Tough at the top
Heavy demands have been made on the time of Finchley's ex-Education Minister and Shadow Environment Minister Mrs. Margaret Thatcher.
In the next few days she will be playing a key role in the Tories' campaign assault: speaking in East Anglia and North London and being led into endless television and radio debates.
But she will not ignore Finchley: the constituency which has returned her to Westminster for the last 15 years.
She stressed this during a Press conference at the Finchley and Friern and Barnet Conservative Party headquarters in Ballards Lane, North Finchley, on Tuesday morning.
This week she will spend a day in Norfolk and a day in North London where she will give support to other Tory candidates. But the demands of the media could be greater as election coverage grows. Already she has to record a party political broadcast and comments for the BBC Radio 4 programme, “Election Call.” She will also appear on the London Weekend programme, “Weekend World.” this Sunday.
But she says she still has the energy to meet such demands and repeat her vigorous campaign of last February.
Canvassing sessions will be carried out when she is in the district and she will still be able to meet the people.
“People do talk,” she said. “There are always questions as people are aware of what is being said from the television and the newspapers.
“The real strain is on the voice,” said Mrs. Thatcher. “You spend the whole day talking and then there is probably a speech to do in the evening.”
Although she has not been a Cabinet Minister for six months, life is still hectic. “There has always been the likelihood of an election and the feeling that everything would have to be done again.” she said.
Mrs. Thatcher believed that the minority Government would last out 18 months. However, the election, she said, had been called because the Left Wing were in command.
The work of the “extremists” was stressed in her adoption speech on Monday evening and will be repeated in her public meetings and High Road shopping area walkabouts.
“Basically,” she said, “it will be the same kind of campaign as we ran last time.”
For the record, Mrs. Thatcher had the lowest majority in her career in February's crisis General Election but this was due to changes in the constituency border rather than a loss in support.
That majority may be cut or increased on October 10—but the mood of her adoption meeting on Monday evening was that she would be returned to Westminster. However, she was preaching to the converted. [end p1]
(2) Finchley Times, 27 September 1974
The right way, by Mrs Thatcher
Ask Mrs Margaret Thatcher whether she believes she will be the first woman at Number 10, and she dismisses the idea as “too airy-fairy.”
But the fact is that the Conservative candidate for Finchley and Friern Barnet, a past Secretary of State for Education and Science and Shadow spokesman on the Environment, is one of the foremost British politicians.
She has been returned as Finchley's Member of Parliament since 1959—and despite her protests many still believe she will be our first woman Prime Minister.
Mrs Thatcher makes no apologies for keeping her campaign in Finchley almost entirely on national rather than local issues. “In the end this must be the right thing to do. I always run the same kind of campaign, centred on policies. If you avoid the issues, they catch up on you.”
Even so, she is spending all but two days in the run-up to the election inside the Finchley constituency, and she is concerned with the lack of open space in the area. “As a spokesman on the environment. I know it is just not enough to provide people with housing without leaving them facilities for recreation.”
She added: “I have tried to get to meet people in every centre of the constituency, but we have no plans to have additional speakers at my public meetings.
“The people of Finchley are entitled to see their candidate, and we always enjoy very constructive and positive meetings with at least half an hour of questions at the close.”
When asked whether she thought the second election in a year was really necessary, she said: “I thought at first the administration would run for about 18 months, but only if the Labour Party were prepared to accept the restrictions imposed on them by the electorate. Now there is no doubt in my mind that they are being dominated by their Left Wing.”
She says that she has not come against much apathy among the voters of Finchley, because there has been an acceptance of a second election for several months now. “The electorate won't want a third one, though you have to consider the possibility that nobody will get a clear majority. You cannot avoid the issue.”
Mrs Thatcher said she valued the results of canvassing in the High Streets.
“They ask you questions on all the political developments from the latest news bulletin.”
Mrs Thatcher, speaking on the possibility of a coalition. said: “If the Conservatives were the largest party, but without a majority, we should actively seek the cooperation of those who believe in a free society and are prepared to work and put Britain first.”