Mrs. Thatcher Addresses Young Conservatives
Government Policy Outlined
On Wednesday evening last week a large audience gave Conservative prospective Parliamentary candidate Mrs. Margaret Thatcher an enthusiastic reception when she visited the Finchley Young Conservatives to address them on the home policy of the Government.
Speaking on housing, Mrs. Thatcher said that there were three important bills before Parliament. The first would assist Building Societies, which already lend £350 million per year for house-purchasing, to loan a further £150 million per year.
The second bill ensured that market prices would have to be paid for property compulsorily purchased. Nobody could fail to agree that the right of compulsory purchase was necessary. At present, however, the price paid was the 1947 value, no account being taken of any increase in worth due to inflation or improved amenities. Last year alone £38½ million was paid for land and property acquired in this way (£33 million of this by local authorities) while the market value was £48–£50 million.
Mrs. Thatcher then spoke of unemployment. Worst hit, she said, were those areas where the chief industries were textiles, steel and shipbuilding. Of these, the shipbuilding industry had largely itself to blame for its troubles. There had been so much inter-union strife over demarcation that ships in British yards were taking 18 months to build. Orders therefore went to German yards where the job was completed in 9 months. All three industries however were badly affected by fall in demand due to world recession.
The Government was doing all in its power to decrease unemployment. Incentives were being provided to firms to open factories in the worsthit areas and assistance was being given to people to move from these areas to those where jobs were still plentiful. Many people, however, considered that jobs ought to be brought to them, not they to the jobs. Road and rail improvement schemes having long played Cinderella to the social services in Government expenditure were being stepped up, and local authorities were being asked to submit any plans for hospital building, drainage improvements, etc. which could be started within 3 months and finished before the end of 1959.
Mrs. Thatcher concluded with a few remarks on further legislation that the Government would introduce during the coming session. They would bring in a bill to repeal most of the emergency laws, made before or during the war, empowering Ministers to act in certain matters without reference to Parliament—such powers at present included, among many others, the rationing of food.
They had also put forward proposals to make a fundamental change in the present pensions scheme and to set it on a sounder financial basis. This was very necessary because, if nothing were done, the current system would, within 20 years, add £500 million to the tax-bill. The proposals, however, were by no means final and the fullest comment was gladly awaited.
After her talk Mrs. Thatcher answered a number of questions on topics ranging from trade unions to crime. She was then thanked by Chairman, Mr. Stuart Martyn, for her interesting and enlightening address. The meeting ended with a social. M.L.
“Space Travel” Wins Cup
This year's Crowder Cup Speaker's Competition, held at the Conservative Hall on Wednesday, last week, offered to Young Conservative entrants a range of subjects from “The Crime Wave” to “Space Travel” ; “The Problems of Mental Health” to “Murder as a Fine Art” . In the event of these ideas not stimulating the interest of any competitor, there were, of course, somewhat heavier themes to tackle, such as political philosophy.
It was “Space Travel” which provided the winning theme and for a well constructed, informative and pleasing address on this entertaining topic young Michael Levison was declared the winner, with Robin Jenkinson runner-up with his discourse on “Crime” .
The result was a triumph for the new Finchley South YC Branch, the winner being one of their officers. On the first time of entry into the competition, a Finchley South delegate won the Crowder Cup.
Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, in presenting the prizes congratulated all the entrants on the accurate presentation of facts.
“First, know your case” said Mrs. Thatcher (the barrister) “and then learn how to present it. Perfection only comes through practice and platform experience. There comes a time—and it is hard to assess exactly at what stage—when success is attained. So keep at it!”
Mrs. Thatcher said she thought several of the speakers that evening showed promise of political platform ability in the future. Mr. Derek Webster, whom Mrs. Thatcher described as a most efficient Chairman, presided during the competition, while his wife, Dorothy, acted as timekeeper. Conservative Central Office officials adjudicated.