Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

Speech at adoption meeting

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: Conservative Hall, 267 Ballards Lane, Finchley
Source: (1) Finchley Borough News, 26 September 1959 (2) Finchley Press, 25 September 1959 (3) Finchley Times, 2 October 1959
Editorial comments:
Importance ranking: Key
Word count: 2021
Themes: Autobiographical comments, Conservatism, Economic policy - theory and process, Education, General Elections, Monetary policy, Taxation, Trade, Social security & welfare
(1) Finchley Borough News, 26 September 1959

Good Augury for Tory Campaign

Crowded Meeting for Adoption of Mrs. Margaret Thatcher

Several hundred supporters crowded into the Conservative Hall, North Finchley, on Monday evening for the adoption of Mrs. Margaret Thatcher as the party candidate for the Finchley Division in the General Election. All the seats were taken, and people stood three or four deep at the rear of the hall.

Introducing Mrs. Thatcher, Mr. A. C. D. Miller, the local association president, commented: “This is without question the most crowded meeting we have ever had in this hall. I think it augurs well for the candidate and the success we anticipate.”

He referred to Mrs. Thatcher as an able successor to Sir John Crowder, who had found it impossible to fight the election because of ill health. Mr. Miller also read a personal message from the Prime Minister, in which he wished her success on election day.

Mrs. Thatcher told the audience that the packed meeting would give the campaign one of its biggest send-offs for many years. She stressed the importance of everyone using their vote: “Elections are usually fought about the past, but they really determine the future of the country.


“Voting is not merely choosing an individual, but choosing the whole system of government by which we shall be ruled for the next five years. We come before the electorate on a double appeal really—the success of our system, and its future.”

She spoke of the increasing wealth of the country, and the part played by the Government in bringing this about. “We have a positive policy for a solvent society. The whole of our future at home and abroad depends on our having a solvent society. This is one of our great achievements over the past eight years.”


Mrs. Thatcher said the Conservatives believed in a free society, and individual enterprise. “Money is being made all the time by individual effort, and unless you give enough incentives to keep that effort producing all the time, then there is nothing to tax—no profits and therefore no benefits for society.” Last year, private enterprise had provided £1,100 million to the Exchequer, through taxes on profits.

The result of the policy was that people were enjoying increasing prosperity on a level they had never known before. “The evidence is all around us—nine million TV sets, against one million when the Socialists left office; and twice as many cars on the roads. Everyone has larger incomes, and everyone is spending more.”


The cost of living had been stable for 15 months, Mrs. Thatcher pointed out, and it was the Conservative aim to reduce taxation whenever possible.

It was essential that goods should be produced efficiently and cheaply enough to sell abroad, and here, she contended, the Conservatives had been far more successful than their opponents: “In the Socialist years, despite Marshall Aid, we spent £800 million more than we earned. But under the Conservatives we have earned £1,600 million more than we have spent abroad.”

After speaking of improvements in retirement pensions, and Conservative plans for road improvements and school building—since the Conservatives came into power, 3,700 new schools had been built in Britain—Mrs. Thatcher spoke of Middlesex County Council's recent announcement that their educational programme had been “slashed”


She said it was misleading. The county council had put in for £8 million to be spent on the improvement of educational buildings in 1960–62, nearly four times as much as was being spent in the present period. In fact, the Government agreed to permit £3 million to be spent in the period, a third more than at present.

“The county council say the minister cut their programme from £8 million to £3 million, whereas he has really given them more money than they have at present. It is common sense that people will put in for more than they expect to get.”


Mrs. Thatcher's adoption as candidate was proposed by Mr. C. H. Blatch, chairman of the local association, who urged supporters to make an all-out effort. “It is not sufficient to look at a 12,000 majority and sit back. We have got to work as if the majority was only 12. We want to see not just a comfortable majority, but an overwhelming one.” he said.

The proposition was seconded by Cr. Mrs. E. P. Mackrill, chairman of Finchley and Friern Barnet Conservative Association Women's Advisory Committee.

The association's treasurer, Cr. E. Fergusson Taylor, urged members to contribute to the financial side of the campaign.

After the meeting, Mrs. Thatcher told a reporter she intends to carry out the campaign on traditional lines, with meetings most evenings, and canvassing in the daytime. She would not be having the assistance of any “outside” speakers. [end p1]

(2) Finchley Press, 25 September 1959


The Conservative Case

In her adoption address, Mrs. Margaret Thatcher opened with the cogent remark:

“Elections are about the future. Ironically enough, they are often fought about the past—but they really determine the future of our country.”

Voters were to keep this right in the forefront of their minds, a prime consideration.

Then Mrs. Thatcher took up a point that rankles with her Liberal opponent when she said:

“The person who seeks to be your M.P. is not quite so important as one other aspect of the vote: what you really do at an election is to choose the system of government by which you will be ruled over the next five years.” Having cleared up that point, she went on:

“We come with the ‘double bill’ on the success of our system, in which we believe, and on its future. One hears a great deal about distributing wealth and increasing investment.

“Someone has to make the money in order that others shall spend it. As a party, we are interested not only in where the money is going, but where the taxes are coming from. Therefore I will start with a major point which is this: We have a positive policy for a solvent economy.

“Now, the whole of our future at home and abroad depends upon having a solvent society, and that really is one of the great achievements of Conservative government over the past eight years.

“We believe in a free society, and in individual enterprise. Who makes the money? It is made all the time by individual effort, and unless you give incentives to individual effort all the time, then there is nothing to tax and no benefits for the Welfare State.

“That is one of the many differences between the Conservative and the Socialist policy. We concentrate on producing wealth, and more and more of it.

“How does one persuade people to produce more and more? It is by a taxation policy. We have been very successful for in 1951. 9/6 in the £ was the standard rate and it is now down to 7/9d. What has been the result? It is quite simple: we are enjoying increased prosperity at a level we have never known before.

“We see evidence for it all around us. The 9,000,000 TV sets against 1,000,000 with the Socialists. Twice as many cars are now on the roads. Increasing sales of all domestic electrical equipment. Take it from the ‘Daily Herald’.”

Here Mrs. Thatcher produced a ‘Daily Herald’ pamphlet that described a new spending class with high incomes.

“This ill-accords with the Socialist cry that wage and salary earners have suffered. It is very nice to tell you from their own mouths that all of us have increasing prosperity.

“Everyone has had larger incomes. Everyone has been spending more. It did not just come about. It was a direct result of Conservative policy, which is to let people keep more of what they earn. That is a policy which we intend to continue and there is a quite definite pledge in our manifesto which says this.

During the last fifteen months the Conservatives had succeeded in arresting the rise in prices. This could be favourably compared with the last twelve months of Socialist office in 1951.

Conservative policy had been incentive, less taxation and security. No amount of Socialist planning in this country would make foreigners buy our goods, if they were not at prices that they could afford. This seemed to be a point where Socialist planning failed and Conservative planning succeeded.

In the Socialist years despite Marshall Aid the country had a deficit of £880,000,000. Now, over the years, we had £1,600,000,000 to our credit.

As regards pensions, Conservative ideas seemed to be quite the best of any political party in office at any time. Other parties promised the pensioners a 10/- increase straight-away.

In the Conservative Manifesto there was a promise that pensions would be looked into when the Government was returned to office. But take a look at what the Conservatives had promised in previous years, and one could see they kept such promises, said Mrs. Thatcher. They had increased pensions three times since they came to office.

The Society that was the most likely to give such aid was the one where the party had produced a solvent system at home and abroad. Out of that came a rising standard of living and funds to invest in hospitals, factories and capital equipment. More money to invest in the Commonwealth and places abroad. Last year Britain invested £200 million abroad.

Each of us could make out a case for our own special hobby-horse: education, roads, pensions, and anything else, But attention had to be paid to the whole—to vital services as a whole.

After covering other topics. Mrs. Thatcher wound up:

The Conservatives entered the Election in Finchley with “no stunts or tricks” . She thanked her supporters for her nomination. She would do her best in the House of Commons. She ended by saying: “I will not always be right, but I will sincerely be bold, honest and fearless” .

For some time afterwards Mrs. Thatcher answer questions on NATO strategy and the ‘H’ bomb, local employment, better roads and hospitals.

Her adoption was proposed by Mr. C. H. Blatch. Divisional Chairman, and seconded by Mrs. Mackrill. Chairman of the Women's Advisory Committee. [end p2]

(3) Finchley Times, 2 October 1959

Cars Outside

There were scenes of wild enthusiasm when Mrs. Margaret Thatcher was adopted as Conservative candidate for Finchley and she had to finish her speech hurriedly because the President, Mr. A. C. D. Miller, announced that the police were insisting that many cars outside the hall must be moved.

On the subject of the £5 million cut in the Middlesex School building programme—from £8 million to £3 million—by the Ministry of Education, she said i: was usual for education authorities to submit more proposals than they expected to be approved.

In Finchley two proposals for new schools and extensions to another to deal with overcrowding have been refused; and proposals for the school at Crescent-road, Friern Barnet, has also been rejected.

Mrs. Thatcher said that in 1951 the standard rate of tax was 9s. 6d. in the £: now it was 7s. 9d. in the £. We were enjoying increasing prosperity at a level we had never had before. Everyone had been spending more as a direct result of Conservative policy and the cost of living had been stable for the past 15 months. Today we have solvency at home and abroad.

On pensions, she said the Conservative record was quite the best of any political party at any time. The Labour Party was promising a 10s. increase straight away, but the test was what the party did when in power. In 1946 the pension was 26s. and by 1950, owing to rising prices it fell in value to 21s. 6d.

Anyone could increase production, but the problem was to produce goods at prices other countries were prepared to pay.

She declared that if she was elected as Finchley's member of Parliament she would be “bold, honest and fearless.”