Credit: Shutterstock/Clement Attlee

Democracy means government by discussion, but it is only effective if you can stop people talking

Clement Attlee is remembered as Prime Minister whose government created the post-war Welfare State.

Leading the United Kingdom from 1945 to 1951, after Second World War ended, he saw a country in much need of care, and he began to rebuild. Under his leadership, the National Health Service was born, and the coal and steel industries were nationalised.

Before he reached such political heights, he served in the First World War. His leadership skills earned him a promotion to Major. Returning home, he worked in London's East End. Exposure to the extreme poverty there helped shaped his feeling that government should serve the people, rather than the elite.

Attlee was known for his quiet and modest demeanour, but it hid a sharp and decisive wit. He is still ranked by academics among the best of British Prime Ministers.