Obviously this like all the similar articles depends on what is subjectively regarded as 'best'. However the most effective Blair, by a country mile. He won elections. At the time I remember John Smith had a wide appeal though including to many outside of Labour. We will never know how he would have turned out due to his untimely demise.
John Smith but that is partly based on the fact that death is a great redeemer, otherwise, although I hate to say it, Tony Blair of course.
Neil Kinnock, IMHO.It says something about the state of the contemporary Labour Party that the top is crowded with mediocrities with the charisma of a tin of Tesco value beans. Look at them. Jack Straw, the Milibands, Ed Balls, Harriet Harman, Mandelson. Is this really the best the party can do?
Smith by a mile, and certainly not just because of the great "if only" caused by his untimely death. Pretty much his first act as leader was to drop Mandelson and the "modernisers" like a hot brick; it was as if he was making a pre-emptive strike on what was, it turned out, to come.
We'll never know how good a leader Smith would have been - I certainly don't see the evidence for his posthumous sainthood that many Labour members seemed to give him.Blair was clearly the most, in fact the only, successful one of the four.
Blair won three elections, sure, but the medium/long term effects on the actual party have been more devastating than a nuclear explosion and we're already seing the results.Terrifying drop in membership, like never before at any point in history, way more and way faster than the Tories. A Party in shreds over its identity, future, beliefs, relationship with the electorate.A Party that betrayed literally everything, not a few things, but everything its members had believed in until very recently.It's also worth remembering that, both in 1997 and 2001, Labour would have won even if my nan's old dog had been at the party's helm.
That's true Claude, but that dog's grasp of fiscal policy is astounding!
Claude, I take your points about Blair. However, he managed to keep a party with a terrible history of internal splits united like never before. If it's purely in terms of assessing leadership, then that has to be a very good thing.
No contest. It's an historical fact. Blair was the only Labour leader to win 3 elections in a row, even in 2005 when the Iraq war was expected to punish him. He was not defeated by the voters. All his predecessors and his successor were.Apart from that, he WAS the best. His was a great reforming party, despite what his naysayers say. Oh, and he was right about Iraq.
The clue's in the title of that last commentator.
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