Beckett puts Thatcher as the greatest. Asquith was greater than any of them. He refused to get involved in the spin of politics which is why he lost power to Lloyd George, backed by Nothcliffe, the Murdoch of his day.
Asquith designed Britain’s victory in the First World War. Lloyd George nearly blew it all when he grabbed the leadership from Asquith. Once the war was won, LG barred Asquith and those who wanted to help Germany to rebuild after WW1, from Versailles, and paved the way for Hitler.
If the spinners had not ejected Asquith, we would have won WW1 and would not have had to fight WW2 20 years later. He was maybe the most intelligent and capable of them all. Unfortunately the age of political spin was created by LG and this destroyed Asquith’s supremely good and modest method of government.
Without WW2, we would not now have been sucked into the EU and be living in such a hopeless over-centralised spin-dependent world. If only we could get back to government by people of real ability like Asquith and bury the spinners.
The age of spin started when Asquith fell. We have never recovered sensible government since. Maybe Cameron will be the next Asquith. He will have to spin to win, but he claims to want to give power back to the local level, and reverse the centralisation of the last century.
With the blogosphere standing guard, perhaps we are about to break free of media tyranny at last. (I recommend ‘The Asquiths’ by Colin Clifford published 2003 by John Murray. ISBN 0-7195-6525-1)