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Crime and the economy were indeed great successes for Major. However, White Wednesday was not a "down" - rather it was a timely release and inevitable consequence of the folly of ERM membership which he had initiated whilst chancellor.

And of course Maastricht cannot be forgotten. Had he decided that this was a step too far then we would not now be faced with the implementation of the Lisbon Constitution.

Does Mr. Finkelstein mean posterity rather than history?

Let us also not forget he laid the important foundations of the Northern Ireland Peace Process... something he is rarely given any credence for...

Major was a bastard. He ramrodded Maastricht through on a vote of confidence in his pathetic government and the traitor then got his weasel to sign it. He has been well rewarded for his treachery. Major was and remains a tool of the globalist new world order and we former members and contributors to the Conservative party remain unconvinced the Tories can bring our nation back out of the EU and into national self governance. Major was a disaster. History will remember him kindly only through the pen of one who was not there or one who approved of his gross treachery and economic incompetence.

One of Major's biggest successes which is back in the headlines now was breaking the back of inflation. Reading his book, that's one of the major ambitions he had and he achieved it (helped by world markets of course).

Another fact you could use to judge John Major's success is the fact that Labour have taken so long to run out of money, just as judging Labour's failure will be how long it takes us to put the public finances right again.

We know about the Major failures in controlling the party, Europe ect but in helping create the Economic conditions that precipitated 15 years of growth that even Gordon Brown couldn't wreck, John Major can hold his head up high.

John Major should be very grateful to Brown for showing the public that there are far, far worse Prime Ministers than he ever was! To be fair to Sir John, he had a very hard act to follow and was followed by one of the greatest showmen and tricksters in recent political history! I believe in addition John Major has mellowed and matured since his departure from office and he has become a wise elder statesman.

Peter Watson - Ah Maastricht...yes of course! You and those of similar mind will never forgive Major for that and perhaps it proves the success he and his excellent and loyal team of Whips had at the time in getting it through the House despite the assorted band of mavericks who showed themselves to be utterly incapable of Party loyalty and team spirit!

What happens to Labour in 2010 is of no consequence, Major was a total disaster for the Tories.

Finkelstein is right that the voter never gets it wrong, except when they elected Major!

Unfortunately a buffoon by the name of Kinnock blew it for Labour in that famous 'triumphal ' speech in Sheffield, otherwise they were on to win and the Tories would have had 5 years in opposition and to get rid of Major.

Even though I wanted John Major to lose the Maassticht vote and thought his foreign policy in Bosnia immoral I was always a fan. He seemed to me a decent man (all too rare in politics) and fought the 1st Gulf War with far more skill politically than the more recent muppets.
His coruscating attack on Brown during the last Conservative conference seemed to resonate with the public and was probably one of the reasons Brown persuaded himself not to call an election. We should be very grateful for that.

Why one arth are we indulging ourselves with this backwards-looking discussion?
we have managed - thanks to DC's determination to become relevant to today.
we are just getting the electorate to focus on us NOW; so lets put this sort of pointless discussion to one side.
there is one thing and one thing only that matters today. Getting elected.

the assorted band of mavericks who showed themselves to be utterly incapable of Party loyalty and team spirit

Fie, Sally Roberts. Most of us on this site would prefer Churchill's teaching on this than Major's: Country First; Constituency Second; Party Third.

Richard Calhoun, agreed, and this shows that Westminster chattering classes have a long term memory that wouldn't challenge a GoldFish. The question that Daniel Finkelstein should ask himself, if Major is to be kindly judged by history, then why are the Conservatives still in opposition?

But I suppose there was a benefit to be had by Major's PMship, in that in giving the EUphiles their head, they went and hung themselves, ensuring that this country is EUsceptic, and reducing the EUphiles to an irrelevant rump in the Conservative party.

John Major should be judged very harshly as a Prime Minister. His bullying any deception led to the disastrous Maastrcht Treaty, from which nothing but evil has followed. Thanks to him it is doubtful if Britain will ever regain its independence or any semblence of democracy.

"You and those of similar mind will never forgive Major for that and perhaps it proves the success he and his excellent and loyal team of Whips had at the time in getting it through the House despite the assorted band of mavericks who showed themselves to be utterly incapable of Party loyalty and team spirit! "

Ever heard of country before party? Those mavericks thought what he was doing was wrong and against the interests of Britain. Yet you think they should just have forgotten their principles and voted against what they perceived the interests of the couuntry to be?

"The Union is in danger. While break-up is not yet inevitable, it is becoming more likely,"

"Scotland has been fed a diet of anti-English grievance for decades. During the years of Conservative Government, Labour equated the Tories with England, and made anti- English noises wherever they saw party political advantage."

‘If the Union is now unstable, Labour bears the greatest single responsibility. It scoffed at all warnings and - for partisan advantage - passed a wholly one-sided Devolution Act that gave Scotland all it hoped for with no regard to the effect across the United Kingdom.

Once Scotland had its own Parliament (and power to raise taxes), Labour saw no reason to end the Barnett formula that directed to Scotland an unfairly large share of public spending. This Scot-geld is paid by English taxpayers.’

Sir John Major

Conservative Home. Tory Diary.

The other gentleman from Huntingdon was Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) Lord Protector of England. Incidentally, when not committing regicide he did successfully conquer Scotland from Gretna Green to the Isle of Lewis, a fact not often mentioned. That is why there is a Cromwell Street in Stornoway, for example.

Sir John always understood the need for stability in forex markets, something most politicians barely even think about. Rather like Lord Lamont, he understood that the economy has to be built on price stability, and that often involves taking the brickbats when tough decisions have to be made. That is real statesmanship.

Unfortunately Ian (Aug 14 at 9:14) is mistaken. The Europhiles are not now an "irrelevant rump in the Conservative Party". They run it now !!!

Remind me, who was the prime minister who took Britain into the ERM, and signed up to the end of the national veto with Qualified Majority Voting?

What was her name, anyone?

Very selective memories, Eurosceptics.

"Unfortunately Ian (Aug 14 at 9:14) is mistaken."

Yes I was going to finish off by saying 'that is if Cameron could find some spine to face down the EU to match the EUsceptic mandate he would have from both party supporters and country.'

He was a thin-skinned, vindictive man who lacked the education, intelligence or vision to be a great statesman or politician. From his Back to Basics campaign to the Citizens Charter, he tinkered whilst Rome (or at least the UK as it became even more embedded in the EU) burned. I am sorry, but he was truly, depressingly awful.

Andrew Woodman

I have to challenge your the 15 years of growth since post 1998/9 it has been fuelled by excessive borrowing by both the government and individuals.

Sally Roberts

So far as I a concerned John was and remians a traitor to this country. The assorted mavericks you denigrate were the few who were true to their parliamentary duities and even more importantly truly served the interest of the electorate. When, as Major did, one puts party before country one is lost.

It is true that Major began the peace process in NI and even truer that Blair sold out to the men of violence. What would Major have done?

The only reason not airbrush Major out of history is so that we can be reminded of his treachery in selling out to Brussels.

Paul Oakley correctly spells out the order of priority which remains as true today as it did when Churchill expressed it.

Those who saw Major in person during the months of the Maastricht battle reported on his appalling dirty tricks. Having been pretty close to the action then I cannot and never will view Major with anything short of horror.

It is true Mrs T was perhaps slow to realise what the EEC was about – though there are some on ConHome who still don’t know. When she did realise, and characteristically reacted, that was her end.

"It is true Mrs T was perhaps slow to realise what the EEC was about"

Was she, or was the problem that she had Howe, Hurd, Clarke, Hesletine, Patten trying to stab her in the back over the EU?

History will be kind to Sir John, as to many British prime ministers, by forgetting him. It is surely a mistake to give him much credit for the conduct of the first gulf war - the essential dispositions had been made before he took power, fortunately. Granted his Bosnia position was shameful, I cannot see how one could be a fan.

Possibly his "niceness" was the most destructive thing about his premiership. Given the chance (any chance should have been welcome) in 1995 to follow a leader who just might have won in 1997, his parliamentarians stuck with him in mutual apathy. His tawdry leadership campaign set an unedifying tone, even if he "won".

The parliamentarians who survived 1997, in guilty denial, blamed and punished the voluntary party for their own collective failure. Sir John, resigning promptly, avoided all that nastiness and left a moral and ideological vacuum that his successors have not yet managed to refill - a vacuum in which all-purpose political operators like Danny Finklestein can make a good living.

Iain I agree that Mrs T was not the problem except in the sense that she believed (for a time) Lord Cockfield and the whole 1992 Single Market farrago - hence she backed the Single European Act without realising all the nasty hooks within it.

And yes she was most comprehensively stabbed - not only by all those you name in her own party, and more, but by a long list from other EEC countries too.

Major and Lamont were monkeys.

I'll never forget Lamont's 'green shoots of recovery' line to reassure the public that the fall in house prices was near an end, only to watch them fall massively for another 4 years.

I fear you raising this will only unecessarily remind people about the Major government deceit over the EU and the scale of the recession.

Is conHome just trying to follow on from PolicyExchange by scoring another own-goal?

"Major government deceit over the EU"

Yes it should not be forgotten Major coming from the EU summit in Birmingham brandishing, Neville Chamberlain like, his negotiated 'subsiduarity'. And what has this subsiduarity achieved? Nothing , just haemorrhaging more of our Sovereignty to the EU.

Mark Hudson makes a very interesting, possibly crucial point about Major`s perceieved shortcomings in education, intelligence and vision. I believe that this lack was at the heart of his failure as Prime Minister. It led to his most important initial difficulty, that of not having the intellectual weight to chart the Government`s course and then convince his Cabinet to unite behind him in following it. His inability to do so thus generated splits at the heart of government, reflected then in the Parliamentary Party and subsequently in the country. Whatever else, he had the ability to understand where his failings lay and much of his problems then seemed rooted in the frustration of not being able to overcome them. Mockery from without is the hardest political obstacle to overcome (Brown?!)and he endured more than his fair share. It might well be that history will take a kinder view, but at the moment it seems unlikely to do so.

Chad Noble makes a good point. Sadly until Cameron grasps the EU nettle this debate will continue and be current rather than dead and gone. Cameron has been more robust on Georgia than the EU!

Just a little footnote:

After he ceased to be PM, John Major was a director and member of the Audit committee of Mayflower plc. He resigned his directorships just a few months before a massive hole was found in the accounts and Mayflower went spectacularly bust. (I must declare an interest in that I was foolish enough to be a small shareholder!).

John Major, whose intellect and education was sadly deficient, was just not up to the job of PM. He gave an opening to SF/IRA after they had been soundly beaten, split the party over Maastricht and led the Conservatives into the wilderness. The result was Tony Blair, whose true awfulness has yet to be widely understood.

John Major was a thoughly underated politician, he managed to steer things though parliament with a tiny majority and a party that at the time had a number of MPs who put their whims and love of publicity ahead of party and country in my view.

I'm surprised by the venom here (UKIP trolls?), although I should not be as most of the UKIP fruitcakes seem to still be fighting WWII.

Surely, his greatest success was in winning the 1992 General Election against all odds and finally burying old-style socialism as an electoral force.

Everyone assumed a Labour victory, including footsoldiers like myself, but Sir John and his 'soapbox' pulled off a rare feat.

Whatever faults he had or mistakes he made later, I literrally 'laughed out loud' as i watched Neil Kinnock's resignation speech the next day and that was all down to Sir John...


If UKIP had as many members as people who lost their homes under Major, they'd be laughing.

Andrew Woodman

I have to challenge your the 15 years of growth since post 1998/9 it has been fuelled by excessive borrowing by both the government and individuals.

Fair enough, but had the Conservative economic model been followed through with tax cuts instead of excessive spending, we would have had 15 years of growth which would have been sustainable growth.

The ERM was a disaster for the UK. Of course the Tories weren't the only ones to blame; so were all its other supporters amongst the navel gazing metropolitan "elite". Those who objected to Maastricht were patriots with more care and foresight than the same bunch who backed the ERM. Of course the latter didn't lose their jobs and houses. And no doubt they don't pay the disporpotionate heavy price the rest of the nation as a whole pays from EU membership. The UK would be better of out of the disaster which is the EU.

John Major was a good PM. We were - and are - lucky to have him. I hope he can be given some sort of role in the next Conservative government.

Justin, I truly wonder what planet you inhabit.

Maybe he can advise a future Conservative Government on: marital fidelity, selling your country down the river to the EU, sticking by colleagues who had clearly behaved inappropriately, or leading the Party to its worst defeat since the Great Reform Act of 1832.

Take your pick.

Too much hard work to reason with people like you, Mark.

Mark Hudson@ 11.35

John Major could also, on the basis of his experience as a director of Mayflower, advise on account keeping and financial integrity!

Major will have beaten Brown in the hisory books as soon as Brown loses the first election he's ever fought.

Let us hope that both John Major and Gordon Brown, together with the equally awful Blair, are very quickly completely forgotten and that the country can find a real, and strong, leader again. Alas it is difficult to see any prospect of that in Parliament at the moment.

Don't worry, Justin, I'll just pop along to fish for my supper in the Thames.

A decent man, but to paraphrase David Cameron, "a loser, not a leader".

In the ’92 election, the Conservatives under John Major won the largest number of votes in any general election for any party - ever. People voted Conservative across every divide and distinction in the country, and in so doing sealed the middle-ground of politics for centre-right thinking, and made other parties move to that ground to challenge us.

[How often did we decry the Blair government in its early years for having criticised Conservative policies before '97 which it then adopted whole-heartedly afterwards, dressing them up only in the figleaf of a new name?]

After the Thatcher government had addressed the problems of the economy in the ’80s, the Major government created a new basis for the relationship between individuals and the state in the ‘90s.

Above, the Citizen's Charter and 'Back to Basics' have been dismissed out of hand, but what they were actually telling us as citizens was what we had a right to expect from our dealings with the public sector, and that government should stop trying to overreach itself before it had managed to provide for our most straightforward requirements and expectations. What Conservative could argue with that?

And the Major government started paying down the national debt, and abolishing taxes - not reducing, mark you, but abolishing. What Conservative could argue with that?

Others may choose not to see an underlying theme to John Major’s policies and government, but I believe that not only was there one, but it was Conservative to its very core: cautious, thrifty, meritocratic, liberating, and encouraging of small government, individual responsibility, and social justice.

For certain, we must learn from the mistakes of that time, but let us also look to the noble intentions and lasting achievements as an exemplar for future governments.

Calendar of State Papers
Act of Attainder against Employees of News International
Chief Patriotship of John Hayes


Social Justiciarius: You have read the transcripts of the testimony of nonpersons Gibb and Cooper?

Daniel Finkelstein: I have. And I must protest at your use of Diet Coke during the, otherwise entirely defensible, process of waterboarding …

SJ: … Please confine yourself to the evidence at hand, not to its, uh, means of procurement.
As you have seen, you stand accused of the foulest of crimes, crypto-Portilloism. Their confessions make it plain that while serving pre-patriot William, you were in fact a servant of the Archwhore. Yet your defence in these proceedings has been that you were a loyal supporter of pre-patriot William. Let me put it to you again, you are lying to this court …

DF: … I am not. I was simply wrong. I changed my mind. When the facts change, do you not change yours? Does not even Chief Patriot Hayes? Did not even the Prime Minister Perpetual?


Lictor, Faith, Flag & Family: Silence! The Facts do not change! Mrs Thatcher (Fourth Term Be Upon Her) never changed her mind! One more outburst like this and the accused will be tried in absentia. Social Justiciarius, pray continue.

SJ: Let me then recount again for colleague Finkelstein his own testimony.
He has already been sentenced in another place for his Godesbergian crimes. When the Prime Minister Perpetual (Fourth Term Be Upon Her) was saving Britain, the accused was denying her Thatcherite truths. Instead of supporting her, he took part in innumerable attacks upon her, for her so-called ‘extremism’, because she ‘didn’t care’, and even because the voting system ‘wasn’t fair’ [general laughter in courtroom]. These crimes are a matter of record, there can be no denying them. But these amount to only the depths from which colleague Finkelstein’s proto-crypto-Portilloism was to emerge, ever grosser, ever more soiled.
After these shocking anti-Thatcherite acts (Fourth Term Be Upon Her, and Blessings Upon Her Student, Redwood), colleague Finkelstein somehow proceeded to still baser ones: Majorist-Blackwellism!

LFFF: Baliff, kindly clear the court of all minors please before we proceed.

SJ: Even now the mind recoils from the full horrors we must again force ourselves to contemplate. Can you deny colleague Finkelstein that you loyally served unleader Major, that you ‘advised’ him, that you ‘justified’ him, repeatedly, intentionally, and without shame?

DF: I could query ‘loyally’.

SJ: That you willingly took the part of the unleader against John Redwood (No Change, No Chance, for so it was foretold)?

DF: It was the right thing to do at the time, even if it was not the right thing to do thereafter.

SJ: That you accepted party preferment, bureaucratic advancement and public sector emoluments [cries of “No!”] in return for these acts of Majorist-Blackwellism?

DF: I was loyal, up to a point, to the then unleader, until I stopped being loyal to him. Until I sorta started being loyal to him again, because that was positionally necessary.

SJ: See? See! I say to the court, this familiar admits it! And his crimes hardly stop there. For we come to the sorry story of pre-patriot William.
Can there be a darker chapter in the history of the Party than the vicissitudes of pre-patriot William? Bravely did he try to keep Britain saved, when all around him were nonperson traitors, acting against him on behalf of the Archwhore. And what, colleague Finkelstein, did you do? This court has heard account after account [see, War Room, trial of, CRD, summary execution of, passim] about your behaviour under pre-patriot William. The ‘sneering’, the ‘condescension’, the ‘smugness’. From your Right, you have heard the testimony of those who at the time felt your advice to pre-patriot William was misguided, and of how they were, by you, rebuffed. From your more sinister side …

LFFF: … Very good, Social Justiciarius, very amusing.

SJ: Thank You, m’lud. Where was I? Ah yes, I refer you once more to the confessions of nonpersons Gibb and Cooper as to your real feelings about pre-patriot William, and as to your true feelings about the Archwhore.

DF: I have already explained this. I defended William when I thought he was right. I agreed with him at the time. I was not intentionally misleading anyone. I was not deliberately giving poor advice. I came to believe William was wrong, and that I, inasmuch as I had actually agreed with him at the time, had been wrong too.

SJ: As you came to believe that Owen had been wrong before that, and were to come to say, for a while, that you believed unleader Major had been wrong. And as we shall see, as you came to believe that He Who Would Strip the Members of Their Rights was wrong too. Though all the while, while you supposedly thought all of them were right, how loud were your accusations against those who thought as you do now!

DF: How many more times can I say this? I was not pretending or dissembling at the time. I sincerely thought what I said I claimed I thought. It just so happened, that in each and every instance, as soon as my master changed, my opinions changed. And by another coincidence, my new opinions matched up exactly with those of my new masters, in turn, one after the other. None of my former masters bears me any ill-will for this. Why then should this court?

SJ: M’lud, if I may address this exact point to the Traditionalists of the Jury. This is the very crux of the Crown’s case against colleague Finkelstein.
He tells us that his excuse for his Owenry, his Majorist-Blackwellism, his equivocal part in the betrayal of pre-patriot William and his open support for He Who Would Strip the Members of Their Rights is all of a piece with his further, final role in the unspeakable crimes of _ _ _ _, now and forever written out of history.
Colleague Finkelstein assures us he never lied. He simply changed his mind, time after time, leader after leader. His part in the persecutions of Traditionalists he justifies by the very Fact that they did not change their minds as he did his! If we are to take seriously his own defence, it is his claim that he was justified in attacking traditionalists precisely because they lacked his ability to realise how serially wrong he himself had been …

DF: I want to be heard! These people [DF’s lawyers] do not represent me …

[The defendant began flailing his arms and banging his head on the table; after a brief delay, proceedings resumed with a letter from colleague Finkelstein read out to the court].

LFFF: Since the accused has rendered himself removed from this court, he has communicated this letter to the Jury. I will read it out, before the prosecution closes:

I live with Good Business by Steve Hilton as my constitution for right and wrong and definition of injustice. My attacks upon Traditionalists were in retaliation for similar attacks orchestrated, or, premeditated, by the Chief Patriot on my fellow followers of Moderniser-Tieless-Maudite-CChanging. I did not act out of hatred for Thatcher [Fourth Term Be Upon Her, omitted] but out of love for Portillo instead. I live only to serve Portillo by obeying all of his commandments of which I am aware by reading and learning the contents of Good Business, written by his servant Hilton.
Social Justiciarius, please conclude.

SJ: Gentlemen of the Finance and General Purposes Committee, special trial sub-committee, as authorised in the schedules provided for by the reconvened, one true and indivisible National Union, what more need I add? By his own hand colleague Finkelstein stands condemned? Need we even turn to his counter-patriotic scribblings in the Peking Reporter (ex-Beijing Briefing, ex-Times of London, ex-The Times). The Crown rests.

Nice to read your sensible post, a long time tory! There are a few of us who are sensible here but I am afraid that there are quite a few refugees from UKIP too (although some of them would protest that they are Conservative!) It takes all sorts and it certainly makes for an entertaining discussion although sometimes the comments do become a little repetitive.

No, Finklestein is talking out of his backside. Major was a bonking bum. Inflation and ERM were defeated by Norman Lamont. Clarke had the sense not to fiddle too much with a well oiled economy. The Balkans and Maastricht show his fundamental wetness, at least as wet as Chamberlain, with whom he must be compared, except Chamberlain kept to his own bed and had apeice of paper too!

‘A long time Tory’, when you mention UKIP you might have a point in as much as that John Major should be credited with the creation of UKIP, for his policies with the EU exasperated many a Conservative supporter, which as they no longer felt they could trust the Tories over the EU, led to the creation of the Referendum Party and UKIP, for ever to be a thorn in the side of the Conservative party. So there is something I think we can all be agreed about, UKIP is a long lasting memorial to John Major's Premiereship.

Yes, history will be much kinder to John Major and Margaret Tatcher!
Two Good politicians.
Margaret Tatcher was a great politician
Bonnie McGough

John Major lacked the force of personality to lead a political party. Our discipline collapsed as a result.

To quote a Tory MP about Mrs Thatcher;

"say what you like about Margaret, the cups used to rattle when she walked in the tea room".

Sally and long time tory

You may think that lifelong Tory party members like me are closet UKIP ers but we are not.

What we eurorealists recognise is that the surrender of sovereignty to a foreign power destroys this country's independence. If you wish to be no more than a region within a european federation then say so.

If however you wish to be part of a self-determining country then wake up!

Having met John Major I can certainly attest to his being a likeable and down-to-earth sort of guy.

I would say his greatest legacy was to ensure that, with his win in '92, Socialism as we had known it in Britain since the War was finished, and that the Labour Party would henceforth need to follow a different economic path.

As for losing in '97, this was always on the cards after securing such a small majority in 1992, and then seeing it whittled away, by the death of sitting MPs and the assorted Eurosceptic nutters who, by their actions, only succeeded in making the defeat in 1997 even larger than it was going to be. The hysterical actions of the Press never helped either.

He will certainly be judged better by history than he is currently viewed, and, in my opinion, certainly deseves to.

Remember it's only Finkelstein's opinion.

Who was leader when that third-rate SDP renegade joined the Party? Who gave him a seat to fight (which he spectacularly failed to win)? Major.

Major is and was a nasty, inadequate, twisting creep who has damaged our Party and Country beyond belief by making Blair and Brown possible.

This is a man who slept with Edwina Curry.

Good God, words fail.

Sir John's creation of the National Lottery should be commended, in my opinion.

"the assorted Eurosceptic nutters who, by their actions"

Surely any 'action' was initiated by Major who pursued an EUphile agenda against the wishes of a large portion of his party, that went against Conservative principles, and which tore the party apart.

A rather stupid move by someone who was supposed to have been leading his party, not waging war on sections of it.

The resurgent ''Triumph Motorcycle Company'' was reborn under John Majors premiership.

I think it was Roger Scruton who back in the early 80s warned that concentrating to much on economic liberalism could seriously undermine the conservative cause because the Left was busy subverting society along a thousand-mile front. Well those warnings went utterly ignored. That's why from a conservative point of view, Mrs Thatcher and John Major were both utter failures and why many of the problems that that characterise our badly 'broken society' can no longer be solved.

Major had many problems to overcome. A small majority, a party mostly of selfseekers (they weren't patriots - grow up), the most blatently dishonest leader of the oposition, the near collaps of the ERM after German reunification and Maastrict.

Out of all this though was the fact that he in particular and the party in general lost the will to fight (apart from itself). The most notable example is leaving the ERM, that could have been presented at least in a way to be something an awful long way from the disater it became made out to be. I suspect Major was a bit typical of many Tories; he saw himself as someone in politics to do the right thing but quite unable, or indeed unwilling, to get involved with the scruffier side of communicating with voters.

14,092,891 votes in 1992.

He did seem to be too interested in building better personal relationships with European leaders, and of course, we should have got out of the ERM before Black Wednesday.

Sound policies were followed from September 1992 to 1997 and he was a good Prime Minister.

"The resurgent ''Triumph Motorcycle Company'' was reborn under John Majors premiership."

No that was under Mrs Thatcher. Tony Benn's Merridian co-operative went bust. 1983 John Bloor bought the company out, leased the manufacturing rights for the Bonniville. Built a housing estate over the site of the old works, then in 1985 purchase its first machine tools. In 1988 built a new factory in Hinckley. 1990 Bloor opens his plant.

John Major was and is a decent man. He was a good PM but he was in a decaying government that had become stale and institutionalised. History will judge him well personally.

Loved all the comments, pity the spelling
mistakes took over, probably a past mistake
of John Majors education policies

We should not be too harsh on Major over Maastricht.
Just as the EU has taken away our sovereignty, we should also remember that "Power is taken, - not given".
All we need to do is break with the EU. Stop their payments, Retake control of our borders, patrol our 200 mile fishing limits and bin all their 'Directives' Let them try and stop us if a huge majority of us want it that way and to hell with Political Correctness.
Don't let anyone tell you they will not buy our products; they will, if they are cheaper and better, and that's what matters in the end!

Ian Miller

Has Cameron got the balls? I have!

Whilst I would agree that Major was a disaster for the party I do not for the life of me understand why he is being blamed for the breakup of Yugoslavia, surely that was Slobadan Melosovic etc. Please explain your arguement on this one???


His record - he inherited 375 MPs he left to William Hague 165 MPs - pathetic.

He took us into the ERM , saw 3 million people out of work and destoryed the housing market - for what ?

Pre Black Wenesday his economic policy was run for the benefit of the EU not the UK and thus he deserved to be kicked out in 1997.

Post ERM the economy did well as the Government was so weak politically it could do no further damage to the economy.

As for Maastrict a truly awful treaty and at least the rebels put their country before their careers.

This was a man who through options for change did more damage to British Army Regiments than two world wars , although less damage than Brown & Blair. Now when we need the Regiments they have gone and the remaining troops are overstreched

As somebody who campaigned in 1992 for the Tories in NW Leicestershire, Birmingham Northfield & Blaby I was totally betrayed by this man.

My overiding memory of the John Major years 20% of my client base destoryed in the last year of ERM membership , businesses destoryed and good people out of work.

"Major was a bastard. He ramrodded Maastricht through on a vote of confidence in his pathetic government and the traitor then got his weasel to sign it. He has been well rewarded for his treachery. Major was and remains a tool of the globalist new world order and we former members and contributors to the Conservative party remain unconvinced the Tories can bring our nation back out of the EU and into national self governance. Major was a disaster. History will remember him kindly only through the pen of one who was not there or one who approved of his gross treachery and economic incompetence".
Posted by: Peter Watson | August 14, 2008 at 08:53

I cannot understand why Peter Watson is so fulsome in his praise of Major; he (Major) does not deserve such sycophancy. According to facts supplied by Peter Watson, history is already treating him kindly. The truth about Major should be told without trying to make out that Major was an outstanding success as PM as implied by Peter Watson. Watson: stop trying to make Major look good.

Change the picture please- its not flattering.

Truly, the nasty party is alive and well in some here. Not suprised to see the glorious and oh so brave 'Treacle' being as pleasant as ever.

Malcolm I entirely agree with you!

As for Peter Watson - kindly cut out the personal remarks. Thank you.

I was a Conservative when Major was in short trousers. Activist and fund raiser for many years, president of our local branch (now defunct). Wrote many letters to Major and my then MP Grylls about Maastricht. Waste of time, so I resigned as did the rest of the family and we joined UKIP. That man of course used the word bastard about those who disageed with him.

He was a disaster.

I want out of the EU and a Conservative government - in that order.

If the comments here are anything to go by then it should act as a warning to all politicians, for what they might think as politically expedient to get them out of a short term bind, will in the long run be an albatross hung around their necks for ever more. For the political class might have the long term memory of a nano second, but they forget the electorate don't, and do remember what they have done, and won't forgive them. So Major might have rammed the Maastricht treaty through on a vote of confidence and think he has got away with it , but the electorate clearly haven’t forgotten nor forgiven. So as Major will have the Maastricht treaty albatross hung around his neck for evermore, so Brown will look forward to the Lisbon treaty dogging the rest of his political days.

"Wrote many letters to Major and my then MP Grylls about Maastricht. Waste of time"

Same here, I wrote to my MP, Jeremy Hanley MP, a complete waste of time, and I too resigned my membership of the Conservative party, joined the Referendum party, offering to stand as a candidate. It was only then when there was a threat gathering from the electorate that a promise was wrung out of Major to give us a referendum on the Euro, though too little, too late, and an offer you couldn't trust.

So I came away with the understanding that to argue ones case was a complete waste of time with MP's. The Party membership was just looked on as a free workforce there to stuff envelopes through letter boxes, so the MP could keep taking his fill at the Westminster trough. The only worthwhile action was to threaten to take away that feeding trough. Then they come running.

Dear Sally; it looks like Big Brother already did! The Tories would be good if they were conservative but they left nothing TO conserve. So it looks as though we will have to rely on another Cromwell.

"Big Brother", Peter Watson, responded to my request!

Moving on swiftly - I am sorry to note your reservations about the Conservative Party and your comment about Cromwell. I trust you are not also in favour of decapitating our Monarch?

Major was a good prime minister after the ERM debacle from 1993-97, better than what he was given credit for by the media. He left the economy in good shape. I wish he would have been himself a bit more though. He was a better and more honest prime minister than Blair. Finkelstein is wrong to say that the British voter always gets it right. They got it badly wrong in 1945 and 1997!!

Don`t know what the posting from Alistair is about. Has no bearing on the subject

Time to ban contributions from people who are unwilling to sign their names?

I feel like we have entered the Twilight Zone on this thread.


I worked for the party as a volunteer and candidate through the Major years, I have no idea if you did, but if you did you too should remember our membership numbers falling off a cliff, the utter inababilty to find workers, the sense of total incompetance at the top and the arrogant unwillingness to listen to the grass- roots - the complete refusal to listen to any criticism of any sort.

The driving through of massively unpopular policies cooked up by wets such as Patton Clarke and Heseltine turned 1997 from a loss into a catastrophe.

I am sorry if your view of Major is different but passions run high on this, he betrayed his Party through his incompetence. he betrayed his country through his weakness and fragile ego and he betrayed his wife.

We have been out of power for over 10 years because of the devastation this man caused, and our country has been all but destroyed.

Major: Weak, incompetent and untrustworthy

Finkelstein: Entryist of no fixed beliefs

["Whilst I would agree that Major was a disaster for the party I do not for the life of me understand why he is being blamed for the breakup of Yugoslavia, surely that was Slobadan Melosovic etc. Please explain your arguement on this one???" - onemarcus August 14, 2008 at 21:08]

The breakup was basically a good thing. The Serbian response was a programme of fascist mayhem, which WWII and the enduring legend of the holocaust should have made inconceivable. That was evident from day 1.

Europe, as much as it was and is a valid entity, should have intervened quickly and firmly. That Europe should show the same feebleness as the Vichy French was sadly explicable - but we knew better. Sir John knew better, if only because his predecessor had just set him a good example in Kuwait. Instead, far from bracing up the backbone of our neighbours, he went from excuse to limp excuse. Paddy Ashdown, John Nott and others made sure this failure characterised his leadership.

We need not blame him, just pity him - but I would not want him to be comfortable with such pity.

Major's economic record was pretty good, in fairness - whatever else he may or may not have done. But if he had been in power in the 1970s (I know we all like to laugh at the late Sir Ted, but the economic circumstances of that era were pretty dire) or early 1980s it might not have looked so rosy.

In a sense many governments in the 1990s were pushing at an open door (with hindsight at any rate) as the influx into the world economy of cheap labour and cheap manufactured goods from Eastern Europe, the Asian Tiger economies and more recently China helped to push inflation down across the western world. These factors also made it easier to reduce the power of the unions.

Inflation and interest rates (nominal and real) were in a near-continuous downtrend between 1980 and 2003-5, despite the odd blip here and there (eg. 1989-92). So much so that an entire generation has grown up assuming that the way to grow wealthy is to borrow money to buy assets whose price tends to be inversely linked to rates (bonds, shares, houses).

Politicians have much less control over deep long-term macroeconomic trends than they like to pretend.

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