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1961 Mar 16 Th
Margaret Thatcher

Speech to Finchley Conservatives (Association AGM)

Document type:public statement
Document kind:Speech
Venue:Conservative Hall, 267 Ballards Lane, Finchley
Source:Finchley Press, 24 March 1961
Journalist:-
Editorial comments:Evening.
Importance ranking:Major
Word count:579
Themes:Civil liberties, Commonwealth (general), Commonwealth (South Africa), Conservative Party (organisation), Foreign policy (Africa), Race, immigration, and nationality

Tories Confer Presidency on Retiring Chairman

Momentous Nine Years in Office

After nine years in office Mr. C. H. Blatch has retired as chairman of Finchley and Friern Barnet Conservative Association. During his time the £12,000 Conservative Hall at Ballards Lane was built and Mrs. Margaret Thatcher was elected as MP.

Warm tributes were paid to him at the Association's annual meeting on Thursday, last week.

"He has done a tremendous amount of work for this Association", said Mr. A. C. D. Miller, president.

Said Mrs. Thatcher: "It has been a wonderful association with [ Bertie Blatch] him as chairman and myself as Member of Parliament."

It would be very hard indeed to follow him, she said, but the Association had to face the task of building up a new team.

And Cr. Mrs. E. P. Mackrill spoke of Mr. Blatch's "help and guidance".

Presenting his report, Mr. Blatch gave a hint that subscriptions should go up. For the capital debt on the hall, built three years ago, had still to be cleared—and it was not being done fast enough.

The income from the letting of the hall had increased in the last year, but not the income from subscriptions. "And it is the subscriptions from members which matter most," he said.

He congratulated Mrs. Thatcher on her work for the Association. "I would like to record how pleased we are with the choice we made those years ago".

Few realised how much she did for her constituents. "She is there on the spot, knocking on the door, finding out for herself", said Mr. Blatch.

Of Finchley's Young Conservatives, he maintained they were entitled to as many social activities as they wanted, for "whenever they were asked to do a political job of work, not once have they let us down".

Mr. E. M. Morgan, treasurer, said the £601 excess of income on the hall was "highly satisfactory". Branch contributions were up on last year in spite of the greatly decreased number of individual subscriptions.

Mrs. Thatcher, in her address, warned that South Africa's decision not to apply for membership of the Commonwealth would have "very serious" consequences. She very much regretted the decision.

She suggested a solution to the problem of unpopular government policies, such as apartheid in South Africa.

New independent members of the Commonwealth often did not appreciate some of the basic principles of the type of democracy Britain had given them. One might find that the new governments were not so generous towards their opposition parties, and they placed restrictions on them.

To counter this, she believed new countries should have "enshrined" in their constitution a Bill of Rights, on the American pattern, before they were granted independence. And no government, whatever its policies, would therefore be able to interfere with the basic rights of its peoples.

She also mentioned the problems of Central Africa, "where we are trying to build the first multi-racial society the world has ever known".

In the election of officers, Mr. Blatch was elected president, Mr. J. Drinkwater treasurer, Mr. Morgan assistant treasurer, and Miss Joan Lucas, a Young Conservative, secretary.