Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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1971 Mar 25 Th
Margaret Thatcher

Speech to Finchley Conservative Women

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Document kind: Speech
Venue: Firs Hall, Finchley
Source: Finchley Times, 2 April 1971
Journalist: -
Editorial comments: 1230. Winston Churchill MP was the guest speaker at the annual Conservative Women’s lunch.
Importance ranking: Minor
Word count: 612
Themes: Conservative Party (organization), European Union (general)

‘We need a united Europe’

Winston Churchill outlines main reasons

Britain's lack of economic growth and the threat of Russian expansion on all fronts are two reasons why there should be a united Western Europe.

Mr Winston Churchill, MP for Stretford, said this last Thursday when he spoke at the annual lunch held by Finchley and Friern Barnet Conservative Women's Association at Firs Hall, Green Lanes, Winchmore Hill.

He told more than 200 women present that he believed British people had had enough of decline. “We want to turn a new page and start climbing up the ladder again,” he said.

Over the past 25 years the principal difference between the two major political parties had been only one of emphasis, but June 18, 1970, would go down in history as a major turning point for this country.

“We had the lowest growth rate under the previous Government of any major country in the world,” he added. “This is a very miserable situation.

“Price inflation was the greatest for 20 years, unemployment the most for 30 years, and the number of strikes the worst for 40 years.

“But at last, after some very tough months, we can see that the tide of battle is turning. At last the wage escalation is no longer going ahead.”

Mr Churchill said he was not surprised that the British people were more circumspect about Britain's application to join the Common Market this time, after being turned down twice.

But he added: “There are things more important in our national life than the price of butter.”

Market

He said that the advantages of joining the Common Market would not only be economic, but the political situation had to be considered as well.

Mr Churchill warned of American isolationism, Soviet expansion and of the “giants of tomorrow” —Japan, Communist China and Europe.

“Can we really afford to turn our backs on Western Europe and say it doesn't matter to us?” he added. A united Europe, with Britain inside, could play a major role in the world.

France did not want us in he said, because they enjoyed ruling the roost, and realised that Britain would have a major role to play.

Speaking of the Industrial Relations Bill, he said: “This will make a very great difference to industrial life in this country.”

He called the Labour Party opposition to the Bill a “great charade.” adding that nobody had been more in favour of such a Bill than Mr Harold Wilson and Mrs Barbara Castle.

Strengths

Mrs Margaret Thatcher, Secretary of State for Education and Science, and MP for Finchley and Friern Barnet, thanked Mr Churchill for his ideas, about Europe— “one of the things we'll have to talk about very much in the coming months.”

One of the many strengths of the Conservative Party was “a blend of families with a tradition of service” mixed with new blood and new families she said. This blend made the Conservative Party the most powerful and most enduring in British history.

Mrs Thatcher added that the aim of the Conservative Party was not to use power— “one of the most dangerous and frightening things” —but to prevent the abuse of power.

A vote of thanks to both MPs was given by Mrs Josephine Cashmore.

The chairman of the WAC. Mrs. Margaret Tiplady, said that the women present at the luncheon were going to strike—not against work, but on door-knockers, canvassing for the local elections in May.

The toastmaster was Mrs. Margaret Thorpe.