Talk:Harold Macmillan

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Why are all references to his role in Forced Repatriation removed? He has been accused of being a war criminal by many people, that pov should be represented. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:45, 26 May 2008 (UTC)


Why do we list the grandchildren and even who they married? PaddyBriggs 08:47, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

Name and title[edit]

Why remove the Harold Macmillan out of my edit to "Harold Macmillan, The First Earl of Stockton." That's his name, although his original first name was Maurice. To me your revert of this has no value. --

His name was "Maurice Harold Macmillan, The First Earl of Stockton", informally merely "Harold Macmillan", but the form "The First Earl of Stockton" is (in this, and most cases) both unique and more appropriate for the required size.
I have re-performed Proteus' revert.
If you think that the standard for all Prime Minstership pages should be changed, please argue your case (here, or somewhere else); don't just ignore the wishes and opinions of others.
James F. (talk) 14:10, 28 May 2004 (UTC)

James F's revertion was correct. He simply returned the page to the standard format previously agreed and followed. FearÉIREANN 15:26, 28 May 2004 (UTC)

The full title I installed in does fit the caption. What do you think should be done? Keep James F's revertion, use my version, "Harold Macmillan", "Maurice Harold Macmillan", or "Maurice Harold Macmillan, The First Earl of Stockton"? --

(I was previously Hi! I think I get the point of the Prime Ministers' titles. Those are what they must be called officially (and not so much colloquially). I wasn't aware of it, especially since I'm an American and I don't live in England. --Marcus2

Supermac & Mack the Knife[edit]

The Supermac label was applied by cartoonist Victor Weisz, better known as Vicky. It was intended as mockery, but backfired badly.

Vicky's Supermac - Introduction by Michael Foot - £14.99 (£11.99 to PCS Members)

A unique anthology of the finest examples of Vicky's best known creation 'Supermac' (Harold Macmillan) to mark the 30th anniversary of the artist's death. Though 'Supermac' was originally intended as an attack on the Prime Minister, it somehow took on a positive role and in fact strengthened the image of the ageing Edwardian Prime Minister in the 1960s. Review of 1996 book

As for Mac the Knife, it is related to Mack the Knife, Vicky tried associating Harold Macmillan with this character from (I think) Bertolt Brecht. But I don't believe it ever caught on and should not be referenced as such.

See also this link --GwydionM 21:44, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

Deleted from Mack the Knife, include on this page or throw away (up to you): Probably coincidentally, Bobby Darin's version of the song was climbing the UK charts at the time of Macmillan's 1959 landslide election victory. Ewlyahoocom 21:12, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

"Mack the Knife" is used to refer to Macmillan in a 1960 episode of Hancock's Half Hour ("The Emigrant") suggesting both that it did briefly catch on and also that it predated the Night of the Long Knives, despite what the article currently suggests ("Weisz tried to label him with other names, including 'Mac the Knife' (at the time of major cabinet changes in 1962; see below)...)"). Timrollpickering 16:10, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
Vicky also made a cartoon in 1963 which shows a stabbed Rab Butler lying on the ground with a knife in the back and Macmillan running away. --Michael G. Lind (talk) 15:03, 1 May 2015 (UTC)


Was Macmillan bisexual? There is no mention in the biographies but I once saw Julian Clary on TV make a passing jokey reference to Macmillan's visits to the Turkish Bath (the famous London homosexual haunt which closed in the late 70s), and he used what seemed to be Macmillan's camp nickname...which, if I recall, had the word 'vapors' or 'steamy' in it. The audience laughed as if some were aware of it, as if it was underground folk knowledge, in the same way Mountbatten's sexuality was. It was an intriguing incident. I think Michael De-la-Noy's biography of Eddy, Lord Sackville-West, makes some reference to the young Mac in this vein. Does anyone have a copy to hand?

I found this on an Irish politics forum: 'Harold Macmillan's bisexuality, along with his transvesticism [sic], were widely gossiped about. A slightly drunk JFK, a friend of Macmillan's, once reportedly inquired of the British ambassador whether "Her Majesty and Her Majesty's Prime Minister shared the same dress designer?"'Engleham 11:37, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

  • If Macmillan indulged in (illegal) gay sex yet headed a government that criminalised it (until 1967), then that is worthy of comment. Malick78 14:04, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

Stories and rumours[edit]

Macmillan was noted for his unflappability in public. One day in September 1960, the Soviet leader, Nikita Krushchev interrupted Macmillan in the middle of a speech before the United Nations. Khrushchev, who, it seemed, had removed one of his shoes, was repeatedly banging it on a table. Famously, Macmillan calmly continued speaking: "I'd like that translated, if I may."

The above was deleted in 2004 because it was uncited. It's a good story. Does anyone know its origins? It reveals something of the politician.

On the other hand, the personal stuff regarding the legitimacy (or otherwise) of the Macmillan's daughter is a rumour and is irrelevant to the fame of the subject. If this rumour is to remain in the article, then its source needs to be cited. --Amandajm 04:04, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

The stories about Lady Dorothy and Boothby are quite widespread and have appeared in several short biographies of Macmillan. I'll see if I can find one of them to source it. Certainly the number of times it appears indiciates that it is considered a significant moment in Macmillan's life. Timrollpickering 11:53, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
Re-introduced a referenced note on the Macmillan/Kruschev UN shoe-bashing incident, this is well known and should be in the article. Personally I would also like to see something on the LD / Boothby story as it's also very well known aspect of his life. MarkThomas 12:06, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

The official biography by Horne (1988-9) would be a good start, along with talk of a nervous breakdown in the early 1930s. On the other hand Boothby's biographer Robert Rhodes James claimed to have found a tape recording of Macmillan and Boothby discussing how SM was NOT Boothby's daughter, but I don't think anybody else believes this.

Matthew Parris's Great Parliamentary Scandals covers the affair (pages 98-104 in the 1997 paperback edition). He also details Macmillan's depression. With regard's Sarah's paternity, Parris doesn't come down for definite. "It was said" (page 98), "The result, it was said, was Sarah, born in 1930 and widely thought to be Boothby's daughter." (page 100) Sarah herself only found out "that Boothby was her father" at a college dance in her late teens (probably from the remnants of gossip - the affair was widely known about at Westminster and in society but like so many not plastered all over the newspapers). There's a charming story at the end of how after Dorothy's death Macmillan burnt Boothby's love letters but didn't know how to work the garden incinerator and was chasing them half-burnt all over the garden. He then laughed about this with Boothby!
I'll try adding this to the article and sourcing it. Timrollpickering 21:56, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

Having checked out the Robert Rhodes James biography of Boothby (1991) I'd say the affair of LD and Robert Boothby is historical fact, not a "rumour". LD was very young (<20) when she married HM, and was soon bored by him - as a younger man he was tedious and disliked by his Cavendish relations. LD seduced Boothby (not the other way round) and they pretty much lived openly together in the early 1930s after she had pursued Boothby abroad to force him to break off his engagement to an American. But HM refused to give LD a divorce, and RRJ agrees with Horne, Macmillan's official biographer, that the humiliation of his cuckolding put the iron into his soul and was the (political) making of him. Astonishingly, HM and Boothby remained on good terms throughout their lives.

Robert Rhodes James quotes some of the few surviving letters from that period. The rest were burned (all 700 of them) as discussed above.

In later years the Macmillan marriage continued for appearance's sake, although LD and Boothby remained the most important figure in each other's lives. There is a famous photo of HM and LD sitting at opposite ends of a bench which was edited, Soviet-style, to give the impression that they were sitting close together.

As to the paternity of SM, RRJ says that Boothby "accepted responsibility" for her, but also that she had "Macmillan eyes" and speculates that LD may have invented the story to try to get a divorce. He claims that another incident "too sensitive to relate" also casts doubt on this - I dare say this is the story of the secret tape recording which I was told at a dinner by RRJ's wife in the early 1990s. Others dismissed this story as absurd at the time.

Parris' account matches pretty much, although with some extra details not mentioned above that I'll add here for wider coverage.
Macmillan's mother lived in the family home and LD "was forbidden from even replanting a border in the garden without permission from Macmillan's mother. 'It must have been like a strait-jacket,' said one of Dorothy's daughters-in law." (pages 99-100). As for who started the affair, Parris suggests Boothby initiated the contact during a parlour game at a party when he deliberately hid the glasses of a friend of LD's and subsequently sent them to LD with an invitation to lunch. A few weeks later Boothby invited Macmillan and LD to his father's estate to shoot and (citing RRJ) LD made the advance on Boothby. Parris writes "Each appears to have been equally implicated from the start." (page 100) I'm reluctant to repeat the reported rumours about the physical attraction... Between 1929 and 1935 Boothby and LD were living together publicly
(The shoot took place after the 1929 election and presumably was no earlier than August 12 - the start of the season for grouse. On the question of Sarah's paternity, does anyone know exactly when in 1930 she was born?)
Macmillan only confided in his mother who advised against divorce; it would also have been damaging in his constituency. (page 101) Officially Macmillan's breakdown was diagnosed as neurasthenia due to his war wounds "but this may have been a smokescreen" (ibid). In 1935 Boothby married Diana Cavendish, LD's first cousin, having apparently made a rash proposal and found himself unable to get out of it. The marriage only lasted two years.
Finally Parris notes the belief the affair made Macmillan what he was and quotes him as saying "'all this personal trouble did strengthen my character'". (page 103) Parris also writes "Many believe that ignoring the affair for so long resulted in the blind spot which allowed him to overlook the damage done by the Profumo affair" (page 98).
I have no idea one way or the other who "many" refers to but if this belief is common amongst historians/biographers then it adds to the affair's imnportance. Timrollpickering 01:48, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
From the current Dictionary of National Biography:
Sarah Macmillan, born in August 1930, was later claimed by Dorothy Macmillan to be Boothby's child (she was not recognized in Burke's Peerage as one of Macmillan's children; though she was registered by Dorothy Macmillan with Macmillan as the father, the birth was not registered until six weeks after the event, on the last legal day for registration; Sarah was not named on the certificate, nor by the standard procedure for later naming). Boothby accepted responsibility for Sarah, though with considerable doubts of his own. It may be that Dorothy Macmillan hoped her claim would encourage her husband to sue for divorce.
Frankly it seems that no-one out of Macmillan, Dorothy and Boothby knew who was Sarah's biological father. Timrollpickering 11:16, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

The current version of the article categorically dismisses (without sourcing) reports of Boothby as the father: "Boothby was widely but incorrectly rumoured to have been the father of Macmillan's youngest daughter, Sarah." This degree of assertiveness seems to me to be entirely unjustified on the basis of the discussion on this page, and I am going to modify the statement. Nandt1 (talk) 11:37, 24 July 2011 (UTC)

The discussion on the talk page is out of date. Thorpe (2010) adduces strong new evidence to refute the rumour. I've added a reference. Lachrie (talk) 12:30, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
By the way, Thorpe makes clear (in an end note) that the incident mentioned above that Rhodes James found "too sensitive to relate" was not the tape-recorded coversation but Boothby's attempted seduction of Sarah Macmillan. Nandt1 (talk) 15:37, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

John Bodkin Adams[edit]

I would like to add this regarding the death of his brother-in-law if I may:

On 26 November 1950, Lady Dorothy's brother Edward Cavendish, the 10th Duke of Devonshire had a heart attack whilst visiting Eastbourne. He was attended by John Bodkin Adams, the suspected serial killer, who was present when he died. The coroner was not notified as he should have been, despite the fact that the Duke had not seen a doctor in the 14 days before his death. Adams himself signed the death certificate stating that the Duke died of natural causes. 13 days before, Mrs Edith Alice Morrell, another patient of Adams, also died. Adams was tried in 1957 for her murder but controversially acquitted.[1] Malick78 13:13, 25 February 2007 (UTC)


And how about something regarding the controversy of British policing methods in Nyasaland? It produced both the Devlin and the Armitage Reports in 1959. Malick78 11:37, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

MacMillan Publishers[edit]

"His paternal grandfather, Daniel MacMillan (1813-1857), was the son of a Scottish crofter who founded Macmillan Publishers."

I was going to edit this, but thought I'd better make sure that it was actually Daniel, rather than a Scottish crofter, who founded MacMillan Publishers. Can anyone confirm this?Dinch (talk) 09:47, 22 December 2007 (UTC)


"Earl of Stockton" wasn't an "honorific suffix", it was his name. And we put a person's most recent name in their infobox. Proteus (Talk) 13:59, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

Please provide a link to the wikipedia section covering that policy. Secondly, clarity is something to be considered - 'Harold Macmillan' should really be put in the infobox title. Thirdly, when you edit, give reasons so others understand your edits. You didn't last time. Thanks. Malick78 (talk) 15:40, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
Like most things on Wikipedia, it's just common practice, not explicitly stated anywhere. We started off doing what you suggest (putting people's names whilst PM in the infobox), but they were too often "updated" ("John Major" was being changed to "Sir John Major" on a ridiculously frequent basis, for instance), and if that is done there is nowhere obvious in the article stating what a person ended up as. And as "Harold Macmillan" (his most well known name) is already up there in great big letters as the title of the article, it just happened that we gave up on excepting PMs from the general practice of using the last-held name in the infobox, so the article title generally states their name whilst PM and the infobox their name when they died. And once he became Earl of Stockton, he wasn't "Harold Macmillan, who also happens to be the Earl of Stockton", he was simply "the Earl of Stockton", and was referred to and referred to himself by that name. Proteus (Talk) 15:57, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
The thing is, it is controversial so a policy must be official: people have been editing this one bit of the article for months now and have failed to reach a consensus. Hence me reverting your edit for not stating a reason - the first time I've got involved so far. As for me, his most widely known name has to have prominence, that's just common sense I feel. The honorific is mentioned too - which should satisfy your POV. Shouldn't it? Malick78 (talk) 17:51, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
And checking the article, I see you have reverted my change without stating an edit reason again. That is unhelpful and makes wikipedia much less efficient. Please cease doing that. Malick78 (talk) 17:55, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

Proteus it would be more useful if you would discus your removal of Prime Ministers names with the rest of us rather than unilaterally imposing your view and removing the names completely in what is coming close to edit warring on this issue. - Galloglass 18:54, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

They were how I have changed them back to for a very long time before they were changed. If you want them some other way, I suggest you say why it should be so. Proteus (Talk) 00:24, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Well you have several of us informing you that its abnormal not to have a persons name in their info box, no matter who they are. Simply saying I want them without a name as you appear to be doing is not an argument that carries any weight. Please answer the points made on the Margaret Thatcher talk page where the main discussion is taking place. Thank you. - Galloglass 22:30, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Macmillan's term as MP for Stockton should be added to the infobox. Jim Michael (talk) 20:40, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

Intro too short[edit]

Could someone who knows about this guy flesh out the intro? It's far too short for such a major person and makes the page look embarrassingly underdeveloped. Malick78 (talk) 17:28, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

"nuclear secrets"[edit]

The intro currently states:

"but his unwillingness to disclose United States nuclear secrets to France led to a French veto of the United Kingdom's entry into the European Economic Community...", supported by a reference which I have not read and do not have easy access to. It is commonly accepted that De Gaulle vetoed UK entry into the Common Market because France felt threatened by the UK - US alliance. It is not common knowledge that the French demanded that American nuclear technology be handed over to them by Britain, and that the membership veto was in response to the UK's refusal to do so. That is a quite surprising allegation to me, although I confess to having no special knowledge of Macmillan or of the period. I certainly tho would like someone to provide the exact wording referred to, if they have easy access to the source. This seems to me to be a very striking statement that ought to be confirmed to everyone's satisfaction - if subject matter experts can clarify in more detail, it would be greatly appreciated. Badgerpatrol (talk) 18:30, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

According to the source, this was the view expressed at the time by Ted Heath, Macmillan’s top negotiator for EEC entry. It certainly was a factor in the failure of negotiations with de Gaulle, and probably the single most important, according to the author, Richard Lamb, whose study was based on the official records.
Richard Lamb, The Macmillan Years 1957-1963: The Emerging Truth (London: Murray, 1995).
The following are direct quotations from the source.
Lamb, pp. 7-8: “All was not plain sailing with de Gaulle ruling France. He was jealous of Britain’s position as a nuclear power holding an independent deterrent while France did not possess one. Only if Britain shared her nuclear know-how with France would he welcome her into the Europe of the Six. As Lord Privy Seal in charge of the entry negotiations Edward Heath became aware of de Gaulle’s attitude to the nuclear deterrent, and in March 1962 wrote a key minute pointing out that the consent of France to Britain joining the Common Market would depend on whether France was allowed to become a nuclear power, and that he was alarmed that we were trying to negotiate entry into the EEC ‘with all too few cards to play’. Heath must have felt then that unless de Gaulle was bribed with the promise of nuclear know-how, the negotiations would fail. Macmillan and his Foreign Secretary, [the Earl of] Home, paid no attention to Heath’s warning about the need to bribe de Gaulle. Britain could only give France nuclear know-how arising from pure British research, and in pursuance of the Americans’ non-dissemination policy had promised not to give France nuclear secrets passed to Britain by the Americans. On this rock the British attempts to enter the EEC between 1961 and 1963 foundered. In the earlier stages of these negotiations de Gaulle was probably not in a strong enough political position in France to veto British entry unilaterally, but in October and November 1962 in the French referendum and General Election the electorate rallied to him strongly and he achieved an impregnable personal ascendancy from which he could impose a personal veto regardless of the views of the other Five.”
Lamb, pp. 14-15: “I believe future generations of historians will claim that Macmillan’s biggest error was his slavish devotion to the British independent nuclear deterrent despite the crippling burden on the economy, and even after it had become clear that, unless Britain defied America over the non-dissemination of nuclear know-how and shared nuclear technology with France, there was no possibility of de Gaulle allowing Britain into the EEC.”
Lamb, p. 191: “At this stage [Sunday 16 December 1962] Macmillan should have realized that de Gaulle’s references to French agriculture were just a pretext for refusing admittance to Britain; Pierson Dixon, as head of the British delegation to Brussels, had already made this plain to him.”
Lamb, pp. 192-3: “When Peter Ramsbotham, Minister at the British Embassy in Paris, saw Jacques de Beaumarchais, de Gaulle’s Directeur d’Europe and later French Ambassador in London, on 9 January [1963] the Frenchman told him that de Gaulle had hinted to Macmillan at Rambouillet that if there was Anglo-French co-operation over nuclear missiles he would soften his attitude towards British entry into the EEC. However the General had deleted this from the French transcript because he did not want to appear as a demandeur (beggar) ... There is disagreement about what was actually said by de Gaulle because Macmillan did not insist on an interpreter, and de Gaulle doctored the French version. (This is not available to British researchers in the Quai d’Orsay Archives.)”
Lamb, p. 195: “Sir Edward Heath told the author that he could have agreed all the ‘unsettled business’ at a marathon conference with the Six in January [1963]. He was ready to make concessions; so were the Six, and the other members of the Ministerial Committee apart from the French were also confident that agreement would be reached. Heath’s firm opinion is that de Gaulle imposed his veto on account of the decision at Nassau not to allow France, without the strings of US control, the technical knowledge to become an important nuclear power. The late Sir Pierson Dixon did not agree with Heath. His view was that by the summer of 1962 de Gaulle had decided to keep Britain out, and was using the negotiations to find an excuse. Sir Patrick Reilly also disagrees, and told the author that in his view, as the official in charge of the Foreign Office end of the negotiations, there was so much unfinished business including the difficulty of Britain’s EFTA partnership that no agreement would have been possible before Easter even if the French had been co-operative.”
Lamb, pp. 195-6: “In his important minute to Home on 10 March 1962 Heath had set out clearly his view that if the Government supported the Americans in their policy of barring France from nuclear expertise through the US non-dissemination policy the negotiations ‘would be very difficult’. He was right. Macmillan and the Cabinet never realized that they must break with America on non-dissemination if Britain was to gain entry into the EEC. For Home and Macmillan it was more important that Britain should be an independent nuclear power than that they should enter Europe. For this, future generations of historians are likely to criticize them.”
I hope that helps. Lachrie (talk) 12:42, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

Article protected[edit]

I have fully protected this article (so that only admins can edit it) after being notified by a msg on my talk page that there is an edit war under way. The edit summaries also contain allegations of sockpuppetry by a banned user, which I have not had a chance to check out, but if editors want to raise this matter they can do by making a request at WP:CHECKUSER.

In accordance with wikipedia's protection policy, I have protected the article at its latest version, without regard to the current content. The reason I used full-protection rather than semi-protection is that at this point I think that this may just be a content dispute, in which case semi-protection would be unfair to the anon IPs who have adding the disputed material. Please discuss the disputed issue here, and if there is consensus for any edits then the {{editprotected}} template can be used to summon an admin to implement the changes. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 00:58, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Anon was reverted for inserting a trivial personal smear rejected by reliable sources Horne (vol. I, p. 16) and Ball (p. 19), misleadingly cited in support. Lachrie (talk) 04:40, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
This IP and a range of others beginning with 92. are associated with the HarveyCarter sockpuppet, whose mission in life is, apparently, to fill articles on certain public figures with rhetoric about the alleged homosexual and/or racist proclivities of those figures. He has been banned in many, many registered guises and for the past year has participated purely as an unregistered user, always from a 92. IP. While of course numerous people could conceivably have access to the same IP, the fact that this person's edits are almost unvarying, even back to his registered sockpuppet days, makes it easily determinable that a single person is behind the edits. For further examples, see the article histories for Cary Grant, James Stewart (actor), Charlton Heston, Randolph Scott, John Wayne, and the articles at User:HarveyCarter, User_Talk:HarveyCarter, as well as the discussion at Talk:George_V_of_the_United_Kingdom#Article_under_attack_from_HarveyCarter_IPs_SP.Monkeyzpop (talk) 05:59, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Regarding the actual content of the edit war - I should mention that it was me that originally added the comment that Macmillan was expelled from Eton for alleged buggery (according to Woodrow Wyatt) - since it is mentioned by Cullen, Pamela V., "A Stranger in Blood: The Case Files on Dr John Bodkin Adams", citing the Ball book. She takes the allegation as being possible - so for Lachrie to call it a 'trivial personal smear' is slightly disingenuous, since another historian (Cullen) deems it worthy of being repeated. I haven't seen the Ball book, but Horne was an official biographer so his rejection of the allegation should be taken with a pinch of salt too. Buggery at Eton would hardly be a shock now, would it? :)
  • Now, I'll happily not readd the information if Lachrie would discuss the issue on this talk page and quote those refutations by Horne and Ball (though he's mentioned one, Horne's I think, in an edit summary). He's been asked to do this and it would have been helpful if he had complied with the request earlier since edit warring only isn't helpful in the long run. Malick78 (talk) 15:37, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
The problem we have with its inclusion though Malick is that, when it comes down to it this is just a third hand rumour with little or no basis in fact. Including such trivia as this is what gives Wiki such a bad name. - Galloglass 16:39, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
Malick78, as you didn’t press for further information, I assumed it wasn't required. I'm sorry, I didn’t imagine you might be pushing this trash as well. Horne is a leading political historian. Given the contextual complexity, we really do have to rely on the published judgment of specialist political historians like Ball and Horne, neither of whom consider Haldane (as relayed by Wyatt, and the only source of the allegation) to be reliable.
Cullen is only a tertiary source, reliant on Ball, and can’t be regarded as a comparable authority on this subject, unlike Ball or Horne, who are the actual biographers, and the published secondary sources.
But, to give some background, Wyatt, who put Haldane’s smear in print in a ‘diary’ published posthumously in 1998, was a political opponent of Macmillan's, and an embittered, social-climbing ex-Labour MP with a personal as well as a political axe to grind, having been banished from Chatsworth by Macmillan’s brother-in-law, and his relentless muckraking about public figures like Macmillan, the Queen Mother and Princess Anne means his stories, largely comical, just aren’t taken seriously by political historians. Robert Rhodes James, for example, was interviewed in the Evening Standard (12 October 1998) for an article which concluded from the internal evidence that Wyatt 'should be approached with caution'. Many of his supposed anecdotes, mostly published after the deaths of his victims (presumably to avoid libel suits), have been exposed as fictitious. Haldane's claim about Macmillan at Eton is one of Wyatt's most dubious. The Daily Telegraph—also mentioned in the Sunday Times (18 October 1998)—specifically debunked Wyatt's claim that Macmillan never visited Eton again after leaving it over an allegation of ‘some trouser comedy’. Neither Ball nor Horne are inclined to accept Haldane's allegation of schoolboy misconduct, which is isolated and late, posthumously put into print by Wyatt, twelve years after Macmillan’s own death, and although of course nobody is now in a position to disprove it, the weight of evidence is against it, and neither Wyatt nor Haldane can be considered a reliable source by any stretch of the imagination.
Ball, p. 19: ‘Many years later J. B. S. Haldane spread the rumour that Macmillan had, in fact, been expelled for egregious homosexuality. Eton, like all public schools, lived in fear of the nameless vice. One of Edward Lyttelton’s first acts as headmaster was to break a house whose captain had an appetite for buggery. Haldane was certainly in a position to know the cause of Macmillan’s departure. “Of course I remember him very well,” Macmillan acknowledged when he was prime minister. “He was in the election above me at College, as well as a pupil of Henry Bowlby. I used to see him after the first war but have not seen him for many years.” Haldane was, in all likelihood, motivated by malice. Macmillan was certainly malicious about Haldane’s family. Enjoying the discomfiture of Gilbert Mitchison in the House of Commons, his mind was thrown back to Eton: “He was Captain of the Oppidans in my time and was a silly, pompous and conceited ass even then. As a punishment he married Naomi Haldane, and is now more or less insane.” Whatever the truth about Macmillan’s departure from Eton, it certainly denied him the opportunity to mix with boys of his own age at the very time when he was maturing into manhood. This was to presage an unfortunate pattern ...’
Horne, vol. I, p. 16: ‘Lambart says that he never detected any outstanding sense of humour in Harold, but he was “devoted” to him, and “shattered” when he left prematurely. For, after an undistinguished three years, Harold never finished Eton. He seems to have suffered from poor health and in his first half contracted pneumonia, from which he only just survived. Three years later some form of heart trouble was evidently diagnosed, and in 1909 he returned home as a semi-invalid. At various times subsequently the inevitable rumours have arisen that he had had to leave Eton for the “usual reasons”; though at Eton at that time “inordinate affection” might hardly have been deemed worthy of expulsion. Lambart remembered his having indeed been very ill, but no hard evidence has ever been produced to back any suggestion of homosexual leanings; certainly nothing beyond what might have been deemed acceptable in an English public schoolboy of the period. And, if there were any such proclivities, given Harold’s fastidious nature they would almost certainly have been confined to the emotional and intellectual rather than the physical realm. For a mother like Nellie, Harold’s illness and unhappiness would have been enough.'
Frankly, what an enormous waste of time. Lachrie (talk) 17:38, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Nationality of mother[edit]

His mother was American, as the revival of the 'special relationship' is mentioned and he is well known for his assertion that the British were to the Americans as were the Greeks to the Romans, her nationality is significant. Could this be added to the article? Dean Armond (talk) 07:41, 9 April 2009 (UTC)


It is claimed that Macmillan left Eton after only one "half" (ie term), but I doubt this. And if he did, where did he continue his education in order for him to get an exhibition to Balliol? "Who's Who" makes no mention of any school other than Eton. Ausseagull (talk) 09:23, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

The Eton College Book confirms he was withdrawn in April 1910. He was then tutored privately by Dilwyn and Ronnie Knox. I'll add it to the article. Lachrie (talk) 01:17, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
Many thanks. Ausseagull (talk) 09:46, 5 February 2010 (UTC) 09:45, 5 February 2010 (UTC)


This is one of the least interesting and encyclopaedic things about him. We need to know the main things he did as prime minister. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:51, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

The Hon when a back-bench MP?[edit]

Are common or garden back-bench MPs entitled to "The Hon" in the UK? We show him as The Hon from 29 October 1924 to 30 May 1929, and again from 4 November 1931 to 1942. Members are referred to as "The Honourable Member" within the chamber, but that does not necessarily mean they get "The Hon" as a prenominal. Also, such a style is never lost, unless subsumed in The Rt Hon etc. but we have Macmillan losing it when he left the parliament. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 11:21, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

Sarah Macmillan paternity[edit]

N.B., the early part of this discussion was copied from the Talk page of User:Lachrie to the Talk page for Harold Macmillian.

You removed a section from Robert Boothby, Baron Boothby saying that the rumor had been refuted, but that doesn't mean the rumor never existed. Better to say that he was long-rumored to be her father, but that your source denies it based on [whatever the evidence is]. -Jason A. Quest (talk) 13:46, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

I considered that before I made the edit, and it's not an unreasonable suggestion, but on reflection I think that, because the gossip was inconsequential (first given publicity I think by Davenport-Hines in 1992) and the paternity rumour turns out to be false, including it only to dismiss it as false would give it undue weight in the article. Lachrie (talk) 14:19, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
I see that Horne, Harold Macmillan vol. 1 (1988), p. 88, mentions the paternity rumour in passing as well, but the rumour still only found its way into print after it had been already privately discounted and after all four involved were dead. Lachrie (talk) 14:40, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
I have suggested an alternative formulation which, while making it clear that the new biography discounts Boothby's paternity, avoids such a categorical statement that Thorpe will necessarily have the last word. Nandt1 (talk) 18:06, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't think we could really justify that. In this case a compromise isn't warranted or satisfactory, as Thorpe's conclusion is pretty definitive, and his evidence supersedes Horne. After Horne but before Thorpe, a reasonable case could be made for including the paternity rumour, although a trivial matter, on the grounds that it at least seemed likely to be true. That can no longer be said. And the paternity rumour itself has never been the basis for a controversy in its own right. So it's hard to see how the continued inclusion of a trivial and now historically discounted rumour can be justified, short of published DNA evidence supporting something so incredible. So I'm afraid I do feel obliged to revert the change. Lachrie (talk) 18:48, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
I appreciate your effort at clarification but I think expanding on the rumour only serves to undermine the integrity of the article, because it gives the rumour undue weight and creates a false impression that Boothby might have attempted incest, a meaning entirely opposite to the source. Lachrie (talk) 19:18, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
Very well, I have dropped the mention of Boothby's attempt to seduce SM -- though I thought the text clear enough that this was being used as evidence against his paternity. Not to mention the rumour at all, though, seems to me a serious mistake. It has attained wide currency and been taken seriously by serious writers. To dismiss it as "trivial" surely misses the point: if one thinks it true (or even if Macmillan thought that many of those he dealt with thought it true) it has important implications for how one interprets HM's own psychological development. To ignore it altogether could be seen as a cover-up. Far better to say the story has been out there, but latest scholarship now discounts it. Nandt1 (talk) 19:37, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for pruning the excessive coverage. I don't think we can justify including the paternity rumour itself, because it's probably false, and because we can't deal with the matter adequately in an article of this length without investing it with undue weight, creating the false impression of extra scandal. Sarah Macmillan was never a public figure, and the article isn't about her. There's no doubt about Dorothy Macmillan's extra-marital affair with Bob Boothby. We're on solid ground there, at least. The affair was hushed up and the general public were kept in the dark during HM's lifetime, but it's since become a matter of historical record. I think we should confine the coverage to the affair, without indulging a doubtful paternity rumour when we now have strong evidence to the contrary. The affair is what was most important, and its factuality is not in doubt. If necessary, we can expand on that, although the psychological interpretations are rather speculative, probably too much so to be emphasised in an encyclopaedia article like this. Davenport-Hines was heavily criticised for his attempt at posthumous second-hand psychoanalysis. The most we can say is that the affair made HM unhappy and he spent a few weeks in a sanitorium in 1931. But he wasn't even an MP at the time. The political implications of the affair are also rather doubtful: Boothby was already toxic because of the Czech scandal in 1940, long before Macmillan was in a position to influence his career. Lachrie (talk) 20:17, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
I am inclined to take the opposite view on whether the HM article should mention the paternity rumour, but rather than the two of us going on batting this to and fro, it might benefit from opening the discussion wider. I would suggest we might get more participation (and hopefully progress towards a wider consensus) if we copied this section to date onto the discussion page for Harold Macmillan. Would you be agreeable? Nandt1 (talk) 21:24, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
I agree that the talk page would be the most appropriate venue, although I fear that past discussions there haven't always been well informed. Still, what we're considering is a problem of subtle emphasis, so there's room for reasonable disagreement. My own concern is that the paternity rumour is a dubious minor point in an article which already tends to over-sensationalise a few incidents in a long and eventful public career. Lachrie (talk) 21:49, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

N.B., At this stage, the discussion to date was copied from the Talk page of User:Lachrie to the Talk page for Harold Macmillian. Nandt1 (talk) 23:44, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

The paperback edition of Thorpe's biography has finally reached my remote colonial outpost. While some on this page have endeavored to suggest that the rumor of Boothby's paternity was "trivial" and not even worth covering at all, it seems evident that Macmillan himself agonized over the story -- at who knows what psychological cost -- before finally plucking up the courage to tackle Boothby about it after decades of uncertainty. I have tried to summarize Thorpe's reasoning for dismissing Boothby as the father in a footnote to the article, in large part because I believe readers deserve the chance to draw their own conclusions about how persuasive Thorpe's evidence may (or may not) be on this point. Nandt1 (talk) 15:28, 10 November 2011 (UTC) Nandt1 (talk) 21:55, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

The added content is speculative and your explanation involves over-interpreting the author and inventing prurient detail not even found in the original source; elaboration also gives the matter undue weight in what is only a brief article. I'm taking it out on those grounds. Please discuss any new wording anent this subject on the talk page first. Lachrie (talk) 11:36, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Here is the footnote as I originally wrote it:
Thorpe's grounds for his conclusion are two-fold. In 1975, some 45 years after Sarah's birth and 5 years after her death (and with, as apparently neither of them knew at the time, a tape recorder running), Macmillan asked Boothby directly about Sarah's paternity. Boothby conceded that his affair with Lady Dorothy might already have been under way at the time of Sarah's conception, but stressed that in his affairs he had been careful not to leave behind "a vestige" (i.e., Boothby had used contraception, presumably a condom or just possibly coitus interruptus, and believed it to have been effective). Thorpe adds as further confirmation that Boothby "attempted a 'fling' with [the adult] Sarah" which he describes as "inconceivable... if he had had any doubts about the efficiency of the contraception or any intimations that she might have been his daughter".
The material here that I would accept goes beyond what Thorpe actually says is my logical exploration of the possible methods of contraception RB might have employed to avoid leaving a "vestige". Very well, I agree, let's take that out as "speculative". The rest does no more than paraphrase Thorpe. As to any question of undue weight, multiple biographers have considered HM's wife's affair to have been of significance in his psychological and arguably political development. Thorpe's account emphasizes that, in addition to knowing that many people knew of his wife's affair, HM himself labored under uncertainty over Sarah's paternity throughout his mature political career. Nandt1 (talk) 04:16, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
All that's required to say is that Sarah Macmillan's paternity was regarded as uncertain. Your additions go far beyond that, giving a trival matter undue weight, so they probably ought to be reverted. The extramarital affair itself is more notable, and the article does have to mention that. But biographers merely speculate that the affair might have had some lasting psychological effect on Macmillan, but they don't have anything concrete to substantiate it, so it wouldn't be safe to go beyond that. Boothby's career in frontline politics was effectively over by 1941, even before Macmillan's had really begun, so by the time Macmillan entered the cabinet the Boothby connection had long ceased to be politically important. Lachrie (talk) 05:10, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but it is just not clear to me what the basis is for dismissing this as trivial. From Thorpe's description of the emotional scene between Macmillan and Boothby, it does not seem to have been trivial to those concerned. Boothby's being a politically marginal figure is utterly beyond the point. Macmillan strongly feared that his "daughter" was not his own flesh and blood. Who are we trying to protect here? Our readers are adults, and do not need us to censor what they read -- they deserve the facts not some bowdlerized version of them. Nandt1 (talk) 05:34, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
The uncertain paternity of a daughter had no discernible influence on Macmillan's sixty-year+ public career; the career being the raison d'etre and focus of all the political biographies, and what little speculation there has been about psychological effects has been limited to the influence of his wife's extramarital affair more generally. None of the biographers, who have written many of thousands of pages between them, give much if any space to the paternity question; even Thorpe only includes a few sentences about it. Now, if Boothby had been more than a marginal figure by the time Macmillan rose to eminence, it might have been a different story, as there might have been identifiable political consequences of the two politicians having fallen out, if not over the daughter specifically, then at least over the wife. But as it stands, going into great detail about the uncertain paternity is sensationalising a fairly trivial private matter, and in such a short article, quite obviously giving it undue weight, so it ought to be cut. Lachrie (talk) 05:59, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
We two editors have, by ourselves, evidently reached an impasse, with no discernible prospect of progress towards a consensus without additional Third Parties comment, advice and perhaps editorial suggestions. Let us therefore appeal for such input. Nandt1 (talk) 12:12, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

For personal reasons, Nandt1 will not be in a position to edit on Wikipedia for the next month. He respectfully asks his fellow editors to edit responsibly, on this and other articles, during his absence from the scene. Nandt1 (talk) 13:24, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

Always happy to hear other views if editors want to take it up here. I do feel obliged to revert on grounds already detailed above. Lachrie (talk) 06:30, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

As explained, I haven't got time for editing contests at this point, but I will note for the record that Lachrie's reversion consisted of completely removing all reference to the paternity issue from the article. Undue weight indeed! This is censorship pure and simple. It has never received any support from any other user here, but seems to be a continuing idee fixe with this particular user, the motivation for whose drive to cover-up these facts still remains obscure. Nandt1 (talk) 20:12, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

Nobody else is complaining, with good reason. The paternity rumour concerning one of the Macmillan daughters is a trivial matter passed over in silence by most biographers and discounted as baseless by the most recent, D. R. Thorpe. It doesn't merit inclusion because it's spurious, notwithstanding Nandt1's personal preoccupation with improbable tittle-tattle. We would be raising it only to dismiss it, which seems pointless. Lachrie (talk) 03:55, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
I suspect no one else has complained because people are busy and have real lives and so far no one else has noticed what has been done here. Certainly no one has endorsed the cut. Regrettably this edit forms part of a larger pattern of abusive and arbitrary editing by Lachrie -- see also the article on Bob Boothby. There Lachrie arbitrarily chooses to go beyond the evidence in the cited source, here arbitrarily to suppress a painful personal passage in the life of Macmillan and his family. To call the paternity story "spurious", "trivial" and "improbable tittle-tattle" (why would it be "improbable" to suppose that a man who carries on a long-term affair with a woman might get her pregnant?) is inter alia to obscure the fact that, according to Macmillan's latest biographer, Macmillan himself feared throughout his mature adult life that he was not the father of one of his four children. To believe this "trivial" suggests an understanding of human nature somewhere in the autism spectrum.
Does the new biographer render the paternity story "baseless"? Let's look more carefully. What he in fact does is to offer two pieces of evidence that the "other man" seems to have believed that he was not the father -- not quite the same. In any case, to raise a possibility that was long believed by the subject himself and then say that the best evidence (succinctly presented) seems to suggest that his fears may have been misplaced is not, as Lachrie suggests, a pointless exercise. To reiterate, Lachrie is practising arbitrary censorship on an issue that serious biographers have considered significant and worthy of serious discussion. My view is that Wikipedia is read (overwhelmingly) by adults who deserve the chance to weigh the evidence for themselves. This is, after all, an encyclopedia. Lachrie, by contrast, seems to see himself (or herself, though this I doubt) somehow annointed as Wikipedia Censor. As with the Boothby article, one senses a hidden agenda at work. Nandt1 (talk) 12:51, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
You shouldn't be accusing other editors of bad faith just because they disagree with you. I think I've made my position clear enough. There doesn't seem any real point adding material to a short article which the authorities on Macmillan regard as trivial and/or untrue. If the evidence suggested the rumour was true, there might have been a slim case for including it, however trivial, but what little evidence we have actually indicates the rumour was unfounded. The most recent biographer, Thorpe, spends a few paragraphs on it, but only in order to dismiss it as untrue. Your discussing it as such absurd length on the talk page only serves to blow its importance out of all proportion. Your personal interest in it doesn't mean it merits inclusion in a serious but necessarily short and focused article. Lachrie (talk) 13:17, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
Utterly arbitrary personalized censorship with no consensus whatever. This does not constitute good faith editing. Nandt1 (talk) 13:37, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
Removing material regarded as false by the source isn't censorship: it's responsible editing. I've given reasons that other editors can judge for themselves, so it's hardly an arbitrary opinion either: I've explained in unnecessary detail why I think a false personal rumour doesn't merit inclusion: it's trivial, and it's dismissed as untrue by the only authority, Thorpe, who's bothered to investigate it in any detail. Lachrie (talk) 13:56, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
That HM himself long believed that he might not be the father of his putative daughter is not "false" but attested to by Thorpe. That Thorpe offers quite good evidence that the "other man" believed himself not to be the father (rightly or wrongly) does not obliterate the fact that HM lived with this belief for decades. Your characterization of such a belief as "trivial" is a personal view that many fathers would, I suspect, not share. Your other pretext for the cut, that this is a "short and focused article" is pretty threadbare: it is not all that short and it is not all that focused. If it has room for a paragraph about Dr. John Bodkin Adams..... Nandt1 (talk) 14:19, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
The effect on Macmillan is a matter of pure speculation about which we have no evidence, as there was no discernible historical consequence. Many facts are omitted from the article, because it is so short, and there is no good reason to include a non-fact. Lachrie (talk) 14:59, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

With some regret, my one month's absence from editing Wikipedia actually has to start now. I leave with some concern as to what I will find when I return. Nandt1 (talk) 14:34, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

It will be mostly unchanged. Lachrie (talk) 14:59, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

Now that I have internet access again, I am keen to put this matter to rest. I am also conscious that a collaborative exercise like Wikipedia requires compromises, and sometimes these have to be at the level of the Least Common Denominator. I see that about a month ago you wrote: "All that's required to say is that Sarah Macmillan's paternity was regarded as uncertain." Much as I would personally support giving the explanatory details, adopting your own language word-for-word is preferable to the article's present silence on the matter, and so I propose to use your formulation verbatim in the article. If this is the most we can agree on, then so be it. Nandt1 (talk) 16:30, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

It was a family rumour mentioned in print after Macmillan's death by Horne and Davenport-Hines. I believed it when I read it then. But the only person to investigate it in detail (Thorpe) has concluded that it isn't true. We can mention it but in fairness as it's now thought to be false we shouldn't give it the appearance of credence by going into detail. I've amended the wording slightly to clarify its status but if we expand the text we do threaten to give it undue weight. Lachrie (talk) 14:59, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
The language as it now stands ("A family rumour that Boothby was her father has been [by] discounted by the most recent and detailed study") represents a compromise that I can live with. I will just delete the first "by" which was clearly an oversight. Nandt1 (talk) 23:35, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Hello, Rjensen. You have changed the section in the Harold Macmillan article dealing with Sarah Macmillan to reassert the old claim of Boothby's paternity. Could I please ask you to present at this Talk page your justification for changing this text. As you will see above, there has already been a very lengthy set of exchanges on this issue which resulted in the compromise text that you altered. Is your source indeed better than hte latest (Thorpe) biography of HM? I don't know, but if you think so, I think this needs to be argued here. Thank you for your understanding. Nandt1 (talk) 14:44, 27 December 2011 (UTC)

my apologies--that was my mistake. Rjensen (talk) 18:01, 27 December 2011 (UTC)

Profumo section[edit]

The section on the Profumo affair presently contains the sentence "He survived a Parliamentary vote with a majority of 69, one fewer than had been thought necessary for his survival, and was afterwards joined in the smoking-room only by his son and son-in-law, not by any Cabinet minister." Presumably the son-in-law was Julian Amery, but further down the article lists Amery as a member of the Cabinet. Opera hat (talk) 10:26, 2 September 2011 (UTC)


Is macmillan the PM who squashed talk about an anti-smoking policy, since it brought in so much money and killed off working class pensioners quickly?Keith-264 (talk) 21:44, 18 September 2011 (UTC) Keith-264 (talk) 10:43, 22 April 2014 (UTC)

File:OperationGrappleXmasIslandHbomb.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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Charles Williams biography of Macmillan[edit]

I removed a great deal of text added by an IP editor from the south-east of England, one who extensively cited a 2009 book by Charles Williams: Harold Macmillan. The IP editor has used the following IP addresses:

According to the Daily Mail, "Charles Williams is a retired businessman who spoke for Labour in the House of Lords before he turned to writing, producing serviceable biographies of De Gaulle, Petain, Adenauer and Don Bradman." I believe the author has a Wikipedia biography at Charles Williams, Baron Williams of Elvel.

I have removed the work of this IP editor because of its overreliance on a single source, for failing to adhere to WP:NPOV, and for WP:UNDUE emphasis on certain aspects of Macmillan's life. For instance, Macmillan's involvement with the Suez Crisis is given too much emphasis by the IP editor, with collusion and deceit colouring the verbiage. Later, the IP calls the first UK hydrogen bomb test a "supposed British triumph." Williams's conjecture is given voice by the IP, regarding a possible reason for Macmillan accepting an earldom (because of his failing eyesight).

I would like to see a more balanced expansion of this article using more than just the Williams biography. Binksternet (talk) 22:03, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

The Suez Crisis absolutely deserves its own section and its importance can hardly be overstated since without it Macmillan would never have become Prime Minister. We now know from the records that were released under the 30 year rule act just how much Macmillan was involved in the secret collusion with Israel. ( (talk) 22:08, 14 December 2011 (UTC))
You will want to give WP:NPOV a nice, long read in order to fit the tone of your additions to an encyclopedia. As well, you ought to balance several sources to give the article a wider scholarship. Charles Williams was described by the Daily Mail as "bitchy" in his writings about Macmillan, so it stands that we should cast a wider net in looking for good sources. Regardless of our sources, we must write with a neutral tone, not a tone designed to anger the reader. Binksternet (talk) 22:17, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

I wouldn't believe anything the Daily Mail said. ( (talk) 22:27, 14 December 2011 (UTC))

But would you trouble yourself to read Thorpe? Horne? Fisher? Lamb? Would you widen the scope of your sources? Binksternet (talk) 23:02, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

Sure I have, but Williams' book is far more up to date and uses material the others didn't have access to. ( (talk) 23:04, 14 December 2011 (UTC))

the problem is not the williams book--it's the misreading of it by, who takes the fringe view that Britain actually WON the Suez crisis. Rjensen (talk) 00:58, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
I agree with User: Binksternet that the Suez section is being edited tendentiously by IP 92.7.x.x. but also with User:Rjensen that Charles Williams is a reliable source that meets WP:RS. The wholesale removal of claims based on Williams on grounds of “revisionism” is probably too a drastic solution. In my view, the unbalanced criticism just needs to be toned down and rebalanced with other informed commentary to meet WP:NPOV. Lachrie (talk) 14:39, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

I never argued that the UK won the Suez Crisis (except militarily of course). All I am saying is there is no way we cannot go into detail about Macmillan's heavy involvemrnt in its planning and execution for his article on this site - especially as it was the event that made him Prime Minister. ( (talk) 14:44, 15 December 2011 (UTC))

Williams is a reliable source, but he's also one of many. The language being used is a bit sensational and the emphasis in the article should be on facts rather than commentary. Some of the facts themselves are still disputed. Just balance the criticism and use measured language, and the dispute shouldn't become intractable. Be aware that it's controversial. There are a variety of views about Suez and the nature of Macmillan's involvement, and we ought to try to reflect the full spectrum in the article. It was a turning point in his career and his involvement deserves very full treatment. Lachrie (talk) 15:10, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Please try and reach consensus on Suez here and don’t start an edit war about it by reverting without discussion. Your changes don't actually have consensus, so please don't try to force them through without addressing the concerns of other editors. I have to admit I am uncomfortable with the way the section is being framed with hostile opposition commentary, and Harold Wilson and the Manchester Guardian are being treated as impartial sources. The economic argument is also too vague. In the end the Government backed down not because it had to, but because it prioritised the convertibility of sterling over securing the Canal. Lachrie (talk) 15:29, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Dynamic IP edit warring advisory[edit]

The IP editor 92.7.x.x has been repeatedly blocked, including yesterday and today, for edit warring. He is an insistent revert warrior. Please keep an eye out for further dynamic IPs in the general range making non-mainstream edits and quickly restoring them after being reverted. Here is a list of IPs that have been used by the editor:

Here's a list of articles that interest this IP editor:

Let's keep these articles as neutral as possible, with a broad scope in sourcing. Binksternet (talk) 17:17, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Use of word "deterrent"[edit]

I fail to see how it is wrong to call the UK nuclear missiles a deterrent, as this was during the Cold War and the Soviet Union had threatened to launch rockets against London during the Suez Crisis (although this may have been a bluff). (AdrianCoyle (talk) 17:14, 3 February 2012 (UTC))

See WP:NPOV. --John (talk) 22:56, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
John seems unable to explain his position. The Wiki rule is that we follow the RS, including all sides in disputes, but giving most attention to the dominant view. So what do the RS say--they say deterrent. a) See book title: Britain's strategic nuclear deterrent: from before the V-bomber to beyond Trident by Robert H. Paterson (1997) and P. Malone, The British Nuclear Deterrent: A History (London: Groom Helm, 1984; b) see chapter title: "Interdependence and the British Nuclear Deterrent " in Ashton, Kennedy, Macmillan, and the Cold War: the irony of interdependence (2002) p 152; and "De Gaulle, Macmillan and the Nuclear Deterrent" in Ruin and resurgence, 1939-1965 (1966) by Robert Mowat; c) see text: "the first British H-Bomb about to be detonated, Macmillan's emphasis, then and always, lay very much in dependence on the nuclear deterrent" in Harold Macmillan: 1957-1986 by Alistair Horne (1989), Rjensen (talk) 23:25, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
Hmm, no, I am perfectly able to explain my position. There are certainly sources which refer to Britain's nuclear weapons as a deterrent; I would argue that as there are equally sources which do not, and as more modern sources tend not to use this dated term, we would be better to use the more neutral term. Calling them a deterrent is a euphemism that some may agree or disagree with, hence it is contentious. Calling them nuclear weapons is a neutral and objective term which is beyond dispute. Hence it it the better term to use. --John (talk) 23:59, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
"deterrent" is the technical term used by historian and political scientists. It explains why they were desired, which "forces" does not. No, this is not a euphemism for something. John claims he has his own RS -- but has not produced a single citation to support his POV. Rjensen (talk) 02:17, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Not so. This article is not the place to discuss deterrence theory in detail. --John (talk) 02:36, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
John is wrong saying that "nuclear deterrent" is "dated" Here is a recent scholarly articles in a leading journal that use "nuclear deterrent" in the title : Thomas Robb, "Antelope, Poseidon or a Hybrid: The Upgrading of the British Strategic Nuclear Deterrent, 1970-1974, " Journal of Strategic Studies, Dec 2010, Vol. 33 Issue 6, p797-817 ... still not a single citation from John to any book or article --- that rather undermines his credibility here. John seems unaware of publications like The United Kingdom's Future Nuclear Deterrent Capability (published by Parliament in 2009). Or David Owen's 2010 statement on "The Need for an Open and Informed Debate on Britain's Nuclear Deterrent" online. The term is also used regarding China and other countries in the literature published in the last couple years. Rjensen (talk) 03:05, 4 February 2012 (UTC)


I am not a sockpuppet. I think it is interesting in view of the ongoing civil war in Syria that Macmillan and President Eisenhower discussed invading Syria in the autumn of 1957. This is hugely important in terms of Macmillan's foreign policy. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:07, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

Go away, User:HarveyCarter. Not only do you constantly try to put this same crap into the article, you frequently use IP addresses that start with 92.7. This has every appearance of more socking.
Regarding the content, we have better sources than journalist Ben Fenton. He's like one of the blind men feeling part of the elephant—there's much more depth to that history. Binksternet (talk) 19:17, 10 August 2012 (UTC)


Not encyclopedic in the least, but the picture being used in the infobox is just awesome. Marvelous. Just saying. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:29, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

Role in decolonization[edit]

Macmillan....redrew the world map by decolonising sub-Saharan Africa.

This statement, in the introductory section of this page, is rather sweeping and suspectedly Anglocentric - the issue of allowing independence to countries in sub-Saharan Africa was also being faced by France, Belgium and Portugal, with varying degrees of enthusiasm. I sit more comfortably with the discussion in the section dealing with his Premiership that he was "a major proponent of decolonization"; the implementation of decolonization was another matter, with Portugal not finally relinquishing its sub-Saharan colonies until the 1970s. Also, it implies all sub-Saharan Africa was decolonized - where does this leave the then white-governed South Africa (not a crown colony before it became a republic) and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe)? Cloptonson (talk) 15:54, 30 March 2015 (UTC)

  1. ^ Cullen, Pamela V., "A Stranger in Blood: The Case Files on Dr John Bodkin Adams", London, Elliott & Thompson, 2006, ISBN 1-904027-19-9