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1949 Aug 24 We
Margaret Thatcher

Speech to Dartford Conservative Women

Document type: speeches
Document kind: Speech
Venue: Bloomfields, Wilmington, Kent
Source: Dartford Chronicle, 26 August 1949
Journalist: -
Editorial comments: Afternoon.
Importance ranking: Minor
Word count: 598
Themes: Conservatism, Family, Social security & welfare, Women

‘UP HOUSEWIVES, AND AT 'EM’

Miss Roberts Revives Another Slogan

Recalling that last week she asked the Young Conservatives to revive an old motto: “It all depends on me,” Miss Margaret Roberts (prospective Conservative candidate for the Dartford Division) on Wednesday called upon Dartford women's branch of the Divisional Conservative Association to revive another— “Up housewives, and at 'em.”

“Many of us women are dissatisfied with the present Government, so this time we will apply it to them,” she said.

Miss Roberts, who was speaking at a garden fete organised by the branch at Broomfields, Wilmington, said that like every other political party, the Conservatives looked to the women to produce the goods, and so far in this constituency they had never failed.

There were one million more women voters on the electoral roll than men, and women now held the whip-hand. Their vote was won for them by their ancestors by a great deal of effort, and it was up to them to use it as conscientiously—and even more so—than any other member of the community.

Women are Realists

Women had a different approach to politics from men. They had no time to read their newspaper as diligently as they would like, especially when they had to get out and get something for dinner—before someone else got it! But they saw everything at first-hand and were more realists in any political situation than men were. They had a great contribution to offer.

It was no use a politician getting up and saying, “We have built a million houses. The housing problem is solved,” when their next-door neighbour had been on the waiting list for three years and had still not got a house.

The women in the Dartford Division exerted their responsibilities to the full. They did not leave things to the other person, and once again she wanted to emphasise the note of personal responsibility. Anything which the State gave them—and they were not against State assistance—was only to help with their responsibilities towards their families and not to relieve them of those responsibilities, as so many people seemed to think today. They did not want their children to become children of the State.

They knew very well of lots of family allowances which the children could do with which did not go to them at all. There was a breach of faith with the principle for which family allowances were meant, she thought.

Family Allowances

There was bickering between Parties at the moment as to who was responsible for family allowances, but she had never yet heard the name of the woman who originally suggested it. This was Eleanor Rathbone who came from her own college.

They were apt to think that because they worked hard and conscientiously all women did the same. But they must remember that there were women who ill-treated their children, and they should propagate their own principles to their neighbours and the coming generation.

They in the Conservative Party believed greatly in family life, and they would do all they could to keep that belief alive and fight anything that tended to shatter it.

Miss Roberts thanked Mrs. B. E. Waterman for the loan of her garden, Mrs. A. Jenns (who presided), Mrs. Fletcher and helpers.

In thanking Miss Roberts, Mrs. Jenns mentioned that she (Miss Roberts) had arranged to work on Saturday afternoon in order to attend their fete at mid-week.

On behalf of the branch, Ann Walsh presented Miss Roberts with a box of chocolates and a bottle of eau-de-cologne.