Daniel Finkelstein pens a provocative piece today: "The British voter never gets it wrong. At every election in the past 80 years the right party has won."
Sandwiched between one of Britain’s greatest-ever Prime Ministers and by one of the world’s most formidable politicians, John Major had to withstand some challenging comparisons. But Gordon Brown is probably coming to his rescue. Rob Wilson MP has already noted that comparisons with John Major flatter the current PM. But Gordon Brown’s greatest gift to Sir John may yet to arrive.
The consensus is that John Major led the Tories to one of the worst election results in British history. Undoubtedly true by any historical comparison but what if Labour loses comparably badly in 2010? John Major’s defeat will look less unusual and more a product of volatility in the electorate and of a mood for change that sets in after a long period of one party being in power.
In time historians may remember John Major not so much for 1997 but for the strengths and weaknesses of his time in power. The downs were Black Wednesday and his government’s awful role in the break up of Yugoslavia. The ups were Michael Howard’s successes on crime and the golden economic legacy that Brown squandered.