Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

Remarks visiting Finchley (miners’ strike; Mrs Gandhi)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: St Mary’s Hall, Hendon Lane, Hendon
Source: Finchley Times, 15 November 1984
Editorial comments: 1050 MT opened the Conservative Association Christmas Fair; she left at 1230, after lunch. The Finchley Press, 15 November 1984, has more on Ronald Reagan’s re-election: "The free world needs a strong America". When asked whether she had been advised not to attend the Fair for reasons of security she replied: "Don’t be silly, this is Finchley".
Importance ranking: Minor
Word count: 636
Themes: Autobiographical comments, Foreign policy (Asia), Law & order, Terrorism, Strikes & other union action

Tight security as Thatcher visits Constituency

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher expressed support for President Reagan and criticised the striking miners during a constituency visit on Saturday.

She paid tribute to Mr Reagan 's integrity saying: “I think he's a marvellous guy.”

There was strong criticism of miners' pickets.

“No one will give in to mob violence. If we do so, we forfeit democracy itself,” Mrs Thatcher said. She was paying her annual visit to the Finchley and Friern Barnet Conservative Christmas fair.

There was a strong police presence outside St Mary's Hall. Hendon Lane and a security firm had been called in to thoroughly check everyone's bag before they entered the hall.

A total of 1,000 admission tickets were sold for the fair.

“It was a record turnout in money and a record turnout in people,” said agent Andrew Thomson. More than £2,000 was raised.

Mrs Thatcher seemed surprised at Press suggestions that she had been advised not to attend.

“Who would dare to advise me not to come,” she said. “Look at the number of people. Somehow this party will not be put off,” she said.

Opening the fair, Mrs Thatcher recalled some of the events of the past year.

A year ago in Finchley there had been a bomb scare which many had refused to take seriously. Four weeks ago she had survived a bomb which had taken its toll on others.

No one, she said, could have foreseen the coal strike, because the miners were getting such a good deal and had such a tradition for holding a strike ballot.

No one could have believed some of picket line scenes could take place in this country or be condoned by “something as proud as a Trades Union Congress.”

She described Mrs Gandhi 's assassination as a personal as well as a national loss. There had been a sympathy between the two leaders born from the loneliness of the job, the importance of family, and sticking to what they believed in.

“Mrs Gandhi was a bonny fighter, a wonderful person,” Mrs Thatcher said.

Local party chairman Ron Thurlow had welcomed Mrs Thatcher by thanking God that this country had a leader of stature, compassion and patriotism. She returned the compliment saying: “No matter how great the demands of state on a Prime Minister and Government, I never fail to get inspiration from the friendship of the kind that encourages us to go on, when I come back to this community.

“We don't know what we may face in the years ahead, but together we have the strength and courage equal to what may arise.”

Then she made her round of the stalls in search of home-made marmalade.

At each stall she stopped, chatted and brought goods. Eight plastic bags and a wicker basket were filled.

At one stage Mrs Thatcher appeared to run out of money and had to write Mr Thurlow a cheque for more cash.

She had time for every one, from London North Euro MP, John Marshall, and seven-year-old Trond Larsen who was visiting from Norway. And she was relaxed as she posed for pictures and stopped to inquire after old friends.

She had lunch with Mr Thurlow, Mrs Ena Constable, and chairman of the entertainments committee, Derek Phillips, then it was on to Finchley Chrysan themum Society flower show at nearby St Margaret's Hall.

Normally Mrs Thatcher, a member of the society for 24 years, presents prizes at the show. This year she was able only to view the exhibits.

She chatted with judge Reg Tullitt, and bought some stamps from the Fourth Finchley Scout Group for their Christmas post delivery service.