Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

Speech to Finchley Conservatives (Association AGM)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: Conservative Hall, 267 Ballards Lane, Finchley
Source: (1) Finchley Press, 23 March 1962 (2) Finchley Times, 30 March 1962
Editorial comments: Under the heading "The Things They Say", the Finchley Press reported a further remark: the greatest difficulty in the modern society was "To make people realise that what they ask for they have got to pay for".
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 1339
Themes: Defence (general), Economic policy - theory and process, Employment, Pay, Public spending & borrowing, Trade, Foreign policy (Africa), Foreign policy (Central & Eastern Europe), Foreign policy (USA), Foreign policy (Western Europe - non-EU), Housing, Race, immigration, nationality, Social security & welfare
(1) Finchley Press, 23 March 1962:

Tories get questionnaires from the M.P.

Questionnaires asking what each individual though the Government should do for the benefit of the country were filled in by most of the 200 members attending the annual meeting of Finchley and Friern Barnet Conservative Association, on Monday.

The questionnaires—instigated by Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, MP. who is carrying out her own version of “market research” —were delivered to her at the House of Commons after the meeting. She is now analysing the results.

Earlier, Mrs. Thatcher told her audience at the Conservative Hall, North Finchley, that the simple problem of the present day was that, as a nation, we had paid ourselves more than we had earned.

“Each year we have been giving ourselves about 6½ per cent. more when in fact as a nation we have only earned 2½ per cent. more,” said Mrs. Thatcher.

“Most of this increase has gone to a better standard of living, but because we have paid ourselves more than we have earned, rising prices have resulted.

“Not isolated”

She continued: ‘Since the war we have fought poverty, freedom from want and squalor and unemployment.

“We have done it, and done it remarkably well, but we cannot isolate ourselves from overseas world trade. We cannot blame any country for wanting to buy goods cheaper than ours, and we have got to compete with other countries whose standards of living and wages are lower and whose working hours are greater.

“We have got to make better quality goods more efficiently, unless we do this our export trade will go down.”

Dealing with some of the many letters which she receives from constituents, Mrs. Thatcher commented: “I have had many letters urging me to ask the Government to spend more on one aspect or another. Everyone wants more expenditure but expects the other person to pay.

“Affluent society”

“We have” , said Mrs. Thatcher, “what Americans have described as an affluent society. We have had a tremendous increase in material benefits over the last few years.

“If Karl Marx were to come back here, he would surely not be able to say ‘Workers you have nothing to lose but your lives’, but instead ‘you have nothing to lose but your refrigerator, your car, your TV, and all your other luxuries’.”

Mr. D. G. Webster, divisional chairman, presented the annual report and congratulated the president. Mr. C. H. Blatch, on the award of the OBE in the new years honours list.

More activity

The 1961 elections had been generally satisfactory, he said, but he stressed the urgent need, in view of this years developments, for members to increase further their activities in the coming weeks before the local elections.

The income from the Conservative Hall had again shown an increase and the association proposed to use some of this money to redecorate the hall and improve the facilities.

Divisional treasurer, Mr. J. Drinkwater, said the year had produced quite pleasing results with the exception of the revenue from the wards. He hoped the membership drive planned for early autumn would remedy this decrease.

Officers elected: Mr. C. H. Blatch, president; Miss J. Lucas, secretary; Mr. J. Drinkwater, treasurer; Mr. E. M. Mongan, assistant treasurer.

Cty. Cr. P. D. Mendel, vice-chairman, introduced local election candidates in Finchley and Mr. Jeffrey introduced the Friern Barnet candidates. [end p1]

(2) Finchley Times, 30 March 1962:

Finchley Conservatives help on market research

Local views will go to cabinet ministers

Finchley and Friern Barnet Conservative Association are being asked to help the Government in connection with the problem of market research and national welfare.

At the annual meeting of the Association held in the Conservative Hall at Ballards-lane, there was on every seat a paper to be filled in with answers to and comments on the question: “What steps do you think the Government should now take for the benefit of the country?

Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, M.P. for the Division, said the replies collected would be sent to members of the Cabinet. “We are asking you to do a plece of market research,” she explained.

The Chairman, Mr. D. G. Webster, announced a membership increase of 622 for the year, but pointed out that as the percentage of paid up members was only 18.9 of the total Conservative vote at the 1959 General Election, they were looking for a substantial improvement during their membership campaign this year.

This campaign, said County Councillor P. D. Mendell, vice-chairman, would be carried out during the Summer months of July, August and September instead of during the winter period.

Another innovation announced by the chairman was a supper discussion group to bridge the gap between the Young Conservatives and the Senior Association. An honorary public relations Advisory. Mr. A. Blonfield, had been appointed.

There was, said Mr. Webster, room for improvement on the question of finance. Contributions from branches had, in general, been slightly below previous years, but the hall continued to prosper under its newly constituted management committee.

“On the whole we have done superbly as a nation,” declared Mrs. Thatcher. “We are often told to look to America, but we have solved the problem of unemployment, whilst America still has five million unemployed.”

Nothing in Africa, she continued, was comparable with the Algerian problem of France. People often compared the Western Germany security provisions with ours, but such provision would involve a stamp of 51s ld. for a men earning £9 a week, and 85s 6d. for a man earning £15.

At a time when we were having to dissuade people from coming here, attracted by our high standard of living. Eastern Europpean countries have to have a wait to prevent people getting out!

We have housed one in four families of the population since the war. Russia had nothing like that record.

“This is a superb record. We now have to keep full employment without rising prices.” she said.

She added that there was an inability on the pars of some folk to understand what the pay pause was about. Our difficulties atemmed from a very simple problem, “as a nation we had paid ourselves more than we have earned. In 1961 exports were falling and the Government had to take steps to deal with this situation.

Increased production in itself was not a panacea, for we were not a large enough community to be self-supporting. It was necessary to have an extra proportion of goods sold overseas.

Seventy per cent of the export price of goods lay in labour. Other countries paid lower wages, or had a lower standard of living. If we were to compete we must make better quality goods more efficiently.

“We cannot isolate ourselves in this country from conditions of world trade,” she said.

War always drew attention to social evils. It was absolutely right that we should have tackled these and increased material benefit, but the Welfare State was not at an end in itself. Freedom from poverty and freedom from want meant freedom to do something. People must be prepared to put in as much as they took out.

Mr. C. H. Blatch was re-elected as president and Mr. D. G. Webster, as chairman. Miss J. Lucas was again chosen unanimously to be honorary secretary, Mr. J. Drinkwater was re-elected honorary treeasurer and Mr. E. M. Morgan, honorary assistant treasurer.