The British history has been famous for its efficient governance, and developmental policies of the government. Both the Conservative and the Labour Parties have contributed to the economic prosperity of the country through enlightening vision, strategic planning, and effective implementation of its policies. During the past centuries, Great Britain has provided one of the best healthcare systems of the world to its citizens.
Perhaps, that is why the Britishers have high life expectancies, with men living up to 77 years, and women living up to 82 years, due to the existence of good infrastructure in hospitals, expert physicians and dedicated nurses, who provide timely and best healthcare services to the patients (“Facts”). The dynamic leadership of the political leaders had also enabled the nation to guarantee employment to almost every British citizen.
Moreover, the British Prime Ministers had always given top priority to the education sector, which has allowed the growth of one of the best education systems at all levels, including primary, secondary, college, and university education. Since the British Defence is second to none, the citizens of the country have always felt secure. Great Britain has one of the most advanced technologies in army, navy and air force, which protect the country from foreign invasions and terror threats.
The foreign policies of former British Prime Ministers like Clement Richard Atlee, Margaret Thatcher, Harold Wilson and Tony Blair had won laurels for the United Kingdom. However, the current Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, does not fit into the list of able British Prime Ministers, who were known for their acumen, and had provided bold leadership to lead the nation on the path of economic, social, health, military and educational prosperity.
At present, the nation is going through a difficult phase of economic recession, which is causing an upsurge in unemployment, fear and anxiety among the British citizens, and disrupting the socio-economic structure of the society. Also, the recent outbreak of swine flu has gone out of control in the United Kingdom. The country that once boasted of its excellent National Health Service has been devastated by the swine flu pandemic.
It is shocking to mention that 3597 patients in UK had been confirmed of having swine flu till 25 June 2009, and thousands of fresh cases are being reported across the nation everyday (Lister, “Swine flu out of control in UK hotspots,” par. 4). It seems that Gordon Brown is helplessly witnessing the country going into economic depression, and unabated deterioration of healthcare services. Considering all these major failures of current Prime Minister, should Gordon Brown continue to serve as the British Prime Minister? Historical Overview of Some Successful British Prime Ministers
The United Kingdom of today had some of the best Prime Ministers including Clement Richard Atlee, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair, who had provided a strong foundation for the future growth of the country’s economy, military, health and education sectors. They had acute acumen, bold leadership, great communication skills, and excellent public speaking, and their charisma created a win-win scenario in diplomatic as well as political negotiations. These great Prime Ministers of United Kingdom had also strengthened the democratic system of governance, and gave freedom of expression to the media.
It was during the leadership of Atlee when the National Health Service was launched for British citizens (“Clement Atlee”). This gave the people free access to the best healthcare service in the world. There was no discrepancy while rendering the healthcare services to the rich or the poor, and the children or the elderly. Also, it was Atlee’s love for freedom and peace, which gave independence to India. His peaceful governance was also appreciated soon after the end of World War II, and his adroitness in dealing with other countries was admired very much.
Even though the British had ruled the United States almost two centuries ago, it was the diplomatic skills of Clement Richard Atlee, which enabled the United Kingdom to have good relations with the richest and the strongest country of the world i. e. the USA. Atlee was also instrumental in nationalization of heavy industries, and in laying the foundation for the Bank of England (“Clement Atlee”). Margaret Thatcher was the first woman to take responsibility as British Prime Minister. She played a key role in privatization of industries that were owned by the government, and thus, initiated the process of deregulation (“Margaret Thatcher”).
She also led the country in the Falklands war, and was instrumental in reforming the trade unions. Her tough stand against the labour strikes that wasted time, productivity, and money, eventually, earned her the title of “Iron Lady. ” One of the most capable Prime Ministers of Great Britain has been Tony Blair, who fostered all efforts for promotion of peace, both within the country and on international level. He served as the British Prime Minister for a decade from 1997 to 2007 (“Tony Blair”). Upon his election, he allowed devolution of power to the Parliament of Scotland and National Assembly of Wales.
He paid great attention to improve the working of the National Health Service by allocating additional funds for constructing more buildings, employing more staff in healthcare services, and increasing the number of hospital beds to give additional comfort as well as care to the suffering patients (“Tony Blair”). In order to end terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq, Tony Blair sent the British troops for checking the growth of terrorist activities as well as for promoting peace in the countries that were prone to endangerment of democracy.
Thus, Tony Blair proved his worth as a Prime Minister, owing to his diplomatic and leadership skills. What Qualities and Skills Are Essential for a Good British Prime Minister In the foregoing discussion about successful British Prime Ministers, it was clearly seen that the position of Prime Minister needs certain inherent and acquired skills, which enable the incumbent to execute the duties with excellence. A Prime Minister needs to be clever, conscientious, cautious and bold (Landow, “Trollope’s Old Duke on the qualities of a Prime Minister,” par.
1). However, these qualities are desirable, and not comprehensive. Since the Unite Kingdom is a big democracy, with a multicultural population, having a diversity of people with different religious beliefs, multilingual, existence of people with different sexual preferences, and people with a wide gap of educational qualifications, it becomes challenging task for a British Prime Minister to smoothly and effectively govern the country according to constitutional requirements.
Based on the ongoing discussion, a few skills that a good British Prime Minister must have are listed below. • Leadership skills: to give right direction to the people; lead the country in prosperous as well as adverse circumstances • Communication skills: to listen to the problems of the people, and communicate their anxieties for effective implementation by the bureaucracy • Problem solving skills: to analyse the contemporary problems of health, education, defence, economy, information technology and democratic governance
• Peace loving: since the Earth has already seen so many wars including the two major world wars, and there is a growing threat of terrorism, it is an important quality, which a British Prime Minister must have • Reforming skills: to ameliorate the deteriorating conditions in outdated laws of health, education, property, investment, and in domestic as well as international politics • Negotiation skills: since agreements with private organizations with the country, and international treaties with other countries need strong negotiation skills, the British Prime Minister must have a win-win attitude
• Environment-friendly: to check the depletion of fossil fuels, prevent environmental pollution, promote clean as well as alternative sources of energy, and to curtail the phenomenon of global warming, it is important for a British Prime Minister to be a friend of environment Some of the former British Prime Ministers had the above traits, which made them highly successful during their tenure. Positive Attributes of Gordon Brown In the earlier years of leadership under Tony Blair, Gordon Brown was instrumental in brining the Labour Party back to political power in 1997.
He used his political experience and intellectual insight to revive economic growth, and introduce health reforms for the benefit of British citizens (“Real Lives”). He also served as the Chancellor of the Exchequer for almost a decade. His physical loss to one of his eyes did not loosen his confidence during his university days as well as his political career in the Labour Party. He shows strength, dedication, conscience, and seriousness of purpose. He is a family-oriented man, who has shown fidelity to his wife, Sarah, and children.
He has good negotiation skills, which he demonstrated by signing an agreement at the Gleneagles summit, giving autonomy to the bank of England, and supporting all measures for checking global warming (“Real Lives”). Gordon Brown has also supported peace-keeping initiatives of the USA and allies by sending British troops to fight against terror outfits in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thus, Gordon Brown has demonstrated some positive attributes that a British Prime Minister must have. Negative Attributes of Gordon Brown It seems that luck has not favoured the current British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, ever since he assumed power.
His inherent strengths proved futile when Britain witnessed the worst ever floods, terrorist attacks, and the outbreak of Foot-and-Mouth disease (“Real Lives”). The swine flu has also become a pandemic, and thousands of inhabitants in Great Britain have become victims of this deadly disease. Gordon Brown has shown his incapability to control the spread of swine flu despite having the most developed and efficient National Health Service. Moreover, the unemployment rate has increased to 7. 2%, with more than 2 million jobless Britons, as recession continues to trample the British economy (“UK Unemployment,” par.
1). Gordon Brown has also failed in sustaining good international relations, especially with Germany, which proclaimed that he has failed to discharge duties as a successful British Prime Minister (Wooding, “Germans: Gord is total failure”). My Opinion: Gordon Brown is Not an Able British Prime Minister After discussing the historical overview of some of the most successful British Prime Ministers, the indispensable qualities for a British Prime Minister, and the positive as well as the negative attributes of Gordon Brown, I can conclude that Gordon Brown has not been able to effectively govern the country.
Although the USA has been able to check the spread of swine flu, the UK has not been able to do so due to poor leadership and reforming skills of Gordon Brown. He has also shown poor diplomatic and communication skills while dealing with insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since thousands of British troops continue to be killed, he has demonstrated neither problem solving skills, nor peace-keeping skills. With more than 2 million unemployed Britons, Gordon Brown has remained a puppet in the grip of economic recession. Gordon Brown does not retain confidence and faith of fellow British citizens, including me. Works Cited “Clement Atlee”.
Number 10. 15 July 2009 <http://www. number10. gov. uk/history-and-tour/prime-ministers-in-history/clement-attlee>. “Facts. ” Profile: England. 23 January 2009. BBC News. 15 July 2009 <http://news. bbc. co. uk/2/hi/europe/country_profiles/7327029. stm>. Landow, George P. “Trollope’s Old Duke on the Qualities of a Prime Minister. ” The Victorian Web. 15 July 2009 <http://www. victorianweb. org/authors/trollope/pm/pm. html>. Lister, Sam. “Swine flu ‘out of control’ in UK hotspots. ” 25 June 2009. Times Online. 15 July 2009 <http://www. timesonline. co. uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article6575998. ece>. “Margaret Thatcher”. Number 10.
15 July 2009 <http://www. number10. gov. uk/history-and-tour/prime-ministers-in-history/margaret-thatcher>. “Real Lives. ” The Biography Channel. 15 July 2009 <http://www. thebiographychannel. co. uk/biography_story/2063:0/1/Gordon_Brown. htm> “Tony Blair”. Number 10. 15 July 2009 <http://www. number10. gov. uk/history-and-tour/prime-ministers-in-history/tony-blair>. “UK Unemployment. ” HRM Guide. 15 July 2009 <http://www. hrmguide. co. uk/jobmarket/unemployment. htm>. Wooding, David. “Germans: Gord is total failure. ” 12 December 2008. The Sun. 15 July 2009 <http://www. thesun. co. uk/sol/homepage/news/article2030435. ece>.