Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

Complete list of 8,000+ Thatcher statements & texts of many of them

1970 Jun 1 Mo
Margaret Thatcher

Letter to the press (General Election issues)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Source: Thatcher Archive: typescript
Editorial comments: Item listed as 1 June, but this is an arbitrary attribution in the absence of evidence. Place of publication unknown.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 512
Themes: Autobiographical comments, Conservatism, General Elections, Labour Party & socialism, Social security & welfare

Dear Mr. Editor,

You have been kind enough to ask us why we think we should be elected as M.P.'s and to say what are our aims.

I always find it difficult to write about myself. Suffice it therefore to say that any secretary I “borrow” from other M.P.s while my own is on holiday, tells me the same thing—that the volume of letters I receive, and the number of invitations to me to speak are among the highest in the House of Commons. I assume therefore that people wouldn't go on writing unless I managed to get results wherever possible, or at least to have a good try. Enough of me—what I stand for is more important, because elections are not only about individual candidates, but also about what they believe and the vision their policies serve.

The choice before our people for the next five years is between two essentially different ways of life. The first is founded on the idea that the role of the State is to help people to discharge their own responsibilities and to help them to develop their own diverse talents and abilities. This view I share. The other way is for the State to take over more and more individual responsibilities and with them the greater part of the decisions that affect our lives. This view I reject.

The election on the 18th June will decide whether future policies will restore responsibility and dignity to the individual as the result of a Conservative victory or whether we have another slice of power going to the arm of the State, which would happen should the Socialists win. [end p1]

For my part I find it difficult to understand why any party which believes in educational opportunity for all our children—and this must involve training them to make their own decisions—should at the same time pursue policies which remove more and more of those decisions away from the individual and to the State. Undoubtedly this has been happening over the past six years and it is one explanation of the great “protest” movements which have developed. If you have less and less individual influence you have to mass together to impress and try to impose your particular group's demands on the State through Parliament. More of this and two things would happen, first there would be perpetual friction between groups of people and the State and second those people who couldn't formulate into big battalions would suffer. This is the wrong path for the people of Britain and I trust we shall turn our backs upon it.

The positive way is to leave more power with the people by leaving them a larger proportion of their own wage packets and by encouraging them to make their own extra pension provision on top of the State basic; by making it worth their while to save either in shares, insurance policies or cash; by encouraging the diverse talents in our society to go ahead, and by diffusing power away from government.

The policy document of the Conservative Pary is called “A Better Tomorrow” , not merely a more prosperous tomorrow, but “better” in the sense of more responsibility, more respect for the feelings of others as well as ourselves and a profound belief that the same scale of law applies equally to us all.