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This Sceptred Isle

Major Resigns & Labour Reforms
In 1995 John Major, his authority questioned by his own backbenchers, resigned from the leadership of the Conservative Party (but remained PM). He told his critics to "put up or shut up" and was re-elected leader.

In practice, his authority was not enhanced. Across the Parliamentary floor, Tony Blair's reputation was climbing especially when he convinced the Labour Party to drop Clause IV of it's manifesto - which had committed the Party to state ownership.

1995 was also the 50th birthday of the UN. Much of the world was hardly at ease and as if to illustrate the fragility of the peace process in the Middle East, this was the year that the Israeli leader, Yitzak Rabin, was assassinated. In one area an agreement was achieved. In December 1995 the so-called Dayton Accords were signed in Paris, to bring together the Serbians, the Croatians and the Bosnians in some form of truce that would be guaranteed by a NATO led force.

In 1996 there was no such truce nor agreement between the Prince and Princess of Wales. They were divorced. Thus began a constitutional discussion on the future of the monarchy.

In Westminster there was a greater concern for a peaceful arrangement in Northern Ireland. The tenuous cease-fire was broken by the IRA with a bomb in London's Docklands and in Manchester.

It was in this year that scientists announced that they had cloned a sheep and so encouraged the debate over genetic engineering.

Boris Yeltsin
Boris Yeltsin
Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin (born 1931)

  • Boris Yeltsin was born in Sverdlovsk and educated at Urals Polytechnic.
  • He went to work in construction and joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1961.
  • He became a member of the Central Committee in 1985 and was then appointed Moscow Party Chief.
  • He entered the politburo in 1986 but was sacked for criticizing his party.
  • He returned and in a series of spectacular political manoeuvres, outwitted Mikhail Gorbachev and became President of the Russian Federation in 1990.

did you know?
In March 1996 the Scientific journal Nature published results of the first research into sheep cloning.

Clause 4 of the Labour Manifesto
"To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service".

Select historical period

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1979 Margaret Thatcher PM (Conservative)
Rhodesian settlement at Lancaster House
1980 Southern Rhodesia becomes Zimbabwe
1981 Prince Charles marries Lady Diana Spencer
Ronald Reagan President of the USA
1982Britain wins the Falklands War
1983Margaret Thatcher wins landslide victory
1984Indira Gandhi of India assassinated
Death of poet, John Betjeman
1985Mikhail Gorbachev succeeds Chernenko as Soviet leader
1986Elizabeth II first British monarch to visit China
1987Worst storm of the century rages over Great Britain
1988George Bush wins US Presidential election
Bruges speech
1989Tiananmen Square massacre
1990Tories oust Margaret Thatcher
John Major new leader
Iraqi invasion of Kuwait
1991The Second Gulf War
1998President Clinton is impeached
Good Friday agreement in Northern Ireland
1999Kosovo War
Good Friday agreement fails to meet mid-year deadlines for establish Assembly executive
August Eclipse of the Sun
Scottish Parliament opens
Welsh Assembly opens

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