Douglas-Home slams the Government
A charge that the Government has once again been the victim of its own ineptitude was made by Sir Alec Douglas-Home, M.P., Opposition spokesman on foreign affairs, Commonwealth Colonies and Overseas Development, when he spoke to a meeting of Finchley Conservative Association at Christ's College, Church End Finchley, on Thursday last week. He was speaking about “the now famous affair of teeth and spectacles.
“Apparently no minister knew what the other was doing,” Sir Alec told his capacity audience. “Health issues were the issue on which, in a previous Socialist Government. Mr. Wilson chose to resign and break with his leader.
“Apparently he has since changed his view. In a week when his leadership was in question to throw this into the already boiling pot was stupid.”
The electors could come to only one conclusion—that those who could so regularly bungle their own affairs could not be trusted, with the conduct of national and international matters.
This, he said, was not a theoretical danger. “In quick succession we have had examples of the absolute political insensitivity of the Government in their actions in Bonn, Paris, the Falkland Islands and Anguilla. Britain cannot afford such incompetence which lowers its reputation in the eyes of every foreigner.”
“That is the count against Socialism,” he stressed. “No shuffling of the ministerial pack, no change of chief whip, no swap of Prime Minister will alter the situation by one jot.”
Sir Alec warned that when the Conservatives came to power they would not make the mistake of making promises they could not fulfil. Their promises would be few but none would be abandoned.
“The only Socialist promise I can recall being kept,” he said, “was one made by George Brown when he said, ‘I am going to run the economy of this country in a way its never been run before’.”
The recent Budget, he claimed, had not inspired and stimulated people but frustrated them to the point of anger. An individual should be given the best possible chance to use his skill and talent.
Individuals should be able to choose their children's type of education and be able to expect to keep a reasonable amount of money from their earnings to give their children a better life than they had themselves.
“Any form of education which inspires uniformity must be dangerous and destructive,” said Sir Alec. “I believe the Socialists have very little idea of the modest wants of the man in the street.
“What right have they to clobber local authorities who are trying to help people buy houses for themselves? Why should the public be asked to suffer the inconvenience and economic loss of wildcat strikes?”
These and many other questions had to be asked, he said, but Britain could only be restored by the will of the nation and Government combined.
Sir Alec was thanked by Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, M.P. for Finchley, who talked about Selective Employment Tax.
“You may be interested to know that this year in taxation you have paid eight hundred million pounds,” she said.
“This is more than the present Government expenditure. As S.E.T. takes in six hundred million pounds you could abolish it and still have two hundred million pounds in hand.”
Christ's College, she added, was a first-rate example of the advantages of grammar school education. It served to educate people from all walks of life to the top of the ladder—people from every type of background.
The meeting was chaired by Cr. N. Sapsted.