Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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

1975 Feb 19 We
Margaret Thatcher

Radio Interview for BBC Radio 2 Jimmy Young Programme

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, central London
Source: BBC Written Archives: transcript
Journalist: Jimmy Young, BBC
Editorial comments: 1200-1345.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 12601
Themes: Autobiographical comments, Autobiography (marriage & children), British Constitution (general discussions), Executive, Parliament, Conservatism, Conservative Party (organization), Education, Private education, Secondary education, Industry, Monetary policy, Privatized & state industries, Energy, Environment, Public spending & borrowing, Taxation, European Union (general), Family, Foreign policy (USSR & successor states), Health policy, Housing, Labour Party & socialism, Law & order, Local government, Local government finance, Leadership, Conservative (leadership elections), Media, Society, Social security & welfare, Women

Young

Now it's just a week now since the political world was shaken up with the news that a woman was to lead one of Britain's major political parties. Mrs. Margaret Thatcher emerged triumphant from the second ballot for the leadership of the Conservatives after two weeks of battling with the then leader Mr. Heath, and of course other prominent older statement. Well, since then, Mrs. Thatcher's had little to say in public, choosing instead to turn her mind to future policies, and picking her shadow cabinet which indeed she announced last night. However, today, she's with me in the studio preparing to talk about the victory and indeed about the future that we can expect from the new style Conservative party. First of all, nice to have you back again, Margaret.

Thatcher

It's very nice to be back. I thoroughly enjoy these programmes and look forward to being on them frequently.

Young

Good. Now as I said, it's a week since you were elected leader, and obviously a lot of thoughts must have passed through your head in that time. Looking back, I mean, what is your reaction to it all.

Thatcher

Well, it's very change [sic]. It seems as if I've been there for several months judging by the amount that ones had to crush in in the time. I don't think one still has come to the surface because there has been so much to do that one hasn't really realised that the leader of the opposition is me. I think it is only me still; I haven't yet made any big speeches, obviously, there's been all the administrative things to do; reforming the Shadow Cabinet and as you know, the mass media make very heavy demands on ones time. They trot along and say “What are you doing today?” And you say, “Well I'm receiving pressmen, and doing radio programmes” And that does take up a great deal of time. [end p1]

Young

Quite. Are you at all sad that it happened in the way that it happened. Do you think it's damaged the image of the party, at all?

Thatcher

I don't think it's damaged the image of the party. I was very sorry for Mr. Heath. Obviously one would be for a person you've worked with for quite a time and it would in a way have been better if, instead of contesting him in that way, we perhaps had several people running in the first ballot.

Young

Yes. Now, we've seen something now of the shape of the party with your announcement last night of the Shadow Cabinet as one newspaper described it this morning—“The Night of the Long Hat Pin” I believe was one headline this morning.

Thatcher

Oh, my goodness. I hadn't seen that.

(Both Laugh)

Young

Haven't you seen that one? Oh yes “The Night of the Long Hat Pin”. Well, two main points would seem to arise out of it—the return of Mr. Maudling. Now, not all the comment has been favourable about that move and I would say it was probably unexpected.

Thatcher

I don't know whether it was unexpected or not. It was said that I was short on Foreign Affairs experience. Now in a way that's quite right. By the time you've had the same person doing Foreign Affairs for nearly ten years, obviously other people haven't had the experience of handling it and either Alec Douglas-Home or Edward HeathTed handled it for nearly ten years. Now I then looked round to see how could I strengthen that side. Now, Reggie Maudling 's probably had more experience of different aspects of Government than any other politican living on the Conservative benches; he'd done a certain amount of Foreign Affairs, of course when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, he had contacts with many foreign countries when he was Board of Trade, and it seemed to me quite absurd to have that great reservoir of experience there and not to use it so I said “Reggie, will you join us again?” He said “I'd love to, my dear”.

Young

I bet he was delighted. [end p2]

Thatcher

He was delighted and so are we.

Young

I mentioned two main points. The other one of course being the appointment of Sir Keith Joseph and again, quoting newspapers which you may well not have had time to see this morning, but he has been referred to as “the power behind the throne”, I mean, I don't know whether you would agree with that …   .

Thatcher

No. I wouldn't agree with that at all. Keith JosephKeith is always a power because he has a tremendous brain and great intellectual capacity. He's a very shy person. He's one of the most sympathetic people. You know, shy people are often very sympathetic but are rather afraid of showing it; but he had a most marvellous record when he was Secretary of State for the Social Services, and I think he's got a great deal to offer. You always need a first class mind to co-ordinate the thinking out of new policies. After all, we had Rab Butler, you know 1945–50, Keith in a way is the new Rab Bulter of the 1973 [sic] period.

Young

Yes. What about the people—I mean I spoke to Peter Walker on the programme yesterday, for instance. What about the people who aren't going to play a part in the Shadow Cabinet like Geoffrey Rippon, and Peter Walker and Robert Carr?

Thatcher

Well, after all, you need a lot of talent on your back benches in Parliament too. It's not always those who are just on the front benches. And I think it adds greatly to the back benches to have people on them who've had some experience of what it's like to be in office. Afterall, when you accept office, and I remember doing it from Harold Macmillan myself in 1961 as a Parliamentary Secretary, I thought then the time's going to come when I'm going to be out and I'm very well aware that the time will come when I'm out and I'm determined then to make it easy for the chap or girl who tells me I'm out, but if you accept the system that puts you in, you must accept that same system which puts you out and gives a chance to someone else. Peter WalkerPeter will be a great asset on the back benches and so will Geoffrey Rippon and some of the others.

Young

You would be hoping, then, would you, to build [end p3] a team in depth, so to speak?

Thatcher

Oh yes. That team has been built on merit; this is one of my great beliefs. If people have got what it takes they should have a chance.

Young

Could I ask you about—I beg your pardon—just before I play some music, we'll be here for a long time—um, have people's attitudes changed towards to you, in the past week?

Thatcher

Oh, enormously. And I'm told I've changed. Even my Denis Thatcherhusband says “you've got a new confidence”. Or he says that I've changed over the last six months or so. I haven't noticed it but the great change really occurred about a fortnight before the ballot, because all the press was regarding me merely as a means of flushing out the next leader not as the possibility of being the next leader and I sometimes had to say to them, “Look, I'm nudging fifty. I'm no chicken. That's about the time when you'd expect a person who could be a leader to take over,” and after that they did begin to take me a little more seriously and now they have, all of a sudden, changed attitudes and realised that they must look at you for your own potential as a person and not as a woman leader.

Young

Are there—yes, we get onto the woman angle a little later on—are there any people who are perhaps nicer to you in the past week than they were prior to that?

Thatcher

They were always very nice and very courteous and very kind. There's been no fawning for positions at all and none was promised before I took over and I'm not that kind of person and the people who are supporting me were not that kind of person either.

Young

Margaret, perhaps we can have three minutes of Andy Williams …   .

Thatcher

I'd love to.

(Laughter.)

Young

Talk to you in about three minutes time, meanwhile Andy Williams at …   . oh, the time incidentally is sixteen minutes past twelve and Andy Williams will sing Here, There And Everywhere.

(Music.)

[end p4]

Young

So that's Andy Williams and a song called HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE. The time is nineteen minutes past twelve o'clock. Our studio guest today, of course, the Right Honourable Margaret Thatcher. Um, Margaret, looking back, I was talking about the leadership battle just now, would you …   . the ballyhoo and the publicity that went with it—I mean the William Whitelaw kiss and he was doing the washing up and you were doing the washing up and so on—I mean was all that really necessary?

Thatcher

I don't know whether it was necessary or not. The difficulty is if I might put it this way, to avoid the press on these occasions, they seek photographs, they seek interviews the whole time, and I remember all that session of housekeeping came one Saturday and Sunday, when I had fourteen of them on my doorstep and in the house, saying “What are you doing today?”. We had to try …   . So I tried to find a different picture for each. As far as the Willie Whitelaw peck on the cheek—both were concerned, I've [never?]known one peck get quite so much publicity.

Young

It got a lot of coverage didn't it?

Thatcher

It did—great deal of coverage.

Young

Have you ever thought what you would have done if you'd failed in this second ballot? Had it ever occurred to you that you might fail in the second ballot?

Thatcher

Oh yes, I was prepared to take whatever came. I certainly wasn't counting on winning. I would have just carried on. After all, even if I was on the back benches only, had I lost all front bench position, I would still have carried on, fighting for the course in which I believe.

Young

Yes. Can I ask you what will you miss most about the Ted Heath era, if anything that is?

Thatcher

Well, the extraordinary thing is, it is different being the leader of the opposition. All the decisions ultimately come to you; all the tricky decisions and the really difficult thing of man-management, and I say that as a woman. It's—do you know I'm coming [end p5] to the conclusion it's easier to manage ladies than it is to manage men. Prima donna is a feminine word—it's a great mistake—(Laughter)—it should be a masculine one.

Young

You had a week now to marshal your troops and your thoughts, so to speak; what will be the main difference between your policies and Ted Heath's Conservatives?

Thatcher

Well, I hope we shall have a clear Conservative message. I don't believe that you ever win just by being against someone else; you've got to have a clear message and a banner to which people will rally. I think the difficulty was, that in the past that message got obscured and people felt that we were becoming just a pale version of the Socialist party. That won't do. Socialism's gone too far now in my view—I recognise we're not doing a Party Political—in my view for there to be no clear alternative.

Young

Yes—it did seem as an outsider, that with both parties going for—so—so—the middle ground, so to say, that it was very difficult to tell one from t'other really, in the end.

Thatcher

It was getting very difficult and I was very interested to see a letter to one of the papers saying that those who walk down the middle of the road tend to get knocked over.

(Laughter.)

Young

I like it …

Thatcher

Was rather good …

Young

I like it. Does that though by definition mean that you are going to have to move the party somewhere?

Thatcher

Er … yes, and I'm glad you haven't used any of the traditional labels. I am going to have to make it quite clear that Britain is a place where those who have ability can use that ability and if they're successful, they can stay here. So many of our successful people intend to go overseas. You want to build a country for successful [people?]here and we use their success to help others. I firmly believe that those who work harder, or who have greater ability, should get greater rewards [end p6] and keep them, and as they prosper themselves, so they shall prosper others. If you're prepared to save I think you should get some benefit from that. I firmly believe in law and order and in standing up for authority. Otherwise we should have no free society.

Young

H'm. How do you actually set about forming new policies? I mean, Okay, do you pick a person for the job and then leave them to do it or do you give them a very tight brief on which to work?

Thatcher

Well, we all know that we believe the same being [sic]. The same general principles. Then they get on with forming their own policy groups under the guidance of Keith Joseph and then we'll discuss the papers that come in as a result of it, discuss it with backbenchers and also with the party, but on the whole the head of a department has his delegated responsibility.

Young

Yes. I've got a headline in front of me here which you may not have seen, it's from an evening paper in fact which says “Now cool Maggie plans new purge” …

Thatcher

Yes, isn't it a horrid headline?

Young

It is, yeah …   .

Thatcher

I looked at it and I thought it bore no relation to the article underneath. Look, the difficulty is, if you're to give new people a chance then some people have to go out. I don't call it a purge at all. There are a few new opportunities, some people again will return to the back benches.

Young

Yes. Nonetheless, I mean—hard decisions have to be made, don't they? Although you're not a Prime Minister yet, it's true to say, they do say that a Prime Minister needs to be a good butcher. I mean, er—would you say you're a good butcher?

Thatcher

I don't know whether I'm a good one—I'm a reluctant one but I recognise this is one of the tests of leadership. I had a horrid day yesterday having to tell people whom I could see the disappointment written in their faces but nevertheless I had to do it. I wouldn't be fit to be a leader otherwise but each and every one of them had a reason and they were all big enough to understand that reason and to [end p7] accept it generously, although they were disappointed.

Young

And do you think it's as easy for a woman to take that kind of action as for a man, or easier perhaps?

Thatcher

I think it depends upon the kind of person you are and not really whether you're a man or a woman. I'm sure that Harold Macmillan felt every bit as much difficulty as I did when he had to change people.

Young

Yes. Could I ask you, and then we'll have another little break, because you've got an hour and twenty minutes to do yet—what is a Thatcher man or woman? I mean, what do you look for in a potential Minister when you're picking a Shadow Cabinet or one day, a Cabinet mayhap?

Thatcher

Well, a number of things. First, you look for creative ideas, secondly you must have a person who's prepared to work jolly hard. The hours are long and there are times when you have to be prepared to drop other things and run along to the House of Commons, if there's a sudden statement, or a sudden question which you must attend to. Thirdly, they have to be capable of being a member of a team. In this world, you can't do anything alone. You've got to combine with others; and fourthly today they've got to learn to be a communicator. That's a new thing.

Young

Yes. Yes. I mean, that brings the whole Ted Heath thing back up again doesn't it? I mean, how important do you think—I mean radio as you're doing at the moment and television—how important is communication in that way?

Thatcher

Well, it is very important. But being a good communicator is not a substitute for being a good policy-maker. You've got to have both things. You've got to have a chap who is capable of making policies, but then it's no good having the right policies unless you can present them. Because it's like having a good product, it's no earthly [end p8] good making the most marvellous thing unless you advertise it and people know about it and want it and like it. It's just the same in politics. It's no earthly good having a chap who's a good actor and can't create the policies, you've got to have both.

Young

Margaret, we'll have a little bit of music …   .

Thatcher

I hope it's nice music.

Young

Shirley Bassey actually and she's singing a song which is called Killing Me Softly With His Song. (Music.)

Young

Shirley Bassey—and Killing Me Softly With His Song. The time is twenty-nine minutes to one o'clock and our studio guest today, the Right Honourable Margaret Thatcher, Leader of the Opposition. Um—Margaret, the fact that you're a woman has played a big part in the election—in the coverage of the election, let us put it that way—do you think things would have gone differently at all had you been a man?

Thatcher

I think that's difficult to say. In a curious way, I think in the first ballot it was not an advantage, in the second ballot it might have been an advantage because people said ‘Look, if we're going to have something different, let's have someone who's really different, and if it's a woman, it must be obviously different.’ And you often find that as a woman in a job, it's a disadvantage at first but once you've got the job it can be a tremendous advantage.

Young

Yes. I mean do you have to be at all careful of the way in which, I was going to say, play the fact that you're a woman? That's not quite the phrase I want, but you have to be careful not to overplay it presumably?

Thatcher

Yes, people expect you to behave in a certain way. If for example you refuse to go on and do a programme, for very good reasons, they say was it for emotional reasons. Men are very limited in their views about women, Jimmy YoungJimmy.

Young

(Laughs.)

Thatcher

Very limited indeed.

Young

You're not being very kind to us today, are you? [end p9]

Young

What about taking women onto your team for instance?

Thatcher

Well I've taken on Sally OppenheimSally again. She's been a jolly hard worker and has done a wonderful job on prices …

Young

She was very good on this programme, if I might say so.

Thatcher

I'm sure she was. She's a very hard worker and she's done well, so she comes on. Jimmy, we're not getting nearly enough women into Parliament. They're not coming forward and standing as candidates nearly enough. If we had more, those of us who were there, wouldn't be as conspicuous and it would help.

Young

Yeah. What about the women in the country—I mean, one's got to face the fact that the Conservative party has taken, I suppose people would say, a great gamble; you know, they don't really know, do they, how women will react to a woman leader?

Thatcher

Well, I know because of the masses of letters I've had. There are four or five thousand now and they've come from women in all walks of life and they're delighted. They've come from the girls in the Lancashire towns, they've come from Yorkshire, they've come from Wales, they've come from the Midlands; women—all kind; women who have to go out to work as I've been out to work, but work in factorien, in shops; they're thrilled.

Young

Yes. Indeed, it's true to say that we've had quite a lot of correspondence in from women who say they just don't know how you do it. They don't know how you manage to run a home …   .

Thatcher

No, well if I stop to think how I did it I wouldn't know either but I do it the way they do it. We just get on with the job in hand and somehow it all gets done.

Young

But there's an awful lot of it isn't there? I mean, do you really cook the breakfast for your husband in the morning? [end p10]

Thatcher

Always, because we have a very small house and we wouldn't have room for a housekeeper to have her own quarters, which she'd need, so I do. But Denis Thatchermy husband did say to me at the beginning of the week, “Am I ever going to see you again?” and I think I had to say, “Well, not this week, you know, except for breakfast and a fleeting glimpse …”

Young

Or he can pop down to the House …   .

Thatcher

Yes …   . (Laughter).

Young

How do you feel deep down about—I mean all politicians, especially when they rise to eminence get personal attacks upon them, I mean it's to be expected. Now how do you feel about that—because it must be extremely painful at times?

Thatcher

It is very painful and you do have to build up a bit of an armour and never be misled by the armour. You have to have an armour on top because you're a bit soft and sensitive underneath and sometimes the armour is pierced. But it is one of the things that you have to learn to accept. In the end, what is important is that your decisions are such that you can live with yourself at the end of the day. Some of them are tough but in the end you've got to be able to convince yourself, ‘Well, I did it because I had to do it and all things considered, it was the right thing to do’. But they do hurt, they do hurt.

Young

Yeah but not, but you don't think they hurt you anymore because you're a woman than they would if you were a man for instance. I mean, your womanly emotions …   .

Thatcher

I don't think so—I'll tell you when they really hurt sometimes, when I was at Education, and it was quite clear that a number of the commentators disapproved of my policies because they were all fundamentally of a different view and I had a lot of attacks then made upon me and I know some of my family said “Oh is it worth it, Mummy?” and I said “Now look, that's what they're trying to do. They're trying to get rid of me by these attacks and they're jolly well not going to succeed!” [end p11]

Young

But indeed, when you were in education they very nearly did succeed, didn't they? There was a time when you've admitted that you came very close to a break down in fact.

Thatcher

No, never close to a break down, close to wondering whether it was worthwhile (Yeah) but never in fact did I actually … never was I close to resignation. (No) Never!

Young

Do you … your wardrobe, we have to talk about your wardrobe, don't we?

Thatcher

It's very small. One cupboard.

Young

Since your election some of the (Yes) newspapers have published suggestions of new wardrobes or what you ought to wear or whatever. How do you react to that sort of thing?

Thatcher

Well, I thought some of them were absolutely lovely, but I didn't think they were the sort of clothes that I could wear for my kind of life. You see I have to wear really tailored things, and fairly good plain colours, because you've got to consider what you're going to look like on a platform. Now if you have …   . at a distance for people at the back of the hall. If you have things very soft and very highly patterned, then you don't get a very clear outline. So I think on the whole tailored things are best. I looked at some of the things they … they said I should wear, they were very expensive much more than I would pay, and they wouldn't have lasted. Mine have to last and bearing in mind that this morning I left home at 8.30 I've got to change later tonight, they've also got to be the sort you can sit around in, clamber in and put of cars in all day (Yes) and still look reasonably fresh at the end of it.

Young

Yes. Perhaps a little later on in the programme we can [illegible word] more specific things about what you will be doing with the Party and so on.

Thatcher

All right. Yes. [end p12]

Young

One thing I want to ask you about this, you've been on the programme several times now (MM) and I've never yet seen you wearing a hat. And yet everytime we see cartoons you're always wearing a hat in the cartoon. Where do they get this hat business from?

Thatcher

I know, well, if ever I've worn one it's been a special occasion, therefore it's been rather a special hat, and one looked rather like a bull's eye. I think I wore it about three times, and then it went to one of these auctions and hat stalls and it's been the absolute … an absolute boon to the cartoonists ever since, but I haven't even got it. I wish I'd kept it. And the other thing is I'm always called the ‘Lady of the twin-sets,’ you know I haven't owned a twin set for twenty-five years. I simply must buy one sometime.

Young

It's strange how people get these ideas … isn't it?

Thatcher

Isn't it? Yes.

Young

Still as long as it's a dream to the cartoonist … let …   . use it well.

Thatcher

Well, it helps them. (Laughter)

Young

Anyway, right we'll have a bit of music and then come back with some more questions. (Yes). So the time now coming up to twenty-two minutes to one, in fact it's exactly twenty-two minutes to one and we'll have a song from the Batchelors.

(Music.)

Young

That's the Radio Two Album of the Week, a little medley there. The album in fact is called The Batchelors Sing-Along, that was Moon Light And Roses, My Blue Heaven, and When My Dreamboat Comes Home and at least I discovered some of Mrs. Thatcher's taste in music, because you rather liked that, didn't you?

Thatcher

I thought that was lovely.

Young

She was having a little sing-along there. (Laugh). [end p13] Now you will have gathered that our studio guest today is the Right Honourable Margaret Thatcher, Leader of the Opposition, whose been with us before and I trust will be with us again. Margaret, I've got quite a lot of reaction while you've been on from listeners. I just wonder if I could fire some of them at you. Could I?

Thatcher

Yes, let's listen to what they have to say.

Young

Mrs. Rengelli, from Angmering on sea says, “Is there any way that Mrs. Thatcher can stop the Labour Government from going through with a Referendum on the Common Market?” She says, “I really don't think that the general public know enough about this issue to be able to vote on it themselves.” That's Mrs. Rengelli of Angmering.

Thatcher

I think Mrs. Rengelli has taken a point which has often been put to me. People say, “Look, we send you to Parliament to decide on these major things and we really shall not have enough information on which to decide.” But the Labour Government, I think, is committed to this and there's no way of stopping a Bill unless some of their own people would vote against it. In fact they've got an absolute majority over all other parties in the House of Commons, and the only thing would be for some of them to vote against their own party and vote with us. We're pledged to contest the second reading of the Bill and we shall do so. It's enormous constitutional complications, they haven't been worked [out?]. There are all sorts of other things. How are you going to count the votes? Are you going to count them on a national basis? How are you going to deal with expenses, etc. So I think that we really have a point there to consider.

Young

Yes. I mean would you see the Referendum campaign, if you like, as being perhaps the first big test of your leadership?

Thatcher

It's going to be a very curious campaign, because it's not going to cut across party lines at … it is going to cut across party lines …

Young

That's right. [end p14]

Thatcher

It's not going along party lines. It's going to cut across them. No, I don't think it is so much a test of one's leadership, the Government has got itself on this hook. I don't think it should have got itself on it. I really don't like the idea of a Referendum to decide whether Britain should dishonour a Treaty.

Young

Yes. Right. Well, that's Mrs. Rengelli of Angmering. I've got one from Mr. Brindley of Rugeley in Staffordshire. This one is the question of self-employed people.

Thatcher

Oh yes, my goodness, they're very angry at the moment, quite rightly.

Young

He says … yeah I …   . I'm self-employed. (Laughter)

Thatcher

Oh, you know all about it then. Yes.

Young

Mr. Brindley says there are two million self-employed people in this country who are very angry at the present record rates in taxes. They don't wish to go on strike, even if they could because of tremendous losses, and then he says if the miners for instance can go strike and get what they want, what can the self-employed do?

Thatcher

Well, they are now making their protest known, and thank goodness, because I think they have had a raw deal. They've had …   . they've had to take these enormous increases in National Insurance Contributions and of course that's not allowed for tax, comes out of income which you've got after tax. They really have had to take the big increases in rates, and then if they do run their own little shop or business, they've had to bear all the increases in cost of keeping stock without having as yet any allowance for tax. So they've had to take it on three fronts. Now they are at last protesting. And I can see why they are, I think it's one of the tragedies of politics in the last two or three years, that those who've made most protest and most noise and most fuss have got what they wanted, and the ordinary quiet chap, whose carried with doing a quiet job well, hasn't. And I'm glad they're [end p15] making their views known, because I think it does and will work in politics, and I think we ought to give more attention to the needs of the self-employed, and not pile on tax after tax after tax, and expect them just to take it.

Young

How far though do you …   . do you think that the … well, I was going to say the silent majority, the silent people in the middle, let's put it (MM) ought to go? Because we've got cases now haven't we where I mean people are just not sending their rates in and things like this, you know.

Thatcher

I have never and will never advocate people to go against the law. The law is the bulwark of a free society. But they must use all other means. You know an avalanche of letters to a Member of Parliament is a very good thing. Having the meetings and protest rallies is another way of bringing your case to the people.

Young

You see we've got another one we …   . you were talking about small shopkeepers just now (MM) and you should know about them of course …

Thatcher

I do indeed. This is where I was brought up.

Young

As a grocer's daughter.

Thatcher

Mm.

Young

Yes. Mrs. Roth of Camberley in Surrey is … it's mainly on the same thing as Mr. Brindley was, she says “What does Mrs. Thatcher suggest to help the self-employed?” She says, “We have a small business and we just don't want to put prices up.” Now it must be very difficult for these people.

Thatcher

Well, one of the things that could happen would be that the extra contributions they're going to have to pay on their weekly stamp could be allowed for tax. Now that would help enormously. Now secondly, it would of helped if we got more tax relief in this last budget for those who are self-employed, but we weren't successful, we hope [end p16] it'll come in the next budget. Now thirdly, we've got to have a look at the whole rating system. Local expenditure is going up and up and up and it's gone up beyond peoples' capacity to pay, and this is what led me to say the other day—“Look, if the people can't afford it, then the local authorities and Government can't make this extra expenditure, they must take into account the total burden on the tax-payers' pocket and the rate-payers' pocket.” Poor chap, he's got two pockets, out of one he pays taxes, out of another he pays rates, and he's not being left with enough to keep himself at the end of the day.

Young

I'll just remind our listeners that our studio guest today is the Right Honourable Margaret Thatcher and she's asking … answering some of the questions that you have sent in …   . got in touch with us since she's been on the air indeed for that matter. One such person is Mrs. Thorpe from Worcester.

Thatcher

Mrs. Thorpe …   .

Young

She says as regards … Mrs. Thorpe, yes. “As regards local planning would it be possible to abolish planning permission for internal alterations and improvements to private houses?” That's the one thing. And she says as regards to Government spending, “Why when electricity and gas are both nationalized industries, why are they spending enormous amounts of money on advertising in competition with each other?”

Thatcher

Well now, let's have a look at the planning one first. She's obviously got a specific case in mind, and I'm not aware of the internal alterations point that she's making. I have trouble in a different way, because you can make a certain number of alterations to your house without getting planning permission, for example you can build on an …   . an amount which is about equal to the size of a garage, but that in fact can create great trouble say for next door, the person who lives [end p17] next door, whose light might be badly restricted. So the kind of trouble I have really is of two kinds. One like people like Mrs. Thorpe saying, “We have to ask permission for too much,” and I agree there's an argument for that. And the others saying, “Look, my interests can in fact be harmed because the chap next door can do this without getting permission.” There has to be a balance. You can't go to a bureaucrat for every decision. You just can't.

Young

Right … yes.

Thatcher

And on the gas and electricity, yes I can see that … that she is a bit alarmed about this. In fact it's a very tiny part of the total gas and electricity budget, very very small indeed, and what's really worrying us is the cost of keeping these industries going, which are not covered by charges, but then query [sic] whether the industry having no competitors could in fact be a jolly sight more efficient than they seem to be at the moment. And that I think is the angle we should pursue.

Young

Right. Well, I think we'll have a little bit of music, and come back for some more. Mrs. Thatcher with us all the way through to the end of the programme. We go on until a quarter to two incidentally.

Thatcher

You make it sound like an eternity. It's going very quickly as it happens.

(Laughter.)

Young

It is ten and a half minutes to one o'clock and, as I say, Mrs. Thatcher answering … answering … answering, I'll get it right in a minute, answering as many of your questions that we can get through in the time. Ten to one the time and the cascading strings will play It's A Most Unusual Day.

(Music.)

[end p18]

Young

Ah, that was quite smooth. That's the Cascading Strings and they were playing a thing called It's A Most Unusual Day. It is not a most unusual day, but it is rather a special day, because we've got the Right Honourable Margaret Thatcher with us in the studio answering, as I say, as many of your questions and our questions for that matter that we can get through between now and a quarter to two. I've got one here, Margaret, from Mrs. Snider of Ringwood whose been in touch with us while you've actually been on the air. She says, “In view of the ever rising cost in education, does Mrs. Thatcher think there's a case for studying the possibilities of changing some of our basic ideas about education? And would she consider the following points?”—there were three of them—“A) a change in school hours i.e. eight until one, thus saving on heating and school meal facilities; in the afternoons the Infants' School Buildings could be used for afternoon sessions of nursery school education and senior school pupils could be encouraged to do community service or private study.” That's one rather long question. “B) School crossing control could be undertaken by senior school students; and C) All students could be encouraged to take responsibility from an early age and thus hopefully become more responsible adults.” That's Mrs. Snider of Ringwood in Hampshire wanting a lot for her money I may say.

Thatcher

Well, she's got a lot of interesting ideas, hasn't she? (YES) I remember on a visit to Russia and some of the East European countries, they operate with their educational premises, both schools and universities, a double shift system. They have one lot going in in the morning about eight to one and the other lot from about one-thirty to five five-thirty two different lots of teachers, obviously, they couldn't possibly do it. But I don't think we'd like it here. It is one possible way of doing, and I remember in war-time, when we had a school evacuated on us, we went to school in the morning and they used the same premises in the afternoon, but I think it would be a too big a change at the [end p19] moment for us to contemplate here. We are trying to see that you get maximum use of school premises both in the evenings and in the vacations, provided your care-taking staff can cope. You've got to consider the cleaners and the care-takers and getting the premises right again. So broadly I would agree with Mrs. Snider we must look to see that the money the nation spends on building schools and equipment is properly used, but I don't think we could go over to a double shift system. Now she asked something about …   . oh, I know, about school crossing patrols.

Young

That's right, that's right.

Thatcher

It's a very big responsibility, you know, to put on senior pupils the whole responsibility for seeing small children across a busy road. It might be all right if there's a pedestrian crossing there, but so often there are not.

Young

Quite. And her third point was an interesting one I think: all students should be encouraged to take responsibility at an early age and thus hopefully would become more responsible adults.

Thatcher

I think this is very important, of course this is one of the reasons why schools have had prefects and school monitors for years. They are given responsibility and, of course, you have to watch out to see that they use it and use it well, because the danger at that age is that they tend to … they tend to lead by authority and one knows … knows full well there's only one way to lead and that's by persuasion. But they've got to learn. And I agree, I'm all for giving people responsibility and seeing of course that they use it properly.

Young

Right right.

Thatcher

She's quite right.

Young

Mr. Charles White from Broadstairs.

Thatcher

Mr. White, mm.

Young

Also been in touch with us, Charles White from Broadstairs. This is an interesting one for you. “What plans has Mrs. [end p20] Thatcher got to give tax relief to people who educate their children privately?” He says, “After all, if all privately educated children were thrust onto the State system, would it not collapse?”

Thatcher

Well, it would certainly lead to a lot more expenditure and he's quite right that people who educate their children privately take a burden off the State, because they're paying twice over. They're paying their taxes for children to be educated and then they're paying for their own children to be educated out of their own pockets. I don't see much possibility of tax relief for it at the moment. I think the only relief is the kind which you can make by having insurance policies and you get relief on the premiums and in fact you've got to provide that almost from the time the child is born. There will be a problem with fees going up and up and up and some people just may not be able to afford it. Now I think the way to tackle that is not so much by tax relief but by having more of the direct grant schools, you know, like Manchester Grammar School is a famous one, in which you've got some free places, some full fee-paying and some where you pay on a sliding scale according to what the parent can afford. They're a very good institution!

Young

When you say pay according to what the parent can afford, is this, one hates to say the two emotive words, but is this a sort of Means Test?

Thatcher

Well, yes it is, but so's income tax isn't it?

Young

Mm, I don't object. I've never seen anything wrong with it.

Thatcher

And they are schools, you have to get in again on the basis of ability and obviously you ought not to be limited because you can't afford it.

Young

Right. What we'll do is go to the one o'clock news, if we may, and then come back to …   . (Laugh)

Thatcher

I hope it's good. [end p21]

Young

I hope so too …   . well, we'll see in a minute, when I say in a minute I mean in two minutes actually. Our studio guest today is the Right Honourable Margaret Thatcher and she will be with us till, well hopefully as near to a quarter to two as we can get. Anyway, the time now is one minute and fifty seconds to one, so we will head for the one o'clock new with Singing in the Rain, played by the BBC Midland Radio Orchestra.

(Music)

Young

So that's the BBC Midland Radio Orchestra, conducted by Norri Paramour and they were playing Singing in the Rain. One o'clock the time and in the Radio Two News Room, Robin Boyle.

(News Bulletin)

Young

That's Robert Fowlen and his orchestra and a song called Out of My Dreams, taking us on to five past one incidentally. Our guest today the Right Honourable Margaret Thatcher, who's leader of the Opposition. The reason I'm smiling is because there's a lady here from Orpington, Mrs. Taylor has taken me to task, Margaret, and she says, “Jimmy Young should not be allowed to call some one who could be the future Prime Minister by her Christian name.” I should show you more respect.

Thatcher

Well, perhaps she doesn't know that we've known one another quite a long time and I think friends are permitted to do that.

Young

Well, I sincerely hope so anyway. Mr …

Thatcher

I don't think there's anything unrespectful in my Christian name.

Young

No, I wouldn't … (End of Side One Cassette—Short Gap in Recording.) [end p22]

Thatcher

Well, that's very kind of Mr. Sweeny and I just hope he'll always be right. The day I don't show those I shan't be fit to lead the Conservative Party.

Young

Can I come back to the … the Referendum? Two people who've been in touch with us, a Mrs. Julia Hunt of West Woking, and Mr. Frith of Highcliffe-on-Sea. Mrs. Hunt first of all, Julia Hunt. She says about the point of MPs …   . “that MPs are elected to answer to and for the community, I think far too much is left to MPs and not nearly enough is left to the people. I would like to see many more Referendums in this country. They have been successful in Switzerland.” That's Mrs. Hunt.

Thatcher

Mrs. Hunt**, right, they have been very successful in Switzerland but they're geared up for them there. It is part of their constitution. But on the whole some of the things which they have to answer by Referendum are much clearer questions than the one we shall have to cope with on the Common Market. I well remember that they put the sort of question ‘Do you think the school leaving age should go up to 16?’ Now that's a fairly clear cut question. ‘Do you think that schools should open at a certain time in the morning?’ And you will find that the rules are quite different from one canton to another in Switzerland, because these things have been decided by Referendum, but they're clear cut questions. You could in this country have a clear cut question: ‘Do you think capital punishment should be restored?’ People would understand that and have very definite views upon it. But about a Common Market Treaty and the negotiations, that's a very very different thing.

Young

Well … and a complicated thing and indeed we've got a question about that which has just come in (Yes), Mr. Frith of High cliffe-on-Sea. He says, “What plans does Mrs. Thatcher have to explain the Common Market to the people of Britain? It is terribly important, and [end p23] most people just don't seem to have a clue what it's all about.”

Thatcher

Well, there are meetings being held up and down the country under the European Movement to try to explain it and they're already in process, those meetings and I hope that people will flock to attend them.

Young

Could I come back to …   . leaving the listeners' questions just for a second, and come back to some of our own. The … the talk of a coalition which was going around at one point, strongly at one time, what was your reaction to that?

Thatcher

Well, I think you can only get a coalition if you're all aiming for exactly the same things. And that does mean that the present Government would have to drop a lot of its extremist policies. I would say extremist, its plans to nationalize concerns whether they're making a loss or whether they're making a profit. Otherwise none of us could possibly join in with a Government which had that aim. I don't know whether one will come and it's very difficult to foretell, it just depends what their own extreme left wing will do. You see if they take the right economic policies for the people of this country, and really try to stem inflation, we will support them. We don't take the quick party political line. Now for example you'll remember I was coming here as Minister of Education, and I had to put up the price of school meals and I had to put up the price because the costs had gone up, now when I had a Labour Opposition, they caused and created no end of trouble about it. Now when they're in Government, reality faces them too, they had to do exactly the same thing. They announced it quietly before Christmas in a written answer to a written question. Now we didn't create a fuss because we knew that had to be done. So when they do things which have to be done for good economic reasons we in fact don't take a party political line, we do support them. They're a jolly sight luckier with having a responsible Opposition than we are when we're in Government! [end p24]

Young

When you … the headlines in the last week or so have been getting better it's true to say, none the less, prior to that you'd pick up a paper or switch on the telly or whatever and it was all gloom and doom and so on and so on. (Mm) I mean in your opinion, what …   . what's the root cause of the problem with Britain? What basically is wrong with Britain?

Thatcher

We won't face inflation. We won't inflation and we won't face the fact that ultimately you've got to pay your way. We're borrowing more money now per year to keep going than we've ever borrowed in the history of Britain, and that's the only reason why we're keeping up our standard of living. Well, of course, if your Bank Manager will let you have loan upon loan upon loan to keep up your standards, a lot of people will go on, but the time comes when you've got to repay, and that's going to be the difficulty.

Young

So which begs a next question, which is: that supposing you were transformed into Number 10 tomorrow at a stroke so to speak, what would you do?

Thatcher

Ultimately over a considerable period, you've got to plan to live within your means. You must above all tackle inflation quite sternly I think, because we're now running at about the rate of 20%; per year. Well, you know if you went out to work at the age of eighteen and had quite a big salary of say £1800 a year and inflation … £1800 a year and inflation went on at the present rate year after year after year, then by the time you were thirty, you'd have to have a salary of £16000 a year merely to buy the same things as you could have bought with £1800 a year at eighteen. Now that's ridiculous. No one would be any better off. We might just as well tackle it.

Young

Yeah. I believe some one once calculated that a semi in Bromley would cost a quarter of a million pounds …   . (Laugh)

Thatcher

Yes. Yeah, but it's silly isn't it? (Yes) And people when you put it in those terms realise it can't go on. [end p25]

Young

So what would you physically do about it? I mean you would have to take unpleasant measures presumably?

Thatcher

Well yes. You can't in fact do it without taking unpleasant measures. First you can't keep ordinary public expenditure going up, because you're spending really more of the people's income than they're willing to let you spend and so you're having to borrow to do it. You've got to curb your public expenditure to what you've got coming in. Now I do think that Healey is … the present Chancellor of the Exchequer is doing the right thing on the supply of money, he's keeping it within production. But he's got to do other things as well, and that is act on public expenditure and slowly reduce our borrowings. You can't do it suddenly, it's got to be done gradually over a period of about five years.

Young

We've got a rather succinct question from a Mrs. Day of Penarth in Glamorgan.

Thatcher

I hope to give a succinct answer. I don't think the Harold WilsonPrime Minister could. He's very woolly and waffly in reply.

Young

Well, this is fairly straightforward. Mrs. Day says why will people vote for Margaret Thatcher at the next Election?

Thatcher

Well, I hope because they like the policies she will pursue and they believe in the person who puts them across.

Young

But you wouldn't sort of expand very much on those policies at the moment, presumably?

Thatcher

Well, I believe the policies are in general understood, promotion on merit, if people save they must have the benefits of their savings. If they work harder they must have more rewards, and I think above all we must not go on transferring more and more power to the hands of the State and that's what's happening more and more, the State's doing everything, and that's leaving too little power in the hands of the people. It's going to become a State for bureaucrats. That's not Britain.

Young

Margaret, we'll have a little bit of music and then [end p26] continue.

Thatcher

Thank you.

Young

The time is just coming up to thirteen minutes past one. It'll be thirteen minutes past one in fifteen seconds time and in the meantime Catherine Howell will sing Harry.

(Music)

Young

That's a sweet little song that, isn't it? That's Catherine Howell and a song which is called Harry. That takes us on to sixteen and a half minutes past one and, as I've no doubt you all know by now, our studio guest today the Right Honourable Margaret Thatcher, Leader of the Opposition. Oh, incidentally before I do ask you the next listener's question, Margaret, perhaps I could just say our switch-board is going raving mad downstairs, so if listeners could perhaps lay off just a little bit for the next ten or fifteen minutes or so, that would help our telephone …   .

Thatcher

Oh, it's rather nice, so many people are interested that they're phoning in. I think that's a great compliment. Thank you very much. I'm sorry it gives your switch-board trouble, but there you are.

Young

I agree with you, Madam, if I may say so. Yes, can I ask you about …   . Mr. … Mr. Melvin Don 's been in touch with us from Hitchin. (Yes) This is just … this is not a question for you actually, it's rather a nasty little tribute, if I may say so, with a sting in the tail.

Thatcher

Oh dear.

Young

“As a long term middle-class Scottish socialist, I would like to pay tribute to Margaret Thatcher for bringing more fresh air into politics in the past ten days than we've had in the past ten years. I wish her all the luck in the world, but I'm afraid I shall still vote for Harold Wilson.” [end p27]

Thatcher

Oh dear. Well Mr. Don, if you're going to carry on voting that way let me tell you something: that party needs a breath of fresh air too!

Young

It's a shame he added those last six words, it was going quite nicely until then. Mrs. Downs of Salisbury. “What is Mrs. Thatcher going to do about housing? Does she have any plans for a Means Test for Council tenants, so that Council houses aren't full of middle-aged people earning a good wage while young marrieds can't get anywhere to live?” That's Mrs. Downs of Salisbury.

Thatcher

Yes. Mrs. Downs, it's very difficult and what we had planned was to say that people who can afford to pay full rent should of course pay full rents. They've no right to come on the rest of the general body of tax-payers, and we felt that those who had to pay full rents would often prefer to buy their own houses. I think it's quite wrong that just because a person can't get a house, you say to them “All right, there's a council flat or a house, you must rent it.” Why shouldn't you say to them, “All right, you're in difficulty, we'll supply you with a house. Now you can either rent it or you can buy it or you can, say, take an option to buy it. You might not be ready to buy it yet, but if you pay just a little bit each week and decide to buy it, in say five years' time, that little bit each week that's been saved up would go to a deposit and then you can buy it or you can have it returned.” Now that way I think we'd get a lot of people responding and I think that people who have to pay the full rent for their council houses, if they could afford it, would then say, “We'd rather buy.”

Young

Talking about renting, we've got a question here from a Mrs. S. who didn't give us her full name, I don't know why, but anyway that doesn't matter. She said her sole income comes from rents from a house in Kensington which is divided into bed-sitting rooms, each of which has its own bathroom. So she's got bed-sits with bathroom. [end p28] (Yes) Her rents are now fixed by law, and yet she says the rates which she herself pays have gone up four hundred pounds in the last two years, and that now there was a possibility of another really massive increase, and you know she would rather like to know …   .

Thatcher

And she can't cope.

Young

That's right.

Thatcher

Now look, it's only the rents that are fixed by law, and they can be fixed exclusive of rates, so she really ought to be charging her tenants the amount of rent that is fixed by law and whatever the rates are according to that flat. She's not meant to bear the rates, the increases in rates herself, it's only the rent that can be fixed. So I think it would perhaps be better if she had a look at the Agreement with her tenants, consulted the Rent Officer and then claimed the increase in rates.

Young

Mrs. Cooper of Bushey Heath, this is a subject which we talked about on a programme quite recently I think. What plans does Mrs. Thatcher have for improving the lot of widows?

Thatcher

Oh, they have had a marvellous campaign …

Young

That's Mrs. Cooper.

Thatcher

They very much warrant tax relief and I must confess I'm one of the people who would like them … more tax relief, to have it, but I'm very well aware that my Government did not provide it and that makes me go slow on promises, because they can say, “Well, you were in Government, you didn't provide it.” But I really think we've got to consider the lot of the widow, who all of a sudden has to face outgoings, which were really more geared to her husband's income than to her own. She can't get out of them. She's probably running a family house. All the electricity bills, the rates bills go on, and I do think that we must consider giving her a ra, ther larger tax relief than she's had hitherto. You see, it's no earthly good saying, “Well, you can sell the house and [end p29] go to a smaller one. You often can't do that until the market's right for selling that kind of house and then it's jolly expensive moving, your carpets and your curtains never fit, and I think we must consider it. I can't say I will promise to do it because I know that we didn't do it when we were in power, but I think we've all seriously got to consider this.

Young

Irene Livingstone with a Lancing telephone number, she's on the subject of rates. (Yes) “I feel,” she says, “that when there are so many people earning a wage, everybody should contribute towards the rates, not just the householder.” She says everybody has the use of the amenities provided by the rates, e.g. libraries and so on, “so I think everybody should pay. What is Mrs. Thatcher's opinion?” That's Irene Livingstone.

Thatcher

Yes, well I agree with her and this is one of the reasons which led me to say that the rating system won't last because there are far more tax-payers than there are rate-payers and in fact I think the rate-payer faces an unfairly large share of the burden and therefore I think in the end we shall have to abandon rates and spread the burden more fairly among tax-payers. She's quite right. It'll take five or six years to do. It was part of our policy but I don't think the present Government's following it.

Young

Mrs. Knight from Hampshire. These are all things, as I say, which have come in while we've been on. Mrs. Knight.

Thatcher

Mrs. Knight. Yes.

Young

About education. “Would Mrs. Thatcher be in favour of a pilot scheme for introducing the voucher system for funding education, which,” she says, “I believe is a system used in America?”

Thatcher

Yes, there is a system in California and it's a very good one because it helps parents to choose between the sort of [end p30] teaching they want as well, you know, they would say, look, my child wants what is called a ‘progressive’ in inverted commas education and another one wants a ‘traditional’ education and they can use their vouchers accordingly. Now I didn't think we should … it would be possible for us to get a local authority or a local council to agree to a voucher scheme, but I understand that at present Kent would be prepared to agree to a pilot scheme, so it would be possible.

Young

That's very interesting. Didn't know that. Mrs. Whiting of Ewell, says she's worked all her life and she's paid tax on her earnings and now she's got to pay tax on her savings. And she says exactly what do the Inland Revenue mean by ‘unearned income’?

Thatcher

Oh dear, they mean savings income, and she's quite right. It's not unearned. It's often very very hard earned and put to savings, and the tax on savings income is far too high. Now look, politician after politician has said we've got to invest more in Britain, now it's not fair to say you must invest your money but if you do then the interest or dividends you get from it are going to be specially highly taxed. If you want people to invest you must give them incentives to invest and reduce the tax upon the dividends and interest they get from it. It's a ridiculous policy they're pursuing at the moment.

Young

Mrs. Haldra of Worcester Park.

Thatcher

I say we get through more here than we do on Any Questions! (Laughter)

Young

Yes.

Thatcher

Yes, go on Mrs. Haldra, yes.

Young

Of Worcester Park. “Can't Mrs. Thatcher do anything for the doctors and nurses in this country? Nothing seems to be getting done for them and I think they deserve better treatment from the [end p31] Government if anybody does.”

Thatcher

Well, I think they're very, very dissatisfied indeed and we're losing a lot of our very well trained people to overseas. The future of the National Health Service I think is one of the worrying things, because I can't foresee a time when we're going to get in enough money out of taxation to run it as we would like to run it, and that's one of the things to which we must give very considerable attention in the future weeks and months.

Young

Could I ask you just one question before we have a bit of music and then we can have a final burst perhaps (Yes) since it's just coming up to twenty-five past one. Price rises. Now Timothy Raison apparently said yesterday that price rises were inevitable and he admits that you would aim to remove subsidies. What are your views generally on subsidy?

Thatcher

The subsidies are only holding down a tiny little amount each week and they're costing the general tax-payer more and more. I think it's far better to help those people who need help, say if you've got some of your retirement pensioners who need more help, with increased pensions than it is to give general subsidies to everyone. I think that's really a rather ridiculous scheme. Rab Butler had to get rid of food subsidies over a period a long time ago, but what he did was say, look children will need help, old people will need help, we'll put up the pensions to take into account what we're going to knock off subsidies, but it's cheaper on the tax-payer to do it that way, and we have to consider the general body of tax-payers too.

Young

It does seem at the moment, does it not, that people who get the subsidy who don't really need the subsidy … yeah.

Thatcher

That's the trouble. That's the trouble. You pay towards the subsidy out of one pocket and you get it back by another, but in between you've got also to pay for a large bureaucracy to run the subsidies. [end p32]

Young

It's twenty-six minutes past one, if we could have a little music perhaps …   . then have our final little chat.

Thatcher

Of course—good

Young

Right, so this is a recent release on RCA in fact, it comes from Airborne and it's called Tell Me When.

(Music)

Young

So Won't You Tell Me When is the title of the song and it came to you for …   . from Airborne, in fact the title of the song is Tell Me When. The time now is …   . it's twenty-nine minutes and twenty seconds past one o'clock, yes, twenty-nine minutes and twenty seconds and as I say our guest in the studio today, the Right Honourable Margaret Thatcher, Leader of the Opposition. We've just got time I should think for one final … you must be worn out.

Thatcher

No, I …   . No. No, I'm not worn out. I can't be … there's the greater part of the day to come and later in the afternoon we have our first new Shadow Cabinet, so I must be bright and brisk and crisp for that.

Young

So this is just a sort of run-in for the big moment?

Thatcher

Well, I think it will be a little bit different.

Young

Mrs. Bentinck, although I would of thought this was Mr. Bentinck, but anyway from St. Meran in Cornwall, says, “as an out of work stock broker, I'm obviously interested in the financial state of the country, and I would like to ask Mrs. Thatcher if there's any logic in borrowing at high rates of interests for our survival and then loaning sums of money to Russia at low rates of interest?”

Thatcher

No, this came up in the House yesterday, he's quite right. We do borrow from the oil people at about 14%; or 15%; it costs us each year and then the news came with Mr. Wilson yesterday that he was going to lend up to a thousand million pounds to Russia on credit, so that people [end p33] could export goods to them. He hasn't said precisely what is the rate of interest, it's thought it's about 7 to 7½%;—so we're borrowing money at 15%;, 14 to 15%; to lend it out to Russia at 7 to 7½%;, and I was bound to say I thought that he'd brought back a very good deal for Russia.

Young

In fact you did say it didn't you?

Thatcher

I did say that. He didn't like it.

Young

I thought you …

Thatcher

He didn't like it and …   . this is why I say he made a very very long reply, but I think it was a proper summary.

Young

Mrs. Fisher of Richmond says, “Mrs. Thatcher became an MP when her children were about 4 years old. I wonder most educationalists and paediatricions consider that the mother's place is in the home when children are that age and does she really think that a mother ought to go out to work?”

Thatcher

Well, it was in fact six years old Mrs. Fisher and I know the importance of those early years and I could not have done it unless we'd lived in London and my job had been in London and I'm the first to recognise that. But you know, Mrs. Fisher, there are many women who are own their own with children, they're widows or they're deserted, they don't make any the less good mothers because of that. I think it's not only the amount of time you spend with your children but what you do in that time. You must find time to talk to them, whether you're a working wife or whether you're a mother at home. And there are, you know, some mothers at home who don't spend very much more time actually talking to their children than some of us who go out to work. Whether you go out to work or whether you're at home, it's very important in those early years to spend time talking to the children, genuinely interested in them, and it can happen either way.

Young

Could I leave listeners' question just for a second and ask you a first thing perhaps about your party. (Yes) I mean it has [end p34] been said in the Press quite often that the Conservative Party is in danger of becoming a party of the South East, so to speak. How strong is your knowledge of the North and the Midlands and what are you intending to do to reverse that …?

Thatcher

Well, of course I was born in the Midlands, and I agree it's a great criticism that we have already lost quite a number of our Northern cities and we must get them back. We're a party that believes in trade and industry, Britain survives on her trade and industry, whether it's the retail trade or Britain as the workshop of the world, and we must go right back working in those seats pointing out the virtues to Britain of companies privately owned, not all in State hands, pointing out the virtues of hard work, pointing out that if you want the kind of Britain that we have known and the kind of things that's made Britain famous, you know individual initiative, operating on your own without having to wait for instructions, and the kind of society that we the Conservatives want is the right one for Britain, and we must just get around, because we're in danger of being judged by labels at the moment, and I want us to be judged by people and by policies.

Young

Well, would you agree that the Conservative Party has become a party of the South of England so to speak?

Thatcher

Well mercifully we have still some seats in Scotland and in the North West and in the North East and in the Midlands. We've enough left to build upon for the future.

Young

I always hate the word ‘class,’ I must say, because … yeah.

Thatcher

I loathe it.

Young

But I have to ask you a question about class just the same. (Laugh) Because the papers continually refer to you as ‘middle [end p35] class,’ you see. I mean would you see yourself as leading a middle-class revival so to speak?

Thatcher

No. The things I stand for are things which appeal to people from whatever their walk of life or background. I think that when I first came into politics as a Member of Parliament around 1959, I thought everyone, if you have to have a class, was about middle class, and I still believe they are. But in fact I think it's what you stand for and your attitude to politics which is what counts, and for Heaven's sake let's get rid of these silly stupid labels. Other countries have, we must.

Young

You were talking about your attitude to politics. Could I ask you this? I mean you are to an extent, I suppose, an unknown quantity on …

Thatcher

You're doing your best to make me known, thank you very much. Mm?

Young

Ok. People know your views on education and so on and things like that.

Thatcher

Yes. Yes.

Young

But in lots of areas they don't know your views. I mean what specific things, politically speaking, do you feel particularly strongly about, passionately about if you like?

Thatcher

Well, I just feel passionately that if you've got what it takes you should be allowed to enjoy some of the benefits from your own hard work, but you should also pass on some of those benefits to a people who are disabled or for one reason or another can't help themselves. I really am very interested in those who can make Britain great by their own efforts and in those who have enough public conscience and sense of duty to say there are some, particularly the disabled and some of the elderly, who can't … or most of the elderly who can't fend for themselves, as we prosper ourselves, we prosper others. [end p36] But our duty doesn't finish at the end of the day with our job, we've also got a duty to the town in which we live, to the sort of community in which we live. But we're in danger of losing that. As things become all State owned, they are professionally managed. No longer the small local businesses, where the chaps who ran them knew the chaps who worked in them, knew the local council, knew what needed doing in the town, took an interest in the town because they were brought up there, loved it because generations had. For Heaven's sake, let's look after some of these small businesses and some of these people who can build new ones. So that we have a real human society, and not just an economic system.

Young

Perhaps I could ask you just a final couple before we let you go. The decentralization and regional Government moves and so on. What are your feelings about that?

Thatcher

I know people feel very strongly that far too many decisions are taken in Whitehall. They don't like size and neither do I. This was one of the reasons why [we?] limited the numbers of comprehensive schools. We do want the kind of society in which you know and can see and can face the chap who makes the decision. That means not having all the power in the hands of the State but having it to local communities.

Young

Relaxing, I mean you obviously work extremely hard, and we used to see pictures of Ted Heath with his yacht and so on. I mean, what do you do to relax?

Thatcher

Yes, well, Mr. Heath hadn't a house to run. I have a house to run and meals to do, etc., and all the other things to do and somehow I manage to cope with that. When I really have time to relax I would love to listen to music, to go to theatre, but I like also to read, and above all as a family, we just like to talk among ourselves, you know not enough is done about that, and also to have friends in and talk with [end p37] them. So they're very simple pleasures, and for choice of a holiday, I would just if I could take the car and go among the English, the Scottish, the Welsh countryside.

Young

Margaret, thank you very much for coming in again and talking to me.

Thatcher

Thank you very much. I've thoroughly enjoyed it, as always. And good luck to all your listeners!

Young

Thank you and I hope to see you again.

Thatcher

Thank you!

Young

That was Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, the Right Honourable Margaret Thatcher, Leader of the Opposition, as I say, getting through as many of your queries and questions as you probably could and she certainly did get through a lot of them. And thank you as she said earlier on, thank you for your interest in the broadcast and thank you for letting us know your views. Always nice to hear from our customers.