", etc.) is never used, although it, too, is sometimes used by foreign dignitaries and news sources.Sony VAIO VGN-BZ562P Battery

While in office, the Prime Minister officially resides at 10 Downing Street in London and is also entitled to use the country house of Chequers inBuckinghamshire.

Upon retirement, it is customary for the Sovereign to grant a Prime Minister some honour or dignity. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ563P Battery

The honour commonly, but not invariably, bestowed is membership of the United Kingdom's most senior order of chivalry, the Order of the Garter. The practice of creating retired Prime Ministers Knights (or, in the case of Margaret Thatcher, Ladies) of the Garter has been fairly prevalent since the middle-19th century. Sony VAIO VGN-BZAAFS Battery

On the retirement of a Prime Minister who is Scottish, it is likely that the primarily Scottish honour of the Order of the Thistle will be used instead of the Order of the Garter, which is generally regarded as an English honour.

It has also been common for Prime Ministers to be granted a peerage upon retirement from the Commons, which elevates the individual to the House of Lords.Sony VAIO VGN-BZAAHS Battery

Formerly, the peerage bestowed was usually an earldom (which was always hereditary), with Churchill offered a dukedom. However, since the 1960s, hereditary peerages have generally been eschewed, and life peerages have been preferred, although in 1984 Harold Macmillan was created Earl of Stockton.Sony VAIO VGN-BZAANS Battery

Sir Alec Douglas-Home, Harold Wilson, James Callaghan and Margaret Thatcher accepted life peerages. However, Edward Heath, John Major and Tony Blair did not accept peerages of any kind, although Mr. Major was later appointed a Knight of the Garter.Sony VAIO VGN-BZAAPS Battery

As of 2010, Gordon Brown remains a Member of Parliament, retaining his Commons seat in the 2010 gen

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George Walker Bush(born July 6, 1946) is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, serving from 1995 to 2000.Sony VAIO VPC CW2MFX/PU Battery

Bush, born in New Haven, Connecticut, is the eldest son of Barbara Bush and 41st President George H. W. Bush, making him the only American president besides John Quincy Adams to be the son of a preceding president.He is also the brother of Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida.Sony VAIO VPC S11V9E/B Battery

After graduating from Yale University in 1968 and Harvard Business School in 1975, Bush worked in oil businesses. He married Laura Welch in 1977 and ran unsuccessfully for the House of Representatives shortly thereafter. He later co-owned the Texas Rangers baseball team before defeating Ann Richardsin the 1994 Texas gubernatorial election.Sony VAIO VPCB119GJ/B Battery

In a close and controversial election, Bush was elected President in 2000 as the Republican candidate, defeating Vice President Al Gore in the Electoral College.

Early on, the Bush administration withdrew from a number of international treaty processes, notably the Kyoto Protocol on global warming.Sony VAIO VPCB11AGJ Battery

A series of terrorist attacks occurred eight months into Bush's first term as president on September 11, 2001. In response, Bush announced a global War on Terror, ordered an invasion of Afghanistan that same year and an invasion of Iraq in 2003.Sony VAIO VPCB11AVJ Battery

In addition to national security issues, Bush promoted policies on the economy, health care, education, and social security reform. He signed into law broad tax cuts, the PATRIOT Act, the No Child Left Behind Act, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, and Medicare prescription drug benefits for seniors.Sony VAIO VPCB11V9E Battery

His tenure saw national debates on immigration, Social Security, electronic surveillance, and waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation techniques".

Bush successfully ran for re-election against Democratic Senator John Kerry in 2004, in another relatively close election.Sony VAIO VPCB11X9E Battery

After his re-election, Bush received increasingly heated criticism from across the political spectrum. In 2005, the Bush Administration dealt with widespread criticism over its handling ofHurricane Katrina. Following this and other controversies, as well as dissatisfaction with the direction of the Iraq War, Democrats won control of Congress in the 2006 elections.Sony VAIO VPCCW18FJ/P Battery

As the United States entered its longest post–World War II recession in December 2007, the Bush Administration enacted multiple economic programs intended to preserve the country's financial system. Though Bush was popular in the U.S. for much of his first term, his popularity declined sharply during his second term.Sony VAIO VPCCW18FJ/R Battery

He was a highly controversial figure internationally, with public protests occurring even during visits to close allies, such as the United Kingdom.

After leaving office, Bush returned to Texas and purchased a home in a suburban area of Dallas. He is currently a public speaker and has written a book about his life entitled Decision Points.Sony VAIO VPCCW18FJ/W Battery

Childhood to mid-life

George Walker Bush was born in New Haven, Connecticut at Grace-New Haven Hospital (now Yale – New Haven Hospital), on July 6, 1946, the first child of George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush (née Pierce).Sony VAIO VPCCW19FJ/W Battery

He was raised in Midland and Houston, Texas, with his four siblings, Jeb, Neil, Marvin andDorothy. Another younger sister, Robin, died from leukemia at the age of three in 1953. Bush's grandfather, Prescott Bush, was a U.S. Senator fromConnecticut. Bush's father, George H. W. Bush, served as U.S. Vice President from 1981 to 1989 and U.S. President from 1989 to 1993.Sony VAIO VPCCW1AFJ Battery

Bush is of primarily English descent, and also has more distant German, Dutch, Welsh, Irish, French and Scottish ancestry.


Bush attended public schools in Midland, Texas until the family moved to Houston after he completed seventh grade. He then went to The Kinkaid School, a prep school in Houston, for two years.Sony VAIO VPCCW1AHJ Battery

Bush finished his high school years at Phillips Academy, a boarding school (then all-male) in Andover, Massachusetts, where he played baseball and during his senior year was the head cheerleader. Bush attended Yale University from 1964 to 1968, graduating with an A.B. in history.Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E Battery

During this time, he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon, being elected the fraternity's president during his senior year. Bush also became a member of the Skull and Bones society as a senior. Bush was a keen rugby union player, and was on Yale's 1st XV. He characterized himself as an average student.Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/B Battery

Beginning in the fall of 1973, Bush attended the Harvard Business School, where he earned a Master of Business Administration. He is the only U.S. President to have earned an M.B.A.

Texas Air National Guard

In May 1968, Bush was commissioned into the Texas Air National Guard.Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/L Battery

After two years of active-duty service while training, he was assigned to Houston, flying Convair F-102s with the 147th Fighter Interceptor Group out of Ellington Air Force Base. Critics, including former Democratic National CommitteeChairman Terry McAuliffe and Russ Baker,Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/P Battery

have alleged that Bush was favorably treated due to his father's political standing, citing his selection as a pilot despite his low pilot aptitude test scores and his irregular attendance. In June 2005, the United States Department of Defense released all the records of Bush's Texas Air National Guard service, which remain in its official archives.Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/R Battery

In late 1972 and early 1973, he drilled with the 187th Tactical Reconnaissance Group of the Alabama Air National Guard, having moved to Montgomery, Alabama to work on the unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign of Republican Winton M. Blount.Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/W Battery

In October 1973, Bush was discharged from the Texas Air National Guard and transferred to inactive duty in the Air Force Reserve. He was honorably discharged from the Air Force Reserve on November 21, 1974.

Marriage and family

In 1977, he was introduced by friends at a backyard barbecue to Laura Welch, a school teacher and librarian.Sony VAIO VPCCW21FX/B Battery

Bush proposed to her after a three-month courtship and they were married on November 5 of that year. The couple settled in Midland, Texas. Bush left his family's Episcopal Church to join his wife's United Methodist Church. In 1981, Laura Bush gave birth to fraternal twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara;Sony VAIO VPCCW21FX/L Battery

they graduated from high school in 2000 and from theUniversity of Texas at Austin and Yale University, respectively, in 2004.

Prior to his marriage, Bush had multiple episodes of alcohol abuse. In one instance, on September 4, 1976, he was arrested near his family's summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine, for driving under the influence of alcohol.Sony VAIO VPCCW21FX/R Battery

He pleaded guilty, was fined $150 and had his Maine driver's license suspended until 1978. Bush's alleged usage of drugs is less clear; when asked questions about alleged past illicit drug use, Bush has consistently refused to answer. He defended his refusal to answer in a publicized casual conversation with a friend, saying that he feared setting a bad example for the younger generation.Sony VAIO VPCCW21FX/W Battery

Bush says his wife has had a stabilizing effect on his life, and attributes to her influence his 1986 decision to give up alcohol. While Governor of Texas, Bush said of his wife, "I saw an elegant, beautiful woman who turned out not only to be elegant and beautiful, but very smart and willing to put up with my rough edges, and I must confess has smoothed them off over time."Sony VAIO VPCCW26EC Battery

Early career

In 1978, Bush ran for the House of Representatives from Texas's 19th congressional district. His opponent, Kent Hance, portrayed him as being out of touch with rural Texans; Bush lost the election by 6,000 votes (6%) of the 103,000 votes cast.Sony VAIO VPCCW26FX/B Battery

He returned to the oil industry and began a series of small, independent oil exploration companies. He created Arbusto Energy,and later changed the name to Bush Exploration. In 1984, his company merged with the larger Spectrum 7, and Bush became chairman.Sony VAIO VPCCW28EC Battery

The company was hurt by a decline in oil prices, and as a result, it folded intoHarken Energy. Bush served on the board of directors for Harken. Questions of possible insider trading involving Harken arose, but the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) investigation concluded that the information Bush had at the time of his stock sale was not sufficient to constitute insider trading.Sony VAIO VPCCW28FJ/P Battery

Bush moved his family to Washington, D.C. in 1988 to work on his father's campaign for the U.S. presidency. He worked as a campaign adviser and served as liaison to the media; he assisted his father by campaigning across the country. Returning to Texas after the successful campaign,Sony VAIO VPCCW28FJ/R Battery

he purchased a share in the Texas Rangers baseball franchise in April 1989, where he served as managing general partner for five years. He actively led the team's projects and regularly attended its games, often choosing to sit in the open stands with fans. The sale of Bush's shares in the Rangers in 1998 brought him over $15 million from his initial $800,000 investment.Sony VAIO VPCCW28FJ/W Battery

In December 1991, Bush was one of seven people named by his father to run his father's 1992 Presidential re-election campaign as "campaign advisor". The prior month, Bush had been asked by his father to tell White House chief of staff John H. Sununu that he should resign.Sony VAIO VPCCW29FJ/W Battery

Governor of Texas

As Bush's brother, Jeb, sought the governorship of Florida, Bush declared his candidacy for the 1994 Texas gubernatorial election. His campaign focused on four themes: welfare reform, tort reform, crime reduction, and education improvement.Sony VAIO VPCCW2AFJ Battery

Bush's campaign advisers were Karen Hughes, Joe Allbaugh, andKarl Rove.

After easily winning the Republican primary, Bush faced popular Democratic incumbent Governor Ann Richards.In the course of the campaign, Bush pledged to sign a bill allowing Texans to obtain permits to carry concealed weapons.Sony VAIO VPCCW2AHJ Battery

Richards had vetoed the bill, but Bush signed it after he became governor.According to The Atlantic Monthly, the race "featured a rumor that she was a lesbian, along with a rare instance of such a tactic's making it into the public record – when a regional chairman of the Bush campaign allowed himself, perhaps inadvertently,Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E Battery

to be quoted criticizing Richards for 'appointing avowed homosexual activists' to state jobs". The Atlantic, and others, connected the lesbian rumor to Karl Rove,  but Rove denied being involved. Bush won the general election with 53.5% against Richards' 45.9%.Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E/B Battery

Bush used a budget surplus to push through Texas's largest tax-cut, $2 billion. He extended government funding for organizations providing education of the dangers of alcohol and drug use and abuse, and helping to reduce domestic violence.Critics contended that during his tenure,Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E/L Battery

Texas ranked near the bottom in environmental evaluations, but supporters pointed to his efforts to raise the salaries of teachers and improved educational test scores.

In 1998, Bush won re-election with a record 69% of the vote. He became the first governor in Texas history to be elected to two consecutive four-year terms.Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E/P Battery

For most of Texas history, governors served two-year terms; a constitutional amendment extended those terms to four years starting in 1975. In his second term, Bush promoted faith-based organizations and enjoyed high approval ratings.Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E/R Battery

He proclaimed June 10, 2000 to be Jesus Day in Texas, a day on which he "urge[d] all Texans to answer the call to serve those in need".

Throughout Bush's first term, national attention focused on him as a potential future presidential candidate.Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E/W Battery

Following his re-election, speculation soared. Within a year, he decided to seek the Republican nomination for the presidency.


In June 1999, while Governor of Texas, Bush announced his candidacy for President of the United States.Sony VAIO VPCCW2S5C CN1 Battery

With no incumbent running, Bush entered a large field of candidates for the Republican Party presidential nomination consisting of John McCain, Alan Keyes, Steve Forbes, Gary Bauer, Orrin Hatch, Elizabeth Dole, Dan Quayle, Pat Buchanan, Lamar Alexander, John Kasich, and Robert C. Smith.

Bush portrayed himself as a compassionate conservative. He campaigned on a platform that included increasing the size of the United States Armed Forces, cutting taxes, improving education, and aiding minorities.By early 2000, the race had centered on Bush and McCain.Sony VAIO VPCF112FX/B Battery

Bush won the Iowa caucuses, but, although he was heavily favored to win the New Hampshire primary, he trailed McCain by 19% and lost that primary. However, the Bush campaign regained momentum and, according to political observers, effectively became the front runner after the South Carolina primary,Sony VAIO VPCF115FG/B Battery

which according to The Boston Globemade history for its negativity; The New York Timesdescribed it as a smear campaign.

General election

On July 25, 2000, Bush surprised some observers by asking Dick Cheney, a former White House Chief of Staff, U.S. Representative, and Secretary of Defense, to be his running mate.Sony VAIO VPCF116FGBI Battery

Cheney was then serving as head of Bush's Vice-Presidential search committee. Soon after, Cheney was officially nominated by the Republican Party at the 2000 Republican National Convention.

Bush continued to campaign across the country and touted his record as Governor of Texas.Sony VAIO VPCF117FJ/W Battery

Bush's campaign criticized his Democratic opponent, incumbent Vice President Al Gore, over gun control and taxation.

When the election returns came in on November 7, Bush won 29 states, including Florida. The closeness of the Florida outcome led to a recount.Sony VAIO VPCF117HG/BI Battery

The initial recount also went to Bush, but the outcome was tied up in courts for a month until reaching the U.S. Supreme Court. On December 9, in a controversial ruling the Bush v. Gorecase the Court reversed a Florida Supreme Courtdecision ordering a third count,Sony VAIO VPCF118FJ/W Battery

and stopped an ordered statewide hand recount based on the argument that the use of different standards among Florida's counties violated the Equal Protection Clauseof the Fourteenth Amendment. The machine recount showed that Bush had won the Florida vote by a margin of 537 votes out of six million cast.Sony VAIO VPCF119FC Battery

Although he received 543,895 fewer individual votes than Gore nationwide, Bush won the election, receiving 271 electoral votes to Gore's 266.

2004 Presidential candidacy

In 2004, Bush commanded broad support in the Republican Party and did not encounter a primary challenge.Sony VAIO VPCF119FC/BI Battery

He appointed Ken Mehlman as campaign manager, with a political strategy devised by Karl Rove. Bush and the Republican platform included a strong commitment to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,support for theUSA PATRIOT Act,a renewed shift in policy for constitutional amendments banning abortion and same-sex marriage,Sony VAIO VPCF119FJ/BI Battery

reforming Social Security to create private investment accounts, creation of an ownership society, and opposing mandatory carbon emissions controls. Bush also called for the implementation of a guest worker program for immigrants, which was criticized by conservatives.Sony VAIO VPCF11AFJ Battery

The Bush campaign advertised across the U.S. against Democratic candidates, including Bush's emerging opponent, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry. Kerry and other Democrats attacked Bush on the Iraq War, and accused him of failing to stimulate the economy and job growth.Sony VAIO VPCF11AGJ Battery

The Bush campaign portrayed Kerry as a staunch liberal who would raise taxes and increase the size of government. The Bush campaign continuously criticized Kerry's seemingly contradictory statements on the war in Iraq, and argued that Kerry lacked the decisiveness and vision necessary for success in the War on Terror.Sony VAIO VPCF11AHJ Battery

In the election, Bush carried 31 of 50 states, receiving a total of 286 electoral votes. He won an outright majority of the popular vote (50.7% to his opponent's 48.3%). The previous President to win an outright majority of the popular vote was Bush's father in the 1988 election.Sony VAIO VPCF11JFX/B Battery

Additionally, it was the first time since Herbert Hoover's election in 1928 that a Republican president was elected alongside re-elected Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress. Bush's 2.5% margin of victory was the narrowest ever for a victorious incumbent President,Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E Battery

breaking Woodrow Wilson's 3.1% margin of victory against Charles Evans Hughes in the election of 1916.


Bush was sworn in as president on January 20, 2001. Though he originally outlined an ambitious domestic agenda,Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E/H Battery

his priorities were significantly altered following the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001.Wars were waged in Afghanistan and later Iraq while significant debates regarding immigration, healthcare, Social Security, economic policy, and treatment of terrorist detainees took place within the United States.Sony VAIO VPCF11MFX/B Battery

Over an eight year period, Bush's once-high approval ratings steadily declined throughout his Presidency while his disapproval numbers increased significantly over the same time frame. During 2007, the United States entered into the longest post World War II recession and the administration responded by enacting multiple economic programs.Sony VAIO VPCF11S1E Battery

Economic policy

In a February 28, 2001, message to the Congress, Bush estimated that there would be a $5.6 trillion surplus over the next ten years. Facing opposition in Congress, Bush held town hall-style public meetings across the U.S. in 2001 to increase public support for his plan for a $1.35 trillion tax cut program—one of the largest tax cuts in U.S. history.Sony VAIO VPCF11S1E/B Battery

Bush argued that unspent government funds should be returned to taxpayers, saying "the surplus is not the government’s money. The surplus is the people’s money." With reports of the threat of recession from Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, Bush argued that such a tax cut would stimulate the economy and create jobs.Sony VAIO VPCF11Z1E Battery

Others, including the Treasury Secretary at the time Paul O'Neill, were opposed to some of the tax cuts on the basis that they would contribute to budget deficits and undermine Social Security. O'Neill disputes the claim made in Bush's book "Decision Points" that he never openly disagreed with him on planned tax cuts.Sony VAIO VPCF11Z1E/BI Battery

By 2003, the economy showed signs of improvement, though job growth remained stagnant. Another tax cut program was passed that year.

Under the Bush Administration, real GDP grew at an average annual rate of 2.5%, considerably below the average for business cycles from 1949 to 2000.Sony VAIO VPCF11ZHJ Battery

Bush entered office with the Dow Jones Industrial Average at 10,587, and the average peaked in October 2007 at over 14,000. When Bush left office, the average was at 7,949, one of the lowest levels of his presidency. Unemployment originally rose from 4.2% in January 2001 to 6.3% in June 2003, but subsequently dropped to 4.5% as of July 2007.Sony VAIO VPCF127HGBI Battery

Adjusted for inflation, median household income dropped by $1,175 between 2000 and 2007,  while Professor Ken Homa of Georgetown University has noted that "after-tax median household income increased by 2%" The poverty rate increased from 11.3% in 2000 to 12.3% in 2006 after peaking at 12.7% in 2004.Sony VAIO VPCF137HG/BI Battery

By October 2008, due to increases in domestic and foreign spending, the national debt had risen to $11.3 trillion, an increase of over 100% from the start of the year 2000 when the debt was $5.6 trillion. Most debt was accumulated as a result of what became known as the "Bush tax cuts" and increased national security spending.Sony VAIO VPCS111FM/S Battery

By the end of Bush's presidency, unemployment climbed to 7.2%. The perception of Bush's effect on the economy is significantly affected bypartisanship.

In December 2007, the United States entered the longest post–World War II recession, which included a housing market correction, a subprime mortgage crisis, soaring oil prices, and a declining dollar value.Sony VAIO VPCS115EC Battery

In February, 63,000 jobs were lost, a five-year record. To aid with the situation, Bush signed a $170 billion economic stimulus package which was intended to improve the economic situation by sending tax rebate checks to many Americans and providing tax breaks for struggling businesses.Sony VAIO VPCS115FG Battery

The Bush administration pushed for significantly increased regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2003, and after two years, the regulations passed the House but died in the Senate. Many Republican senators, as well as influential members of the Bush Administration,Sony VAIO VPCS117GG Battery

feared that the agency created by these regulations would merely be mimicking the private sector’s risky practices. In September 2008, the crisis became much more serious beginning with the government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac followed by the collapse of Lehman Brothers and a federal bailout of American International Group for $85 billion.Sony VAIO VPCS117GGB Battery

Many economists and world governments determined that the situation became the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Additional regulation over the housing market would have been beneficial, according to former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.Sony VAIO VPCS118EC Battery

Bush, meanwhile, proposed a financial rescue planto buy back a large portion of the U.S. mortgage market. Vince Reinhardt, a former Federal Reserve economist now at the American Enterprise Institute, said "it would have helped for the Bush administration to empower the folks atSony VAIO VPCS119FJ/B Battery

Treasury and the Federal Reserve and the comptroller of the currency and the FDIC to look at these issues more closely", and additionally, that it would have helped "for Congress to have held hearings".

In November 2008, over 500,000 jobs were lost, which marked the largest loss of jobs in the United States in 34 years.Sony VAIO VPCS119GC Battery

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in the last four months of 2008, 1.9 million jobs were lost. By the end of 2008, the U.S. had lost a total of 2.6 million jobs.

Education and health

Bush undertook a number of educational priorities, such as increasing the funding for the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health in his first years of office,Sony VAIO VPCS11AFJ Battery

and creating education programs to strengthen the grounding in science and mathematics for American high school students. Funding for the NIH was cut in 2006, the first such cut in 36 years, due to rising inflation.

One of the administration's early major initiatives was the No Child Left Behind Act,Sony VAIO VPCS11AGJ Battery

which aimed to measure and close the gap between rich and poor student performance, provide options to parents with students in low-performing schools, and target more federal funding to low-income schools. This landmark education initiative passed with broad bipartisan support, including that of Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts.Sony VAIO VPCS11AHJ Battery

It was signed into law by Bush in early 2002. Many contend that the initiative has been successful, as cited by the fact that students in the U.S. have performed significantly better on state reading and math tests since Bush signed "No Child Left Behind" into law.Sony VAIO VPCS11AVJ Battery

Critics argue that it is underfunded  and that NCLBA's focus on "high stakes testing" and quantitative outcomes is counterproductive.

After being re-elected, Bush signed into law a Medicare drug benefit program that, according to Jan Crawford Greenburg, resulted in "the greatest expansion in America's welfare state in forty years;" the bill's costs approached $7 trillion.Sony VAIO VPCS11J7E/B Battery

In 2007, Bush opposed and vetoed State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) legislation, which was added by the Democrats onto a war funding bill and passed by Congress. The SCHIP legislation would have significantly expanded federally funded health care benefits and plans to children of some low-income families from about six million to ten million children.Sony VAIO VPCS11M1E/W Battery

It was to be funded by an increase in the cigarette tax. Bush viewed the legislation as a move toward socialized health care, and asserted that the program could benefit families making as much as $83,000 per year who did not need the help.Sony VAIO VPCS11V9E Battery

Social services and Social Security

Following Republican efforts to pass the Medicare Act of 2003, Bush signed the bill, which included major changes to the Medicare program by providing beneficiaries with some assistance in paying for prescription drugs, while relying on private insurance for the delivery of benefits.Sony VAIO VPCS11V9E/B Battery

The retired persons lobby group AARP worked with the Bush Administration on the program and gave their endorsement. Bush said the law, estimated to cost $400 billion over the first ten years, would give the elderly "better choices and more control over their health care".Sony VAIO VPCS11X9E/B Battery

Bush began his second term by outlining a major initiative to reform Social Security,which was facing record deficit projections beginning in 2005. Bush made it the centerpiece of his domestic agenda despite opposition from some in the U.S. Congress.Sony VAIO VPCS123FGB Battery

In his 2005 State of the Union Address, Bush discussed the potential impending bankruptcy of the program and outlined his new program, which included partial privatization of the system, personal Social Security accounts, and options to permit Americans to divert a portion of their Social Security tax (FICA) into secured investments.Sony VAIO VPCS125EC Battery

Democrats opposed the proposal to partially privatize the system.

Bush embarked on a 60-day national tour, campaigning vigorously for his initiative in media events, known as the "Conversations on Social Security", in an attempt to gain support from the general public.Sony VAIO VPCS128EC Battery

Despite the energetic campaign, public support for the proposal declined and the House Republican leadership decided not to put Social Security reform on the priority list for the remainder of their 2005 legislative agenda. The proposal's legislative prospects were further diminished by the political fallout from the Hurricane Katrina in the fall of 2005.Sony VAIO VPCS129GC Battery

After the Democrats gained control of both houses of the Congress as a result of the 2006 midterm elections, the prospects of any further congressional action on the Bush proposal were dead for the remainder of his term in office.Sony VAIO VPCS12C7E/B Battery

Environmental and energy policies

Upon taking office in 2001, Bush stated his opposition to the Kyoto Protocol, an amendment to the UN Convention on Climate Change which seeks to impose mandatory targets for reducinggreenhouse gas emissions, citing that the treaty exempted 80% of the world's population  and would have cost tens of billions of dollars per year.Sony VAIO VPCS12L9E/B Battery

He also cited that the Senate had voted 95–0 in 1997 on a resolution expressing its disapproval of the protocol.

In 2002, Bush announced the Clear Skies Act of 2003,aimed at amending the Clean Air Act to reduce air pollution through the use of emissions trading programs.Sony VAIO VPCS12V9E/B Battery

It was argued, however, that this legislation would have weakened the original legislation by allowing higher levels of pollutants than were permitted at that time. The initiative was introduced to Congress, but failed to make it out of committee.Sony VAIO VPCY115FGS Battery

Bush has said that he believes that global warming is real  and has noted that it is a serious problem, but he asserted there is a "debate over whether it's man-made or naturally caused".The Bush Administration's stance on global warming remained controversial in the scientific and environmental communities.Sony VAIO VPCY115FX/BI Battery

Critics have alleged that the administration misinformed the public and did not do enough to reduce carbon emissions and deter global warming.

In 2006, Bush declared the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands a national monument, creating the largest marine reserve to date.Sony VAIO VPCY115FXBI Battery

The Papah?naumoku?kea Marine National Monument comprises 84 million acres (340,000 km2) and is home to 7,000 species of fish, birds, and other marine animals, many of which are specific to only those islands.The move was hailed by conservationists for "its foresight and leadership in protecting this incredible area".Sony VAIO VPCY118EC Battery

In his 2007 State of the Union Address, Bush renewed his pledge to work toward diminished reliance on foreign oil by reducing fossil fuel consumption and increasing alternative fuel production. Amid high gasoline prices in 2008, Bush lifted a ban on offshore drilling.Sony VAIO VPCY118GX/BI Battery

However, the move was largely symbolic as there is still a federal law banning offshore drilling. Bush said, "This means that the only thing standing between the American people and these vast oil reserves is action from the U.S. Congress." Bush had said in June 2008, "In the long run, the solution is to reduce demand for oil by promoting alternative energy technologies.Sony VAIO VPCY119FJ/S Battery

My administration has worked with Congress to invest in gas-saving technologies like advanced batteries and hydrogen fuel cells.... In the short run, the American economy will continue to rely largely on oil. And that means we need to increase supply, especially here at home.Sony VAIO VPCY11AFJ Battery

So my administration has repeatedly called on Congress to expand domestic oil production."

In his 2008 State of the Union Address, Bush announced that the U.S. would commit $2 billion over the next three years to a new international fund to promote clean energy technologies and fight climate change, saying,Sony VAIO VPCY11AGJ Battery

"Along with contributions from other countries, this fund will increase and accelerate the deployment of all forms of cleaner, more efficient technologies in developing nations like India and China, and help leverage substantial private-sector capital by making clean energy projects more financially attractive.Sony VAIO VPCY11AHJ Battery

" He also announced plans to reaffirm the United States' commitment to work with major economies, and, through the UN, to complete an international agreement that will slow, stop, and eventually reverse the growth of greenhouse gases; he stated, "This agreement will be effective only if it includes commitments by every major economy and gives none a free ride."Sony VAIO VPCY11AVJ Battery

Stem cell research and first use of veto power

Federal funding for medical research involving the creation or destruction of human embryos through the Department of Health and Human Services and theNational Institutes of Health has been forbidden by law since the passage in 1995 of the Dickey-Wicker Amendment by Congress and the signature of President Bill Clinton.Sony VAIO VPCY11M1E/S Battery

Bush has said that he supports adult stem cell research and has supported federal legislation that finances adult stem cell research. However, Bush did not support embryonic stem cell research. On August 9, 2001, Bush signed an executive order lifting the ban on federal funding for the 71 existing "lines" of stem cells,Sony VAIO VPCY11S1E Battery

but the ability of these existing lines to provide an adequate medium for testing has been questioned. Testing can only be done on 12 of the original lines, and all of the approved lines have been cultured in contact with mouse cells, which creates safety issues that complicate development and approval of therapies from these lines.Sony VAIO VPCY11V9E/S Battery

On July 19, 2006, Bush used his veto power for the first time in his presidency to veto the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act. The bill would have repealed the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, thereby permitting federal money to be used for research where stem cells are derived from the destruction of an embryo.Sony VAIO VPCY218EC/BI Battery


In 2006, Bush urged Congress to allow more than 12 million illegal immigrants to work in the United States with the creation of a "temporary guest-worker program". Bush did not support amnesty for illegal immigrants,  but argued that the lack of legal status denies the protections of U.S.Sony VAIO VPCY218EC/G Battery

laws to millions of people who face dangers of poverty and exploitation, and penalizes employers despite a demand for immigrant labor. Nearly 8 million immigrants came to the United States from 2000 to 2005, more than in any other five-year period in the nation's history. Almost half entered illegally.Sony VAIO VPCY218EC/L Battery

Bush also urged Congress to provide additional funds for border security and committed to deploying 6,000 National Guard troops to the Mexico – United States border. In May–June 2007, Bush strongly supported the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007,Sony VAIO VPCY218EC/P Battery

which was written by a bipartisan group of Senators with the active participation of the Bush administration. The bill envisioned a legalization program for undocumented immigrants, with an eventual path to citizenship; establishing a guest worker program; a series of border and work site enforcement measures;Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/L Battery

a reform of the green cardapplication process and the introduction of a point-based "merit" system for green cards; elimination of "chain migration" and of the Diversity Immigrant Visa; and other measures. Bush contended that the proposed bill did not amount to amnesty.Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/P Battery

A heated public debate followed, which resulted in a substantial rift within the Republican Party, the majority of conservatives opposed it because of its legalization or amnesty provisions.  The bill was eventually defeated in the Senate on June 28, 2007, when a cloture motion failed on a 46–53 vote.Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/SI Battery

Bush expressed disappointment upon the defeat of one of his signature domestic initiatives. The Bush administration later proposed a series of immigration enforcement measures that do not require a change in law.

On September 19, 2010, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that Bush offered to accept 100,000 Palestinian refugees as American citizens if a permanent settlement had been reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.Sony VAIO VPCZ110 Battery

Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina, which was one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history, struck early in Bush’s second term. Katrina formed in late August during the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season and devastated much of the north-central Gulf Coast of the United States, particularly New Orleans.Sony VAIO VPCZ110GB/BI Battery

Bush declared a state of emergency in Louisiana on August 27,  and in Mississippi and Alabama the following day;he authorized the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to manage the disaster, but his announcement failed to spur these agencies to action.Sony VAIO VPCZ112GD/S Battery

The eye of the hurricane made landfall on August 29, and New Orleans began to flood due to levee breaches; later that day, Bush declared that a major disaster existed in Louisiana, officially authorizing FEMA to start using federal funds to assist in the recovery effort. On August 30,Sony VAIO VPCZ112GX/S Battery

DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff declared it "an incident of national significance", triggering the first use of the newly created National Response Plan. Three days later, on September 2, National Guard troops first entered the city of New Orleans. The same day, Bush toured parts of Louisiana,Sony VAIO VPCZ114GX/S Battery

Mississippi, andAlabama and declared that the success of the recovery effort up to that point was "not enough".

As the disaster in New Orleans intensified, critics charged that Bush was misrepresenting his administration's role in what they saw as a flawed response.Sony VAIO VPCZ115 Battery

Leaders attacked Bush for having appointed apparently incompetent leaders to positions of power at FEMA, notably Michael D. Brown; it was also argued that the federal response was limited as a result of the Iraq War and Bush himself did not act upon warnings of floods.Sony VAIO VPCZ115FC/B Battery

Bush responded to mounting criticism by accepting full responsibility for the federal government's failures in its handling of the emergency. It has been argued that with Katrina, Bush passed a political tipping point from which he would not recover.Sony VAIO VPCZ115FC/S Battery

Midterm dismissal of U.S. attorneys

During Bush's second term, a controversy arose over the Justice Department's midterm dismissal of seven United States Attorneys. The White House maintained that the U.S. attorneys were fired for poor performance.Sony VAIO VPCZ116 Battery

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales would later resign over the issue, along with other senior members of the Justice Department. The House Judiciary Committeeissued subpoenas for advisers Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten to testify regarding this matter,Sony VAIO VPCZ116GX/S Battery

but Bush directed Miers and Bolten to not comply with those subpoenas, invoking his right of executive privilege. Bush has maintained that all of his advisers are protected under a broad executive privilege protection to receive candid advice. The Justice Department has determined that the President's order was legal.Sony VAIO VPCZ117 Battery

Although Congressional investigations have focused on whether the Justice Department and the White House were using the U.S. Attorney positions for political advantage, no official findings have been released. On March 10, 2008, the Congress filed a federal lawsuit to enforce their issued subpoenas.Sony VAIO VPCZ117FC/B Battery

On July 31, 2008, a United States district court judge ruled that Bush's top advisers were not immune from Congressional subpoenas.

In August 2009, Karl Rove and Harriet Miers testified before the House Judiciary Committee. A Justice Department inquiry into the firing of U.S. attorneys concluded that political considerations played a part in as many as four of the dismissals.Sony VAIO VPCZ118 Battery

In July 2010, the Justice Department prosecutors closed the two-year investigation without filing charges after determining that the firings were inappropriately political, but not criminal. According to the prosecutors, "Evidence did not demonstrate that any prosecutable criminal offense was committed with regard to the removal of David Iglesias.Sony VAIO VPCZ118GC/B Battery

The investigative team also determined that the evidence did not warrant expanding the scope of the investigation beyond the removal of Iglesias."

Foreign policy

During his Presidential campaign, Bush's foreign policy platform included support for a stronger economic and political relationship with Latin America,Sony VAIO VPCZ118GX/S Battery

especially Mexico, and a reduction of involvement in "nation-building" and other small-scale military engagements. The administration pursued a national missile defense. Bush was an advocate of China's entry into the World Trade Organization. He said open trade was a force for freedom in China.Sony

VAIO VPCZ119 Battery

After the September 11 attacks, Bush launched the War on Terror, in which the United States military and an international coalition invaded Afghanistan. In 2003, Bush launched the invasion of Iraq, which he described as being part of the War on Terrorism.Sony VAIO VPCZ119FJ/S Battery

Those invasions led to the toppling of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and the removal of Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq as well as the deaths of many Iraqis, with surveys indicating between four hundred thousand to over one million dead, excluding the tens of thousands of civilians in Afghanistan.Sony VAIO VPCZ119GC/X Battery

Bush began his second term with an emphasis on improving strained relations with European nations. He appointed long-time adviser Karen Hughes to oversee a global public relations campaign. Bush lauded the pro-democracy struggles in Georgia and Ukraine.Sony VAIO VPCZ119L Battery

In March 2006, a visit to India led to renewed ties between the two countries, reversing decades of U.S. policy. The visit focused particularly on areas of nuclear energy and counter-terrorism cooperation, discussions that would lead eventually to the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Agreement.Sony VAIO VPCZ119R/B Battery

This is in stark contrast to the stance taken by his predecessor, Clinton, whose approach and response to India after the 1998 nuclear tests was that of sanctions and hectoring. The relationship between India and the United States was one that dramatically improved during Bush's tenure.Sony VAIO VPCZ119R/S Battery

Midway through Bush's second term, it was questioned whether Bush was retreating from his freedom and democracy agenda, highlighted in policy changes toward some oil-rich former Soviet republics in central Asia.

In an address before both Houses of Congress on September 20, 2001,Sony VAIO VPCZ11AFJ Battery

Bush thanked the nations of the world for their support following the September 11 attacks. He specifically thanked British Prime Minister Tony Blair for traveling to the Washington to show "unity of purpose with America", and said "America has no truer friend than Great Britain."Sony VAIO VPCZ11AGJ Battery

September 11, 2001

The September 11 terrorist attacks were a major turning point in Bush's presidency. That evening, he addressed the nation from the Oval Office, promising a strong response to the attacks but emphasizing the need for the nation to come together and comfort the families of the victims.Sony VAIO VPCZ11AVJ Battery

On September 14, he visitedGround Zero, meeting with Mayor Rudy Giuliani, firefighters, police officers, and volunteers. Bush addressed the gathering via a megaphone while standing on a heap of rubble, to much applause:

I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.Sony VAIO VPCZ11CGX/X Battery

In a September 20 speech, Bush condemned Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, and issued an ultimatum to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, where bin Laden was operating, to "hand over the terrorists, or ... share in their fate".Sony VAIO VPCZ11DGX/SJ Battery

War on Terrorism

Osama bin Laden, so Bush ordered the invasion of Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban regime. In his January 29, 2002 State of the Union Address, he asserted that an "axis of evil" consisting of North Korea, Iran, and Iraq was "arming to threaten the peace of the world" and "pose[d] a grave and growing danger".Sony VAIO VPCZ11FHX/XQ Battery

The Bush Administration proceeded to assert a right and intention to engage in preemptive war, also called preventive war, in response to perceived threats.This would form a basis for what became known as the Bush Doctrine. The broader "War on Terror", allegations of an "axis of evil",Sony VAIO VPCZ11V9R/B Battery

and, in particular, the doctrine of preemptive war, began to weaken the unprecedented levels of international and domestic support for Bush and United States action against al-Qaeda following the September 11 attacks.

Some national leaders alleged abuse by U.S. troops and called for the U.S. to shut down the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and other such facilities.Sony VAIO VPCZ11X9E/B Battery

Dissent from, and criticism of, Bush's leadership in the War on Terror increased as the war in Iraq expanded. In 2006, a National Intelligence Estimate expressed the combined opinion of the United States' own intelligence agencies, concluding that the Iraq War had become the "cause célèbre forjihadists" and that the jihad movement was growing.Sony VAIO VPCZ11Z9E/B Battery


On October 7, 2001, U.S. and British forces initiated bombing campaigns that led to the arrival on November 13 of Northern Alliance troops in Kabul. The main goals of the war were to defeat the Taliban, drive al-Qaeda out of Afghanistan, and capture key al-Qaeda leaders.Sony VAIO VPCZ125GX/S Battery

In December 2001, the Pentagon reported that the Taliban had been defeated but cautioned that the war would go on to continue weakening Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders. Later that month the UN had installed the Afghan Interim Authority chaired by Hamid Karzai.Sony VAIO VPCZ127FC Battery

Efforts to kill or capture al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden failed as he escaped a battle in December 2001 in the mountainous region of Tora Bora, which the Bush Administration later acknowledged to have resulted from a failure to commit enough U.S. ground troops.Sony VAIO VPCZ128GC Battery

It was not until May 2011, two years after Bush left office, that Bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces. Bin Laden's successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri, as well as the leader of the Taliban, Mohammed Omar, remain at large.

Despite the initial success in driving the Taliban from power in Kabul, by early 2003 the Taliban was regrouping, amassing new funds and recruits.Sony VAIO VPCZ12M9E/B Battery

In 2006, the Taliban insurgency appeared larger, fiercer and better organized than expected, with large-scale allied offensives such as Operation Mountain Thrustattaining limited success. As a result, Bush commissioned 3,500 additional troops to the country in March 2007.Sony VAIO VPCZ13M9E/B Battery


Beginning with his January 29, 2002 State of the Union address, Bush began publicly focusing attention on Iraq, which he labeled as part of an "axis of evil" allied with terrorists and posing "a grave and growing danger" to U.S. interests through possession of weapons of mass destruction.Sony VAIO VPCZ13V9E/X Battery

In the latter half of 2002, CIA reports contained assertions of Saddam Hussein's intent of reconstituting nuclear weapons programs, not properly accounting for Iraqibiological and chemical weapons, and that some Iraqi missiles had a range greater than allowed by the UN sanctions.Sony VAIO VPCZ13Z9E/X Battery

Contentions that the Bush Administration manipulated or exaggerated the threat and evidence of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities would eventually become a major point of criticism for the president.

In late 2002 and early 2003, Bush urged the United Nations to enforce Iraqi disarmament mandates, precipitating a diplomatic crisis.Sony VAIO VPCZZZHJ Battery

In November 2002, Hans Blix andMohamed ElBaradei led UN weapons inspectors in Iraq, but were advised by the U.S. to depart the country four days prior to the U.S. invasion, despite their requests for more time to complete their tasks.Sony VAIO VPZ117 Battery

The U.S. initially sought a UN Security Council resolution authorizing the use of military force but dropped the bid for UN approval due to vigorous opposition from several countries.

The war effort was joined by more than 20 other nations (most notably the United Kingdom), designated the "coalition of the willing".Sony VAIO VPZ118 Battery

The invasion of Iraq commenced on March 20, 2003, and the Iraqi military was quickly defeated. The capital, Baghdad, fell on April 9, 2003. On May 1, Bush declared the end of major combat operations in Iraq. The initial success of U.S. operations increased his popularity,Sony VAIO VPZ119 Battery

but the U.S. and allied forces faced a growing insurgency led by sectarian groups; Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech was later criticized as premature. From 2004 until 2007, the situation in Iraq deteriorated further, with some observers arguing that there was a full scale civil war in Iraq.Sony VPCM11M1E/B Battery

Bush's policies met with criticism, including demands domestically to set a timetable to withdraw troops from Iraq. The 2006 report of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, led by James Baker, concluded that the situation in Iraq was "grave and deteriorating".Sony VPCM11M1E/W Battery

While Bush admitted that there were strategic mistakes made in regards to the stability of Iraq, he maintained he would not change the overall Iraq strategy.

In January 2005, free, democratic elections were held in Iraq for the first time in 50 years.Sony VPCM12M1E/L Battery

According to Iraqi National Security Advisor Mowaffak al-Rubaie, "This is the greatest day in the history of this country." Bush praised the event as well, saying that the Iraqis "have taken rightful control of their country's destiny". This led to the election of Jalal Talabani as President and Nouri al-Maliki as Prime Minister of Iraq.Sony VPCM12M1E/P Battery

A referendum to approve a constitution in Iraq was held in October 2005, supported by the majority Shiites and many Kurds.

On January 10, 2007, Bush addressed the nation regarding the situation in Iraq. In this speech, he announced a surge of 21,500 more troops for Iraq, as well as a job program for Iraqis, more reconstruction proposals, and $1.2 billion for these programs.Sony VPCM12M1E/W Battery

On May 1, 2007, Bush used his veto for only the second time in his presidency, rejecting a congressional bill setting a deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Five years after the invasion, Bush called the debate over the conflict "understandable" but insisted that a continued U.S. presence there was crucial.Sony VPCM13M1E/L Battery

In March 2008, Bush praised the Iraqi government's "bold decision" to launch the Battle of Basra against the Mahdi Army, calling it "a defining moment in the history of a free Iraq". He said he would carefully weigh recommendations from his commanding General David Petraeus andSony VPCM13M1E/P Battery

Ambassador Ryan Crockerabout how to proceed after the end of the military buildup in the summer of 2008. He also praised the Iraqis' legislative achievements, including a pension law, a revised de-Baathification law, a new budget, an amnesty law, and a provincial powers measure that, he said, set the stage for the Iraqi elections.Sony VPCM13M1E/W Battery

On July 31, 2008, Bush announced that with the end of July, American troop deaths had reached their lowest number—thirteen—since the war began in 2003. Due to increased stability in Iraq, Bush announced the withdrawal of additional American forces.Sony VAIO VGN-SR11M Battery

This reflected an emerging consensus between the White House and the Pentagon that the war has "turned a corner".  He also described what he saw as the success of the 2007 troop surge.Sony VAIO VGN-SR11MR Battery


Following the events of September 11, Bush issued an executive order authorizing the President's Surveillance Program which included allowing the NSA to monitor communications between suspected terrorists outside the U.S and parties within the U.S.Sony VAIO VGN-SR140D Battery

without obtaining a warrant as required by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. As of 2009, the other provisions of program remained highly classified. ) Once the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel questioned its original legal opinion that FISA did not apply in a time of war,Sony VAIO VGN-SR140D/B Battery

the program was subsequently re-authorized by the President on the basis that the warrant requirements of FISA were implicitly superseded by the subsequent passage of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists. The program proved to be controversial,Sony VAIO VGN-SR140D/P Battery

as critics of the administration, as well as organizations such as the American Bar Association, argued that it was illegal. In August 2006, a U.S. district court judge ruled that the NSA electronic surveillance program was unconstitutional, but on July 6, 2007, that ruling was vacated by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on the grounds that the plaintiffs lacked standing.Sony VAIO VGN-SR140D/S Battery

On January 17, 2007, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales informed U.S. Senate leaders that the program would not be reauthorized by the President, but would be subjected to judicial oversight.

Interrogation policies

Bush authorized the CIA to use waterboarding as one of several enhanced interrogation techniques.Sony VAIO VGN-SR140E Battery

Between 2002 and 2003 the CIA considered certain enhanced interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding, to be legal based on a secret Justice Department legal opinion arguing that terror detainees were not protected by the Geneva Conventions' ban on torture.Sony VAIO VGN-SR140E/B Battery

The CIA had exercised the technique on certain key terrorist suspects under authority given to it in the Bybee Memo from the Attorney General, though that memo was later withdrawn. While not permitted by the U.S. Army Field Manuals which assert "that harsh interrogation tactics elicit unreliable information",Sony VAIO VGN-SR140E/P Battery

the Bush administration believed these enhanced interrogations "provided critical information" to preserve American lives. Critics, such as former CIA officer Bob Baer, have stated that information was suspect, "you can get anyone to confess to anything if the torture's bad enough."Sony VAIO VGN-SR140E/S Battery

On October 17, 2006, Bush signed into law the Military Commissions Act of 2006, a law enacted in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision on Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 548 U.S. 557 (2006), which allows the U.S. government to prosecute unlawful enemy combatants by military commission rather than a standard trial.Sony VAIO VGN-SR140N/S Battery

The law also denies them access to habeas corpusand bars the torture of detainees, but allows the president to determine what constitutes torture.

On March 8, 2008, Bush vetoed H.R. 2082,Sony VAIO VGN-SR165E/B Battery

a bill that would have expanded congressional oversight over the intelligence community and banned the use of waterboarding as well as other forms of interrogation not permitted under the United States Army Field Manual on Human Intelligence Collector Operations, saying that "the bill Congress sent me would take away one of the most valuable tools in the war on terror".Sony VAIO VGN-SR165E/P Battery

In April 2009, the ACLU sued and won release of the secret memos that had authorized the Bush administration's interrogation tactics. One memo detailed specific interrogation tactics including a footnote that described waterboarding as torture as well as that the form of waterboarding used by the CIA was far more intense than authorized by the Justice Department.Sony VAIO VGN-SR165E/S Battery

North Korea

Bush publicly condemned Kim Jong-il of North Korea, naming North Korea one of three states in an "axis of evil", and saying that "the United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons."Sony VAIO VGN-SR190EBJ Battery

Within months, "both countries had walked away from their respective commitments under the U.S.-DPRK Agreed Framework of October 1994." North Korea's October 9, 2006, detonation of a nuclear device further complicated Bush's foreign policy, which centered for both terms of his presidency on "[preventing] the terrorists and regimes who seek chemical,Sony VAIO VGN-SR190EBQ Battery

biological, or nuclear weapons from threatening the United States and the world". Bush condemned North Korea's position, reaffirmed his commitment to "a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula", and stated that "transfer of nuclear weapons or material by North Korea to states or non-state entities would be considered a grave threat to the United States",Sony VAIO VGN-SR190EEJ/C Battery

for which North Korea would be held accountable. On May 7, 2007, North Korea agreed to shut down its nuclear reactors immediately pending the release of frozen funds held in a foreign bank account. This was a result of a series of three-way talks initiated by the United States and including China.Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NAB Battery

On September 2, 2007, North Korea agreed to disclose and dismantle all of its nuclear programs by the end of 2007. By May 2009, North Korea had restarted its nuclear program and threatened to attack South Korea.


Bush expanded economic sanctions on Syria.Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NBB Battery

In early 2007, the Treasury Department, acting on a June 2005 executive order, froze American bank accounts of Syria's Higher Institute of Applied Science and Technology, Electronics Institute, and National Standards and Calibration Laboratory.Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NDB Battery

Bush's order prohibits Americans from doing business with these institutions suspected of helping spread weapons of mass destruction and being supportive of terrorism. Under separate executive orders signed by Bush in 2004 and later 2007, the Treasury Department froze the assets of two Lebanese and two Syrians,Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NEB Battery

accusing them of activities to "undermine the legitimate political process in Lebanon" in November 2007. Those designated included: Assaad Halim Hardan, a member of Lebanon's parliament and current leader of the Syrian Socialist National Party;Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NGB Battery

Wi'am Wahhab, a former member of Lebanon's government (Minister of the Environment) under Prime Minister Omar Karami (2004–2005); Hafiz Makhluf, a colonel and senior official in the Syrian General Intelligence Directorate and a cousin of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad; and Muhammad Nasif Khayrbik, identified as a close adviser to Assad.Sony VAIO VGN-SR190PAB Battery

Assassination attempt

On May 10, 2005, Vladimir Arutyunian, a native Georgian who was born to a family of ethnic Armenians, threw a live hand grenade toward a podium where Bush was speaking at Freedom Square in Tbilisi, Georgia. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was seated nearby.Sony VAIO VGN-SR190PCB Battery

It landed in the crowd about 65 feet (20 m) from the podium after hitting a girl, but it did not detonate. Arutyunian was arrested in July 2005, confessed, was convicted and was given a life sentence in January 2006.

Other issues

Bush withdrew U.S. support for several international agreements, including the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) with Russia.Sony VAIO VGN-SR190PFB Battery

Bush emphasized a careful approach to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians; he denounced Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat for his support of violence, but sponsored dialogues between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.Sony VAIO VGN-SR19VN Battery

Bush supported Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan, and lauded the democratic elections held in Palestine after Arafat's death.

Bush also expressed U.S. support for the defense of Taiwan following the stand-off in April 2001 with the People's Republic of China over the Hainan Island incident,Sony VAIO VGN-SR19VN Battery

when an EP-3E Aries II surveillance aircraft collided with a People's Liberation Army Air Force jet, leading to the detention of U.S. personnel. In 2003–2004, Bush authorized U.S. military intervention in Haiti and Liberia to protect U.S. interests. Bush condemned the militia attacks Darfur and denounced the killings in Sudan as genocide.Sony VAIO VGN-SR19VRN Battery

Bush said that an international peacekeeping presence was critical in Darfur, but opposed referring the situation to theInternational Criminal Court.

In his State of the Union address in January 2003, Bush outlined a five-year strategy for global emergency AIDS relief, thePresident's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.Sony VAIO VGN-SR19XN Battery

Bush announced $15 billion for this effort  which directly supported life-saving antiretroviral treatment for more than 3.2 million men, women and children worldwide.

In August 2006, Bush became the first serving president to contract and be treated for Lyme disease.Sony VAIO VGN-SR19XN Battery

On June 10, 2007, he met with Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha and became the first president to visit Albania. Bush has voiced his support for theindependence of Kosovo.

Bush opened the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.Sony VAIO VGN-SR210J/S Battery

Departing from previous practice, he stood among a group of U.S. athletes rather than from a ceremonial stand or box, saying: "On behalf of a proud, determined, and grateful nation, I declare open the Games of Salt Lake City, celebrating the Olympic Winter Games."Sony VAIO VGN-SR21M/S Battery

In 2008, in the course of a good-will trip to Asia, he attended the Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Supreme Court

Following the announcement of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's retirement on July 1, 2005, Bush nominated John Roberts to succeed her.Sony VAIO VGN-SR21RM/H Battery

On September 5, following the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist, this nomination was withdrawn and Bush instead nominated Roberts for Chief Justice to succeed Rehnquist. Roberts was confirmed by the Senate as the 17th Chief Justice on September 29, 2005.Sony VAIO VGN-SR21RM/S Battery

On October 3, 2005, Bush nominated White House Counsel Harriet Miers for O'Connor's position; after facing significant opposition, she asked that her name be withdrawn on October 27. Four days later, on October 31, Bush nominated feder .Sony VAIO VGN-SR220J/B Battery

Other courts

In addition to his two Supreme Court appointments, Bush appointed 61 judges to the United States Courts of Appeals and 261 judges to the United States district courts. Each of these numbers, along with his total of 324 judicial appointments, is third in American history, behind both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.Sony VAIO VGN-SR220J/H Battery

Bush experienced a number of judicial appointment controversies, as 39 people nominated to 27 federal appellate judgeships were blocked by the Senate Democrats either in the Senate Judiciary Committee or on the Senate floor using a filibuster.Sony VAIO VGN-SR240J/B Battery


Bush's upbringing in West Texas, his accent, his vacations on his Texas ranch, and his penchant for country metaphors contribute to his folksy, Americancowboy image. "I think people look at him and think John Wayne", says Piers Morgan, editor of the British Daily Mirror.Sony VAIO VGN-SR240N/B Battery

It has been suggested that Bush's accent was an active choice, as a way of distinguishing himself from Northeastern intellectuals and anchoring himself to his Texas roots. Both supporters and detractors have pointed to his country persona as reasons for their support or criticism.Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JTH Battery

Bush's intelligence has been satirized by the media, comedians, and other politicians. Detractors tended to cite linguistic errors made by Bush during his public speeches, which are colloquially termed as Bushisms. Editorials in Harper's Magazine, Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, Common Dreams NewsCenter, and The Nationhave referred to Bush as "the worst president ever".Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JTJ Battery

In contrast to his father, who was perceived as havingtroubles with an overarching unifying theme, Bush embraced larger visions and was seen as a man of larger ideas and associated huge risks. Tony Blairwrote in 2010 that the caricature of Bush as being dumb is "ludicrous" and that Bush is "very smart".Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JTQ Battery


Bush's popularity was highly variable during his two terms. He began his presidency with approval ratings near 50%.After the September 11 attacks, Bush gained an approval rating of 90%, maintaining 80–90% approval for four months after the attacks. It remained over 50% during most of his first term.Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JVB/C Battery

In 2000 and again in 2004, Timemagazine named George W. Bush as its Person of the Year, a title awarded to someone who the editors believe "has done the most to influence the events of the year". In May 2004, Gallup reported that 89% of the Republican electorate approved of Bush.Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JVH/C Battery

However, the support waned due mostly to a minority of Republicans' frustration with him on issues of spending, illegal immigration, and Middle Eastern affairs.

Within the United States armed forces, according to an unscientific survey, the president was strongly supported in the 2004 presidential elections.Sony VAIO VGN-SR290NTB Battery

While 73% of military personnel said that they would vote for Bush, 18% preferred his Democratic rival, John Kerry. According to Peter Feaver, a Duke University political scientist who has studied the political leanings of the U.S. military, members of the armed services supported Bush because they found him more likely than Kerry to complete the War in Iraq.Sony VAIO VGN-SR29VN/S Battery

Bush's approval rating went below the 50% mark in AP-Ipsos polling in December 2004. Thereafter, his approval ratings and approval of his handling of domestic and foreign policy issues steadily dropped. Bush received heavy criticism for his handling of the Iraq War,Sony VAIO VGN-SR29XN/S Battery

his response to Hurricane Katrina and to the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse, NSA warrantless surveillance, the Plame affair, andGuantanamo Bay detention camp controversies.

Polls conducted in 2006 showed an average of 37% approval ratings for Bush,Sony VAIO VGN-SR2RVN/S Battery

the lowest for any second-term president at that point of his term since Harry S. Truman in March 1951, when Truman's approval rating was 28%, which contributed to what Bush called the "thumping" of the Republican Party in the 2006 mid-term elections.Sony VAIO VGN-SR390NAB Battery

Throughout 2007, Bush's approval rating hovered in the mid-thirties,  although in an October 17, 2007, Reuters poll, Bush received a lower approval rating of 24%, the lowest point of his presidency.

By April 2008, Bush's disapproval ratings were the highest ever recorded in the 70-year history of the Gallup poll for any president,Sony VAIO VGN-SR390NAH Battery

with 69% of those polled disapproving of the job Bush was doing as president and 28% approving. In September 2008, in polls performed by various agencies, Bush's approval rating ranged from 19%—the lowest ever —to 34%. and his disapproval rating stood at 69%.Sony VAIO VGN-SR41M/P Battery

Bush left the White House as one of the most unpopular American presidents, second in unpopularity only to Richard Nixon.

In response to his poll numbers and "worst president" accusations, Bush said, "I frankly don't give a damn about the polls.... To assume that historians can figure out the effect of the Bush administration before the Bush administration has ended is ... in my mind ... not an accurate reflection upon how history works."Sony VAIO VGN-SR41M/S Battery

In 2006, 744 professional historians surveyed by Siena College regarded Bush's presidency as follows: Great: 2%; Near Great: 5%; Average: 11%; Below Average: 24%; Failure: 58%. Thomas Kelly, professor emeritus of American studies at Siena College, said that "In this case, current public opinion polls actually seem to cut the President more slack than the experts do."Sony VAIO VGN-SR49VN/H Battery

Similar outcomes were retrieved by two informal surveys done by the History News Network in 2004 and 2008.

A March 13, 2008, poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press reported that 53% of Americans—a slim majority—believe that "the U.S. will ultimately succeed in achieving its goals" in Iraq.Sony VAIO VGN-SR51B/P Battery

That figure was up from 42% in September 2007 and the highest since 2006.

A 2010 Siena College poll of 238 Presidential scholars found that Bush was ranked 39th out of 43, with poor ratings in handling of the economy, communication, ability to compromise, foreign policy accomplishments and intelligence.Sony VAIO VGN-SR51B/S Battery

Calls for Bush's impeachment were made, though most polls showed a plurality of Americans did not support the president's impeachment.The reasoning behind impeachment usually centered on the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy, the Bush administration's justification for the war in Iraq,Sony VAIO VGN-SR51MF Battery

and alleged violations of the Geneva Conventions. Representative Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat from Ohio, introduced 35 articles of impeachment on the floor of the House of Representatives against Bush on June 9, 2008, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared that impeachment was "off the table".Sony VAIO VGN-SR51MF/P Battery

Foreign perceptions

Bush has been criticized internationally and targeted by the global anti-war and anti-globalization campaigns, particularly for his administration's foreign policy. Views of him within the international community are more negative than previous American Presidents, with France largely opposed to what he advocated.Sony VAIO VGN-SR51MF/S Battery

Bush was described as having especially close personal relationships with Tony Blair and Vicente Fox, although formal relations were sometimes strained. Other leaders, such as Afghan president Hamid Karzai,Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, Spanish prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero,Sony VAIO VGN-SR51MF/W Battery

and Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, have openly criticized the president. Later in Bush's presidency, tensions arose between himself and Vladimir Putin, which has led to a cooling of their relationship.

In 2006, a majority of respondents in 18 of 21 countries surveyed around the world were found to hold an unfavorable opinion of Bush.Sony VAIO VGN-SR51MR Battery

Respondents indicated that they judged his administration as negative for world security. In 2007, the Pew Global Attitudes Project reported that during the Bush presidency, attitudes towards the United States and the American people became less favorable around the world.Sony VAIO VGN-SR59VG Battery

A March 2007 survey of Arab opinion conducted by Zogby International and the University of Maryland found that Bush was the most disliked leader in the Arab world.

The Pew Research Center's 2007 Global Attitudes poll found that out of 47 countries,Sony VAIO VGN-SR59VG/H Battery

a majority of respondents expressed "a lot of confidence" or "some confidence" in Bush in only nine countries: Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Israel, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, and Uganda.

During a June 2007 visit to the predominantly Muslim Eastern European nation of Albania, Bush was greeted enthusiastically.Sony VAIO VGN-SR70B/S Battery

Albania has a population of 3.6 million, has troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and the country's government is highly supportive of American foreign policy. A huge image of the President was hung in the middle of the capital city of Tirana flanked by Albanian and American flags while a local street was named after him.Sony VAIO VGN-SR72B/P Battery

A shirt-sleeved statue of Bush was unveiled in Fushe-Kruje, a few kilometers northwest of Tirana.The Bush administration's support for the independence of Albanian-majority Kosovo, while endearing him to the Albanians, has troubled U.S. relations with Serbia, leading to the February 2008 torching of the U.S. embassy inBelgrade.Sony VAIO VGN-SR72B/S Battery


On May 7, 2005 at an official state visit in Latvia, George W. Bush was awarded the Order of the Three Stars presented to him by president Vaira V??e-Freiberga.Sony VAIO VGN-SR73JB/S Battery


Following the inauguration of Barack Obama, Bush and his family flew from Andrews Air Force Base to a homecoming celebration in Midland, Texas, following which they returned to their ranch in Crawford, Texas. They bought a home in the Preston Hollow neighborhood of Dallas, Texas, where they planned to settle down.Sony VAIO VGN-SR74FB/S Battery

Since leaving office, Bush has kept a relatively low profile. However, he has made appearances at various events throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area, most notably when he conducted the opening coin toss at the Dallas Cowboys first game in the team's new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.Sony VAIO VGN-SR90FS Battery

An April 6, 2009, visit to a Texas Rangers game, where he gave a speech thanking the people of Dallas for helping them settle in (and specifically, the people of Arlington, where the game was held), was met with a standing ovation.Sony VAIO VGN-SR90NS Battery

His first speaking engagement occurred on March 17, 2009, in Calgary, Alberta. He spoke at a private event "A conversation with George W. Bush" at theTelus Convention Centre and stated that he would not criticize President Barack Obama and hoped he succeeds, specifically stating, "[President Obama] deserves my silence."Sony VAIO VGN-SR90S Battery

During his speech, Bush announced that he had begun writing a book, which was published under the title Decision Pointsin 2010. The book focused on the "12 difficult personal and political decisions" Bush faced during his presidency. On May 29, 2009,Sony VAIO VGN-SR90US Battery

Bush and former President Bill Clinton appeared at a policy discussion at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, moderated by Frank McKenna, the former Canadian Ambassador to the United States.

Bush made a video-taped appearance on the June 11, 2009, episode of The Colbert Reportduring the show's trip to Baghdad, Iraq.Sony VAIO VGN-SR91NS Battery

Bush praised the troops for earning a "special place in American history" and for their courage and endurance. He joked that it would come in handy, saying, "I've sat through Stephen's stuff before," in reference to Colbert's performance at the 2006 White House Correspondents' Association dinner as well as The Colbert Report's history of satirizing Bush's administration.Sony VAIO VGN-SR91PS Battery

On August 29, 2009, Bush, with his wife Laura, attended the funeral of Senator Ted Kennedy. Bush made his debut as a motivational speaker on October 26 at the "Get Motivated" seminar in Dallas.

In the aftermath of the Fort Hood shooting that took place on November 5, 2009 in Texas,Sony VAIO VGN-SR91S Battery

Fox News Channel reported that Bush and his wife had paid an undisclosed visit to the survivors and victims' families the day following the shooting, having contacted the base commander requesting that the visit be private and not involve press coverage.Sony VAIO VGN-SR91US Battery

The Bushes own property less than 30 minutes from Fort Hood and spent one to two hours at the base.

In January 2010, at President Barack Obama's request, Bush and former President Bill Clinton established the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund to raise contributions for relief and recovery efforts following the 2010 Haiti earthquake.Sony VAIO VGN-SR92NS Battery

When asked in February 2010 about his low profile since leaving office, Bush replied "I have no desire to see myself on television... I don't want to be a panel of formers instructing the currents on what to do. ... I'm trying to regain a sense of anonymity.Sony VAIO VGN-SR92PS Battery

I didn't like it when a certain former president – and it wasn't 41 (George H.W. Bush) or 42 (Bill Clinton) – made my life miserable." Bush was referring to 39th President Jimmy Carter, who was an outspoken critic of Bush throughout his presidency.Sony VAIO VGN-SR92S Battery

On June 2, 2010, during a speaking engagement at the Economic Club of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Bush referred to the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed by saying, "I'd do it again to save lives."

On October 19, 2010, Bush reflected both humorously and seriously on his presidency in a speech at the University of Texas at Tyler.Sony VAIO VGN-SR92US Battery

A dinner preceding his speech raised more than $200,000 for the university's scholarship fund.

Bush attended every home playoff game for the Texas Rangers 2010 season and, accompanied by his father, threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington for Game 4 of the 2010 World Series on October 31, 2010.Sony VAIO VGN-SR93DS Battery

Bush worked with Christopher Michel on Decision Points, a Bush memoir which was released November 9, 2010. Michel was the Deputy Director of Speechwriting to the President of the United States during the second term of the Bush Administration.Sony VAIO VGN-SR93JS Battery

During a pre-release appearance promoting the book, Bush commented on his view of his legacy as president, saying he considered his biggest accomplishment to be keeping "the country safe amid a real danger", and his greatest failure to be his inability to secure the passage of Social Security reform.Sony VAIO VGN-SR93PS Battery

After Bush announced a planned visit to Switzerland in 2011, Amnesty International, in a memorandum to the Swiss authorities in February 2011, asked Switzerland to uphold its "obligations under international law" to arrest and detain the former president for "his alleged involvement in and responsibility for crimes under international law, including torture....Sony VAIO VGN-SR93YS Battery

" Event organizers, United Israel Appeal, canceled the visit. Reports differ over whether the cancellation was because organizers feared Bush's arrest for war crimes, or, as was stated by the event organizer's lawyer, the event was canceled to avoid the prospect of violent protests.Sony VAIO VGN-SR94FS Battery

Human rights groups have vowed to continue to seek Bush's arrest.

On May 2, 2011, President Barack Obama called Bush, who was at a restaurant with his wife, to inform him that Osama bin Laden was dead.Sony VAIO VGN-SR94GS Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-SR94HS Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-SR94VS Battery

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George Herbert Walker Bush(born June 12, 1924) is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States (1989–93). He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President (1981–89), a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Sony VAIO VGN-CR11H/B Battery

Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to Senator Prescott Bush and Dorothy Walker Bush. Following the attacks on Pearl Harbor in 1941, at the age of 18, Bush postponed going to college and became the youngest aviator in the US Navy at the time.[1]He served until the end of the war, then attended Yale University.Sony VAIO VGN-CR11S/L Battery

Graduating in 1948, he moved his family to West Texas and entered the oil business, becoming a millionaire by the age of 40.

He became involved in politics soon after founding his own oil company, serving as a member of the House of Representatives, among other positions.Sony VAIO VGN-CR11S/P Battery

He ran unsuccessfully for president of the United States in 1980, but was chosen by party nominee Ronald Reagan to be the vice presidential nominee, and the two were subsequently elected. During his tenure, Bush headed administration task forces on deregulation and fighting drug abuse.Sony VAIO VGN-CR11S/W Battery

In 1988, Bush launched a successful campaign to succeed Reagan as president, defeating Democratic opponent Michael Dukakis. Foreign policy drove the Bush presidency; military operations were conducted in Panama and the Persian Gulf at a time of world change;Sony VAIO VGN-CR11Z/R Battery

the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and the Soviet Union dissolved two years later. Domestically, Bush reneged on a 1988 campaign promise and after a struggle with Congress, signed an increase in taxes that Congress had passed. In the wake of economic concerns, he lost the 1992 presidential election to Democrat Bill Clinton.Sony VAIO VGN-CS11S/P Battery

Bush is the father of George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, and Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida. He is the last president to have been a World War II veteran. Until the election of his son George W. Bush to the presidency in 2000, Bush was commonly referred to simply as "George Bush";Sony VAIO VGN-CS11S/Q Battery

since that time, the forms "George H. W. Bush", "Bush 41", "Bush the Elder", and "George Bush, Sr." have come into common use as a way to distinguish the father from the son.Sony VAIO VGN-CS11S/W Battery

Early years

George Herbert Walker Bush was born at 173 Adams Street in Milton, Massachusetts on June 12, 1924 to Prescott Sheldon Bush and Dorothy Walker Bush. The Bush family moved from Milton to Greenwich, Connecticut shortly after his birth.Sony VAIO VGN-CS11Z/R Battery

Bush began his formal education at the Greenwich Country Day School in Greenwich. Beginning in 1936, he attendedPhillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, where he held a large number of leadership positions including being the president of the senior class and secretary of the student council,Sony VAIO VGN-FW11E Battery

president of the community fund-raising group, a member of the editorial board of the school newspaper, and captain of both the varsity baseball and soccer teams.

World War II

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Bush decided to join the US Navy, Sony VAIO VGN-FW11L Battery

so after graduating from Phillips Academy earlier in 1942, he became a naval aviator at the age of 18.After completing the 10-month course, he was commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve at Corpus Christi, Texas on June 9, 1943, just three days before his 19th birthday, which made him the youngest naval aviator to that date.Sony VAIO VGN-FW11M Battery

He was assigned to Torpedo Squadron (VT-51) as the photographic officer in September 1943.The following year, his squadron was based on the USS San Jacintoas a member of Air Group 51, where his lanky physique earned him the nickname 'Skin'.Sony VAIO VGN-FW11S Battery

During this time, the task force was victorious in one of the largest air battles of World War II: theBattle of the Philippine Sea.

After Bush's promotion to Lieutenant (junior grade) on August 1, the San Jacintocommenced operations against the Japanese in the Bonin Islands.Sony VAIO VGN-FW11ZU Battery

Bush piloted one of four Grumman TBM Avenger aircraft from VT-51 that attacked the Japanese installations onChichijima.His crew for the mission, which occurred on September 2, 1944, included Radioman Second Class John Delaney and Lieutenant Junior Grade William White.Sony VAIO VGN-FW139E/H Battery

During their attack, the Avengers encountered intense anti-aircraft fire; Bush's aircraft was hit by flak and his engine caught on fire.Despite his plane being on fire, Bush completed his attack and released bombs over his target, scoring several damaging hits.Sony VAIO VGN-NW11S/S Battery

With his engine afire, Bush flew several miles from the island, where he and one other crew member on the TBM Avenger bailed out of the aircraft; the other man's parachute did not open. It has not been determined which man bailed out with Bush as both Delaney and White were killed as a result of the battle.Sony VAIO VGN-NW11S/T Battery

Bush waited for four hours in an inflated raft, while several fighters circled protectively overhead until he was rescued by the lifeguard submarine USS Finback. For the next month he remained on the Finback, and participated in the rescue of other pilots.Sony VAIO VGN-NW11Z/S Battery

Bush subsequently returned to San Jacintoin November 1944 and participated in operations in the Philippines until his squadron was replaced and sent home to the United States. Through 1944, he flew 58 combat missions for which he received the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals, and the Presidential Unit Citationawarded to San Jacinto.Sony VAIO VGN-NW11Z/T Battery

Because of his valuable combat experience, Bush was reassigned to Norfolk Navy Base and put in a training wing for new torpedo pilots. He was later assigned as a naval aviator in a new torpedo squadron, VT-153, based at Naval Air Station Grosse Ile, Michigan. Upon the Japanese surrender in 1945, Bush was honorably discharged in September of that year.Sony VAIO VGN-NW21EF/S Battery

Marriage and college years

George Bush married Barbara Pierce on January 6, 1945, only weeks after his return from the Pacific. The couple's first residence was a small rented apartment inTrenton, Michigan, near Bush's Navy assignment at NAS Grosse Ile. Their marriage produced six children:Sony VAIO VGN-NW21JF Battery

George Walker Bush (born 1946), Pauline Robinson Bush("Robin", 1949–1953, died of leukemia), John Ellis "Jeb" Bush (born 1953), Neil Mallon Bush (born 1955), Marvin Pierce Bush (born 1956), and Dorothy Bush Koch(born 1959).Sony VAIO VGN-NW21MF Battery

Bush had been accepted to Yale University prior to his enlistment in the military, and took up the offer after his discharge and marriage. While at Yale, he was enrolled in an accelerated program that allowed him to graduate in two and a half years, rather than four.Sony VAIO VGN-NW21MF/W Battery

He was a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and was elected president. He also captained the Yale baseball team, and as a left-handed first baseman, played in the first two College World Series. As the team captain, Bush met Babe Ruth before a game during his senior year.Sony VAIO VGN-NW21ZF Battery

Late in his junior year he was, like his father Prescott Bush (1917), initiated into the Skull and Bones secret society. He graduated as a member of the Phi Beta Kappa from Yale in 1948 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics.

Oil ventures

After graduating from Yale, Bush moved his family to West Texas.Sony VAIO VGN-NW31EF/W Battery

His father's business connections proved useful when he ventured into the oil business, starting as a sales clerk with Dresser Industries, a subsidiary of Brown Brothers Harriman. His father had served on the board of directors there for 22 years.Sony VAIO VGN-SR19VN Battery

Bush started the Bush-Overby Oil Development company in 1951 and co-founded the Zapata Petroleum Corporation, an oil company which drilled in the Permian Basin in Texas, two years later. He was named president of the Zapata Offshore Company, a subsidiary which specialized in offshore drilling, in 1954.Sony VAIO VGN-SR19VN Battery

The subsidiary became independent in 1958, so Bush moved the company from Midland, Texas to Houston. He continued serving as president of the company until 1964, and later chairman until 1966, but his ambitions turned political. By that time, Bush had become a millionaire.Sony VAIO VGN-SR19VRN Battery

Congressional years

Bush served as Chairman of the Republican Party for Harris County, Texas in 1964, but wanted to be more involved in policy making, so he set his stakes high: he aimed for a US Senate seat from Texas. After winning the Republican primary, Bush faced his opponent, incumbent Democrat Ralph W. Yarborough.Sony VAIO VGN-SR19XN Battery

Yarborough attacked Bush as a right-wing extremist, and Bush lost the general election. Bush's ticket mate, Jack Crichton of Dallas, lost by a much wider margin in the same election to Governor John B. Connally, Jr. Bush and Crichton had shared some of the same podiums in the campaign.Sony VAIO VGN-SR19XN Battery

Bush was elected in 1966 to a House of Representatives seat from the 7th District of Texas, defeating Democrat Frank Briscoe with 57% of the vote; he became the first Republican to represent Houston. His voting record in the House was generally conservative:Sony VAIO VGN-SR11M Battery

Bush opposed the public accommodations contention in the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and supported open-housing legislation, something generally unpopular in his district. He supported the Nixon administration's Vietnam policies, but broke with Republicans on the issue of birth control.Sony VAIO VGN-NS11ER/S Battery

Despite being a first-term congressman, Bush was appointed to the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, where he voted to abolish the military draft. He was elected to a second term in 1968.

In 1970, Nixon convinced Bush to relinquish his House seat to again run for the Senate against Ralph Yarborough,Sony VAIO VGN-NS11E/S Battery

a fierce Nixon critic. In the Republican primary, Bush easily defeated conservative Robert J. Morris, by a margin of 87.6 percent to 12.4 percent. However, former Congressman Lloyd Bentsen, a more moderate Democrat and native of Mission in south Texas, defeated Yarborough in the Democratic primary.Sony VAIO VGN-NS11J/S Battery

Yarborough then endorsed Bentsen, who defeated Bush, 53.4 to 46.6 percent.[18]Nixon came to Texas to campaign in Longview for Bush and his gubernatorial ticket-mate, Paul Eggers, a Dallaslawyer who was a close friend of U.S. Senator John G. Tower.Sony VAIO VGN-NS11L/S Battery

Ambassador to the United Nations

Following his 1970 loss, Bush was well known as a prominent Republican businessman from the "Sun Belt", a group of states in the Southern part of the country. Nixon noticed and appreciated the sacrifice Bush had made of his Congressional position, so he appointed him Ambassador to the United Nations.Sony VAIO VGN-NS11MR/S Battery

He was confirmed unanimously by the Senate, and served for two years, beginning in 1971.

Chairman of the Republican National Committee

Amidst the Watergate scandal, Nixon asked Bush to become chairman of the Republican National Committee in 1973.Sony VAIO VGN-NS11M/S Battery

Bush accepted, and held this position when the popularity of both Nixon and the Republican Party plummeted. He defended Nixon steadfastly, but later as Nixon's complicity became clear, Bush focused more on defending the Republican Party, while still maintaining loyalty to Nixon.Sony VAIO VGN-NS11SR/S Battery

As chairman, Bush formally requested that Nixon eventually resign for the good of the Republican party. Nixon did this on August 9, 1974; Bush noted in his diary that "There was an aura of sadness, like somebody died... The [resignation] speech was vintage Nixon—a kick or two at the press—enormous strains.Sony VAIO VGN-NS11S/S Battery

One couldn't help but look at the family and the whole thing and think of his accomplishments and then think of the shame... [Ford's swearing-in offered] indeed a new spirit, a new lift."

Envoy to China

Gerald Ford, Nixon's successor, appointed Bush to be Chief of the US Liaison Office in the People's Republic of China.Sony VAIO VGN-NS11ZR/S Battery

Since the United States at the time maintained official relations with the Republic of China on Taiwan and not the People's Republic of China, the Liaison Office did not have the official status of an embassy and Bush did not formally hold the position of "ambassador", though he unofficially acted as one.Sony VAIO VGN-NS11Z/S Battery

The time that he spent in China – 14 months – was seen as largely beneficial for US-Chinese relations.

After Ford's accession to the presidency, Bush was under serious consideration for being nominated as Vice President.Sony VAIO VGN-NS12M/S Battery

Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona declined to be considered and endorsed Bush, who, along with his supporters, reportedly mounted an internal campaign to get a nomination. Ford eventually narrowed his list to Nelson Rockefeller and Bush.Sony VAIO VGN-NS12M/W Battery

However, White House Chief of Staff Donald Rumsfeld reportedly preferred Rockefeller over Bush. Rockefeller was finally named and confirmed.

Director of Central Intelligence

In 1976, Ford brought Bush back to Washington to become Director of Central Intelligence. He served in this role for 357 days, from January 30, 1976 to January 20, 1977.Sony VAIO VGN-NS12S/S Battery

The CIA had been rocked by a series of revelations, including those based on investigations by the Church Committee regarding illegal and unauthorized activities by the CIA, and Bush was credited with helping to restore the agency's morale.Sony VAIO VGN-NS21M/P Battery

In his capacity as DCI, Bush gave national security briefings to Jimmy Carter both as a Presidential candidate and as President-elect, and discussed the possibility of remaining in that position in a Carter administration[25]but it was not to be.Sony VAIO VGN-NS21M/W Battery

Other positions

After a Democratic administration took power in 1977, Bush became chairman on the Executive Committee of the First International Bank in Houston. He later spent a year as a part-time professor of Administrative Science at Rice University's Jones School of Business beginning in 1978, the year it opened;Sony VAIO VGN-NS21S/S Battery

Bush said of his time there, "I loved my brief time in the world of academia."[27]Between 1977 and 1979, he was a director of the Council on Foreign Relations foreign policy organization.[28]

1980 presidential campaign

Bush had decided in the late 1970s that he was going to run for president in 1980;Sony VAIO VGN-NS21S/W Battery

in 1979, he attended 850 political events and traveled more than 250,000 miles (400,000 km) to campaign for the nation's highest office.[22]In the contest for the Republican Party nomination, Bush stressed his wide range of government experience, while competing against rivals Senator Howard Baker of Tennessee,Sony VAIO VGN-NS21Z/S Battery

Senator Bob Dole of Kansas, Congressman John Anderson of Illinois (who would later run as an independent), Congressman Phil Crane, also of Illinois, former Governor John Connally of Texas, and the front-runner Ronald Reagan, former actor and Governor of California.Sony VAIO VGN-NS31M/P Battery

In the primary election, Bush focused almost entirely on the Iowa caucuses, while Reagan ran a more traditional campaign.[22]Bush represented the centrist wing in the GOP, whereas Reagan represented conservatives. Bush famously labeled Reagan's supply side-influenced plans for massive tax cuts "voodoo economics".Sony VAIO VGN-NS31M/W Battery

His strategy proved useful, to some degree, as he won in Iowa with 31.5 percent to Reagan's 29.4 percent. After the win, Bush stated that his campaign was full of momentum, or "Big Mo".  As a result of the loss, Reagan replaced his campaign manager, reorganized his staff, and concentrated on the New Hampshire primary.Sony VAIO VGN-NS31S/S Battery

The two men agreed to a debate in the state, organized by the Nashua Telegraph, but paid for by the Reagan campaign. Reagan invited the other four candidates as well, but Bush refused to debate them, and eventually they left.Sony VAIO VGN-NS31Z/P Battery

The debate proved to be a pivotal moment in the campaign; when the moderator, John Breene, ordered Reagan's microphone turned off, his angry response, "I am paying for this microphone Mr. Greene", [sic] struck a chord with the public. Bush ended up losing New Hampshire's primary with 23 percent to Reagan's 50 percent.Sony VAIO VGN-NS31Z/S Battery

Bush lost most of the remaining primaries as well, and formally dropped out of the race in May of that year.

With his political future seeming dismal, Bush sold his house in Houston and bought his grandfather's estate in Kennebunkport, Maine, known as "Walker's Point".Sony VAIO VGN-NS31Z/W Battery

At the Republican Convention, however, Reagan selected Bush as his Vice Presidential nominee, placing him on the winning Republican presidential ticket of 1980.

First Term (1981–1985)

As Vice President, Bush generally took on a low profile while recognizing the constitutional limits of the office;Sony VAIO VGN-NS38M/P Battery

he avoided decision-making or criticizing Reagan in any way. As had become customary, he and his wife moved into the Vice President's residence at Number One Observatory Circle, about two miles from the White House. The Bushes attended a large number of public and ceremonial events in their positions, including many state funerals, which became a common joke for comedians.Sony VAIO VGN-NS38M/W Battery

Mrs. Bush found the funerals largely beneficial, saying, "George met with many current or future heads of state at the funerals he attended, enabling him to forge personal relationships that were important to President Reagan."Sony VGP-BPL10 Battery

As the President of the Senate, Bush stayed in contact with members of Congress, and kept the president informed on occurrences on Capitol Hill.

On March 30, 1981, early into the administration, Reagan was shot and seriously wounded in Washington,Sony VGP-BPS10 Battery

D.C. Bush, second in command by thepresidential line of succession, was in Dallas, Texas, and flew back to Washington immediately. Reagan's cabinet convened in the White House Situation Room, where they discussed various issues, including the availability of the Nuclear Football.Sony VGP-BPS10/S Battery

When Bush's plane landed, his aides advised him to proceed directly to the White House by helicopter, as an image of the government still functioning despite the attack. Bush rejected the idea, responding, "Only the President lands on the South Lawn".Sony VGP-BPS10A/B Battery

This made a positive impression on Reagan, who recovered and returned to work within two weeks. From then on, the two men would have regular Thursday lunches in the Oval Office.

In December 1983 Bush flew to El Salvador and warned that country's military leaders to end their death squads and hold fully free elections or face the loss of U.S. aid.Sony VGP-BPS10B Battery

Bush's aides feared for his safety and thought about calling the meeting off when they discovered apparent blood stains on the floor of the presidential palace of Álvaro Magaña. Bush was never told of the aides' concerns and a tense meeting was held in which some of Magaña's personnel brandished semiautomatic weapons and refused requests to take them outside.Sony VGP-BPS10A Battery

Bush was assigned by Reagan to chair two special task forces, on deregulation and international drug smuggling. The deregulation task force reviewed hundreds of rules, making specific recommendations on which ones to amend or revise, in order to curb the size of the federal government.Sony VGP-BPL8 Battery

The drug smuggling task force coordinated federal efforts to reduce the quantity of drugs entering the US. Both were popular issues with conservatives, and Bush, largely a moderate, began courting them through his work.

Second Term (1985–1989)

Reagan and Bush ran for reelection in 1984.Sony VGP-BPL8A Battery

The Democratic opponent, Walter Mondale, made history by choosing a woman as his running mate, New York Representative Geraldine Ferraro. She and Bush squared off in a single televised Vice Presidential debate.Sony VGP-BPL8B Battery

Serving as a contrast to the Ivy-League educated Bush, Ferraro represented a "blue-collar" district in Queens, New York; this, coupled with her popularity among female journalists, left Bush at a disadvantage. However, the Reagan-Bush ticket won in a landslide against the Mondale-Ferraro ticket.Sony VGP-BPS8 Battery

Early into his second term as Vice President, Bush and his aides were planning a run for the presidency in 1988. By the end of 1985, a committee had been established and over two million dollars raised for Bush. Bush became the first Vice President to become Acting President when, on July 13, 1985, Reagan underwent surgery to remove polyps from his colon.Sony VGP-BPS8A Battery

Bush served as Acting President for approximately eight hours.

The administration was shaken by a scandal in 1986, when it was revealed that administration officials had secretly arranged weapon sales to Iran, and had used the proceeds to fund the anticommunist Contras in Nicaragua, a direct violation of the law.Sony VGP-BPS8B Battery

When the Iran-Contra Affair, as it became known, broke to the media, Bush, like Reagan, stated that he had been "out of the loop" and unaware of the diversion of funds, although this was later questioned. Public opinion polls taken at the time indicated that the public questioned Bush's explanation of being an "innocent bystander" while the trades were occurring;Sony VGP-BPL9 Battery

this led to the notion that he was a "wimp". However, his fury during an interview with CBS's Dan Rather largely put the "wimp" issue to rest.

As Vice President, Bush officially opened the 1987 Pan American Games in Indianapolis.Sony VGP-BPS9 Battery

1988 presidential campaign

Bush had been planning a presidential run since as early as 1985, and entered the Republican primary for President of the United States in October 1987. His challengers for the Republican presidential nomination included US Senator Bob Dole of Kansas,Sony VGP-BPS9/B Battery

US Representative Jack Kemp of New York, former Governor Pete DuPont of Delaware, and conservative Christian televangelist Pat Robertson.

Though considered the early frontrunner for the nomination, Bush came in third in the Iowa caucus, behind winner Dole and runner-up Robertson.Sony VGP-BPS9/S Battery

Much like Reagan did in 1980, Bush reorganized his staff and concentrated on the New Hampshire primary. With Dole ahead in New Hampshire, Bush ran television commercials portraying the senator as a tax raiser; he rebounded to win the state's primary. Bush continued seeing victory, winning many Southern primaries as well.Sony VGP-BPS9A Battery

Once the multiple-state primaries such as Super Tuesday began, Bush's organizational strength and fundraising lead were impossible for the other candidates to match, and the nomination was his.Sony VGP-BPS9A/B Battery

Leading up to the 1988 Republican National Convention, there was much speculation as to Bush's choice of running mate. Bush chose little-known US Senator Dan Quayle of Indiana, favored by conservatives. Despite Reagan's popularity, Bush trailed Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis, then Governor of Massachusetts, in most polls.Sony VGP-BPS9A/S Battery

Bush, occasionally criticized for his lack of eloquence when compared to Reagan, delivered a well-received speech at the 1988 Republican National Convention. Known as the "thousand points of light" speech, this described Bush's vision of America:Sony VGP-BPS9B Battery

he endorsed the Pledge of Allegiance, prayer in schools, capital punishment, gun rights, and his opposition to abortion. The speech at the convention included Bush's famous pledge: "Read my lips: no new taxes".

The general election campaign between the two men has been described as one of the nastiest in modern times.Sony VGP-BPL21 Battery

Bush blamed Dukakis for polluting the Boston Harbor as the Massachusetts governor. Bush also pointed out that Dukakis was opposed to the law that would require all students to say the Pledge of Allegiance, a topic well covered in Bush's nomination acceptance speech.Sony VGP-BPS21 Battery

Dukakis's unconditional opposition to capital punishment led to a pointed question during the presidential debates. Moderator Bernard Shaw asked Dukakis hypothetically if Dukakis would support the death penalty if his wife, Kitty, were raped and murdered.Sony VGP-BPS21/S Battery

Dukakis's response of no, as well as the Willie Horton ad, contributed toward Bush's characterization of him as "soft on crime".

Bush defeated Dukakis and his running mate, Lloyd Bentsen, in the Electoral College, by 426 to 111 (Bentsen received one vote from a faithless elector).Sony VGP-BPS21A Battery

In the nationwide popular vote, Bush took 53.4 percent of the ballots cast  while Dukakis received 45.6 percent. Bush became the first serving Vice President to be elected President since Martin Van Buren in 1836 as well as the first person to succeed someone from his own party to the Presidency via election to the office in his own right sinceHerbert Hoover in 1929.Sony VGP-BPS21A/B Battery

Presidency (1989–1993)

Bush was inaugurated on January 20, 1989, succeeding Ronald Reagan. He entered office at a period of change in the world; the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Soviet Union came early in his presidency.Sony VGP-BPS21B Battery

He ordered military operations in Panama and the Persian Gulf  and, at one point, was recorded as having a record-high approval rating of 89 percent. However, economic recession and breaking his "no new taxes" pledge caused a sharp decline in his approval rating, and Bush was defeated in the 1992 election.Sony VGP-BPL13 Battery

In his Inaugural Address, Bush said:

I come before you and assume the Presidency at a moment rich with promise. We live in a peaceful, prosperous time, but we can make it better. Sony VGP-BPS13 Battery


For a new breeze is blowing, and a world refreshed by freedom seems reborn; for in man's heart, if not in fact, the day of the dictator is over. The totalitarian era is passing, its old ideas blown away like leaves from an ancient, lifeless tree. A new breeze is blowing, and a nation refreshed by freedom stands ready to push on. There is new ground to be broken, and new action to be taken.Sony VGP-BPS13/B Battery


Early in his term, Bush faced the problem of what to do with leftover deficits spawned by the Reagan years. At $220 billion in 1990, the deficit had grown to three times its size since 1980. Bush was dedicated to curbing the deficit, believing that America could not continue to be a leader in the world without doing so.Sony VGP-BPS13/S Battery

He began an effort to persuade the Democratic controlled Congress to act on the budget;with Republicans believing that the best way was to cut government spending, and Democrats convinced that the only way would be to raise taxes, Bush faced problems when it came to consensus building.Sony VGP-BPS13/S Battery

In the wake of a struggle with Congress, Bush was forced by the Democratic majority to raise tax revenues; as a result, many Republicans felt betrayed because Bush had promised "no new taxes" in his 1988 campaign.Sony VGP-BPS13A/B Battery

Perceiving a means of revenge, Republican congressmen defeated Bush's proposal which would enact spending cuts and tax increases that would reduce the deficit by $500 billion over five years. Scrambling, Bush accepted the Democrats' demands for higher taxes and more spending, which alienated him from Republicans and gave way to a sharp decrease in popularity.Sony VGP-BPS13A/S Battery

Bush would later say that he wished he had never signed the bill.Near the end of the 101st Congress, the president and congressional members reached a compromise on a budget package that increased the marginal tax rate and phased out exemptions for high-income taxpayers.Sony VGP-BPS13AS Battery

Despite demands for a reduction in the capital gains tax, Bush relented on this issue as well. This agreement with the Democratic leadership in Congress proved to be a turning point in the Bush presidency; his popularity among Republicans never fully recovered.Sony VGP-BPS13B/B Battery

Coming at around the same time as the budget deal, America entered into a mild recession, lasting for six months. Many government programs, such aswelfare, increased. As the unemployment rate edged upward in 1991, Bush signed a bill providing additional benefits for unemployed workers.Sony VGP-BPS13B/Q Battery

1991 was marked by many corporate reorganizations, which laid off a substantial number of workers. Many now unemployed were Republicans and independents, who had believed that their jobs were secure.

By his second year in office, Bush was told by his economic advisors to stop dealing with the economy, as they believed that he had done everything necessary to ensure his reelection.Sony VGP-BPS13B/S Battery

By 1992, interest and inflation rates were the lowest in years, but by midyear the unemployment rate reached 7.8 percent, the highest since 1984. In September 1992, the Census Bureau reported that 14.2 percent of all Americans lived in poverty. At a press conference in 1990, Bush told reporters that he found foreign policy more enjoyable.Sony VGP-BPS13Q Battery

Major initiatives

During a speech to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, Bush announced a vision to completeSpace Station Freedom, resume exploration of the Moon and begin exploration of Mars.Sony VAIO VPC CW2MFX/PU Battery

Although a space station was eventually constructed–work on the International Space Station began in 1998–other work has been confounded by NASA budgetary issues. In 1998, Bush received the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement's National Space Trophy for his pioneering leadership of our nation's space program.Sony VAIO VPC S11V9E/B Battery

Bush signed a number of major laws in his presidency, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; this was one of the most pro-civil rights bills in decades. He worked to increase federal spending for education, childcare, and advanced technology research.Sony VAIO VPCB119GJ/B Battery

In dealing with the environment, Bush reauthorized the Clean Air Act, requiring cleaner burning fuels. He quarreled with Congress over an eventually signed bill to aid police in capturing criminals, and signed into law a measure to improve the nation's highway system.Sony VAIO VPCB11AGJ Battery

Bush signed the Immigration Act of 1990, which increased legal immigration to the United States by 40 percent.

Bush was a Life Member of the National Rifle Association and had campaigned as a "Pro-gun" candidate with the NRA's endorsement in 1988.Sony VAIO VPCB11AVJ Battery

However, in March 1989 he placed a temporary ban on the import of certain semiautomatic rifles. This action cost him endorsement from the NRA in 1992. Bush publicly resigned his life membership in the organization after losing the election and receiving a form letter from NRA depicting agents of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms as "jack-booted thugs".Sony VAIO VPCB11V9E Battery

He called the NRA letter a " vicious slander on good people."

Other courts

In addition to his two Supreme Court appointments, Bush appointed 42 judges to the United States Courts of Appeals, and 148 judges to the United States district courts.Sony VAIO VPCB11X9E Battery

Among these appointments was Vaughn R. Walker, who would later be revealed to be the earliest known gay federal judge. Bush also experienced a number of judicial appointment controversies, as 11 nominees for 10 federal appellate judgeships were not processed by the Democratic-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee.Sony VAIO VPCCW18FJ/P Battery


In the 1980s, Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega, a once US-supportive leader who was later accused of spying for Fidel Castro and using Panama to traffic drugs into the US, was one of the most recognizable names in the United States, being constantly covered by the press.Sony VAIO VPCCW18FJ/R Battery

The struggle to remove him from power began in the Reagan administration,  when economic sanctions were imposed on the country;  this included prohibiting US companies and government from making payments to Panama and freezing $56 million in Panamanian funds in US banks.Sony VAIO VPCCW18FJ/W Battery

Reagan sent more than 2,000 US troops to Panama as well. Unlike Reagan, Bush was able to remove Noriega from power, but his administration's unsuccessful post-invasion planning hindered the needs of Panama during the establishment of the young democratic government.Sony VAIO VPCCW19FJ/W Battery

In May 1989, Panama held democratic elections, in which Guillermo Endara was elected president; the results were then annulled by Noriega's government. In response, Bush sent 2,000 more troops to the country, where they began conducting regular military exercises in Panamanian territory (in violation of prior treaties).Sony VAIO VPCCW1AFJ Battery

Bush then removed an embassy and ambassador from the country, and dispatched additional troops to Panama to prepare the way for an upcoming invasion. Noriega suppressed an October military coup attempt and massive protests in Panama against him,Sony VAIO VPCCW1AHJ Battery

but after a US serviceman was shot by Panamanian forces in December 1989, Bush ordered 24,000 troops into the country with an objective of removing Noriega from power; "Operation Just Cause" was a large-scale American military operation, and the first in more than 40 years that was not Cold War related.Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E Battery

The mission was controversial, but American forces achieved control of the country and Endara assumed the Presidency. Noriega surrendered to the US and was convicted and imprisoned on racketeering and drug trafficking charges in April 1992.Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/B Battery

President Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush visited Panama in June 1992, to give support to the first post-invasion Panamanian government.

Soviet Union

In 1989, just after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Bush met with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev in a conference on the Mediterranean island of Malta.Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/L Battery

The administration had been under intense pressure to meet with the Soviets,[54]but not all initially found the Malta summit to be a step in the right direction; General Brent Scowcroft, among others, was apprehensive about the meeting, saying that it might be "premature" due to concerns where, according to Dr.Condoleezza Rice,Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/P Battery

"expectations [would be] set that something was going to happen, where the Soviets might grandstand and force [the US] into agreements that would ultimately not be good for the United States". But European leaders, including François Mitterrand and Margaret Thatcher, encouraged Bush to meet with Gorbachev,Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/R Battery

something that he did December 2 and 3, 1989.Though no agreements were signed, the meeting was viewed largely as being an important one; when asked about nuclear war, Gorbachev responded, "I assured the President of the United States that the Soviet Union would never start a hot war against the United States of America.Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/W Battery

And we would like our relations to develop in such a way that they would open greater possibilities for cooperation.... This is just the beginning. We are just at the very beginning of our road, long road to a long-lasting, peaceful period". The meeting was received as a very important step to the end of the Cold War.Sony VAIO VPCCW21FX/B Battery

Another summit was held in July 1991, where the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I) was signed by Bush and Gorbachev in Moscow.The treaty took nine years in the making and was the first major arms agreement since the signing of the Intermediate Ranged Nuclear Forces Treaty by Reagan and Gorbachev in 1987.Sony VAIO VPCCW21FX/L Battery

The contentions in START would reduce the US's and USSR's strategic nuclear weapons by about 35% over seven years, and the Soviet Union's land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles would be cut by 50%.  Bush described START as "a significant step forward in dispelling half a century of mistrust".Sony VAIO VPCCW21FX/R Battery

After the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, President Bush and Gorbachev declared a US-Russian strategic partnership, marking the end of the Cold War. President Bush declared that US-Soviet cooperation during the Gulf War in 1990–1991 had laid the groundwork for a partnership in resolving bilateral and world problems.Sony VAIO VPCCW21FX/W Battery

Gulf War

On August 1, 1990, Iraq, led by Saddam Hussein, invaded its oil-rich neighbor to the south, Kuwait; Bush condemned the invasion[59]and began rallying opposition to Iraq in the US and among European, Asian, and Middle Eastern allies.Sony VAIO VPCCW26EC Battery

Secretary of Defense Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney traveled to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Fahd; Fahd requested US military aid in the matter, fearing a possible invasion of his country as well.  The request was met initially with Air Force fighter jets. Iraq made attempts to negotiate a deal that would allow the country to take control of half of Kuwait.Sony VAIO VPCCW26FX/B Battery

Bush rejected this proposal and insisted on a complete withdrawal of Iraqi forces. The planning of a ground operation by US-led coalition forces began forming in September 1990, headed by General Norman Schwarzkopf.Bush spoke before a joint session of the US Congress regarding the authorization of air and land attacks,Sony VAIO VPCCW28EC Battery

laying out four immediate objectives: "Iraq must withdraw from Kuwait completely, immediately, and without condition. Kuwait's legitimate government must be restored. The security and stability of the Persian Gulf must be assured. And American citizens abroad must be protected.Sony VAIO VPCCW28FJ/P Battery

" He then outlined a fifth, long-term objective: "Out of these troubled times, our fifth objective – a new world order – can emerge: a new era – freer from the threat of terror, stronger in the pursuit of justice, and more secure in the quest for peace. An era in which the nations of the world, East and West, North and South, can prosper and live in harmony....Sony VAIO VPCCW28FJ/R Battery

A world where the rule of law supplants the rule of the jungle. A world in which nations recognize the shared responsibility for freedom and justice. A world where the strong respect the rights of the weak." With the United Nations Security Council opposed to Iraq's violence,Sony VAIO VPCCW28FJ/W Battery

Congress authorized theUse of Military force with a set goal of returning control of Kuwait to the Kuwaiti government, and protecting America's interests abroad.

Early on the morning of January 17, 1991, allied forces launched the first attack, which included more than 4,000 bombing runs by coalition aircraft.Sony VAIO VPCCW29FJ/W Battery

This pace would continue for the next four weeks, until a ground invasion was launched on February 24. Allied forces penetrated Iraqi lines and pushed toward Kuwait City while on the west side of the country, forces were intercepting the retreating Iraqi army.Sony VAIO VPCCW2AFJ Battery

Bush made the decision to stop the offensive after a mere 100 hours. Critics labeled this decision premature, as hundreds of Iraqi forces were able to escape; Bush responded by saying that he wanted to minimize US casualties. Opponents further charged that Bush should have continued the attack, pushing Hussein's army back to Baghdad, then removing him from power.Sony VAIO VPCCW2AHJ Battery

Bush explained that he did not give the order to overthrow the Iraqi government because it would have "incurred incalculable human and political costs.... We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq."Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E Battery

Bush's approval ratings skyrocketed after the successful offensive. Additionally, President Bush and Sec

retary of State Baker felt the coalition victory had increased U.S. prestige abroad and believed there was a window of opportunity to use the political capital generated by the coalition victory to revitalize the Arab-Israeli peace process.Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E/B Battery

The administration immediately returned to Arab-Israeli peacemaking following the end of the Gulf War; this resulted in the Madrid Conference, later in 1991.

Somali Civil War

Faced with a humanitarian disaster in Somalia, exacerbated by a complete breakdown in civil order, the United Nations had created the UNOSOM I mission in April 1992.Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E/L Battery

However, the complete intransigence of the local warlords operating in Somalia and their rivalries with each other meant that UNOSOM I could not be performed. The mission never reached its mandated strength. Resolution 794 was unanimously adopted by the United Nations Security Council on December 3, 1992,Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E/P Battery

and they welcomed the United States offer to help create a secure environment for humanitarian efforts in Somalia. President George H. W. Bush responded to this by initiating Operation Restore Hope on December 4, 1992, under which the United States would assume command in accordance with Resolution 794.Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E/R Battery

The vast bulk of UNITAF's total personnel strength was provided by the United States (Some 25,000 out of a total of 37,000 personnel). The first elements of UNITAF landed on the beaches of Somalia on December 9, 1992 amid a media circus.Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E/W Battery

However, Mohamed Farrah Aidid saw UNOSOM II as a threat to his power and in June 1993 his militia attacked Pakistan Army troops, attached to UNOSOM II, (see Somalia (March 1992 to February 1996)) in Mogadishu inflicting over 80 casualties.Sony VAIO VPCCW2S5C CN1 Battery

Fighting escalated until 19 American troops and more than 1,000 civilians and militia were killed in a raid in Mogadishu during October 1993.


Bush's administration, along with the Progressive Conservative Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney,Sony VAIO VPCF112FX/B Battery

spearheaded the negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which would eliminate the majority of tariffs on products traded among the United States, Canada, and Mexico, to encourage trade amongst the countries.Sony VAIO VPCF115FG/B Battery

The treaty also restricts patents, copyrights, and trademarks, and outlines the removal of investment restrictions among the three countries.

The agreement came under heavy scrutiny amongst mainly Democrats, who charged that NAFTA resulted in a loss of US jobs.Sony VAIO VPCF116FGBI Battery

NAFTA also contained no provisions for labor rights; according to the Bush administration, the trade agreement would generate economic resources necessary to enable Mexico's government to overcome problems of funding and enforcement of its labor laws.Sony VAIO VPCF117FJ/W Battery

Bush needed a renewal of negotiating authority to move forward with the NAFTA trade talks. Such authority would enable the president to negotiate a trade accord that would be submitted to Congress for a vote, thereby avoiding a situation in which the president would be required to renegotiate with trading partners those parts of an agreement that Congress wished to change.Sony VAIO VPCF117HG/BI Battery

While initial signing was possible during his term, negotiations made slow, but steady, progress. President Clinton would go on to make the passage of NAFTA a priority for his administration, despite its conservative and Republican roots – with the addition of two side agreements – to achieve its passage in 1993.Sony VAIO VPCF118FJ/W Battery

The treaty has since been defended as well as criticized further. The American economy has grown 54 percent since the adoption of NAFTA in 1993, with 25 million new jobs created; this was seen by some as evidence of NAFTA being beneficial to the US.Sony VAIO VPCF119FC Battery

With talk in early 2008 regarding a possible American withdrawal from the treaty, Carlos M Gutierrez, current United States Secretary of Commerce, writes, "Quitting NAFTA would send economic shock waves throughout the world, and the damage would start here at home."Sony VAIO VPCF119FC/BI Battery

But John J Sweeney of The Boston Globeargues that "the US trade deficit with Canada and Mexico ballooned to 12 times its pre-NAFTA size, reaching $111 billion in 2004."


As other presidents have done, Bush issued a series of pardons during his last days in office.Sony VAIO VPCF119FJ/BI Battery

On December 24, 1992, he granted executive clemency to six former government employees implicated in the Iran-Contra scandal of the late 1980s, most prominently former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. Weinberger, who had been scheduled to stand trial on January 5, 1993, for criminal charges related to Iran-Contra, was described by Bush as a "true American patriot".Sony VAIO VPCF11AFJ Battery

In addition to Weinberger, Bush pardoned Duane R. Clarridge, Clair E. George, Robert C. McFarlane, Elliott Abrams, and Alan G. Fiers Jr., all of whom had been indicted and/or convicted of criminal charges by an Independent Counsel headed by Lawrence Walsh.Sony VAIO VPCF11AGJ Battery

1992 presidential campaign

Bush announced his reelection bid in early 1992; with a coalition victory in the Persian Gulf War and high approval ratings, reelection initially looked likely. As a result, many leading Democrats declined to seek their party's presidential nomination.Sony VAIO VPCF11AHJ Battery

But an economic recession, and doubts of whether Bush ended the Gulf War properly, reduced his popularity.

Conservative political columnist Pat Buchanan challenged Bush for the Republican nomination, and shocked political pundits by finishing second, with 37% of the vote, in the New Hampshire primary.Sony VAIO VPCF11JFX/B Battery

Bush responded by adopting more conservative positions on issues, in an attempt to undermine Buchanan's base. Once he had secured the nomination, Bush faced his challenger, Democrat William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton.Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E Battery

Clinton attacked Bush as not doing enough to assist the working middle-class and being "out of touch" with the common man, a notion reinforced by reporter Andrew Rosenthal's false report that Bush was "astonished" to see a demonstration of a supermarket scanner, which around 1992 were a new invention.Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E/H Battery

In early 1992, the race took an unexpected twist when Texas billionaire H. Ross Perot launched a third party bid, claiming that neither Republicans nor Democrats could eliminate the deficit and make government more efficient. His message appealed to voters across the political spectrum disappointed with both parties' perceived fiscal irresponsibility.Sony VAIO VPCF11MFX/B Battery

Perot later bowed out of the race for a short time, then reentered.

Clinton had originally been in the lead, until Perot reentered, tightening the race significantly. Nearing election day, polls suggested that the race was a dead-heat,but Clinton pulled out on top, defeating Bush in a 43% to 38% popular vote margin.Sony VAIO VPCF11S1E Battery

Perot won 19% of the popular vote, one of the highest totals for a third party candidate in US history, drawing equally from both major candidates, according to exit polls. Bush received 168 electoral votes to Clinton's 370.

Several factors were key in Bush's defeat, including agreeing in 1990 to raise taxes despite his famous "Read my lips: no new taxes" pledge.Sony VAIO VPCF11S1E/B Battery

In doing so, Bush alienated many members of his conservative base, losing their support for his re-election. Of the voters who cited Bush's broken "No New Taxes" pledge as "very important", two thirds voted for Bill Clinton. Bush had raised taxes in an attempt to address an increasing budget deficit, which has largely been attributed to the Reagan tax cuts and military spending of the 1980s.Sony VAIO VPCF11Z1E Battery

In addition to these factors, the ailing economy which arose from recession may have been the main factor in Bush's loss, as 7 in 10 voters said on election day that the economy was either "not so good" or "poor". On the eve of the 1992 election against these factors, Bush's approval rating stood at just 37% after suffering low ratings throughout the year.Sony VAIO VPCF11Z1E/BI Battery

Despite his defeat, Bush climbed back from election day approval levels to leave office in 1993 with a 56% job approval rating.

Public image

George Bush was widely seen as a "pragmatic caretaker" president who lacked a unified and compelling long-term theme in his efforts.Sony VAIO VPCF11ZHJ Battery

Indeed, Bush's sound bite where he refers to the issue of overarching purpose as "the vision thing" has become a metonym applied to other political figures accused of similar difficulties."He does not say why he wants to be there", wrote columnist George Will, "so the public does not know why it should care if he gets his way."Sony VAIO VPCF127HGBI Battery

His Ivy League and prep school education led to warnings by advisors that his image was too "preppy" in 1980, which resulted in deliberate efforts in his 1988 campaign to shed the image, including meeting voters at factories and shopping malls, abandoning set speeches.Sony VAIO VPCF137HG/BI Battery

His ability to gain broad international support for the Gulf War and the war's result were seen as both a diplomatic and military triumph, rousing bipartisan approval,  though his decision to withdraw without removing Saddam Hussein left mixed feelings,Sony VAIO VPCS111FM/S Battery

and attention returned to the domestic front and a souring economy. A New York Timesarticle mistakenly depicted Bush as being surprised to see a supermarket barcode reader;  the report of his reaction exacerbated the notion that he was "out of touch".Sony VAIO VPCS115EC Battery

Amid the Early 1990s recession, his image shifted from "conquering hero" to "politician befuddled by economic matters".  And though Bush saw a 34 percent approval rating leading up to the 1992 election, the mood did not last; within a year of his defeat, Bush's approval was up to 56%, and by December 2008 60% of Americans give Bush's presidency a positive rating.Sony VAIO VPCS115FG Battery


Upon leaving office, Bush retired with his wife, Barbara, to their home in the exclusive neighborhood of Tanglewood in Houston, with a presidential office nearby. They spend the summer at Walker's Point in Kennebunkport, Maine.Sony VAIO VPCS117GG Battery

On January 10, 1999, the Bushes became the longest-married Presidential couple in history, outlasting John and Abigail Adams, who were married for 54 years and 3 days. At 66 years in 2011, they still hold the record, by a year and a half, over Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter. Bush holds his own fishing tournament in Islamorada, an island in the Florida Keys.Sony VAIO VPCS117GGB Battery

In 1993, Bush was awarded an honorary knighthood (GCB) by Queen Elizabeth II. He was the third American president to receive the honor, the others being Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan.

In 1993, Bush visited Kuwait to commemorate the coalition's victory over Iraq in the Gulf War, where he was targeted in an assassination plot.Sony VAIO VPCS118EC Battery

Kuwaiti authorities arrested 17 people allegedly involved in using a car bomb to kill Bush. Through interviews with the suspects and examinations of the bomb's circuitry and wiring, the FBI established that the plot had been directed by the Iraqi Intelligence Service. A Kuwaiti court later convicted all but one of the defendants.Sony VAIO VPCS119FJ/B Battery

Two months later, in retaliation, Clinton ordered the firing of 23 cruise missiles at Iraqi Intelligence Service headquarters in Baghdad. The day before the strike commenced, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright went before the Security Council to present evidence of the Iraqi plot.Sony VAIO VPCS119GC Battery

After the missiles were fired, Vice President Al Gore said the attack "was intended to be a proportionate response at the place where this plot" to assassinate Bush "was hatched and implemented".

From 1993–1999, he served as the chairman to the board of trustees for Eisenhower Fellowships.Sony VAIO VPCS11AFJ Battery

His eldest son, George W. Bush, was inaugurated as the 43rd President of the United States on January 20, 2001. Through previous administrations, the elder Bush had ubiquitously been known as "George Bush" or "President Bush",Sony VAIO VPCS11AGJ Battery

but following his son's election the need to distinguish between them has made retronymic forms such as "George H. W. Bush" and "George Bush senior" – and colloquialisms such as "Bush 41" and "Bush the Elder" much more common.

On February 15, 2011 he was awarded the Medal of Freedom—the highest civilian honor in the United States—by President Barack Obama.Sony VAIO VPCS11AHJ Battery

Bush has developed Parkinsonism, a vascular disorder which has weakened his legs. In April 2011 he said he was not suffering pain from the disorder.

Presidential library

The George Bush Presidential Library is the presidential library named for Bush.Sony VAIO VPCS11AVJ Battery

This tenth presidential library was built between 1995 and 1997 and contains the presidential and vice-presidential papers of Bush and the vice-presidential papers of Dan Quayle. It was dedicated on November 6, 1997 and opened to the public shortly thereafter; the complex was designed by the architectural firm of Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum.Sony VAIO VPCS11J7E/B Battery

The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum is located on a 90-acre (360,000 m2) site on the west campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. It is situated on a plaza adjoining the Presidential Conference Center and the Texas A&M Academic Center.Sony VAIO VPCS11M1E/W Battery

The Library operates under the administration of the NARA under the provisions of the Presidential Libraries Act of 1955.

Another institute was named in his honor: the George Bush School of Government and Public Service is a graduate public policy school at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.Sony VAIO VPCS11V9E/B Battery

The graduate school is part of the presidential library complex, and offers four programs: two master's degree programs (Public Service Administrationand International Affairs) and two certificate programs (Advanced International Affairsand Homeland Security).Sony VAIO VPCS11X9E/B Battery

The Masters program in International Affairs (MPIA) program offers a choice of concentration on either National Security Affairs or International Economics andDevelopment.

Recent activities

The former president continues to make many public appearances.Sony VAIO VPCS123FGB Battery

He and Mrs. Bush attended the state funeral of Ronald Reagan in June 2004, and of Gerald Ford in January 2007. One month later, he was awarded the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award in Beverly Hills, California by former First Lady Nancy Reagan.Sony VAIO VPCS125EC Battery

Despite his political differences with Bill Clinton, it has been acknowledged that the two former presidents have become friends. He and Clinton appeared together in television ads in 2005, encouraging aid for victims of Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.Sony VAIO VPCS128EC Battery

In October 2006, Bush was honored by the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF), receiving the NIAF One America Award for his work to better the lives of all Americans.

On February 18, 2008, Bush formally endorsed Senator John McCain for the presidency of the United States.Sony VAIO VPCS129GC Battery

The endorsement offered a boost to McCain's campaign, as the Arizona Senator had been facing criticism among many conservatives.Sony VAIO VPCS12C7E/B Battery

On January 10, 2009, Bush and his son were both present at the commissioning of the USS George H. W. Bush(CVN-77), the tenth and last Nimitzclass supercarrier of the United States Navy. Bush paid a visit to the carrier again on May 26, 2009.Sony VAIO VPCS12L9E/B Battery,Sony VAIO VPCS12V9E/B Battery,Sony VAIO VPCY115FGS Battery,Sony VAIO VPCY115FX/BI Battery,Sony VAIO VPCY115FXBI Battery,Sony VAIO VPCY118EC Battery,Sony VAIO VPCY118GX/BI Battery,Sony VAIO VPCY119FJ/S Battery,Sony VAIO VPCY11AFJ Battery,Sony VAIO VPCY11AGJ Battery,Sony VAIO VPCY11AHJ Battery,Sony VAIO VPCY11AVJ Battery

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