Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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

1975 Jan 31 Fr
Margaret Thatcher

Radio Interview for IRN (Conservative leadership election)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: House of Commons?
Source: IRN Archive: OUP transcript
Editorial comments: 1400? Item dated by inconclusive internal evidence.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 725
Themes: Autobiography (childhood), Conservatism, Conservative Party (organization), Conservative (leadership elections), Famous statements by MT (discussions of)

MT

Well, I think the answer to that is that if you change leaders there's obviously going to be a completely different style of government. Let me put it this way: the present Prime Minister, Mr Wilson, is a very different kind of leader of the Labour Party than old Clem Attleewas. Both of them had their own individual characteristics and style and emphasis, but both were fundamental believers in their own party philosophy. Mr Heath and I are fundamental believers in the Conservative Party philosophy, and indeed this is what belonging to a party means. But obviously his style is very different from what mine would be, either of family background, very different experience from experiences which he has had.

IRN Journalist

Are there any particular actions over the past few years which you think has marked a departure from what your policy should have been?

MT

Well, I think undoubtedly people have felt a little bit unhappy about some of the things which we did between 1970 and ‘74 and felt that it departed a little bit too far from Conservative philosophy, or appeared to. Now I must take some share of the responsibility for that because I was a member of that Cabinet. But I think now we ought to look back and assess what went wrong because after all we lost two elections in succession, and say, uh, that now we must look ahead and keep our policies well in tune with our own beliefs, because you see I think those beliefs, the true Conservative beliefs, really strike a chord in the hearts of everyone.

IRN Journalist

Yes, talking of striking a chord in the hearts of everyone and having just toured your own constituency, I'm sure you struck a chord in the hearts of your own constituents. I wonder whether you think you'd strike chord in the hearts of say, oh, the men of Bolsover? Do you think perhaps north of the Wash that you'd go down quite as well as you do in the south of England?

MT

But I was born in the Midlands.

IRN Newsreader

I'm sorry, you've always had, I did know that, but you always had the image of a lady of the south.

MT

Well, I was born and brought up for the most telling years of my life in Grantham, Lincolnshire, so when you say The Wash it does, indeed, touch a, memories in my own life. I, um, all my ideas about life, about individual responsibility, about looking after your neighbour, about patriotism, about self-discipline, about law and order, were all formed right in a small town in the Midlands, and I've always been very thankful that I was brought up in a smaller community so that you really felt what a community could be. [end p1]

IRN Journalist

Have you felt that there's been any attempt on the part of your opponents probably on the other side of the House to tar you with the brush of being a lady of suburbia, the lady who stores food in her larder?

MT

Goodness me, I learned to have a jolly good store cupboard, again by virtue of … of being the daughter of a very prudent Beatrice Robertshousewife. And we did then, I mean we used to bottle things when they were cheap and put them in your store cupboard and you could in fact that way see yourself through the winter, frequently with your bottled fruit.

IRN Journalist

So no stepping back from what you advised then?

Two o'clock chimes

MT

Indeed, no, it was very sound and the longer we go on with rising prices, the more sound …   . It's always sound, good housewifery and good sound budgetary policy to be economical.

IRN Journalist

And finally, can I just ask you, any fears of the divisions that might by caused in the Tory Party by the kind of campaign that's going on in the corridors at the moment, and indeed what sets to continue if we have a second and third ballot?

MT

Oh look, I hope it will soon all be over now. It's not very, particularly pleasant for any of us. Inevitably if you're having a contest you put forward your own view, but my attitude is that the moment it is over, the moment a decision has been taken, whoever is leader, we all unite and go ahead together.