Council must heed residents' warning says Mrs. Thatcher
No elected authority would dare to go against the views of the majority, this was how Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, M.P., summed up the Church End parking meter row when she was guest speaker at a luncheon given by the women's advisory committee of the Finchley and Friern Barnet Conservative Association on Tuesday.
Mrs. Thatcher, who next month celebrates 10 years as M.P. for Finchley and Friern Barnet, was speaking before an enthusiastic audience at the Conservative Hall, North Finchley. She opened her speech with reference to three important local issues.
On parking meters, she congratulated the residents and traders for making their views felt. This time, she said, there had been no secrecy in local government and councillors had been anxious to hear the views of residents.
It was right that local people, organisations and the Chamber of Commerce had been making their views publicly known and she had been delighted that everyone had taken the opportunity which had been given.
Mrs. Thatcher said that she hoped that all the comments which the council had received about the scheme would be taken into consideration before a decision was made.
Turning her attention to another controversial issue—comprehensive education—Mrs. Thatcher said she had been fighting persistently to retain grammar schools.
She favoured comprehensive education in purpose-built schools but felt it wrong to abandon grammar schools until it was certain there was something better to take their place.
“If a Tory Government had been returned the grammar schools would not be in the peril they are in to-day,” she said.
Attention was then focused on the Hampstead Garden Suburb lorry route inquiry which is still taking place. Mrs. Thatcher refused to comment on the inquiry but highlighted the difference between democracy and communism by referring to her recent visit to Moscow.
She said she had asked an official of the Russian ministry of transport what happened when they wished to build a new road and whether or not residents were allowed to comment on the proposals. The answer had been, “all land belongs to the State. We just build a road.”
“At least we do have extensive inquiries to find out if there is a logical alternative,” said Mrs. Thatcher.
She then gave a brief summary of national events. The last set of good trade figures had been due to private enterprise and the country's invisible assets such as insurance, yet the Government had taken a lot of credit.
On the question of unofficial strikes, Mrs. Thatcher urged immediate legislation and then turning to the Common Market she spoke of the present fine balance of whether or not we should enter.
The original reasons for wanting to enter Europe still held, she said, but the difficulties the other countries were experiencing in their agriculture policies now made it important that any government which took us into the Common Market was absolutely sure that it was for the benefit of the people.
Perhaps if our attitude towards the Common Market cooled a little we might be more readily welcomed by the other members she suggested. Once we have settled our economic difficulties we would be a very desirable catch for Europe.
Concluding her speech Mrs. Thatcher returned to issues nearer home and spoke of the boundary commission. She said she would be delighted if the commission's recommendations were not passed until after the next election.
“I do not want to lose any of my bits,” she said.
Mrs. Thatcher had been welcomed to the luncheon by the chairman. Mrs. Margaret Tiplady and she was thanked for her speech by Mrs. Muriel Agius.