Wilson's achievements as Prime minister outweighs his failures as he was able to get Labour into power after a phenomenal thirteen years of Conservative rule. His main achievement as Labour leader was to get the party into power in 1964. He did this by making the party respectable and untied. This was achieved not only by his own hard work, but the failures of the Conservative government, such as not joining the E. E. C. and there being a continuous rise in unemployment.
He also promised so much in his manifesto, such as the 'White Heat of Technology', which was to endorse money into scientific projects to hopefully increase Britain's potential competitiveness in trade on a worldwide scale. Although Wilson was unable to fulfil his promise of the 'White Heat of Technology' as all the proposed research went into 'arms' and Concorde projects. This was due to opposition from civil servants of the Treasury, who would not allocate money to the Prime Ministers for his proposed developments.
Wilson's character also enabled him to gain power in the 1964 election, as he was young, charismatic and 'fresh' compared to Macmillan who was considered part of the establishment and out of touch with the young electoral. This seemed to be a big achievement as the Conservatives had been in power for the last thirteen years. Other attributes of Wilson as Prime Minister was the devaluation of the pound in 1967. Devaluation was needed due to the pound being weak as British products were over priced and therefore foreign countries would not pay the required price for them.
The decision to devaluate was due to a balance-of-payments being incorrect because of the Dock Strikes in 1967, which caused a decrease in exports and an increase in imports. Although, Wilson should have devalued earlier on in his term as PM, which he did not due to him not wanting to be remembered as 'the party who devalued. ' If he had devalued earlier then the economy may have recovered much more rapidly and stagnation may not have occurred. This could therefore be one of his main failures as PM due to stagnation proving to be a prime aspect to the economy being in a severe state of failure.
Despite this though, devaluation was bold and paid off in the long run as in the 1970's the economy did start to recover although this was relative to other European and Middle-eastern countries. Wilson's also attempted to create much better relations between the government and the Trade Unions. Barbara Castle, a Labour MP, proposed the White Paper named 'In place of strife' which planned to put restraints on the trade unions, such as not being able to strike without holding a ballot first with a majority in favour of a strike and being able to demand wage increases.
This was an achievement, because it did prove very popular with the public and it addressed the problems between the trade unions and the government. However, due to opposition within the Labour Party (Callaghan) this proposal was not passed, as it was unpopular with the Trade Unionists, and Callaghan was adamant that it should "be left up to the Conservatives to sort out the problem" (as this would cause major discontent).
This could be considered one, maybe the, major failure of his career, as he was not able to stand up to his own party for his beliefs. This also showed that he was not in full control of his party. Also due to not tackling the trade unions this did not help improve the economy. However Wilson's successes were few and far between as one of his most noticeable failures being PM was being refused to join the European Economic Community.
This was due to different contributing factors, but mainly due to the British economy being too weak, which he did not seem to have a plan of action to try and correct as he had no real regulation or procedure for raising production or exports which were the main factors as to why the economy was not up to the same standard as other European and Middle-eastern countries. Overall at during the period 1963-70 Wilson was a failure as a PM as he dashed high hopes of the electoral as he did not carry out his pledges in his manifesto, such as increasing the school leaving age and increasing the number of homes being built.
Although this was actually due to the state of the economy, which was left by the Conservative government, therefore Wilson was only a failure of as a PM not as a leader though. Although Wilson did lose power in 1970 which can be seen as a failure as both a PM and as a leader although he did exceedingly well to win the 1974 election, which shows that he must have done a good job in the government previously otherwise the electoral would not have voted for him.