THE HOPE WE OFFER THE BRITISH PEOPLE
The Nervous havering of the Cabinet over the terms for an I.M.F. loan
The Mulish determination of the Government to introduce yet more legislation which will make national recovery even more unlikely
The Renewed rise in the rate of inflation
The Evidence—often before presented by Conservatives, but now repeated by Mr Callaghan, Mr Foot and Sir Harold Wilson—that the Labour Party is being infiltrated by left-wing extremists
And the continual decline of Britain's credit and standing in the world—all these suggest that our country faces a grim, and perhaps disastrous, New Year.
But there is one ray of cheer. It is the decisive repudiation of the Government by the people at successive by-elections.
Socialism, in all its malice and incompetence, has been so thoroughly rebuffed by the voters that the Government will now delay as long as it conceivably can any by-election test in a Labour-held seat.
What was evident, moreover, at Workington and Walsall as much as at Cambridge—and in other places besides—is that the people are voting not merely against the Socialists, but for the Conservatives.
We have offered no sugar-coated palliative for the nation's problem.
In every by-election it is our candidate who has been telling the truth, pointing out the hard road back to freedom and prosperity for Britain, spelling out the nature of the obstacles that will be placed in the way of even the most honest, forthright, and patriotic government.
It is the candidates of the Labour Party who have been peddling the discredited panaceas of their creed of failure.
But I do not think we have gained ground only because we have emphasised the crippling level of public expenditure in Britain today; or because we have denounced ruinous levels of taxation; or because we have pointed again and again to the slovenly collapse of public services.
These are all things people can see for themselves. And they know what needs to be done.
I believe we have gained because we have a message of hope.
Our dedication to freedom for the individual and the family; to just law and right order in society; to the encouragement of thrift and enterprise; and to the defence of the nation against its enemies, is known and traditional.
But, under the stress of recent times, we have burnished it anew. The people hope that we can recreate a Britain strong, prosperous, respected and above all free.
For us their hope must be a sacred trust, and one in the discharge of which we cannot fail.
The New Year will make greater demands—of effort, of zeal, of faith—from us than ever before. Our reward will come, I believe, when we have saved our country.