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Clare Short lauds OH Attlee

The Rt. Hon Clare Short MP delivered the 15th annual Attlee Memorial Lecture at Haileybury on 6 November 2003. Her topic was ‘Leadership: Her Experiences’. She started her speech by delivering a tribute to Clement Attlee, the first post-WW2 Prime Minister, whom she holds in the highest regard. She went on to compare the leadership styles of Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher and Attlee, and came down firmly on the side of the more liberal Old Haileyburian.

She continued her speech in a very well thought out manner, discussing even her delayed resignation. She was very critical of Tony Blair, calling again for him to resign, and answered questions in a style that appeared both honest and heartfelt.

Afterwards she retired to the Attlee Room with the politics students, and then to the Common Room for dinner, where she was entertained by members of staff and invited guests.

"She spoke eloquently and with considerable conviction, expressing her views clearly, whilst exuding a warmth and sense of genuine human compassion," according to Michael Perrins, head of Politics at Haileybury.

Ms Short praised the members of the school’s political society who put questions to her after her speech. She said: "I enjoyed my visit to Haileybury very much and found the questions thoughtful and impressive. The dinner and discussions were also very enjoyable."

She described her speech as "my way of paying tribute" to Clement Attlee, a Haileybury Old Boy who was Labour Prime Minister from 1945 to 1951. He was, she said, "one of the truly great Prime Ministers".

"He was a quietly spoken, modest man who famously only read the Times for the cricket scores and who brought about a significant transformation in the country."