Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

Conservative Party Election Broadcast

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: Maddox Street, London W1
Source: Harvey Thomas MSS: transcript
Editorial comments: MT filmed the PEB between 1700 and 2000 on 5 June. Untraced at the time of the Oxford CD-ROM; subsequently found in Harvey Thomas MSS.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 1,350
Themes: Conservatism, Defence (arms control), Economic policy - theory and process, General Elections, European Union Budget, Leadership, Strikes & other union action


Less than five years ago, we in Britain no longer believed we still had any right to think of ourselves as a world leader. But that has changed - because of one woman, who believed that our country, our people could do more than we’d dreamed possible for many, many years, and much more than we thought possible in 1979.

Do you remember what it was like then in the winter of discontent? When Britain had come almost to a standstill as strike followed strike? Abroad they joked about the British disease, but here it was not amusing.

Everybody knew that it couldn’t go on like this. Margaret Thatcher promised that it needn’t, that Britain could change for the better. But could it? Let’s see.

When the mine leaders said ‘strike’ their members said ‘no’ - not once but three times. And when rail leaders said ‘stay out’ their members came back in. Fact: during this government the number of strikes has been the lowest for thirty years. Inflation has been reduced to four percent - the lowest for fifteen years. And we have negotiated rebate after rebate on our European budget, when it wasn’t thought possible. And when other countries were surrendering to the demands of terrorists we didn’t. Britain is now seen as one of the leaders in the fight against the world recession.


I admire her enormously I think she’s the first person that we’ve had in government since the end of the war who I … is standing up for Britain.


She’s somebody who’s really got the courage of her convictions, and she’s stuck out against you know a pretty tough ordeal in the last four years so - yes I think she has got every chance of doing it if anyone’s going to do it.


She mean what she says and when she says she’s going down to business she does go down to business, she doesn’t mess around.


Really Maggie’s the only person who’s got any real courage and strength belief in her convictions.


She wants the country to pull together, which is what I think it needs to do.


She’s started off to do something and she’s doing it.


Well her economic policy I didn’t agree with first of all but it’s worked, I mean she’s proved that it’s worked because inflation has gone down.


I think she’s good for the country, I think she won’t take no nonsense, if she keeps by what she says she carries it through she doesn’t change her mind half way. I think you’ve got to give her another term because four years is just not long enough.


A few years back I didn’t think there was much hope for our children in this country but, er, since Margaret Thatcher’s been in power my views have changed.


I don’t think anybody else can do her job as well as she does.


This government has not only won the respect of the people of Britain, but of the world. Five years ago who would have believed that the President of the United States, the Chancellor of West Germany and the Prime Minister of Japan would not only want Britain at a summit meeting but find that the presence of the British Prime Minister was indispensable?


From the first day I became Prime Minister I’ve been gratefully aware of an understanding, of a trust that came from people in all walks of life. I believe that is because people knew that our proposals were honest and right and they were prepared to give them a chance to work.

Today in spite of many difficulties and with so much more to be done, Britain has regained her confidence and self-respect. What I would like to share with you for a few final moments is a vision of the things that matter most to me.

Unemployment is a tragedy not only for those who are out of a job but for their families, friends and for every person who is desperately worried - and rightly - that many who want to work can’t. The plight of the unemployed will be at the forefront of our minds. I won’t promise what I can’t deliver, but I promise you this: we will work with unremitting energy that you may work.

No less are we committed to freedom, for freedom is the birthright of every citizen. To preserve and defend that freedom, to defend it from within and from without, is the first duty of any Prime Minister.

And I want to enlarge that freedom. In Britain today there’s no room for out of date distinctions of class or creed. It doesn’t matter who you are or who your father is or where you come from.

What I am offering can be put very simply. I offer the certainty of liberty and the chance of property ownership. And more than just a chance. That people should be able to own their own homes is deep at the heart of Conservative philosophy. What earthly use is it that families should have a millionth share in some nationalised industry which is indifferent to their needs and wishes? How much more important that they should have something which they own and which can be passed on to their children. I believe in such general ownership. Never mind about public ownership - in practice that gives nobody anything - but personal ownership that rightly rewards the efforts of ordinary people. My hope for the future of all our people is that they should enjoy liberty and property. Their liberty is safe in Conservative hands. That they should acquire property, which brings with it security and independence, is the very essence of what I am in politics to accomplish.

I passionately believe that in a free society there is much of value to be handed on from one generation to the next. The values that I cherish and hold dear spring from my belief that Britain was, is and will continue to be, a powerful influence in the world for good. This means that we must move with the times if we are to sustain the recovery that we have started - in industry, in commerce, in technology, in all the wonders that the future holds. If only we have the wisdom and the will to grasp the opportunities, Britain can become a world leader once again. And we must do this not out of some romantic nostalgia for past glories, but because our very survival in the modern world depends upon it.

I believe that in the tried and proven values of the past lies the moral strength we need to face the future.

But there is of course one over-riding fact about the world we live in, that we - like every other nation on this planet - have to face, and from which we cannot run away. We are the parents and the children of the nuclear age. We may not welcome it, we may fear it, we may even be haunted by it, but pretending it doesn’t exist is not a solution. Come what may it can’t be wished away. It’s not surprising therefore that the defence of the realm has crystallised in the course of this election as a major issue. If we do not value personal freedom, how can we value the freedom of a nation?

May I suggest to every citizen of our country, every man and every woman, of whatever political persuasion, that on Thursday you pause and ask yourself one question: who would best defend our freedom, our way of life, and the much loved land in which we live?


Britain’s on the right track. Don’t turn back.