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Had J. R. Clynes pipped Ramsay MacDonald to the party leadership, the millworker who’d left school at ten would have become Labour’s first Prime Minister. In the dark days of war, Lord Halifax had first refusal on the premiership ahead of Winston Churchill. Both Hugh Gaitskell and John Smith would have been Prime Minister but for their sudden, early deaths. Politics is full of what-might-have-beens, thought experiments that pose some tantalising questions. What would have happened had these ‘future Prime Ministers’ from the past actually made it to No. 10? Much more than idle conjecture, this authoritative collection, edited by political expert Francis Beckett, provokes reflection on the capricious nature of ambition and fate.


entertaining counterfactual essays… I especially liked Anne Perkin’s piece`

Independent on Sunday

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  • eBook
  • ISBN: 9781849541428
  • 28 March 2011
  • £12.99

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