Article for Evening News (written question and answer)
|Document type:||public statement|
|Source:||Evening News, 19 April 1979|
|Editorial comments:||Item listed by date of publication. The Prime Minister and David Steel wrote similar articles.|
|Themes:||General Elections, Law and order, Pay, Privatised and state industries, Conservatism|
Hanging? We would put it to the vote
Mrs. Thatcher is prepared to see hanging reintroduced—after a free vote, of course, Is she personally in favour of bringing back the rope?
When all the statistics seem to show the death penalty is no deterrent, what conceivable reason can she have for bringing up this subject now, admittedly in emotional times. Is not this making cheap political capital out of a very serious matter?
R. C. Montmorency,
It is totally inaccurate to suggest that only now is the Conservative Party bringing up the subject of capital punishment.
For several years we have suggested that the issue was sufficiently important to ask Parliament once more to discuss and vote on the issue, and we shall give the new House of Commons an early opportunity to do this, allowing each MP to make his or her own mind up on the matter.
We believe that the overwhelming majority of the public supports a serious discussion of this issue. It is not something to be brushed under the carpet, we cannot pretend that the problem of violence does not exist.
For my part, I have always supported capital punishment for terrorists, and will continue to do so.
How would a Conservative Government cope if, say, Mr. Weighell's railwaymen put in a claim for a huge pay increase of perhaps 30 per cent-50 per cent? Would the Conservative Party intervene in the pay negotiations?
If BR agreed to a huge increase would they be allowed to give it? If the pay rise was refused and there was a long strike, what would a Conservative Government do about it?
Pat John (Mrs)
In the case Mrs. John mentions we believe British Rail should be run on the same lines as any other business, with its pay bargaining being governed by what it can afford.
It will be expected to finance wage settlements from within its own financial limits. Large pay settlements must be paid for by large increases in productivity; that is, by reducing restrictive practices.
We cannot expect the tax-payer or fare payer continually to foot such bills, and there can be no question of the Government financing excessive pay awards.
The Government will take whatever action is necessary to ensure that these principles are adhered to. But our whole programme for trade union and taxation reform is directed at encouraging responsible wage bargaining and providing proper rewards for effort and incentive. This will apply to British Rail as to all others.
All major political parties are always talking about Britain. Therefore, could you tell me who owns Britain?
And can you tell me if there will be any change in the ownership of the means of production and distribution whereby the capital, wage, price, and profit relationship and all the effects and evils that flow from it will no longer exist whichever party wins the election?
Who owns Britain? No-one owns Britain as such, but we wish to encourage everyone to have a stake, something for which they are responsible.
Many people own their own homes or small businesses. Many have a share in an insurance scheme or pension fund. We believe such ownership should be as widespread as possible.
There are, of course, vast chunks of Britain which don't seem to be owned by anyone—nationalised industries such as The National Freight Corporation, The National Coal Board, British Rail—all paid for by the individual taxpayer, but not owned by the individual tax-payer.
We are strongly opposed to the extension of such anonymous acquisitions as proposed by Labour and the high taxation that is required to pay for them. We think the vast majority of the British people share our views.