Historian Francis Beckett has decided that Margaret Thatcher is the most effective Prime Minister of the 20th century. Mr Beckett, who authored a highly critical biography of Mrs Thatcher, put the Iron Lady in the same ‘5 out of 5’ category as Clement Atlee. They were judged to have (1) a clear idea of what they wanted to achieve in office, and (2) they went on to deliver what they wanted to achieve.
Edward Heath ends up ahead of Winston Churchill in the second tier of Prime Ministers. But succeeding in taking Britain into the European Economic Community can hardly equal keeping Britain out of a Europe run by Hitler?
Few Tories will have a problem with Tony Blair’s mid-table ranking. Tony Blair is at the bottom of the ‘3 out of 5’ grouping of twentieth century PMs.
Three other Tories – John Major, Anthony Eden and Neville Chamberlain – sit at the bottom of Beckett’s list.