Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

Speech to 1922 Committee ("the enemy within")

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: House of Commons
Source: (1) Thatcher Archive: speaking notes (2) The Times , 20 July 1984
Journalist: (2) Julian Haviland, The Times , reporting (3) Gordon Greig, Daily Mail , reporting
Editorial comments: 1800-1900. MT spoke from handwritten notes. According to The Times her speech took thirty minutes to deliver. Further material from the Daily Mail is available on the Oxford CD-ROM. The original handwritten notes are also available on this site, interleaved with an improved transcript.
Importance ranking: Key
Word count: 1863
Themes: Parliament, Conservative Party (organization), Defence (Falklands), Economic policy - theory and process, Employment, Industry, General Elections, Privatized & state industries, European Union (general), Foreign policy (USA), Health policy, Law & order, Local government, Social security & welfare, Trade unions, Trade union law reform, Strikes & other union action, Famous statements by MT

(1) Thatcher Archive: speaking notes:

Rough notes by MT. [?] indicates illegible word. [? words] indicates uncertain words.

Year ago — we spoke — victory

— Euro-elections

Could not have foreseen

Coal strike. 19th week.

without a ballot

¨÷ miners working

Violence & intimidation we have witnessed.

Best pay, highest investment

redundancy payment far greater than that of most taxpayers who have to finance [end p1]


Stand firm.

Militancy must not win.

If that was Thatcher's Law

“The unexpected happens.”

“When things can get worse they do.”

Dock Strike

Why on strike?

Who are you hurting [end p2]


Strikes — lose business

— lose custom

— lose jobs.

Shows that militant Trade Unionism can always hit out at others — cannot protect its own from that attack — let alone other unions?

Attack on Democracy & Rule of Law


Winter of Discontent

We were returned to Parliament Supreme

Uphold Rule of Law.

People didn't want to be pushed around.

Thought T.U.s had too much power over individual members. [end p3]


What has been Gained

1 Attitudes have changed.

Strikes in nationalised industries

Privatisation programme

monopoly power

2 Resistance by some indeed many T-U'ists [? to] this onslaught on their jobs.

Steel production last week was as great as before strike. [end p4]


Co-operative management & men.

3) Acts of daily courage by the ordinary people of Britain.

4) Thanks to our police force & our policy

Brave — Nos. — equipment well [? deployed] [end p5]


Apart from

Dock — all distance

themselves from N.U.M.

5 New T.U. Bill will deprive unions of immunity without secret ballot

6 Some very efficient industries


Since Office

Enemy without — beaten him

& strong in defence

Enemy within — [end p6] p8

Miners' leaders

Liverpool & some local authorities

— just as dangerous in a way more difficult to fight

But just as dangerous to liberty

Scar across the face of our country

ill motivated

ill intentioned

politically inspired [end p7] p9. Following quotations typed.

There is no week, nor day, nor hour when tyranny may not enter upon this country if the people lose their supreme confidence in themselves and lose their roughness and spirit of defiance. Tyranny may always enter — there is no charm or bar against it. The only bar against it is a large resolute breed of men.


Ecclesiasticus: Be not made a beggar by banqueting upon borrowing [end p8] p9a. Rough notes by MT.

92%; in jobs

Surely they can look after the 8%;

When things can't get any worse they will.

When all else fails — read the instructions [end p9] p10

Immediate Problem

Transcends all others

Sterling — [?Economists]

Interest rates.

RPI [end p10] p11

5 pts.

N.I.S.1 Cut cost of business



2 the tax incentive

enterprise Personal

& efficient [?]

management. [?]

3 New technology — [? increase in]

competition — Privatisation

[? proper]

4 [? Xtensive] [Training] Y.T.S.

Tech [?]Inf. Tech.

5 Trade Unn Reform

Budget for a Parliament. [end p11] p12

Public Xpenditure / Personal Taxation

Fought & won


Jobs —U.S. — Japan

Pub spending lower

Wages — output

Flexible labour market

Atmosphere which applaudssuccess.

leads to enterprise [end p12] p13


CPRS —Using leaks — not to help open discussion but to destroy it.

Nurses— Honour Pay Review

Increases in medical staff

Decreases on non-medical staff.

Increased services [end p13] p14



Underestimate difficulties which lie ahead but don't be submerged by them.

Xpenditure —Delors

Enlargement —Spain — Portugal

[? Med. products]

Continuing rebate [end p14] p15


Keep the American/Anglo

— bright

Generous —

Too little appreciated

We thank them —

Once they came to Europe to conclude wars

Now to prevent wars

We must understand their problems too — [end p15] p16

Politics — not an essay in public relations

Decisions right.

Thank you — Mr. du Cann

& executive

John WakehamChief Whip —

life intolerable before '[? bisques]' introduced

— recognition of long hours of their Lordships

hope their [? aberrations] will not become a habit [end p16] p17

— valuable work of this whole committee — now a strong effective Parliamentary Party

44 measures — Royal [?]

[?] [?in] [?] [?] [?] Bill.

[? very long Crime] Bill.

— thanks to families for their support.

May have to return

good recess ready for whatever the next year brings.

(2) The Times, 20 July 1984

Thatcher Makes Falklands Link

Attack on ‘Enemy Within’

The Prime Minister last night drew a parallel between the Falklands War and the dispute in the mining industry. Speaking at a private meeting of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbench MPs at Westminster, Mrs Thatcher said that at the time of the conflict they had had to fight the enemy without; but the enemy within, much more difficult to fight, was just as dangerous to liberty.

Of the tactics of the miners' leader, she said that the country was witnessing an attempt to circumvent democracy. The violence and intimidation were a scar across the country's face.

She gave the backbenchers the impression that she was keenly aware of the importance of reaching a settlement in the docks so that the Government could give its full attention to the miners' dispute. She said that, but for the scenes of violence, the dispute in the mines had made little impact in its 19 weeks. By contrast, the effect of the docks strike had been severe and immediate.

She surprised and pleased some Conservatives by saying that, once the disputes were resolved, the Government should seek a good working relationship with the trade unions. She did not enlarge on this and her meaning was not plain.

On the miners, Mrs Thatcher was unbending. She said that the message she was receiving from all quarters was that militancy must not win.

She compared the industrial scene with the winter of discontent in 1978-79, the last year of the Government led by Mr James Callaghan, but said that the difference then was that Labour had given in and had become the puppet of the unions.

She praised what she described as the act of daily courage by miners who were going to work, and suggested that the spectacle of miners going to work to secure their rights represented an astonishing advance brought about by five years of Conservative government.

Mrs Thatcher was warmly received, but not all who heard her were impressed by her 30-minute speech. Some thought it brave, others described it as strident. All agreed that its tone was uncompromising.

Mrs Thatcher said she hoped that MPs would not find themselves recalled from their summer recess, which start on August 1, for the proclamation of a state of emergency, but she gave the impression that such a development would not surprise her.

End of The Times article.