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By D. Leonard

In the course of the process the 20th century, nineteen males and one woman--from the 3rd Marquis of Salisbury to Tony Blair--have occupied the publish of leading Minister of the uk. In a chain of biographical essays, Dick Leonard, a number one political journalist and previous MP, recounts the conditions that took them to the pinnacle of ''the greasy pole'', probes their own and political strengths and weaknesses, assesses their functionality within the best place of work and asks what lasting impact they've got had.

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Extra resources for A Century of Premiers: Salisbury to Blair

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In the short term, however, it did little to stimulate his political ambition. Instead, he resumed his earlier interest in philosophy, publishing in 1879, A Defence of Philosophic Doubt. When the Tories lost the 1880 election, Balfour belatedly began to play an active role in the House of Commons, associating himself with the so-called Fourth Party, a small group of freebooters who tried to inject a more vigorous opposition to Gladstone’s first government than was provided by the lacklustre leadership of Sir Stafford Northcote, the Tory leader in the Commons.

The 1902 Education Act fell far short of matching the educational reforms in Germany which enabled its scientific and industrial development to exceed that of any of its European rivals. It did, however, put secondary education on a firm financial footing and opened up opportunities to a large number of (mostly lower middle class) children. Secondly, Balfour, acutely aware of military failings and poor coordination between the services during the Boer War, was instrumental in establishing, and presiding over, the Committee of Imperial Defence (CID).

Yet his detachment probably owed as much to his regarding parliamentary tactics as a fascinating game, rather than having a deeper 28 A Century of Premiers purpose. 29). This desire paid off: from being an uncertain and hesitant speaker, Balfour progressed to being one of the most effective debaters in the House. His languorous appearance and apparent frivolity still meant that few took him seriously, and his appointment as President of the Local Government Board by Lord Salisbury, when he formed his first government in June 1885, was uniformly attributed to family favouritism.

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