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Weak and Ineffective? Reassessing the Party Political Leadership of John Major

Heppell, Timothy (2007) Weak and Ineffective? Reassessing the Party Political Leadership of John Major. The Political Quarterly, 78 (3). pp. 382-391. ISSN 00323179

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Abstract

Interpretations on the party political leadership of John Major are dominated by perceptions of weakness and ineffectiveness. This article examines his party political leadership by considering the relationship between, first, his political ambitions, and, second, his style of political leadership. When evaluating the political ambitions of Major, the article will demonstrate that he was ideologically agnostic and a political pragmatist. When examining his party political leadership style, the article will demonstrate, via an examination of his management of the European policy divide and his Cabinet management, that he was politically indecisive and an avoider of political confrontation. The article concludes, however, that perceptions of his weakness and ineffectiveness should be contextualised due to the following two factors: first, the constraints of inheriting an ideologically divided parliamentary Conservative party; and, second, the contrasting circumstances that ensured that his predecessor and successor appeared strong and effective, which have magnified perceptions of his weakness and ineffectiveness.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Schools: School of Human and Health Sciences
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Depositing User: Sara Taylor
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2008 09:23
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2008 09:23
URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/2709

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