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1950 Jan 27 Fr
Margaret Thatcher

Article on Women MPs ( Youngest Woman Candidate Calls to Women )

Document type: speeches
Document kind: Article
Venue: -
Source: Evening Post, 27 January 1950
Journalist: -
Editorial comments: Date of composition unknown. The Evening Post has been re-titled Kent Today.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 1015
Themes: Agriculture, Parliament, General Elections, Foreign policy (general discussions), Family, Housing, Labour Party & socialism, Religion & morality, Women

We are V.I.P.s; let us go forward by the right”

Youngest woman candidate calls to women

A. P. Herbert once paid a remarkable tribute to women Members of Parliament. He wrote

Send us more women, voter to watch below Big Ben.

More Rathbones, Tates and Summer-skills, more Megans should be heard.

They work—they fight like tigers—they're tougher than the men;

And (what is most remarkable) they never waste a word.

Considering that the slang name of the House of Commons is the Westminster Gasworks. A. P. Herbert 's last line should give the lie once and for all to those who say it is the women who do all the talking.

Wanted—more women. More women in the House of Commons to see that women's rights are adequately defended; more women to take an active interest in local affairs; more women to apply their innate common sense to cut the cackle of politics and sort out the real questions that now face us before they vote.

Our daily lives

It is a mistake to try to segregate political affairs into those that concern men and those that concern women. Most decisions taken at Westminster involve all of us, directly or indirectly.

Politics go further into our daily lives than ever before in Parliamentary history. That of course, is the reason why so many more people now take a greater interest in current affairs.

Fifteen to 20 years ago most men and women provided they were left alone to pursue their own jobs and interests unbindered gave little thought to politics.

But to-day, the Socialist Government interferes so much with the little things of daily life that the person who wants to win back the right to make more of his or her own decisions is forced into the political arena to fight against the present regime.

Women are affected as much as, it not more than, the men, and are taking a more lively interest in politics.

Family welfare

The welfare of her family is the prime concern of nearly every woman. Material things of course, form a large part of this, but it is the spiritual aspect that will eventually determine whether the home is happy. Neither factor can be neglected, so let us consider both.

1—There is the job of getting a home to live in

When there is a shortage, women aren't so much concerned with who shall build the houses—local authorities or private enterprise—as long as they go up at an economical price

“Don't quibble about the whys and wherefores of permits; get the job done.” That is their practical attitude. “Throw everything you've got into the task without party prejudice, and the houses we so urgently need will go up more quickly.”

2—The family shopping. The task of feeding one's family and running the household is far harder than in pre-war years.

Instead of doing the weekly shopping in one or two days, most women have to trudge down to town daily to queue for the odd pound of chocolate biscuits or sultanas that reaches the shops.

It is not only the small quantity and monotony that troubles her but often the inferior quality of the foods she buys. The choice cuts of meat are not for the British housewife.

More home-grown food must be the policy if we are to have more rations. Far better to spend a million on home agriculture than to say good-bye to £25 million on groundnuts.

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture must work more closely together. This year, the English fruit farmers lost heavily when Mr. Strachey decided to import tons and tons of Continental fruit just as our own bumper crops matured. They were consequently left to rot upon the ground.

All these mistakes are unnecessary, and infuriate women.

A word about controls before we leave the subject of food. It is quite clearly stated in the Conservative policy that rationing of prime necessities will not be abolished while shortages persist. But, we ask, is everything being done to alleviate those shortages The answer is: NO.

Jam and clothes

During the coming few weeks, one example of releasing a control will be thrown up again and again by the Socialists—namely, sweets.

“There!” they will say. “You see what happens when we follow the Tories' advice and re-ration sweets.”

But the example is a solitary one. They followed the Tories' advice and released jam. Did that disappear from the market?

Under great pressure, they followed the Tories' advice and released first shoes, then all clothes. Have they disappeared from the market? No. Their argument over sweets doesn't bear examination.

What it taught us was that the British people were so hungry under Mr. Strachey and Dr. Summerskill that they bought sweets not as a luxury but because they needed them as a food.

Such are the achievements of Socialism at the Food Ministry.

3—What of the spiritual side, the intangibles of politics, the love of freedom and honesty, the sanctity of the home?

These qualities are fast disappearing, to the detriment of our home life and national character. Their loss is a source of grave concern to our womenfolk: they wonder what the future will hold for their children if only material values are to count.

Lost prestige

4—Women are intensely patriotic, and the loss of Britain's prestige under the present Government weighs heavily on their minds

Foreign policy and the defence of the realm concerns them vitally, for in the event of war they are the first to be affected. They would like to feel that the destiny of our country is controlled by firm hands again.

These are some of the things that will occupy the thoughts of women for the next few weeks. No one will try to underestimate the seriousness of the decision which lies before us.

As there are 1,000,000 more women voters than men we have a special responsibility to bear. All parties are wanting to attract more women: in fact, women are the V.I.P.s of the moment. For once, the demand is great as the supply!

Let us rise to our responsibilities, and if we want to see a strong independent Britain, let us go forward by the Right.