Tuesday 6 October 2020

In my lifetime has there been any politician who has achieved something?


He made no difference to my life but Rudy Guiliani, for making New York City safe, is the one who comes to mind. I wanted him to be President until someone told me to google "Rudy Guiliani ferrets". I did and changed my mind.

Gorbachev brought about the end of Communism in Eastern Europe - a great thing, but the opposite of what he intended to achieve, which was to revitalise Leninism and the Soviet Union. Does this count as an achievement?

The politicians who changed my life for the better are Conservatives: Rab Butler for inventing grammar schools and the Conservative councillors on Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, who withstood the pressure from Labour governments, Labour and Liberal councillors and civil servants to turn Southend's grammar schools into comprehensives, as happened almost everywhere in England. Never forgive the post-war Liberal Party for the many bad things they wanted to do, had they ever been allowed to get into power.


  1. Lee Kuan Yew was the prime minister of Singapore from 1959 to 1990, making him the longest-serving PM in history. During his long rule, Singapore became the most prosperous nation in Southeast Asia.

    Lee studied law at Fitzwilliam College, in Cambridge, UK.
    In 1950, he was admitted to the English bar, but instead of practicing law there, Lee returned to Singapore.

    Lee Kuan Yew: In His Own Words - The Mandate To Rule

    1. Lee Kuan Yew in 4min:


  2. Gorbachev brought about the end of Communism in Eastern Europe

    Gorbachev brought about the breakup of the Soviet Union which in retrospect was one of the greatest disasters in history. In the long run I think it will prove to be a disaster for Eastern Europe as well.

    The end of Communism may have been a good thing, but the breakup of the Soviet Union was not.

  3. /Users/markpatton/Desktop/Davis.0820_img_2.jpg

  4. I actually lived in New York during the Giuliani years and am back now. Giuliani’s cleaning up the city was helped along by changes in technology and finance and by the general drop in crime across the USA. He started out managing the city very well, then ended up personally unhinged. He still is and at this stage very likely an alcoholic, but he certainly compares well to the current laggard in office.

    Emil Constantinescu in Romania helped steer the country to a healthier place, although he was not a strong leader and the price was high.

    Sometimes creating an atmosphere of calm and reassurance is an achievement in a politician. Countries (and citizens) need breathing room and a respite from crisis.

  5. Vladimir Putin - Making Russia Great Again ;).

  6. Grammar schools were not invented by RAB Butler. They have existed since the 16th Century

    Butler was responsible for the the 1944 Education Act, which for the first time offered the opportunity of free secondary education for all children.

    The Act created three types of secondary school - grammar schools for the academic, technical schools for those skilled with their hands and secondary modern schools for the rest.

    Very similar to the admirable German educational system.

    Unfortunately, very few technical schools were opened.

    So we ended up with a fortunate few attending grammar schools and the majority secondary moderns. This fuelled a lot of enmity and animosity against grammar schools that lasts to this day.

    Both my parents left school at 14 years old. But thanks to their support, I was able to attend a grammar school.



    1. My parents also did not have the opportunities that grammar schools offered me. Yes there were grammar schools before Rab but he made grammar schools available to children. I read his widow's biography of Anthony Crosland (educ. Highgate School and Trinity College, Oxford) in which she records his remark, when he was Secretary of State for Education, that "If it's the last thing I do, I'm going to destroy every f-ing grammar school in England. And Wales. And Northern Ireland." Fortunately for Southend and me, the Tories won in 1970 and Mrs Thatcher replaced him.