1) Thatcher: “Where there is discord, may we bring harmony.” This Francis of Assisi line was blurted out by Britain’s first female PM as she walked up Downing Street in 1979. For 11 straight years she presided over inner city riots, the miners’ strike and the poll tax demonstrations, and sacked most of the people who she didn’t like. They then sacked her.
2) Blair: “I think I am a pretty straight sort of guy.” The Daily Telegraph claimed in 2011 that Blair visited the son of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gadaffi to lobby on behalf of JP Morgan. There are also allegations that Blair used his position as Middle East envoy to lobby for a telecoms deal in the Palestinian Authority. The former British premier then came on our TV sets to refute the allegations: “People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well I’m not a crook,” or something like that anyway.
3) Conservative election slogan 1970: “Tomorrow will be better than today.” This read something of a sick joke by 1974 when a 3 day week was imposed and the lights went out. A better slogan might have been “Tomorrow will be completely shit but vote for us anyway.” This approach could work for Cameron in 2015.
4) Cameron: “We are all in this together.” The 50p rate of tax for high earners was reduced to 45p. Value Added Tax, the UK’s equivalent of sales tax, was hiked from 15 to 20%. Everything the poor bought in the shops suddenly cost more. Cameron brought people into the heart of government who help rich people avoid tax. A secret memo reveals that a day before uttering these words, Cameron toyed with “Eton shall prevail!” instead, but it was ditched due to fears of alienating those who went to Harrow, the rival to Cameron’s beloved Hogwarts.
5) James Callaghan: “You can’t spend your way out of recession.” Yep, Jim, you’re right. When people don’t spend, the government should join them. This worked really well in the 1930s and paved the way for the roaring 1940s. It’s why you defeated Thatcher in 1979.