Our unforgettable prime ministers


One or two folk have very kindly suggested that I give this poem a second outing. It was commissioned by Al Murray, the pub landlord, who guest edited the Today programme on 1 January. He performs a sketch that looks back at past prime ministers and he felt some in his audience could profit from a useful mnemonic to remind them of our former leaders:

"Lord Salisbury, Balfour, Campbell-B

Kicked off the twentieth century.

Then Asquith and Lloyd George (the goat)

Were wartime premiers of note.

For some months, Bonar Law was there,

It then became a long job share

Between the two wars, back to back:

Stanley Baldwin and Ramsay Mac.

When Neville Chamberlain appeased

Mr Churchill was none too pleased.

He led us all to victory;

We thanked him by choosing Attlee

To fight instead the new Cold War.

But aged Winston fancied more,

James Landale: Now we're left with dishy Dave

Then Eden, Super Mac and Home

before 10 Downing Street found room

For Harold Wilson - pipe and all!

Till Grocer Heath picked up the ball.

Wilson came back - alas for him

It was too much, so Sunny Jim

Took over, amid discontent,

Which paved the way for the advent

Of Margaret Thatcher, Tory Queen,

Who for ten seasons reigned supreme.

John Major had a right nightmare

Till on came shiny Tony Blair

Who for a decade held off Brown.

When at last Gordon seized the crown,

He never was the nation's fave

So now we are left with dishy Dave

Who with Lord Salisbury shared a school

Thus proving some are born to rule..."

James Landale Article written by James Landale James Landale Deputy political editor

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