Speech in Crayford
|Document type:||public statement|
|Venue:||Crayford Town Hall, Crayford, Kent|
|Source:||Dartford Chronicle, 26 October 1951|
|Themes:||Foreign policy (general discussions), Commonwealth (general), Trade|
‘LET'S HAVE THE TRUTH’
Hecklers were out in full strength at Crayford Town Hall on Monday, when one of the best meetings of the campaign was held. The guest speaker, Mr. Melford Stevenson, K.C., had barely begun his speech when the first voice from the hall was heard, saying, "Let's have the truth to-night."
Mr. Stevenson said the country was at the moment in a worse state than it had ever been in the last 100 years (Cheers, boos and cat-calls.) The moment for the election had been carefully chosen by the Socialist Government, because they knew that in the months that were coming there might well be people hungry and in danger of unemployment and the housewife's purse would be leaner than at any time in history.
A dollar gap existed—and everyone's health well-being and food would be affected by it. We lived in an over-populated island which could not produce all the food needed for it people. We had to export to other countries in order that we might live. If we did not export in this way then we should see the awful sight of unemployed men queueing ("Yes, when you get in.") In order to keep people in work we had to buy raw materials so that the factories could carry on running. Now we were faced with a balance of trade against us our chance of buying raw materials was disappearing, the £ was losing its value, and there was the danger of inflation and all its horrors. We had been landed in this position by the Socialist Government, and some people in this country were going through untold suffering ("Where?").
The suggestion that full employment was something we owed to the Socialists was a deliberate lie. ("We want Van Tromp's broom.") It was nothing to do with the Socialist Government Mr. Morrison himself had said that but for Marshall Aid 2,000,000 people would to-day be out of work. The worst period of unemployment in our life time had been under the Socialists, when the figure had risen to 3,000,000. ("Left over by the Tories.") During the office of the succeeding Conservative Governments this figure had steadily decreased until in 1939 it had been just over a million. This fall had been due to the economic vision of the Governments.
Britain was faced with a crisis never before known in our life time, said Mr. Stephenson. "Take your memories back to Dunkirk—" ("Right back to William the Conqueror") "Whose voice rallied the nation? Who was it united this country in one great effort?" ("Stuart Hibberd") "It was Winston Churchill." (Cheers, boos, he retired to his original seat at the back).
Hardly a Heckle
Miss Roberts, who had previously addressed a meeting at the Electricity Showrooms, Erith then spoke. For the first nine minutes of her speech—during which time she dealt with Conservative policy with regard to peace—there was not one comment from the body of the hall Miss Roberts spoke on imperial preferences and stressed the need for markets in the dominions and markets in Britain for the dominions.