Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

Speech to Finchley Inter-church luncheon club

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: St Mary’s Church Hall, Finchley
Source: Finchley Press, 21 November 1969
Editorial comments: 1200.
Importance ranking: Minor
Word count: 493
Themes: Education, Family, Health policy, Law & order, Media, Religion & morality, Society, Women

Laws & the permissive society


The permissive society and Parliament was the topical subject of a talk by Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, M.P., to the Finchley Women's Inter-Church Luncheon Club at St. Mary-at-Finchley Church Hall, Church End Finchley, on Monday.

The talk covered adultery, divorce, drugs, religion, and the influence of television.

You cannot make people good by legislation, said Mrs. Thatcher. If Parliament passes a law it must be able to enforce it. Most people—until the present generation—considered adultery for instance to be wrong. It was immoral but not illegal. A law on adultery could never be enforced.

One law which Parliament, under the Education Act of 1944, had been able to enforce was that of compulsory religious education in schools.

Mrs. Thatcher made it clear that she was in favour of compulsion; otherwise some children would grow up not knowing the difference between right and wrong.

She then went on to talk about personal behaviour in our society. Not only did she deal with degrading literature, but also in the traffic of such literature sent through the post.

This was often a subject of complaint in the letters she received, and her advice to anyone receiving obscene pictures or literature was to take them to the police.


Young people to-day were more knowledgeable than those of a generation ago, through newspapers, magazines, the spoken word, posters, radio but most of all through television, “the most compelling, penetrating medium that there is.”

On divorce reform, Mrs. Thatcher was concerned about the plight of the deserted wife and young family. Also divorce by consent which might influence young people in not taking their vows at the altar so seriously as before.

She also spoke about abortion. One good point about the new legislation—a point often overlooked—was that it had reduced the number of “back street” abortions and their dangerous consequences.


Mrs. Thatcher quoted a student as saying “one has to experience everything in society in order to comprehend it,” which she believed a mistaken view.

Drugs, for instance, were sometimes taken by young people for “kicks” ; they started on soft drugs, and then on to hard. When it came to moderating addiction, alcoholism and smoking were mild compared with drugs.

Concluding, Mrs. Thatcher emphasised the fundamentals of knowing the difference between right and wrong, of Christianity as opposed to the lack of it. Lack of it was like separating a flower from its roots; it could not grow.

Mrs. R. Baldry (chairman) presided, and the vote of thanks to Mrs. Thatcher was proposed by the secretary, Mrs. May Hart.

The luncheon was prepared and served by members of Finchley and district Anglican, Catholic and Free Churches.