Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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

1976 Oct 27 We
Margaret Thatcher

TV Interview for ATV (sterling and the IMF)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: Walsall, West Midlands
Source: Central TV Archive: OUP transcript
Journalist: John Withington, ATV
Editorial comments: Exact time and place unknown. The news commentary has not survived, but the material in Central TV Archive shows that immediately before the interview ATV broadcast film of MT on walkabout, with soundtrack of chanting demonstrators ("No to Tory Government, No to Tory Government"). The impression conveyed was that she had received a poor reception.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 593
Themes: Autobiographical comments, Economy (general discussions), Employment, General Elections, Monetary policy, Public spending & borrowing, Taxation, Leadership
loud chanting, led with a loudhailer: “No to Tory Government, No to Tory Government, No to Tory Government” .

John Withington, ATV

How serious do you regard the situation that's facing Britain at the moment?

MT

Very serious. If it weren't the pound wouldn't have fallen so far and so quickly as it has, and we shouldn't be up to our eyes in debt.

John Withington, ATV

Suppose there were to be a General Election and a Conservative Government was elected, what would be the first thing you would do?

MT

[speaking just before the end of the question] We're impatient for victory. The whole of the strategy has been set out in our new strategy document, The Right Approach, 71 pages of it. It is all there, set out for everyone to read.

John Withington, ATV

Probably not all of our four million viewers will have read it though. What would be the first action you would take?

MT

The first action we have to take is to get the economy straight. This country has no option but to cut its expenditure. Just like every family, you cannot go on leaving beyond your means, year in and year out. You cannot go on saying to the workers in other countries: “You must not only work to keep yourselves, but you must leave a bit over to keep us too” . That's not for Britain. We're capable of working every bit as hard as any people in any other nation. But at the moment our rates of direct taxation are the highest in the world. They start high and they finish high. And until you give people some incentive, they'll not get on with the job as fast and as well as we could. [end p1]

John Withington, ATV

If you cut public expenditure, though, won't that mean more unemployment?

MT

I'm afraid having high public expenditure has led to high unemployment, because in fact people have lost their jobs in industry and commerce. And one of the reasons they have lost them is because money's been drained out of industry and commerce to go to the government. So the jobs have been lost interest private productive sector, and that's one reason why socialism has produced a higher level of unemployment than people would ever tolerated from us. Our maximum—and we were ashamed of it—was one million unemployed. They've got one million four hundred thousand and that's the result of socialist policies in practical.

John Withington, ATV

But if you cut government spending, won't there—even if in the short-run—be more unemployment, immediately?

MT

In … had they cut government expenditure two years ago we should have been through that period without as many unemployed as we've got now. Either you cut public expenditure or you say to other nations: “We want to live like a parasite off you forever” . I don't know of anyone in Britain who wants to say that or to do that. We're far too proud a nation. This Government's only policy is to beg and borrow overseas. What it could do is to make Britain a proud equal of other nations in the way we could keep ourselves.

John Withington, ATV

Some people, seeing the state of the nation, might think that being the Prime Minister was not particularly enviable job these day. [sic] How do you feel about the prospect?

MT

[firmly] I look forward to it.