By Panda Paws

Recently Danny from Missouri and I had an interesting wee chat about the number of American Presidents who had been assassinated. He mentioned that only one British Prime Minister had ever been killed in office. Which is not to say that a number of them haven’t wanted shooting! But the non-existent British constitution only allows us to “bare arms” though this is currently not advisable due to bad weather so assassination is much less likely!

The bloke’s name was Spencer Perceval who was killed in 1812 so not within living memory. Though Edward Drummond, a civil servant was killed during an assassination attempt on PM Robert Peel in 1843 by Daniel McNaughton, a Scot, who was suffering from paranoid delusions (unrecorded whether he thought Scotland was a valued and equal partner in the Union). He gave his name to the legal McNaughton clauses that define insanity in English law.

Anyway, all this prompted me to think of the PMs I have a living memory of though for some of them I was very young. And what a sorry bunch they have been, resulting in the article title. So here is a brief journey through the leaders of our nation.

  1. Ted Heath, Tory

He and Harold Wilson took buggins turn at the top job during the 1960s and early 1970s. During Heath’s tenure, we had the three day week, due to industrial action by mine workers and a Middle East oil crisis. He was also PM when Bloody Sunday happened and some of the most violent days in the Troubles. A gay man, most of his life he had been closeted given homosexuality was illegal until 1968 in England. He famously hated his successor as Tory party leader. Didn’t we all mate, didn’t we all.

  1. Harold Wilson, Labour

Regarded as soft Left, or what many current members of the party would call a raging communist!, he was PM twice – 1964 to 1970 then from 1974 to 1976. His was a mixed bag premiership. In 1967 sterling was devalued and he made his famous “pound in your pocket” speech. Which was a lie. He also secretly offered circa £500 million in today’s money to Libya’s Gaddafi for the latter to stop arming the IRA. He should be congratulated though for keeping UK out of the Vietnam War despite pressure from the US. He resigned abruptly in 1976 citing exhaustion though he was probably suffering from the onset of the dementia that was hushed up during his retirement.

  1. James Callaghan, Labour

He is only British politician to have held all 4 of the Great Offices of State (Chancellor, Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary, PM). He was Chancellor during sterling devaluation and the Home Secretary who sent troops to Northern Ireland. For a lot of people, he is best known for being PM during the Winter of Discontent. A bad time which I now look upon fondly given the disaster capitalism that we currently have. Brexit will probably make it look like the happiest days of our life.

For me, he is best remembered for:

The 1979 devolution referendum I was too young to vote in and the infamous Cunningham amendment aka the “deid voted naw”. The referendum that was 52 yes and 48 no – those numbers may feel familiar in a UK context – so obviously devolution didn’t happen. Because yes really means no.

Keeping quiet about the McCrone report. It was commissioned during Heath’s time but reported during Wilson’s. (But Callaghan was part of the Cabinet keeping it to secret and ensured it remained secret when we were considering devolution).

The no-confidence vote. Look, an election would have needed to be called in at most 5 months after it actually happened. Denis Healey blamed Labour backbenchers for the vote loss, but SLAB blamed and continue to blame the SNP for it. Funnily enough, they never blame the folk that voted Tory; just the SNP for voting against the government. It would take decades for the SNP to rebuild and lose its minority party status.

  1. Margaret Thatcher, Tory

My loathing holds no bounds for this personage. Everything that is wrong with the UK economy today dates back to her obsession with Chicago school economics. Which is bollocks! The only thing trickling down is rich people peeing on you. Which may be marginally better than cats pooing on your petunias or not. (Munguin says he has to think about that- Ed.)

There was no Thatcherite economic miracle. She STOLE my country’s wealth to fund tax cuts for the richest and build infrastructure in London and SE England. In 1990 having sat on the still-top secret McCrone report, she told a Young Conservative conference

We English, who are marvellous people, are really very generous to Scotland and very generous to Wales.”

Generous, fecking generous?

Ravenscraig, Dalzell, Linwood etc – the deindustrialisation of Scotland. Maybe the industries were at the tail end of viability but she did nothing to replace them and instead threw our money at the rich.

Compare and contrast with Norway – roughly same population and fewer non-oil-related natural resources – megabucks, one of the happiest nations on Earth. I imagine when she died they needed to create a new circle of hell just for her! Ironically the woman that privatised our national assets (“selling off the family silver” MacMillan called it) was given a state funeral paid for by the taxpayers. At which George Osborne cried. I cried during her premiership, like most of Scotland.

  1. John Major, Tory

By the 1990s even the Tories had had enough of the mad bag and she was deposed and replaced, not by Heseltine, the stalking horse, but by a man said to be so boring he ran away from the circus to become an accountant. Actually, it’s not really true but his father had been a music hall performer. His Spitting Image puppet famously had a crush on Virginia Bottomley. He was actually having an affair with Edwina Currie. I now pause to allow you to clear your mind with bleach at the thought of John and Edwina together… (Munguin had to leave the room at this point! Fortunately Tris is made of sterner stuff, and has blocked the two of them completely. NO DOIN’T MENTION THEM AGAIN… preferably EVER!)

He was PM when the UK dropped out of the ERM and his tenure became mired in sleaze and numerous sex scandals. Tory family values may not be your family values.

  1. Tony Blair, Tory

Yeah OK, technically Labour, but not really. Thatcher said New Labour was her greatest legacy! Well, I suppose compared to everything else she was responsible for, it might be the least toxic of the toxic. So things didn’t actually get any better – I blame that Prof Brian Cox. Stick to the Physics mate, not the keyboard!

PFI, Iraq, spin, Cash for Honours. Of course, some will credit him with devolution but he was actually against it and his hand was forced by the Council of Europe which had stated the UK was too centralised. So devolution happened on his watch as did stealing 6000 miles of Scottish coastline before its enactment aided and abetted by (not the) Father of the Nation, Donald Dewar, the first First Minister. Why did he steal 6000 miles? No, not to outdo the Proclaimers but did I mention the McCrone report ?– it’s still top secret in 1999 when parliament reconvened (or the Executive as Labour and LibDems liked to call it) and was indeed was only revealed in 2005 after a tip-off about its existence led to an FOI request.

  1. Gordon Brown, New Labour

Or as I like to call him “how now Brown vow, you’ll have had your federalism”. Others call him Nokia Brown due to his apparent penchant for throwing phones at people when frustrated. He was treated badly by the press, however. Yes, he was useless, but Tony was too and got away with murder literally – Iraq!

Funny though that the press that hated him suddenly started treating him like an elder statesman in 2014. The good ole BBC even interrupting programmes to beam his No thanks speech live, despite purdah. Still, this closest thing to federalism is great isn’t it? Nearly as good as the Sewell Convention.

  1. David Cameron, Tory

Just call me Dave, he said. I have several other names in mind. He famously said he wanted to be PM because he thought he’d be good at it.

He wasn’t.

Lazy (chillaxing anyone?) and entitled, he thought he was cleverer than everyone else and didn’t need to try. Newsflash – you weren’t and you did.

Brexit is his legacy. He’d gambled the nation’s future to settle an internal Tory party struggle and the challenge from UKIP. (I’m not sure that little ploy worked too well…well, look at Liam Fox and Anna Soubry-Ed) Buoyed after winning the Scottish independence referendum, which at one point he looked like losing – Daily Record to the rescue – he seemingly forgot or perhaps was too arrogant to see that the MSM wouldn’t be 100% behind him this time.

Jim Callaghan was the only PM to hold all four Great Offices of State and, thanks to Cameron and EVEL, no MP from a Scottish Constituency will ever be able to match this feat should we be daft enough to remain in the Disunited Kingdom. And don’t get me started on his austerity and social security measures!

  1. Theresa May, Tory

Please make it stop. Please. I can’t even. (Nor can I – Ed)

And they say Scotland doesn’t have the talent to run itself!


  1. From someone living in England – only one way to stop it.

    Detach yourselves from the lunacy.

    View England as a senile old aunt who you’d be kind to but would pay not to live with.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. From your lips to people’s ears. I fear too many still cling to mother and obvs MSM are against us. It will be a fight but we need to win. Brexit will be a disaster.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I should have said, thanks for a great post panda paws.

        Thankfully I left school before she took the milk.

        For two days now I’ve been trying to write a proper reply, listing my thoughts/memory of these people. After much typing and deleting (about 10 mins), what it boils down to is, not one of these parasites had/has any morals or ethics other than me me me.

        I had a geordie mate back in 1970 ish who said they were all, politicians and royalty, members of the same club,

        Cambridge University Netball Team Supporters.

        trispw please accept my apologies and delete if I’m sailing to close to the wind.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. LOL, John.

          Of all of them she was undoubtedly the worst… and that, for me, is saying something becasue I loathe Blair and Brown with passion.

          But talking milk… Jeeez, what kind of a mother would do that?


  2. I’d like to say thanks to Panda Paws for this piece.

    Looking back at them there’s not one of them I even vaguely like. I guess some are less awful than others.

    Jim Callaghan didn’t ever say “Crisis, what Crisis?”

    Erm, there must be other stuff I can say that’s supportive of them…

    Let me think.

    Nah, Munguin says that there are dishes to do and thinking is above my pay grade.

    Anyway, thanks to my mate PP for the excellent blog.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Please pass this around to as many people as you think might need it. The BBC lets us all down again with either sloppy reporting, or downright malicious dangerous lying, which could cost patients dear… whichever…

    NHS Tayside‏Verified account
    Follow Follow @NHSTayside

    We’re aware @BBCScotlandNews has reported all outpatient appointments are cancelled tomorrow in Tayside. This is not the case. Clinics will run as planned unless you have been advised otherwise and we will continue to keep patients updated if the situation changes tomorrow


  4. Looking back through that lot …………so depressing . I remember when Thatcher got elected , my lovely mother just uttered “we are all feked “. Almost exactly the same words came out my mouth to my kids in 2014 .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Quite the rogues’ gallery aren’t they. Thatcher is still the worst. Although those that came after have gone further to the right than her – she enabled them. And as for her “relaxed” atttitude to paedophiles – in her cabinet, in her private office and invites for Christmas (Savile)…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. And before Harold Wilson, there was Alec Douglas-Home for whom a safe seat and departure from the HoL had to be arranged. He famously claimed that he worked out economic issues using matchsticks and generally conveyed an impression like the 19th century noblemen who were Victoria’s PM’s.

    He came to my school to give a speech at prizegiving. Very fluent it was too and he only had to glance at his notes to remind him of the name of the school.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gosh your school must have been important, we didn’t even have the local councillor at mine! Heath wasn’t PM when I was born – not telling who (a lady and her age and all that) but he is the first one I’m sure my memories are mine and not snippets of other’s recollections.

      I was one of Thatcher’s first victims. Before the miners she took on the bairns. Nae milk for me. I remember the power cuts sitting in a cold room, in candlelight waiting for the soup to heat up on the calor gas camping stove. God it was like living in East Berlin!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Panda Paws……Very interesting and informative article!
    It strikes me that the most recent ex-Prime Ministers are being rather shabbily treated by the Queen. Neither Blair, Brown, not Cameron have received either a peerage or a Garter knighthood, which has historically been the norm. Maybe they don’t actually deserve special honors……but surely neither did John Major or probably a lot of the others.

    After reviewing the history of the matter, I find that of the 56 people (one source seems to say 53) who have served as PM since Robert Walpole, I find that 29 have received Garter knighthoods, and most of the others have received a peerage……in earlier years an hereditary Earldom, or more recently a life peerage. Quoting from the website:
    “only nine Prime Ministers have ended their days as plain ‘Mr’, without accepting either a peerage or knighthood: Henry Pelham, George Grenville, William Pitt the Younger, Spencer Perceval, George Canning, William Gladstone, Andrew Bonar Law, Ramsay MacDonald, and Neville Chamberlain.”

    Note that Spencer Perceval in additional to receiving no honors also suffered the indignity of getting shot.

    Which brings us to the American problem of what to do with ex-presidents. H. L. Mencken, a well known American journalist and satirist of the 1920’s and 1930’s had this suggestion:
    “It would be humane to hang all presidents on the expiration of their terms. . . . They dodder along in a truly obscene manner and always end as public nuisances.“

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As much of a republican as I am, it’s not really Betty’s fault. The succeeding PM is the one that nominates for titles. Frankly none of them deserve anything – they have been well paid for doing the job. The only thing Thatcher did that I have grudging respect is refusing a heriditary peerage and taking a life one. God the idea of that numpty Mark Thatcher as the Earl of (Hell?)- sudder.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Mrs Thatcher did, however, given her husband an hereditary baronetcy, for no particular reason other than he:

        a) made a lot of money
        b) tolerated her
        c) consumed vast quantities of drink
        d) did absolutely nothing about her weird friends (Savile)

        Hereditary titles had stopped being used by that time for anyone other than the royals… obviously the dukedoms and earldoms they get for being born, or getting married (great services to the country) are passed on…

        Callaghan’s title wasn’t hereditary, nor was Wilson’s. Heath took the Garter, which isn’t hereditary. I think McMillan was the last one to get an Earldom. (First Earl of Stockton.)

        I suspect that Denis got a title like that because she wanted Mark to have something and realised he was far too stupid, even with all the advantages he had, to achieve anything himself, so inheriting it was his only chance. Similar to most of the royals in that respect. His sister got sod all, but Margaret reputedly didn’t like her.

        Handy if yer ma’s a prime minister (and she likes you); even handier if she’s a queen.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I was driving taxis in Edinburgh when that Harridan from Hell was in power. I always swore if she appeared in front of me I would forget where the brake pedal was.
    My wife is the proud owner of badges saying “Ding dong the witch is dead” I remember some people getting upset ‘cos we were celebrating, little did we know we would have to pay to bury her.
    Frankie Boyle had it right “hand out shovels to the Scots, she go so deep they’ll deliver her in person tae the mannie doon stairs”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aye Frankie Boyle is right about a lot of things. I thought I’d cheer when she died but I was actually far happier when she resigned. Oh happy day! Still thsoe 1980s taxis were prone to mechanical failure were’t they 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. maggie the milk snatcher, but we forget her other achievements,she is credited with the defeat of scargill and the second miners strike, my recollection was that after heath’s defeat the electricity industry was made more robust, our station had its fuel stocks, chemicals stocks and a much larger water treatment throughput. The station was run in overload conditions to keep the supply on. This, history will see as a planned confrontation, who RULES the country.
    Strange that in Scotland we had 3 vehicle manufacturing facilities, Bathgate no more, Linwood no more, only Albion left, who are American owned and only make axles. Now the english have built with our cash cow money, Nissan, Toyota and Honda, all brand new factories. Where are our old factories, not only closed but taken to the dump. Steel was sourced from the Scottish steel works, also no longer to be seen.
    On a similar note, IBM at Greenock, they had us build the advanced assembly plant, also no more to be seen, also in the dump.
    A bit of a ramble but are we seeing the common thread, we are being ripped off of our resources and our facilities to maintain well paid jobs.
    Linwood was closed because it was too far from its market, Nissan bring in parts from Japan, Vauxhall engines and gearboxes from Australia and van kits from France.
    And i’ve not forgotten the Frigates for the Clyde.
    But you can have our redundant nuclear submarines, our hydrogen bombs, our live firing ranges for depleated uranium shells, and our redundant nuclear power station experiments.
    Get the meesage Scotland, you’re a dump.
    Made by you’re Masters, carefully leaving the nice bits for them to own and enjoy.
    Wake up, the revolution is coming

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I couldn’t agree more. I could write a whole article about that evil bint. And as I said above, I was one of the first victims . We were poor so that milk was needed especially since I was a frail wee thing.
      The Proclaimers Letter to America has the roll call of deindustralisation. Like I say she needs a special circle in hell.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. At least Heath good put out a good tune on the old Joanna!

    Seriously though Heath was meant to be Thatcher, however the project stalled in the face of determined resistance and had to wait another ten years.

    Another thing – isn’t it a big coincidence that “Thatchers” were installed simultaneously on both sides of the pond?

    Of course we have free elections and I’m a tinfoil hat wearing nutter!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. well they were both middle class as opposed to the poshos who had been running the party and faced resistance/snobbery. Personally if the rest of my party were treating me like something they had trod on I’d find a different party but À chacun son goût (which is foreign for each to their own).

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Off topic (with your indulgence PP). This is the list of people who voted in the Scottish parliament, to allow the British government to alter the devolution settlement and take back powers presumably to give them to Fluffy Muddle.

    Continuity Bill

    J Balfour M Ballantyne B Bowman M Briggs A Burnett D Cameron J Carlaw F Carson P Chapman M Corry R Davidson M Fraser M Golden J Greene J Halcro Johnston R Hamilton L Kerr D Lockhart E Mountain O Mundell J Scott G Simpson L Smith A Stewart A Tomkins A Wells B whittle

    What do you reckon they have in common?



    1. O/t bloody hell anyone would think it was your blog. Err actually it is your blog so be my guest – even though I’m your guest!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. O/t – well if its good enough for Tris. SNP was won the Clacks North council by election – 24.7% turnout which given the weather is not bad actually. Don’t know how many postal votes.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. To be fair to Major, he did identify a lot of Tory back benchers as: “A shower of bastards.”

    An Earldom is still automatically offered to a retiring PM, but, all since McMillan, who was an Edwardian in any case, have declined. Blair and Brown allegedly declined higher honours, even their Garter K, as they both saw themselve as a man of the people.

    I remember hearing a High Tory reading through their litany of Prime Ministers: “Winston, Anthony, Harold, Alex, Heath, Margaret, Major,” clearly Heath and Major were not seen in the Carton Club as being: “the right sort.”

    And, as a Fettesian friend of mine, whom met through rugby, once admitted: “Unfortunately, we have had more than our share of cunts through Fettes, and Blair is definitely up there at the top of that list.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t know it was automatically offered. I’m surprised that Dave refused. I can just see him as the Earl of Bullington. Most of the North British Tories today are “upper crust” – wonder how they cope with the likes of Annie Wells fa the scheme?

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Callaghan was always going to lose the 1979 election, if he had lasted a few more months his defeat would have been even worse. However he had a chance of winning in 1978 if he had called an early vote, as most people had expected.

    Incidentally, he survived an earlier no confidence vote in which the 11 SNP MP’s voted with him. They also voted with the Labour government around two thirds of the time between 74 and 79. Never hear that often though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh absoutely Lanark. SLAB have played hard and fast with the facts of the no confidence vote since 1979 itself. Suits them to make the SNP the bad guys. In many ways the SNP had no choice after the Cunningham clause betrayel but boy did they pay the price – as we all did. Has the SNP been electorally together in the 1980s I truly believe we’d been independent years ago.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Not sure if this is off topic since it’s about milk.

    We moan about Thatcher taking the kids milk, yet the stuff we buy now has had all the good stuff removed, even the blue lidded so-called “whole milk”. How can it be “whole milk” without cream? And the green lidded stuff is even worse!

    I can’t even remember when this started, the change has been so subtle. It seems they have managed to convince us that it’s somehow healthier to drink white water rather than milk the way nature made it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. LOL.

      I hadn’t thought about that. But I don;t use milk much. I drink everything black, don;t eat cereal and almost never make white milky sauces, so I only buy a carton when my tea drinking friend visits… once every few months.


    2. Possibly after, or leading up to deregulation of the Milk Marketing Board.
      The old marketing boards that guaranteed a stable price for milk, wool and potatoes, and farmers had to sell to, were having to compete for the produce against other buyers. The other buyers for milk were supermarkets and big users of raw milk (like Carnation), this was in the early 80s. The olď MMB used to pay an extra premium for milk with a higher fat content. Caution an aside: Some dairy farmers would keep a couple of Jersey cows in the herd or feed some good quality hay to maintain a good milk fat sample.
      All this is a bit off topic, but the UK were lobbying the EU to change the regulations on milkfat levels, below a certain level it was illegal to sell it as milk. I cannot say that supermarkets were the force creating the pressure to lobby, but Sainsbury was the first, almost immediately, to bring out low fat milk when the EU changed its stance.
      Sorry John for going on, and on. I could have just said from a farming view it was as subtle as a flying axe. As for health it is now reckoned that by consuming low to no fat milk we are missing out on important fat soluble trace elements and that kids from the 50s and beyond who were encouraged to drink full fat milk when young remain slimmer when older. Might be correct or the supermarkets now have a butter fat surplus from the whole milk they buy from farmers at below production costs. Cynical or what?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for that Alan, I have never given it too much thought even though it’s one of my pet hates.

        You prompted me to do a search, “when did low fat milk start”, and this wiki page confirming what you said about the 80s came up.

        Although it’s still giving the impression that the semi-crap in the blue lidded containers is “whole milk” when it’s patently not.

        Arrgh! I just remembered about gold top milk from London, so did a search, and it seems you can still get real milk, but it only comes from Jersey cows now.

        The health bit might be right, I’m still built like a 6ft skelf.;-)

        I don’t have a wordpress account so I can’t “like” any posts. But I like them all, so please everybody add an imaginary like. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Ah yes, gold top milk, high fat. If I remember right jersey cows could produce milk with 6,5% to 7% fat, guernsey cows slightly less. The milk to look for is green top milk, this is milk straight from the dairy farm, one herd milk and not pasteurized. The dairy can only sell to the end user. It is known that this type of raw milk if left till the next day for sample testing will have a lower bacteria count than the day before, it contains anti pathogens that are killed off when pasteurized. We let some really go off, along side pasteurized milk, then had both tested. The lab said that although you wouldn’t want to drink the raw milk sample you could, without harm. The pasteurized milk sample they said should be treated as a biological hazard.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. If you do have access to any dairy farms preferably organic or biodynamic systems, go and introduce yourself. If they operate one of the sustainable systems, I would be surprised if they didn’t have a retail set up to sell to you. There maybe a farm holding milking sheep nearby. I’ve milked cows and sheep commercially and goats many decades ago for stupidity and local entertainment. The raw milk product is different to any milk you buy in the supermarket. If there are children around, or adults with a child outlook, try making butter it’s quick and easy, yoghurt or cheese very satisfying. Although you can make the best yoghurt ever from sheep milk you cannot make butter from sheep milk.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. That’s interesting. I don’t really ask for myself. I don;t drink milk at all. I’ve a small intolerance problem, so gave it up years ago.

                Of course I’ve heard of goats’ milk and the great cheese it makes. It never occurred to me about sheep!


    3. John

      Having made my first trip to shops since Wednesday I can tell you there is no milk of any kind at the moment! I use it for tea and some cereals but only a splash for porridge. Have enough for now but hopefully weather will ease and let deliveries through. I think it tracks back to move from bottles to plastic myself and the low fat fads of 1980s

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Seems to be thawing.

        All we can get here is massive jugs of milk. As I say, I don’t use it myself, but my mum was wanting some, and I looked for her.

        It’s no use, of course, it would last her weeks!


  15. A few pieces of Prime Ministerial trivia…….related to the country that has no constitution yet claims that it does, and thus, famously, 1) Makes it up as it goes along, and 2) Does a lot of things as a matter of custom and tradition rather than law…..such as simply deciding one day to start calling the First Lord of the Treasury the PRIME Minister.

    1) When was the office of Prime Minister formally established by law as opposed to simple custom.

    Answer: Hard to say exactly, but at least not until the twentieth century. From the UK.GOV website:

    “An early internal reference to the Prime Minister was included in the minutes of the first meeting of the Committee of Imperial Defence in 1902. The 1904 edition of the Imperial Calendar (the predecessor to the Civil Service Yearbook) referred to Arthur Balfour as ‘Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury’; in the previous edition he was merely ‘First Lord of the Treasury and Lord Privy Seal’. Then in December 1905 the Prime Minister was granted a place in the official order of precedence. The first statutory reference to the Prime Minister came in the Chequers Estate Act 1917, which specified Chequers as a prime-ministerial residence. Public recognition of the existence of a ‘Prime Minister’s Office’ in the Civil Service Yearbook came as recently as the 1977 edition.”

    2) Was the Prime Minister who “Lost America” a peer governing from the House of Lords?

    Answer: No. “LORD North” did not lead a government from the House of Lords. (This may be old stuff to the Brits, but is less understood in America.) Lord North, whose government fell when Lord Cornwallis surrendered the second entire British army to be lost in America, was not a peer. He was a younger son of an aristocratic family who used the courtesy title and governed as PM in the Commons.

    3) So who WAS the last peer of the realm who did govern as PM from the House of Lords?

    Answer: The full story is sort of interesting.

    No, it wasn’t Plantagenet Palliser, the Duke of Omnium.
    It might have been Alec Douglas-Home, the 14th Earl of Home who had served in the cabinet from his seat in the Lords, and when Macmillan resigned was chosen head of the Tory Party. But by the 1960’s, it was apparently considered unacceptable for a Prime Minister to sit in the House of Lords. So he renounced his Earldom on 23 October 1963 and then stood for election to the Commons as Sir Alec Douglas-Home. He was elected on 7 November. So for about two weeks in 1963, Douglas-Home was a PM who had served in the government in the House of Lords, but as Party Leader and PM was a member of NEITHER the House of Lords nor the House of Commons.

    So the last Prime Minister to actually lead a government from the House of Lords was Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, in 1885-86, and 1898-1902. The last PM in the Lords was Salisbury, who resigned on 11 July 1902.

    An article about Alec Douglas-Home in The Independent, with a nod to Trollope’s Duke of Omnium.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting, Danny.

      Alex Douglas Home (Pronounced HUME) later went back to the Lords as a Baron. His son inherited the Earldom.

      His story brings out what you earlier said about making things up.

      Anthony Wedgewood Benn was an MP and the son of Viscount Stansgate. When Stansgate died, Tony Benn (as he later became known) immediately became a Lord. But Benn didn’t want to be a Lord. He wanted to be a (Labour) MP. He asked for the peerage to be taken away.

      On no, they said. You are a peer. You can’t just give it up like that. Well, he fought the authorities and he fought them, to no avail.

      But then, the authorities wanted Home to be an MP and lo and behold, the impossible became possible.

      And that’s not the only time that the impossible has done just that thing… when it suited royals or the top of the Establishment.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Very interesting Tris!
        Yes, it certainly seems that the Peerage Act of 1963 was designed and timed (by the TORY government) to benefit the Tory Alec Douglas-Home in his succession to Prime Minister, rather than Labourite Tony Benn specifically, who had campaigned to renounce his peerage for years. Not just the timing of Home’s succession to PM in 1963, but also the provision that renouncing of the peerage could be done within a year of the passage of the act, and not just within a year of succession to the peerage, as it otherwise specifies.

        Yes, lots to be said for making it up as you go along. 😉

        Then there was the House of Lords Act of 1999, which removed the automatic right of hereditary peers to sit in the House of Lords, and thus eliminated the need of a peer to renounce his peerage, as provided by the Peerage Act of 1963, to serve as an elected MP in the Commons .

        Wiki says……

        “Since the abolition in 1999 of the general right of hereditary peers to sit in the House of Lords, and the consequent removal of the general disability of such peers to sit in or vote for the House of Commons, it is no longer necessary for hereditary peers to disclaim their peerages for this purpose. In 2001, John Sinclair, 3rd Viscount Thurso became the first British hereditary peer to be elected to the Commons and take his seat. Later that year, Douglas Hogg inherited the peerage his father (Quintin Hogg) had disclaimed, but did not have to disclaim it himself to continue sitting in the House of Commons.”

        So as I understand it, a Peer of the Realm who is not entitled to a seat in the Lords can now be elected to the Commons and could lead a government in the Commons as Prime Minister.

        What WOULD we do without Wikipedia to understand the workings of Parliament and the British “Constitution.” 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        1. What would we do without Wiki for pretty much everything, Danny?

          I thought it was ridiculous that the King could abdicate in 1937 and yet a lowly Viscount could not disclaim his title in the 1960s.

          Another occasion on which the make-it-up-as-you-go-along constitution came into play was over that abdication.

          The King, on standing down, was given the title (by his brother) Duke of Windsor. He, who had until he signed the papers, had been styled “His Majesty”, was given the style “His Royal Highness”.

          However, in breaking with tradition, his wife was not accorded the style “Her Royal Highness”. She was to be styled “Her Grace, Duchess of Windsor”.

          This, so they say, was on the insistence of the new Queen (better known to us as the Queen Mother). She held that as Mrs Simpson had already managed to work her way through two husbands (scandalous in these days), there was a good chance that she would tire of Windsor and go after a third.

          Once given, she said, the style “Royal Highness” could not be removed. A divorced woman trailing around the playgrounds of the rich in the south of France with a style “HRH” attached to her name, would bring shame on the royal family… she said. So she wasn’t allowed to have it.

          When Diana finished with Charlie, she remained the princess of Wales, but she was stripped of her “HRH”, and so a few years later was Air Miles’ ex, Fergie.

          So, it turned out that the QM was wrong… except of course, she wasn’t. They just moved the goalposts.

          Liked by 1 person

  16. PP

    They have all been pretty shit to be honest. I go back to Thatcher I suppose as the one I remember the most as a youngster. I despised her, maybe didn’t understand at the time so much why but I did. She deregulated the buses, my Dad lost his job and was then out of work for 7 f years, 7 years. Total cow. I can remember the anger I felt every time I saw that cow on the news etc without really understanding why. Major was very boring and just kept the Thatcher message going, he was protected by the media to my mind and Kinnock agreed with most of his policies so never really got going. Blair, I was living and working in the States at the time and had to phone my Mum to find out who had won as it just wasn’t covered in the States, special relationship anyone. Well what can we say about that Tory that hasn’t already been said. He did improve buildings and spend a little more, but little did we know the money was borrowed from his mates and our grand kids will still be paying it back long after we are gone. Brown, mental. I always thought he just wasn’t right in the head. He always appeared on the verge of losing it, definitely a sense of entitlement , and totally filled with anger. I actually think he hates Scotland, he is one of those Labour types that would have loved Scotland to have just become England, total wanker. May should not be PM. She is out her depth, not bright enough, is actually scary and unbelievably incompetent. If that bunch don’t convince Scots to vote for independence then we might as well all give up and bury our heads in a dark hole until we pop our clogs. Sorry for the bad language, these ass holes really get on my Booboids.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Forgot Cameron, another total prick. Look at the damage he has done and generations to come will be paying for his ineptitude. The poorest and most vulnerable of our generation probably don’t sleep at night when that tube gets mentioned.


      Liked by 1 person

      1. He’s an example of someone who only got to be where he was because of the school and university he went to and the fact that his mother is related to the queen.


    2. Good rant there Bruce.

      I hate Thatcher too… and Blair… and Brown.

      I always thought that Major was a bit dull…more Minor.

      But May is the very worst of them all at a time when we could do with someone good


    3. Hi Bruce

      No worries re language – that lot have me swearing like a trouper too! Brown defo hates Scotland. He famously called himself “North British” and not ironically either. Also his favourite ever football moment was Wayne Rooney scoring a goal – against Scotland. Yip. TBH I’m really worried we don’t vote for indy – these swines will have the eyeballs out our head and come back for the eyelashes as my mother used to say!

      Liked by 1 person

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