Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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1949 Nov 10 Th
Margaret Thatcher

Speech to Belvedere Conservatives

Document type: speeches
Document kind: Speech
Venue: Belvedere Conservative Club, Belvedere
Source: Erith Observer, 18 November 1949
Journalist: -
Editorial comments: Evening?
Importance ranking: Minor
Word count: 592
Themes: Conservative Party (organization), General Elections, Local elections, Labour Party & socialism


Men's branch formed at Belvedere

A branch in every ward is the aim of Dartford Divisional Conservative Association. They have been pursuing that policy for the past six months, and already have 500 new members in Crayford, where previously there was no branch.

In Erith two organised canvasses have taken place, and there are to be more in the borough and other parts of the constituency shortly. The association's aim is to know every Conservative supporter in the Division.

The latest meeting in the series to form brances was held at Belvedere Conservative Club on Thursday last week, when Belvedere (men's) branch was inaugurated, within the framework of Erith Borough Group to cover Belvedere South district.

Miss Margaret Roberts, B.A., B.Sc., prespective candidate, admitted that the Labour Party still had the best election machine. Conservatives had never made such a minute study of propaganda as the other side. To be properly organised, they had to know every supporter and, if possible, make them active members. Of the people who did not vote at the last election, at least 50 per cent. were Tories, thought Miss Roberts.

Lost through apathy

Labour did not win elections with a superior policy or better leaders, but, to some degree, through Conservative apathy, she said. Since 1945 the Labour Party had been improving their election machine, and the Conservative Association still had some way to go before they had the strongest organisation.

Miss Roberts wished to make it clear that it was not a matter of the Labour Party standing still and the Conservatives going forward. Both organisations had been working hard since 1945.

At the last election they had relied too much on the personal popularity or their leaders, and she did not want to see that done to the same extent at the coming General Election. There was not likely to be a “snap” election this year, and some people were disappointed. Miss Roberts did not think they would have been ready if there had been an election, and the association had to work to be ready when it came.

After being keyed-up for the election, some members thought they could sit back and relax. They thought they would be returned, to a degree, on the other side's faults. The results of the L.C.C. by-election had given them the shaking up they needed.

Those Millions

Conservative apathy was the theme of an address by Mr. J. F. L. Gates (chairman, Erith Borough Group), who said that if industrialists were giving the association millions of pounds, he would like to see some of it in the Dartford Division. They depended on individual subscriptions, and some of the Fighting Fund had come from this constituency—a poor Division. Members would be surprised if they knew just how poor the local association was.

Mr. R. A. Neale was elected chairman, and the secretary is Mr. D. H. Lewis, 1, Cowper-road, Belvedere. Mr. J. P. Bruces was chosen as hon. treasurer, and the committee elected were Messrs. U. Wilson, E. W. King, J. Stevenson, L. G. Batson and C. A. Ericsson.

Present at the meeting was Mr. J. B. Dixson (hon. secretary, Erith Borough Group) and Councillor C. E. Parker.

The branch will not contest the ward at the municipal elections this year, as there is an agreement for E.R.R.A. and Conservative candidates not to oppose each other.