By Tom Chidwick When the death of John Smith, the fourteenth Leader of the Labour Party, was announced twenty-seven years ago today, a wave of warm and affectionate tributes lamented the premature passing of a decent and courteous, dogged and supremely self-confident man—‘a Labour loyalist by instinct, and a pragmatist by inclination’, as his widow,… Continue reading The Scottish Titan: The Prime Minister Britain Never Had
May 1994. Labour's John Smith suffers a heart attack and dies suddenly aged just 55. Having been ahead by 20% in the polls, he was expected to lead the party to victory at the 1997 election. A look back at his leadership and how he put Labour on course for power. Smith became Labour leader… Continue reading Labour’s Lost Prime Minister: The Death of John Smith
In March 1979 there was a Vote of Confidence in the Callaghan Government which it lost 311-310, triggering a General Election. The story of one of the most dramatic nights in British Political History In August 1978, the Lib-Lab Pact – which had helped sustain the Callaghan Government in office – disbanded with an expectation that… Continue reading End Days: The Night the Callaghan Government Fell
Below is a thread on the 1994 Labour Leadership Contest. Looking back through the archives it is remarkable how the divide between the Bennites (then Corbyn, Abbott, Milne) and the Blairites was as clear and as similar then as it is today. The left viewed Blair with deep suspicion and claimed the country was more left-wing… Continue reading Blair’s Triumph: The 1994 Labour Leadership Contest
Over the autumn, Britain will encounter political drama of the highest order. Theresa May – forced to test her strength in a vote on the Brexit deal – will rely on Labour rebels and Tory enemies to pass it through. It will be the biggest knife-edge vote since Maastricht in 1993, when Tory rebels came… Continue reading Ambush and Retreat: Why the Brexiters Risk a Repeat of Maastricht Defeat this Autumn
Labour’s shock defeat in 1992 had a profound impact on the party and was the catalyst for future modernisation. But before the death of John Smith it did not look that way. In 1994 the Labour leadership thought they could achieve power by sitting back and watching the Tories implode. They thought ‘one more heave’ would be… Continue reading In 1994 Tony Blair Ditched ‘One More Heave’ and Won Big. Is It Time For Corbyn To Do The Same?
Before the next election the Tories will change leader in a bid to maintain their grip on power. With it, they will project themselves as a new government. Last time it happened under John Major the party turned round a 30 point poll deficit with a well organised attack on Labour's tax and spend. Could it happen… Continue reading Nightmare of 1992: How The Tories Changed PM, Caused A Recession And Still Won A General Election
After the sudden death of John Smith in May 1994, Tony Blair defeated John Prescott and Margaret Beckett for the leadership. The real battle had already been won, when Gordon Brown pulled out. I discussed this in That’s Michelle Fowler – Perhaps we should go over and say hello as well as the end of the Smith… Continue reading We are ready to serve. And together we will change the course of our history, take the shattered remnants of our country and build a new and confident Britain for a new and changing world.