Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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1950 Feb 15 We
Margaret Thatcher

Speech in Crayford

Document type:public statement
Document kind:Speech
Venue:Crayford County Secondary School for Girls, Crayford, Kent
Source:Kentish Times, 24 February 1950
Journalist:-
Editorial comments:Evening?
Importance ranking:Major
Word count:421
Themes:General Elections, Monetary policy, Foreign policy (USSR and successor states), Privatised and state industries, Labour Party and Socialism

NATIONALISATION V. PRIVATE INDUSTRY

Mr. Churchill and H-Bomb

Speaking at Crayford County Secondary School for Girls on February 15, Miss Roberts replied to a statement that they had given more to Europe than they had received in Marshall Aid. They had given nothing like what they had received, she said. The European figure had been bolstered up with sterling balances, surplus military stores allowed to remain in Europe, and the cost of administration of the Italian colonies.

Dealing with the H-bomb and the fear in everyone's mind of another war, she commended to them Mr. Churchill's statement that now was the time to make another approach to Russia at top level. She hoped that on February 23 they would put that approach in his hands, because she thought he was the most likely person to preserve the peace.

Going on to private enterprise, Miss Roberts said that under nationalisation a man could not build up a new factory on his own. If he had an idea, he had to sell it to the State and the State only.

"You cannot have the dream of building up your own fortune by your own fortune by your own hopes, your own hands, and your own British guts" she declared. "That is one of the worst aspects of nationalisation.

"Whenever an industry is nationalised, you do not have the safeguard of competition. If a nationalised industry is losing, all it has to do is to put up the price sufficiently high. If you are inefficient in private industry, you soon go out of business," she said.

Because the sound of the word nationalisation "stinks" nowadays, said Miss Roberts, the proposed nationalisation of insurance had been changed to "mutualisation." But the real reason for the Socialists taking over insurance was to get their hands on the policy-holders' money for madcap schemes like groundnuts.

National Character Lost

The Socialist Government, she said, could not deny some responsibility for the way the first American loan had run out in 18 months. She remembered that crisis very well, for she was looking for a job at the time. Now again they were exactly like a family which could not make ends meet. When Marshall Aid ended in 1952, what then? If this Government had come to a state when it could not live without aid from another capitalist country, then it had indeed lost the national character of the nation. All that the Socialist policy had brought them to was one financial crisis after another—and now devaluation.