Mrs. Thatcher's lively meeting
Mrs. Margaret Thatcher held her first meeting since her adoption as Conservative candidate for the Finchley Division at St. Peter le Poer church hall, Friern Barnet, on Monday evening.
She was introduced to the audience of about fifty, by Councillor Mrs. Ena Constable, who said that she looked forward to seeing the Conservatives returned with a great majority, and that Mrs. Thatcher had gone about her business ‘with great distinction and charm’.
Mrs. Thatcher asked people to disregard all the claims and challenges issued by the other parties and go by facts.
Although she was not being smug, she said, the standard of living had risen considerably during the past thirteen years.
This had been achieved despite new problems which had arisen. Now there were five times as many cars as in 1951; there was more money; more people; and a bigger demand for housing.
High Living Standard
Mrs. Thatcher said that the past, under the Conservatives, was a basis to go forward. Our standard of living was among the highest in the world.
Over the past six years prices had risen far less in the United Kingdom than in Japan, France, Italy, Netherlands and Sweden. And despite West Germany being nearly on a par with Britain, their food was much more expensive.
Mrs. Thatcher said the worst post-war year was 1951—the last year of Socialist rule—when prices rose twice as fast as any other year. She believed the Conservatives could keep prices down.
Social service had developed since 1951 and with rising prosperity, Conservatives had seen to it that the social services got their share, said Mrs. Thatcher.
She said that a man's average wage in 1951 was £8 10s, but now it was £17 12s; improvements made by the Conservatives could be seen all over the country.
Speaking on pensions, Mrs. Thatcher said that despite the increase in the number of pensioners there had still been increases in their grants—two in the past five years. And she said that the pensioners would continue to share in the rising prosperity.
Mrs. Thatcher—who is joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance—then answered questions from the audience, mainly about pensions and allowances.
The meeting closed rather noisily with members of the audience shouting at each other over the issue of pensions.
But it all ended with one old age pensioner commenting that there was not a country in the world that helped its old folks like Britain.