Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

Speech in Sleaford

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: The Mart, Sleaford, Lincolnshire
Source: Sleaford Gazette , 29 June 1945
Editorial comments: Evening. MT probably made her first public statements as a member of a political brains trust made up of Oxford Conservative students, which toured Oxfordshire villages during, and/or after, the war. Searches of local newspapers have yielded no reports or details of any kind and therefore no statements have been listed. She also spoke in Grantham during the 1945 General Election campaign, but no dates or details have been traced: see her interview for the Grantham Journal, 11 February 1949. Article reproduced by kind permission of the Grantham Journal, which owns the rights to material first published in the Sleaford Gazette.
Importance ranking: Key
Word count: 2283
Themes: Commonwealth (general), Conservative Party (organization), General Elections, Trade, Foreign policy - theory and process, Foreign policy (USSR & successor states), Foreign policy (Western Europe - non-EU)


Squadron Leader Worth 's Election Promises

Rousing Meeting at Mart

Youth held the platform at the Conservative meeting at The Mart, Sleaford, on Monday, when two of the three principal speakers were young people who explained the policy of Mr. Winston Churchill 's National Party. The hall was packed and it was evident that there were many Socialist and Independent supporters present to hear Squadron Leader Worth, the Conservative Candidate, and the very youthful Miss M. H. Roberts, daughter of Alderman A. Roberts, of Grantham. The third speaker was County Alderman E. S. Dunkerton.

Mr. E. C. Deal, presiding, introduced Miss Roberts, whom, he said, was still in her third year at Oxford University.

“I speak as a very young Tory,” began Miss Roberts, “and we are entitled to speak for it is the people of my generation who will bear the brunt of the change from the trials of the past into calmer channels.”

Miss Roberts said she would speak of home and foreign affairs, but she would leave the personal and deal with foreign affairs first. They may be bored by the subject of foreign affairs but she believed that only when national relations were placed on a stable footing could there be any stability in the course of our policy.

Referring to Germany, Miss Roberts said that once in her lifetime, twice in many people's time, and three times in the lives of some people, Germany had plunged the world into war. Germany must be disarmed and brought to justice. She did not mean that they should be deprived of everything but just punishment must be meted out.

Europe had never been in such a poor position as it was to-day. There was a lack of everything. It was not possible to be prosperous in this country while there was a shortage elsewhere and to be prosperous and happy in this land until we had helped to put the other European countries back on a wholesome footing. Only when we could trade with other countries could we get back to prosperity.

Friendship for Russia

There must be co-operation with Russia and America. That was the only way in which we could maintain peace. The Socialists had said that we did not want to make friends with Russia but Mr. Churchill and Mr. Eden had gone to Russia and had worked unsparingly for co-operation with Russia. By their great efforts to bring the big three together Mr. Churchill and Mr. Eden had gained for British foreign policy the respect of the whole world.

Miss Roberts was very fervent in her determination to stand by the Empire. It was the most important community of peoples that the world had ever known. It was so bound with loyalty that it brought people half way across the world to help each other in times of stress. The Empire must never be liquidated.

It was Churchill and Eden who founded the reputation in foreign affairs. In America they looked to them as we looked to President Wilson in the last war. Mr. Attlee had not the reputation abroad that was enjoyed by Churchill and Eden.

They had seen the split among the Socialists that was caused by Mr. Laski, and a Socialist, Miss Ellen Wilkinson, had said that if President Roosevelt had been at San Francisco there would have been more unity. If the loss of one great man had so affected affairs, they must see that they did not lose the only remaining man who had the world's confidence. Therefore we must see that Mr. Churchill should not be lost to foreign affairs.

Keep Eden.

A vote for Bavin would be a vote for Attlee, but we would not know who would be the Foreign Secretary. Why try a person they did not know when there was one they did know and who held the respect of the whole world.

Miss Roberts, speaking of the Denis KendallIndependent Candidate, said that he did not know who he supported. Nineteen times he had voted against Mr. Churchill.

Concluding, Miss Roberts said that a vote for Squadron Leader Worth would have the best result for our foreign affairs.

Alderman Dunkerton said the people were standing at the beginning of an era of new times and new things. He could not bring himself to think bitterly of those who held different opinions to him but after a fairly long experience he could say that they in the Conservative Party had the most constructive policy.

It was not so long ago, he reminded the audience, that the nation was hanging on the words of one man and looking to him to lead. That man was Mr. Churchill.

In those dark days he made no rash promises, except of blood, sweat and toil. Yet no one doubted that he would lead us to victory. We stood alone and at that time we were not divided in our determination to win the war. To-day the whole world was looking to us to see how we would win the peace. Who was better able to lead us than the man who kept us firm in the dark days of the war?

“Some Chicken.”

They would remember the retort of Mr. Churchill to a French General who said at the most critical time of the war that Britain was down and out and that it would have its neck wrung like a chicken. Mr. Churchill 's reply was: “Some chicken, some neck.”

Churchill and Eden were the men to lead the nation to peace, although he had a great regard for Mr. Attlee who, if Mr. Laski allowed him, might be the next Prime Minister.

Squadron Leader Worth, who addressed his sixth meeting of that day, said he was glad to be back in Sleaford although he wished he had been a little fresher to meet such an excellent audience.

He believed that people voted for one of two reasons. First for the policy of the Party and secondly for the merit of the candidate. They would ask: “Will he give good support for the policy of his Party, and will he keep reminding the Party of their policy. Will he be a help to his Party and give them his advice, prodding them if they are not going fast enough and curbing them if they are overstepping the line.”

Of the three candidates, said Squadron Leader Worth, there was one who would look after his constituents. The other two would have to be taken on trust. For himself, even if elected, he would still have to earn his living, but he would also do his work at Westminster and look after the interests of the constituents.

Squadron Leader Worth reminded the audience that the war with Japan was still to be considered and the Japs were to be beaten with as little loss of time and life as possible in order to get our men back home again. He had no doubt as to who the best man for the job would be, Churchill. That was why he would give his support to Mr. Churchill and Mr. Eden in their search for peace.

For years to come, said the Conservative Candidate, every young man should be taught how to defend his country.

Ex-Servicemen, when they returned home, would not want charity, but they would need aid. He would require help to re-establish himself in civil life and take his place again among civilians.

Homes for Ex-Servicemen.

They should have priority. Some had been away for five years and during that time they had no home to live in. The thing they looked forward to was home life and, said the Candidate, he thought they should have priority in houses.

So far as employment was concerned, there were two ways to provide it, said Squadron Leader Worth. One was by the totalitarian method and the other by the democratic method. The first would be accomplished by some form of the Essential Works Order and the other by the White Paper which was before Parliament. The Government offered employment by the enlightened management of finance.

It was thought before the war that it was the right thing to try and run a country in the same way as one would run a business. It had been learnt that it was not the proper way. When things are going badly in business it was usual to economise but in running the country that was not the way to bring about a change for the better.

All Parties were agreed that when there was a national depression the best method of coping with it was to release more money and spend so as to encourage the people to take the goods from the market so that more need be made.


Squadron Leader Worth went on to speak of agriculture and said that he believed that the agricultural worker was just as good as the town worker, and entitled to a standard of living equal to that of the town worker.

The farmer needed help in selling his crops and Squadron Leader Worth said that he would pledge himself to help him to get that help.

He would also see that the countryside got its fair share of new houses. That was a major problem. There were now a million families with no homes of their own, but for the past five and a half years the nation had been building more immediate and essential things.

The problem could not be solved in one or two years but it would have to be solved in double quick time. There could not be proper home life if the people had to share their homes with another family.

There should be no restrictions, said the Candidate, no combines or cartels to hold up the work, and no interference from Trade Unions.

Of the White Paper's social security plans, Squadron Leader Worth said that it was an improvement on the Beveridge scheme, and the members of all Parties were pledged to the hilt to see that it was brought in.

Mr. Kendall had said that the White Paper would make it worse for the old age pensioner. Squadron Leader Worth said that under the Beveridge Plan the old age pension was to be raised to 14/- rising to 20/- in 20 years time. That would not help the present old people. But under the provisions of the White Paper the old people are to be paid 20/- a week old age pension.

There was an inclination to overlook the necessity of overseas trade, said the Conservative Candidate. We are dependent on materials from other countries and, unfortunately, other countries will not give them to us. We must pay for them.

We have got to have materials for our heavy industries and those materials, many of them, were not to be found in this country.

Referring to freedom, Squadron Leader Worth said that the quickest way to loose freedom was to give a Government power to run the lives of the people. “I believe in the freedom that allows you to choose your own boss.” said the Candidate “and not be tied down to one boss—the State.”

The main issues in the election were: “Do you want Churchill and Eden to make the peace or do you want Laski and Attlee? Do you want Churchill 's policy of freedom, or do you want nationalisation?”

There was another policy in the constituency and that was an Independent policy. The Candidate had been trying to find out what the Independent Candidate stood for. When Mr. Kendall had been elected he promised to vote for Mr. Churchill but he had only done so, when he liked.

The Independent said he was against Nationalisation but he said they should nationalise the mines. Later he had said they should leave that out and nationalise water and electricity. After Mr. Kendall had promised to support Mr Churchill he had voted against him on 19 occasions. Twice on votes of confidence and twice in secret session. The Independent Member had been in Parliament for only about three months when he voted against Mr. Churchill on a vote of confidence. That was at the time of Tobruk, when the Leader needed all the support the country could give him.

Well Governed.

Concluding, Squadron Leader Worth said that he would go so far as to say that during the past five years we had been as well governed as at any time in our history and he wished that they could keep the same men to lead us now.

If returned as Member for the Division, said the Conservative Candidate, he would give full and loyal support to Mr. Churchill, in good times and bad times.

He would make few election promises, but he expected to carry them out. No Party Whip would make him vote against his election promises.

Numerous question were put to Squadron Leader Worth, who dealt with the fundamental queries with logic and taste, while he brushed aside the frivolous with a quip that met with the hearty approval of most of those present. To the question: “What did Mr. Churchill say of the Tory Party in 1904?” the Squadron Leader replied, amid laughter: “I was not born until 1907, so I did not hear it.”

Supporting Squadron Leader Worth on the platform were Mr. E. C. Deal, Miss Roberts. Alderman Dunkerton, Mr. H. H. Brown, Mr. W. Spyvee and Mr. K. St. J. Mirrielees, Election Agent.

Committee Room.

Squadron Leader Worth 's committee room, on the front of the Corn Exchange, will be open from Monday next until Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. On Thursday (Polling Day) it will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. All enquiries will be dealt with at the committee room.