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1951 Jun 16 Sa
Margaret Thatcher

Speech to Erith Conservatives

Document type:public statement
Document kind:Speech
Venue:Electricity House, Erith, Kent
Source:Erith Observer, 22 June 1951
Journalist:-
Editorial comments:Evening.
Importance ranking:Major
Word count:621
Themes:Defence (general), By-elections, General Elections, Foreign policy (Asia), Foreign policy (USA), Foreign policy (USSR and successor states), Labour Party and Socialism

BY-ELECTIONS WILL BEAT ‘ADHESIVE GOVERNMENT’

Miss Roberts At First Dinner Of Joint Erith Wards

The Government's adhesive powers were remarkable, and one of the best ways to get them out of office was to win by-elections, said Miss Margaret Roberts, M.A., B.Sc., prospective Parliamentary candidate for the Dartford Division, when she spoke at the first annual dinner and dance of Erith Town and Old Church Conservative Wards at Electricity House on Saturday.

She complimented Mr. J.F.L. Gates on his recent election to the Council, and warned her listeners that the years 1952–3 would be the "most crucial" with regard to foreign affairs.

After commenting on the excellence of the dinner, Miss Roberts said the political machine was going through a busy time and no one knew when the General Election would be. Nothing seemed to shift the Government, so great were their "adhesive powers," and one of the best ways of getting them out was to win by-elections. The Erith area was a good barometer of public opinion because it was not a Conservative area, and she was often asked, "How is it going?" It was with great delight that she could say it had been possible to put a Conservative on the Council.

Miss Roberts congratulated Mr. Gates on his election and said she was happy to see other members of the Council present, who, though they did not sit under the Conservative flag, were more inclined to the ultra-violet end of the spectrum rather than the infra-red. She hoped that dinner would become an annual affair.

Nothing the leaders of the party could do would be worth anything unless they were backed up by individual members of the party.

"Things are Going to be Tough"

"When we get back, things are going to be tough, for the years 1952–3 are going to be absolutely crucial. The situation in the Middle East is explosive and in the Far East has not been consummated."

If Russia wanted to make war she would have to do it in those years because her armed strength would be more or less up to ours. After that period American technical lead would increase.

Miss Roberts was replying to the toast to "The Guests," proposed by Mr. W. J. Harding (prospective candidate for Old Church Ward).

Mr. Gates said one could win elections only by organisation, and the first thing the Conservatives would do when they had won the election would be to encourage competition in farms, firms and factories, and cut out Government spending.

Iron and steel would be freed and more local control given to coal. Above all, they intended to build houses. In spite of what Mr. Norman Dodds had said they would still keep 300,000 houses a year as their target. The situation in the area was dreadful, and provided there was no war the Conservatives would improve that position. The anti-Socialists vote in Dartford Division was now greater than the Socialist, he declared.

The only answer to Socialist lies was the truth, said Mr. A. E. Allsopp (Conservative agent), and he quoted a story which he said was circulating about Mr. Churchill. This stated that if he (Mr. Churchill) returned to power the country would be at war with Russia in six weeks. Mr. Churchill, said the speaker, had never been in power at the beginning of any war which had occurred during his lifetime.

Mr. J.W. Panton (vice-president, Dartford Division) said he was glad there was a branch in Erith to which a toast could be given. The branch had a tough assignment and had made a good start in getting Mr. Gates elected.