There are some League Tables it's not good to be top of.
Britain is now top of the inflation league. 25%;. The biggest in Europe.
And while our European partners have either contained or reduced their inflation our's is going up and up and up.
France-inflation down to 12.7%; and falling; Germany-inflation down to 6.1%; and falling; Britain-up to 25%; and rising.
Why can they do it and we can't?
In the last month alone Margaret Thatcher, Leader of the Conservative Party, has had twenty-two meetings in Scotland, the North-West, the Midlands and in Wales.
And this was the simple question everyone wanted to ask.
If they can do it why can't we? [end p1]
“We can. There are two immediate threats to this country's future.
Runaway inflation and a runaway Harold WilsonPrime Minister.
What is inflation?
It's prices going through the roof. It's jobs going through the floor. It's the result of 16 months of Socialism, 16 months in which we've seen the total failure of Government policies.
It's what happens when Mr. Wilson once again puts Party before nation and fails to do what he must know must be done.
No one would deny that when Labour came to office last year this country faced serious economic problems—like every other country hit by the oil crisis and rising prices. But they are putting their house in order, while we have the worst inflation in Europe.
Just look at Labour's appalling record since it came to power.
The Wilson pound in your pocket—now worth 75p.
Unemployment—heading for the million mark, every day a thousand more people losing their jobs.
Industry, under Mr. Foot and Mr. Benn, producing less in five days than last year in three.
What a hat-trick of failure. [end p2]
Wherever I go, people ask me, can nothing be done? Well, of course it can. Other countries have already done it.
There's no mystery about it. And when its done it works.
Here's a four-point plan for Britain:
First: Cut public spending. Not next year. Now. What's the use of telling people to tighten their belts today if the Government won't tighten its belt till tomorrow?
Second: We must have some restraint on the wages front. We can't go on paying ourselves more than we earn, and we all know it.
Third: Stop more nationalisation—the country doesn't want it and can't afford it.
Fourth: Encourage private enterprise to be profitable—it produces nearly all our exports and most of our jobs.
We Conservatives have been saying these things for a long time. We knew that if no action was taken things would only get worse. And they have. Will Mr. Wilson at last stand firm or will he once more run away?. Listening, not to the commonsense majority, but to the Labour Left—that minority cut so refreshingly down to size by the Referendum.
On the day of the result, Mr. Benn announced that he was receiving a message from the British people. He said he was receiving it loud and clear.
Are you receiving it, Mr. Wilson? The people have rejected the policies of the Left. That was the message.
Our most urgent problem—inflation—won't just go away. The laws of reality will not be suspended in favour of Britain. We have to conquer today's problems ourselves. The people have clearly said: “We want the will of the commonsense majority to prevail and to be seen to prevail.” Just talking won't do it. Only action. And if this Government won't or can't take that action because its left-wing won't let them, then we Conservatives can and will. We're ready.