Question 1: Which Labour government will Starmer's 2024 government most resemble?

1924, 1929-31, 1945-51, 1964-70, 1974-79, or 1997-2010?

Result:

  • 16 colleagues voted for the 1964-1970 governments of Harold Wilson
  • 9 Voted for the 1997-2010 governments
  • 4 voted for the 1924 government
  • There was 1 vote each for the 1929, 1945 and 1974 governments
  • Remainder were No Comment
Harold Wilson smoking pipe

Summary:

Keir Starmer has said that the Labour leader (over the last 50 years) he most admires is Harold Wilson. By and large, historians believe the 2024 government will resemble the 1960s Wilson governments which had to deal with serious economic shocks (devaluation of the pound) whilst also producing social legislation that has stood the test of time (abortion, equal pay, capital punishment abolition).

A significant number feel the 2024 government will be closer in spirit to the Blair-Brown governments with their centrist focus on modernisation. There does seem to be a consensus that the Attlee government is not a useful guide at this historical moment despite the fact that it is often viewed as Labour’s greatest administration (see below).

The comparison with the 1924 government is based on the fact that the government of that year had very little experience in office (as will be the case with many of the 2024 cabinet).

Image: cropped from Lyndon B. Johnson meets with Prime Minister Harold Wilson C2537-5.tif. Original image LBJ Library photo by Yoichi Okamoto, available on Wikimedia Commons, public domain.