TV Interview for ITN (eve of poll)
|Document type:||public statement|
|Document kind:||TV Interview|
|Venue:||Conservative Central Office, Smith Square, Westminster|
|Source:||Thatcher Archive: ITN transcript|
|Journalist:||Glyn Mathias, ITN|
|Editorial comments:||The interview began at 1050; MT left for No.10 at 1130. The interview was broadcast that evening on ITN News at Ten.|
|Themes:||Conservatism, General Elections, Leadership, Society|
Mrs. Thatcher, you started this campaign ahead, and it seems that you're finishing it ahead, what do you attribute that to?
I think first it's the way in which we have conducted government over the last four years. We've had firm policies, we have given firm leadership and I think that those policies have been in tune with what the British people really want and believe to be right. We have also been very firm on things like defence and there is a tremendous feeling of pride in Britain, and they want to know that our way of life is properly and firmly defended. And we have continued to do that over the last four years. We have also, of course, managed throughout the worst recession to increase the pension and actually to spend more on the National Health Service so: we really have, I think, a very good record on all aspects of political life. The one blot is unemployment which has affected other nations as well as us and that we really have to continue to tackle to get genuine jobs.
Your opponents say that the election of another Conservative Government will mean a more divided country, divisions between the employed and the unemployed—the have s and the have not s—you must be sensitive on that point?
No, I am not sensitive on that point because the Conservative policy and Conservative Party consists of people who come from all walks of life and the policy is for people in all walks of life. The really divisive policies are those of the Labour Party who start to talk about ‘class war’, ‘class struggle’—all the old Marxist language. That is outdated. It is not suitable for Britain. I thought when the first Parliament which I came into, in Harold Macmillan's time, we got rid of all that stuff. It is ridiculous—it belongs to a different age. They brought it back and it's they who deliberately set out to be divisive. We are British and I do not divide between one group and another.
You seem to have been suggesting in the last few days that a landslide victory for the Conservatives would be good for Britain, yet some people apparently fear that you might use your power more autocratically if that happens?
I have not used power autocratically in any way, nor should I use it autocratically. I am a devout believer in democracy and the ballot box and that is the only authority[fo 1] that any government has. The authority given to it by the people. And therefore the policies which I have pursued, and the policies which are in our Manifesto are reasonable policies for all of the people in Britain.
But democracy, surely, will be ill served by having a weak opposition in the next Parliament?
A weak opposition does not necessarily come because you have smaller numbers and in the 1945 Parliament we were a very, very strong opposition made up of very, very able people. Strong and an effective opposition. I think it depends more upon the people who are in the Opposition than on the numbers.
Mrs. Thatcher, it's Polling Day tomorrow—what's your final appeal to the voters?
My final appeal is this: we have laid our policies before you. We have discussed them positively throughout the Election. They are policies for people in all walks of life. They are policies which include the less fortunate among our people. They are policies which will defend our country and uphold our reputation abroad. We ask you to give us a good majority and a good mandate so that we may continue the work we have begun.
Thank you very much.