Former Leaders in Modern Democracies: Political Sunsets by Kevin Theakston, Jouke de Vries, K. Theakston, J. de Vries

By Kevin Theakston, Jouke de Vries, K. Theakston, J. de Vries

What comes subsequent for a former chief in a democracy - a primary Minister or President obliged to go away workplace simply because they've got misplaced an election, come to the tip in their constitutionally-fixed time period, misplaced the backing in their celebration, or selected to go away? This publication analyses the function and political effect of former leaders in Western democratic states.

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Douglas-Home was revered in the wider Conservative Party and so reassured party traditionalists. While Heath pursued his European ambitions, Douglas-Home concentrated more on relations with the United States (he was highly regarded in Washington DC and got on well with Nixon and Kissinger), on the Commonwealth and on Kevin Theakston 41 and rarely intervened in other matters (Ziegler 2010, 238). It helped also that Douglas-Home was modest, decent and amiable, often caricatured as a tweedy aristocratic amateur, though his political career spanned over 40 years and he should not be underestimated as one of the ‘great survivors’ of British politics.

Heath, he liked to say, had been a good ‘number two’ but was not an effective leader. Macmillan was initially delighted when Thatcher replaced Heath as Tory leader in 1975. He admired her courage, resolution and drive but the political differences between them became more and more apparent. On a number of occasions in the 1970s Macmillan called for a coalition government of national unity – hinting that he might come back and play a role in it – but Thatcher was dismayed and made clear her view that the answer to Britain’s problems was the election of a Conservative government.

Some have become engaged in economic debate in hard times, but with little effect. Amid global recession and high inflation in 1982, Gerald Ford established the American Enterprise Institute World Forum near his home in Beaver Creek, Colorado. Better known as the Vail Group, this provided a means for government officials and business leaders from the Americas, Asia, and Europe to engage in informal discourse on issues of international economic significance. Ford also recruited three former foreign leaders, ex-Prime Minister James Callaghan (United Kingdom), ex-Chancellor Helmut Schmidt (Federal Republic of Germany), and ex-President Valerie Giscard d’Estaing (France), with whom he had become friends while in office, to provide advice and insight on matters under review.

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