Peter Hoskin

Brown, the third worst Prime Minister since WW2?

Brown, the third worst Prime Minister since WW2?
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Now here's a poll that you can really get your teeth into. Reported in today's FT, a survey of 100 or so academics has rated Gordon Brown as the third worst Prime Minister since the second world war. It marks him with 3.9 out of 10, ahead of only Sir Anthony Eden and Sir Alec Douglas-Home. At the other end of the scale, Clement Attlee comes out on top with 8.1 our of 10, ahead of second-placed Margaret Thatcher on 6.9. Which, as Tim Montgomerie says at ConservativeHome, is understandable enough – Attlee probably made a more indelible contribution to British life than anyone else on the list.

I was struck by the context in which one of the survey's compilers placed Tony Blair's third-placed finish. He tells the FT that, "Tony Blair’s performance as prime minister is clouded by his decision to take part in the Iraq war … Almost two thirds of academics say this was his biggest failure. No other prime minister since 1945 has one issue so closely associated with their reputation." That could say more about the respondents' pre-formed opinions than anything else, but you do wonder whether the history books will really see Iraq as Blair's defining act.

Anyway, here's the FT's graphic for your delectation: