Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

Margaret Thatcher

New Year Message

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Source: Conservative Newsline, January 1985
Editorial comments:
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 630
Themes: Conservatism, Employment, Privatized & state industries, Public spending & borrowing, Taxation, Terrorism, Strikes & other union action


As we enter 1985, we look back on a year which put democracy in Britain to the test and found it strong.

Murderers who struck at the very heart of our government and of our party only strengthened still further the united resolve of the British people and Parliament never to give in to acts of terrorism.

Democracy and the rule of law have also been tested elsewhere. In the coal dispute, where miners have been denied a national ballot, force has been used to drag out the strike. Despite the best ever deal for the industry, the NUM leadership prefers to see their members suffering privation rather than back at work.

But thousands and thousands of miners will not give in to force. They want to provide for their families and stand up for freedom, freedom to go to their place of work unhindered, freedom to live in their homes without fear.

In Britain, everyone has a right to go about their lawful business. Law and order, whether on the picket lines or on the streets, must be enforced and this Conservative Government accepts its full responsibilities.


But individuals also have responsibilities. Governments should not interfere in every part of people's lives and should not dig their hands too deep into people's pay packets.

Those who shout loudest for extra public spending seem to have no idea how much income tax people on average and lower incomes already pay. If we are to reduce the burden of income tax on those people, and I am determined that we shall, then we must show equal determination in our control of public spending.

Conservatives want people to keep more of the money they earn. We want people to own their home. And we also want them to have a share in British industry.

We don't think that politicians are the best people to run businesses. So in the coming year we shall remove still more industries from State control and build on the success of British Telecom where instead of one giant shareholder, there are now millions of owners.

In 1985, when for so many people the main concern will be employment, let all of us accept our responsibilities to help create more jobs.

This Government will continue to control public spending and borrowing in order to ease the burden placed on employers by inflation, interest rates, taxes and local rates. We will also continue to boost training and help the long-term unemployed with the community enterprise programme.


Management and work-force together have a responsibility to provide the quality of goods and services which the customer demands and at the price he will pay.

Pay increases must be related to productivity, so that we price ourselves into, and not out of, markets. And unions must finally rid themselves of any lingering strike-happy attitudes, because strikes destroy jobs.

What fills me with hope for the New Year is that there is today far more realism and commonsense than there has been for years about how to achieve success.

We know that success depends on the efforts of individual men and women; that decent social services and adequate defences depend on profitable and flourishing businesses; and that maintaining our way of life depends on adherence to the law and a respect for the freedom and rights of our fellow citizens.

Over the past year, in the face of terrible adversity, we have learnt again that the things which unite the vast majority of Britons are far greater than those which divide us. What unites us is our unswerving belief in personal freedom. We know that in a democracy each and every person matters; and that without the commitment and courage shown by individuals, law and liberty in our land would not be sustained.

We are now seeing a re-birth of personal responsibility. It will bring new hope for our country and new heart to our people.