Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

Article for Sunday Express ("It’s Your Freedom They Hate")

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Source: Sunday Express, 23 November 1975
Editorial comments: Item listed by date of publication. The article was accompanied by a Cummings cartoon of Wilson, Foot, Healey and Castle carrying a coffin marked "Queen’s Speech" with the caption "In Spain the’re burying Fascism, but in Britain we’re burying Freedom". Reproduced with permission of Express Newspapers plc.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 1002
Themes: Conservatism, Economic policy - theory and process, Education, Privatized & state industries, Taxation, Trade, Health policy, Private health care, Labour Party & socialism, Trade unions


It is not so long since the Harold WilsonPrime Minister asked us all to give a year to Britain. We might have hoped that his Government would set us an example.

Instead, it has announced a programme which amounts to a year for Socialism.

Almost every measure foreshadowed in the Queen's Speech is a party political measure, not designed to solve the country's economic problems, or to make it easier for management and workers to increase production and prospertity. Each one is designed as a further step towards Socialism and State control.


Two more industries are to be nationalised. Public authorities, by penal taxation and compulsory purchase, will take over all the land on which new houses might be built.

The Health Service, already desperately short of resources, is to be deprived—solely as a political gesture—of the £40 million a year of private money which pay beds now bring in to help keep the hospitals going.

In education, instead of tackling the urgent problem of raising standards in the schools to which the great majority of children go, and giving parents a wider choice, the Government is committed only to ensuring that free places at the best schools will no longer be open to poorer children.


The individual worker will be deprived of his last safe-guards against powerful monopoly trade unions. Under the Conservatives' Industrial Relations Act, a worker arbitrarily excluded from a union—and thus probably from a job—could appeal to an industrial tribunal, and in the last resort to the High Court.

The only recourse Mr. Foot will leave him is a tribunal set up by the T.U.C.—a body controlled by the monopoly unions themselves.

The dockers' monopoly is to be extended to cover cold storage installations round the ports. Some workers will lose their jobs and the house-wife's food supplies will be completely at the mercy of striking dockers.

All these are measures designed either to extend State control or to pacify the Labour Party's union pay-masters.

A year for Socialism is not a year for Britain.

The fact is that Socialism just doesn't work. What we are seeing in Britain now is not a crisis of capitalism but a crisis of Socialism.

The State-controlled economy restricts everyone's freedom without producing prosperity. This is obvious in every Communist country. Berlin Walls and barbed wire, exit visas to go abroad, and a drab uniformity of low living standards for all except the party bosses.

By comparison with this, the Western countries have shown that freedom does work. Yet freedom in Britain is being rapidly and steadily eroded.

It was not State control that produced the rise in British living standards since the war. On the contrary, it was the relatively greater degree of State control in Britain that has held the improvement in our living standards down below that of other Western countries.


Nor despite the monopoly bargaining power of workers in nationalised industries, is it in those industries that the highest earnings are to be found.

The Labour Government is being driven, by the crazy logic of Socialism further and further along the road to total State control. More nationalisation, more subsidies soon no doubt import controls going far beyond those which may be needed to deal with unfair dumping.

And you pay for it all, in higher taxes and rates. It is you, not Mr. Wilson's Government, who will have to find the money for nationalisation, for subsidies and for interest payments on the thousands of million pounds a year being borrowed to make ends meet for Socialism.

Their hand is in your pocket all the time. They restrict your choice and make you pay for it.


The average industrial worker now has to pay tax at rates which a few years ago applied only to the comparatively well off.

Well, we all make mistakes—but never on the colossal and costly scale of the mistakes often made by Government planners.

Given proper information and the chance to choose, people on the whole do choose wisely. Look at the engineering union's recent elections. With the help of a free Press and a postal ballot, the rank and file chose moderate representatives and showed how the Communists can be ousted from every union executive.

I believe people deserve more freedom of choice in every field. Freedom to choose where they work; freedom to choose better schools for their children; freedom to own property and their homes.

The cost of Socialism catches up with all of us. Even the widows will soon have to pay taxes out of their own national insurance benefits. The only real beneficiaries are the increasing numbers of bureaucrats—with inflation-proof pensions—that Socialism needs to extend its control over our lives.

Another year for Socialism means another year before Britain can begin to recover and start to catch up with our competitors abroad. It will be more than a wasted year. It will be a year in which our future prospects are further damaged.

The determination of Labour Ministers to restrict people's freedom and choice means simply that they don't trust people to choose wisely and run their own affairs.

Freedom works—and it costs less. This means freedom, too, for business men to get on with creating wealth and jobs and a competitive position for Britain in the world.

The State and its controls so far from helping them, have held them back. And without the continuous creation of new wealth by profitable firms we have no hope of further improving our help to the old, the poor and the sick.


Without choice, no one is free. Free to take it or leave it, whatever it may be. Socialism says, “Take it and lump it.”

Socialism has to be defeated, and soon, or it will be too late. We shall be so far down the road to State control that the near-Communist society will have engulfed us.

Do you really want to give a year to Britain? Then help to make it the year in which the people of Britain stopped Socialism in its tracks.