TORY ATTACKS COLLEAGUES
No support in fight against Comprehensive Education
An attack on his Conservative colleagues sitting on Barnet council for failing to fight the introduction of comprehensive education, was made by Councillor Vic Usher at the annual general meeting last week of the Finchley and Friern Barnet Conservative Association.
Councillor Usher, who was presenting his report as chairman of the association, said he felt “rather bitter” at his fellow Conservatives on the council.
He recalled that the only opposition to the scheme had come from a few Finchley Conservative councillors.
“I feel rather bitter with some of our own supporters because there were several sections that did not agree with us and they gave us no support whatsoever, though many of them were with us to a degree.”
Councillor Usher added that he was also a “little disappointed” that the Conservative Party at a national level had not come out with a clear-cut policy on comprehensive education.
“The result is that our own borough is following a very deffinite Socialist policy.”
Councillor Usher praised the team-work among Conservative supporters in Finchley. “The affinity that we have in our division is absolutely amazing and many people, all over the country, look with envy upon our team spirit.”
Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, Finchley's MP, made a damning attack on the Government's handling of the economic situation. People used to talk about the stop-go policies of the Conservative administration, but the one thing this Government seemed incapable of producing was a period of expansion.
Mrs. Thatcher drew applause from her supporters when she said the main reason the Government had failed to solve the economic problem was because of increasing public expenditure. “Socialism has only one remedy for anything—spend more of the peoples money and raise higher taxes.”
The Government was spending a third of the nation's total income—and everyone was having to find, on average, £4 a week to keep the Government “in the manner to which it has become accustomed.”
When the Conservative Party was in power, the Government had not borrowed a penny on either medium or long-term loans. But the Socialist Government had run up debts totalling millions.
“I never remember a time when there has been such deep and fundamental mistrust and distrust of the Government. No one believes anything they say anymore.”
But, said Mrs. Thatcher, Britain was still one of the finest countries in the world, and it was important that Conservatives did not lose faith. The sooner the present Government was put out the better—and all Conservatives should remain loyal to the cause and the Party, which they should propagate wherever and whenever they could.
“We should be tremendously cheerful now. We are winning the bye-elections and all those we win, national or local, brings us nearer to the time when we can have a majority.”
After Mrs. Thatcher's address, several questioners expressed doubt about whether the Conservative party was getting its policies over clearly. One asked for a clear-cut statement to be made on the party's attitude to trade unions.
Mrs. Thatcher replied that this policy had been stated, but she took the point that policies must be put over again and again to the public.
Another questioner said the party could gain power by default, merely because people were fed up with the present Government, not because they thought the Conservative party was a better one.
“The Conservatives don't hammer home the element of profit. For goodness sake, cut out this word ‘incentive’ and talk about profit, sheer profit.”
Mrs. Thatcher was asked by Councillor Frank Gibson what had been the effect in Parliament of the replacement of Jo Grimond by Jeremy Thorpe, as leader of the Liberal Party.
She replied: “All sense of leadership has gone from that party, and most of us would agree that Thorpe is not really the person for the job. I think the Liberal Party has gone down and down, even from the low place in which it was. Grimond was the only asset the Liberal Party had. That has gone now.”
The following officers were elected to the association: President, Mr. C. H. Blatch; Vice-Presidents, A. N. Baines, Mr. D. Thatcher, Councillor A. Miller, Mr. D. Websteg; Chairman, Councillor Vic Usher; Vice-Chairman, Mr. J. Tiplady; Deputy Chairman, Councillor N. Sapsted; Treasurer, Mr. J. Drinkwater(2) Finchley Press, 15 March 1968
And no way out, says Mrs. Thatcher
M.P. AT ANNUAL MEETING
“We are in the longest period of crises most of us have ever known, and we cannot see our way out,” said Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, M.P., speaking at the annual meeting of Finchley and Friern Barnet Conservative Association on Thursday of last week.
The main reason for our difficulty, she stressed, is increasing government expenditure. Socialism has only one remedy: “Spend more of the people's money and raise higher taxes.
“The Government is, at the moment spending one third of the nation's total income, which works out at £200 per year for every man, woman and child, or £4 a week to keep the Government in the manner to which it is accustomed.”
Mrs. Thatcher agreed that when Labour came into power in 1964 there was a substantial, but not unmanagable situation to be faced.
Within six weeks, through failure of the government to accept consequences of various national decisions or indecisions, we had a mammoth crisis on our hands … “they were determined to give first priority to party political dogma.”
Turning to exports, Mrs. Thatcher pointed out that in the private sector of exports and imports, private exports have been well over imports. It is in the public sector of exports and imports that the balance has gone wrong.
“As Conservatives we must not lose our faith and we must stand loyal to the cause and the party. What is needed is more incentives. The lesson of socialism is that people pay the price.”
Following this speech, Ald. Reginald Norman was presented by Mrs. Thatcher with a silver cigarette box, as a small token of thanks for the services he has rendered on behalf of the Conservative Party in the division during nearly 40 years on the council.
Ald. Norman, in reply, thanked Mrs. Thatcher and the association for giving him the opportunity of serving the party and said he had enjoyed every minute of it.
The following officers were re-elected:—
President, Mr. C. H. Blatch, O.B.E.; vice-presidents, Mr. A. N. H. Baines; Mr. Denis Thatcher. M.B.E.; Cr. A. C. D. Miller; Mr. D. G. Webster.
Chairman, Cr. V. H. Usher; deputy chairman, Cr. N. J. Sapsted; vice-chairman, Mr. J. C. Tiplady; treasurer, Mr. J. Drinkwater.