Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Margaret Thatcher: incompetent, divisive and cruel

New article for MSN: Margaret Thatcher promised harmony, but brought only discord

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Was Gordon Brown the most unpopular Prime Minister of modern times?

Conservative Home has an article this morning criticising David Cameron for failing to win a majority against "the most unpopular Prime Minister of modern times."

This is a phrase used so often that nobody stops to question whether it is true.

So was Gordon Brown the most unpopular PM of modern times?

Well luckily it's very easy to check. Pollsters IPSOS Mori have recorded public satisfaction with British Prime Ministers for decades.

Here's their latest graph showing the popularity of Thatcher, Major, Blair, Brown and Cameron over the course of their terms as Prime Minister.

Gordon Brown certainly was very unpopular and had a quicker fall in popularity than other recent Prime Ministers.

But by the time he left office in 2010 he was actually slightly less unpopular than David Cameron.

In April 2010, after almost three years in power, Gordon Brown had a net satisfaction of -24.

In March 2013 after almost three years in power David Cameron has a net satisfaction of -30.

So David Cameron is more unpopular now than Gordon Brown was after a similar amount of time in power.

And it's not just David Cameron.

By June 1994 John Major had a satisfaction rating of just -54. Far less than either Cameron or Brown.

His predecessor Margaret Thatcher fared better, but even she became more unpopular by the end.

By March 1990, Margaret Thatcher had a net satisfaction of -56, the lowest of any Prime Minister in modern times.

Whichever way you look at these figures it's hard to claim that Gordon Brown was the most unpopular Prime Minister of modern times.

However there is another simpler measure of popularity: winning elections.

By that measure, Gordon Brown is certainly the least successful Prime Minister of modern times, if not actually the most personally unpopular.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Boris Johnson appoints Deputy for being Mayor

Boris Johnson has appointed City financier Bob Zirconia as his new Deputy Mayor for Being Mayor.

Zirconia's responsibilities will include managing Transport for London's £8 billion budget, holding the Metropolitan Police to account and 'being the Mayor'.

A City Hall spokesperson said today:

"Boris is very pleased to welcome Bob Zirconia to this exciting new role. This will allow the Mayor to concentrate on his statutory functions of posing on a bike next to Kelly Brook and reading childrens books with Peter Andre."

Zirconia will be paid £2 million a year for a two day week. No other candidates were interviewed for the role. A spokesperson for the Confederation of British Industry said today:

"Bob Zirconia has decades of experience in stripping value out of profitable businesses. We hope he can do the same at City Hall."

Johnson and his deputy will outline their vision for London at a 'city breakfast' event next week.

Zirconia said in a statement today:

"This is a tremendous opportunity going forward to get our ducks in a row, drill down and really push the envelope. London has unrivalled transportation assets which I hope to maximise for maximum customer value maximisation."

A spokesperson for the Labour Party said nothing.