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1958 Nov 16 Su
Margaret Thatcher

Speech to Finchley Young Conservatives (weekend school)

Document type:public statement
Document kind:Speech
Venue:Clacton
Source:Finchley Press, 21 November 1958
Journalist:-
Editorial comments:Afternoon.
Importance ranking:Major
Word count:814
Themes:Defence (general), Employment, Education, Foreign policy (Middle East)

Week-end School on Politics

Forty Young Conservatives attended the fifth week-end school of the Finchley Division at Clacton. Members from Finchley and Friern Barnet branches were joined for the first time by members of the newly-formed Finchley South branch.

On Saturday afternoon Mr. Anthony Weston (divisional hon. secretary) took the chair for Mr. Bernard Brook-Partridge, a member of the Bow Group and a past member of the National Young Conservatives Council. In a review of Conservative policy over the past few years, he said they should have considerable pride in what the Conservative Government had done since 1951. Food was still rationed in those days. Had the Socialists remained in power we should today have 2¼ million more people on the housing lists. Not only had the Conservatives built houses at a record rate to provide this accommodation, but they had introduced rent acts which had enabled landlords to maintain their properties and prevent them becoming slums. Despite the higher cost of living, people were now accustomed to the use of things which would have been considered very luxurious in 1951. The Conservatives had reintroduced a sense of quiet confidence into public life and were dealing with day-to-day matters efficiently and without panic.

Later the same afternoon Mr. Haden Blatch (chairman of Friern Barnet Young Conservative branch) Introduced Mr. Michael Argyle, M. C., who suggested that the aim of the Socialist Party appeared to be chiefly directed at making people feel under-privileged and then telling them they were their representatives. The policy of the Liberal Party varied in different parts of the country. The Communist policy was one of world domination by any means possible.

On Sunday morning many members attended a short service at the hotel. The Rev. R. Motson-Thompson conducted the service and spoke of the need for religion in all walks of life.

Current Affairs

Mr. Brien Harrison, M.P. for Maldon, Essex, next spoke on the subject "Look around—a review of current affairs." Mr. Stewart Martyn (chairman of Finchley Young Conservatives) presided and welcomed Mr. and Mrs. Thatcher.

Mr. Harrison, a farmer, said crops had suffered terribly this year and that no doubt the Government would be blamed for the country-wide damage to crops caused by the bad weather! Mentioning Mr. Macmillan, he said his grip and refusal to become ruffled was obvious to all and his reception in the Commonwealth was tremendous. Mr. Heathcote Amory was an excellent Chancellor of the Exchequer and had proved repeatedly that he knew just the right moment for implementing decisions. On the subject of foreign policy, the speaker said calm but firm decisions were the order of the day. Mr. Selwyn Lloyd was a tough and successful negotiator at the conference tables of the world and he had become well respected and a great influence amongst the world powers.

Mr. Graham Elsom introduced the final speaker, Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, prospective parliamentary candidate for the Finchley Division. Her subject was "Look forward," and she added: "To Victory," speaking on future Tory plans and progress. Mentioning the so-called arms race and the expense incurred by the Exchequer, she said that once we had a certain number of H-bombs as a deterrent, there was no need to continue manufacturing them; so vast was their effect that huge stock-piles were unnecessary. She pointed out, however, that a quantity of conventional weapons was necessary to prevent local conflicts.

Defining the word "freedom," the speaker said that if a country became independent it did not necessarily mean that its people had more freedom of expression. If we were to leave Cyprus the Turks would be deprived of their present freedom. In the meantime Turkey itself was almost surrounded by countries of Communist persuasion and would very likely try to gain Cyprus in order to protect her shipping routes.

Turning to home affairs, the speaker then said that although there was an unusually high figure of unemployment in some areas, the national average was only 2.2 per cent. of the working population. The Government had started schemes whereby firms were encouraged to open new branches in distressed areas. The need for better schools and teachers was being dealt with by the foundation of many new schools and teachers' training colleges. Many reforms were needed and the Conservatives would continue to introduce new legislation in order to keep up with the times and to improve the lot of every individual.

The Divisional Young Conservative chairman, Mr. Graham Elsom, thanked all those present for their support.