Speech to Shipley Conservatives
|Document type:||public statement|
|Source:||(1) Thatcher Archive: CCOPR 643/75 (2) Yorkshire Post, 30 June 1975|
|Journalist:||(2) Harry Franz, Yorkshire Post|
|Editorial comments:||Embargoed until 1500.|
|Themes:||By-elections, Economy (general discussions), Public spending and borrowing, Pay, Privatised and state industries, Industry, Conservative Party (organisation)|
This result in Woolwich is a remarkable victory three times over.
First, it is a victory for a young and [ Peter Bottomley] dedicated candidate who has fought the seat three times in less than two years.
Second, it is a victory for all Conservatives. At Woolwich the commonsense majority turned to the one party they know puts Britain first, and the one party which has an economic policy tough enough to fight the crisis.
Thirdly, and above all, it is a victory for Britain.
The defeat of Socialism in this, the best organised Labour seat in the land, is an overwhelming vote by the commonsense majority against extremism.
The people have given their verdict, and they demand a response from the Government.
Harold Wilson must know that the country wants action, immediate action. He has dithered and delayed for sixteen months—frittering away the precious time which our competitors have used to get on top of their inflation.
West Woolwich has said loudly and clearly—get on with it, or get out![fo 1]
The result also demands a response from the Conservative Party. We have to be ready to take on the fight for Britain's future.
If the Government refuses to act, then it is to the Conservatives that the people will look.
Perhaps it takes a housewife to see that Britain's national housekeeping is appalling. Britain is producing every week the same as she was in February last year. Yet she is spending half as much again.
No family could survive like that. For a bit they can borrow, buy on HP, and delay paying the bills. But in the end the only way to get straight is to stop spending so much.
What is right for the family is right for Britain. The first priority is to cut Government spending drastically. But that is only part of the answer.
Every housewife knows that Harold Wilson was right that one man's wage increase was another man's price increase. They know that the nationalised industries have been leading the field in paying out huge increases, and then giving the taxpayer the bill.
The Government must stop this.
This is the negative side. We have to start living within our means again.
The other side of the matter is much more positive. We have to make Britain wealthier, not by false paper earnings—but real wealth based on producing more goods and producing them more effectively.
That means encouraging profitable private enterprise. Already free enterprise firms produce 97 per cent of our visible exports. Let us give them the chance to do even better, both at home and abroad.[fo 2]
They need encouragement and confidence. What chance have they of confidence when they are constantly under the threat of nationalisation?
Yes, these are four essential parts to a programme for putting Britain's house in order. No one of them will work on its own. All of them are tried and tested by the experience of other European nations.
All of them need to be carried out now!
It all adds up to the housewives of Woolwich telling Mr. Wilson that when the nation is in trouble, it has to spend less and earn more.
That is the policy for Britain and that is the policy which will receive the good housekeeping seal of approval!
Whatever the future holds for us all, the commonsense majority have spoken at Woolwich.
They know the truth.
They want clear leadership.
They want action.
And they want it now![fo 3]
(2) Yorkshire Post, 30 June 1975
WEEKEND PEOPLE visits the Shipley Constituency Conservative Association garden party.
Shipley lays siege to Margaret Thatcher
The Conservative party leader, Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, was mobbed by autograph hunters of all ages on Saturday afternoon after she opened the Shipley Constituency Conservative Association garden party.
In a field adjoining Park Grange, Villa Road, Bingley, the home of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Gregson, the first woman of the Conservative party showed the necessary patience and tolerance throughout all the hand-shaking and autograph signing.
Visiting the stalls around the field she could barely move as autograph hunters besieged her. At times, only the top of Mrs. Thatcher's hair could be seen above the crowds. She took it in good spirit, giving her familiar smile all the time as she chatted to stallholders and visitors.
The funds of the skittle-alley, bottle stall, and goldfish stand benefited from her participation. She won one prize in a lucky dip—a green-coloured rubber squeaking doll. As she squeezed it, a voice in the crowd called, "Give it to Harold on Monday with our compliments." She did not take the advice but with a tender smile common to every mother, presented the doll to a small child.
Mrs. Thatcher had flown to Yeadon Airport from Luton on Saturday morning after returning from a two-day visit to Bonn. She was met in Yorkshire by Mr. A. M. Graham Macmillan, Central Office Agent, Yorkshire Provincial Area, who next month returns to his native Scotland after 25 years in Yorkshire.
This was Mrs. Thatcher's first visit to the Shipley Constituency, although she has worked alongside the local MP, Marcus Fox, on many occasions in the past. It was her third visit to Yorkshire since she became party leader.
She was taken by road to the home of her hosts and had a buffet lunch in a large marquee with constituency officers, workers, and supporters.
After being introduced to the crowd by Marcus Fox, Mrs. Thatcher gave a short political speech. She arrived wearing a large brimmed black hat but after the opening she took it off and looked cooler and more relaxed.
Before leaving the platform, Mrs. Thatcher, who was wearing a smart black, green and white dress, received a silver salver from Mrs. Nancy White, chairman of the Constituency Ladies, as a memento of her visit to Shipley. Giving her thanks, Mrs. Thatcher recalled that, during the 1974 general election, when out speaking, her silver was stolen. "This will be doubly valuable," she said, "in replacing the silver stolen."
She spoke warmly about the constituency's representative, Marcus Fox, saying: "You certainly caught your fox and I am sure you will keep him. You have a splendid and marvellous representative."
Mr. Gregson, the constituency treasurer, and his wife, Joan , past president of Shipley Ladies Supper Club, and social secretary of the Women's Council of the constituency, were thrilled by the occasion. Mrs. Thatcher had been invited to the garden party over a year ago, before she became leader of the party. Mrs. Gregson found it all very exciting with so many people present but she kept a wary eye on her house to see that no unwanted strangers entered.
Mrs. R. S. Davenport, the president, who welcomed Mrs. Thatcher at the luncheon, told WEEKEND PEOPLE that her visit had really made their day. "We in politics are very lucky to have a person like her as our leader.
"I think it will transform our party, and I personally believe she will be the next Prime Minister, and make a damn good one. One thing for certain, she will have the ladies behind her."
During the opening, the Gregsons ' 12 year-old daughter, Julie , presented Mrs. Thatcher with a bouquet. Their two sons, Robin , 15, and Philip , 13, were unable to attend as they were both at school. The former was revising for exams and Philip had a school cricket match.