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A Reassessment of the Leadership of John Major using the Greenstein Model

McMeeking, Thomas Ian (2018) A Reassessment of the Leadership of John Major using the Greenstein Model. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Some twenty years since the dramatic fall from office of his government in May 1997, the premiership of John Major (Conservative, 1990 – 1997) has been overlooked within academic literature, seemingly dwarfed as it has been by the literature on the transformative premierships of Margaret Thatcher (Conservative, 1979 – 1990), and Tony Blair (Labour, 1997 – 2007). The literature that does exist on Major is concomitantly on the whole critical, a by-product of the turbulence of his time in office. This is despite Major’s seeming reputational improvement, and the increasingly revisionist attitudes towards his government, since he left office. Such an improvement has resulted in Major playing an increased role in the national debate in recent years, including in the 2016 referendum on Britain’s future relationship with the European Union. Therefore it is arguably an appropriate moment to re-assess the political leadership of Major. It is the proposition of this thesis that the best mechanism to assess Major’s prime ministerial performance and possibly gain a new insight into his premiership is from Presidential studies and the seminal 2000 work of Fred Greenstein and his six criteria for leadership, thereby building upon the work of other political scientists who have utilised the Greenstein model as a means to assess leadership performance within Prime Ministerial studies. This will be shown with the use of elite interview and questionnaire responses from nineteen participants currently within the House of Commons and House of Lords who were active during the Major era. This thesis will seek to show through the feedback from elite fieldwork that whilst much of the criticism of Major was justified, it equally is possible to argue using Greenstein that the undervaluing and overlooking of Major in the academic literature is unjustified, with much that Major did achieve deserving of further academic research and study.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: John Major; Greenstein; Prime Minister; leadership
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Politics & International Studies (POLIS) (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.758320
Depositing User: Mr TI McMeeking
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2018 12:41
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2020 12:32
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/22039

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