Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

Complete list of 8,000+ Thatcher statements & texts of many of them

1979 Apr 11 We
Margaret Thatcher

1979 General Election Address ("The Britain I want to see")

Document type: speeches
Document kind: Message
Venue: Finchley
Source: Thatcher Archive
Journalist: -
Editorial comments: Item listed by date of adoption; MT usually published her address shortly after adoption. Practice differed from candidate to candidate.
Importance ranking: Minor
Word count: 511
Themes: Conservatism, Defence (general), General Elections, Taxation, Housing, Law & order, Local government, Religion & morality, Social security & welfare, Trade union law reform

THE BRITAIN I WANT TO SEE

Dear Elector,

It has been an honour and a joy to represent Finchley and Friern Barnet in the House of Commons. I hope to continue to serve the people of this constituency in the next Parliament.

This election comes at a critical time in our history. Our performance as a nation has declined compared with other industrial competitors; and our standing has declined with it. The Conservative Manifesto sets out our strategy for dealing with the problems that beset us. I have selected just six of the points as Stepping Stones to Recovery. Here I would like to describe the kind of Britain I want our children to have.

The Britain I want is a country where Parliament remains supreme, but acts in the spirit of British law and custom. Where each person, however weak, still has definite rights which can never be taken away, and where the minority, however small, cannot be crushed out of existence by majority power.

My Britain is one where the rule of law is upheld, impartially even against the most powerful bodies in our community and where those entrusted with upholding the law, whether policemen or judges, are given respect, support and encouragement.

I want a Britain where children are taught that there is a real and absolute difference between right and wrong, and that there are certain acts which, by their very nature, are invariably wrong and must be outlawed by society.

In my Britain, those who pursue violence as a way of life, whether armed professional thieves or backstreet muggers, or terrorists, or thugs, will be treated always and solely for what they are—dangerous criminals to be resisted by civilised society with all its power.

My Britain is a country where the honest, law-abiding peaceful and hard-working citizen is valued and prized, and above all defended and supported, by all the institutions of the land.

The spirit of my Britain would be one of hope and endeavour, where all are equal in votes and before the law, but where this equality is a springboard for those who wish to strive for a better life.

Is this just a dream? No. These are the qualities which made Britain great. If we are to regain our renown, they must be restored.

Yours sincerely

Margaret Thatcher [end p3]

Stepping Stones to Recovery

1. Cut tax on earnings and savings. People want a fair deal. They are not getting one now.

2. Strengthen the forces of law and order. Of course we can't stamp out crime but we can see there are enough police.

3. Secure a fair balance between the powers and responsibilities of Trade Unions. A strong independent Trade Union movement is part of a free country but it must not ride roughshod over the rest of society.

4. Bring in a legal right for council tenants to buy their homes if they wish at a substantial discount off market prices.

5. Carry through all the pension increases announced for November. Further, War widows pensions will be exempt from tax.

6. Strengthen our defences. Unless we defend our freedom nothing else will matter.