Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

Complete list of 8,000+ Thatcher statements & texts of many of them

1987 Apr 24 Fr
Margaret Thatcher

Interview for Illustrated London News

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Document kind: Interview
Venue: No.10 Downing Street
Source: Thatcher Archive (THCR 5/2/247): COI transcript
Journalist: James Bishop, Illustrated London News
Editorial comments: 1510-1610. The interview was embargoed until 21 May 1987. Transcript of an interview by James Bishop published in Illustrated London News, Friday 24 April 1987 and reproduced with the permission of Illustrated London News.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 5729
Themes: Education, Health policy, Social security & welfare, Employment, Industry, Taxation, Strikes & other union action, Foreign policy (USA), Environment, Defence (arms control), Terrorism, General Elections, Law & order, Conservatism, Religion & morality

James Bishop, Illustrated London News

A general question. Clearly, some time soon you will be going to the country again. Very seldom has any government been given more than two full terms of office.

I just wonder if you feel there is a particular justification why your government should be given a third term, which would be unusual.

Prime Minister

I think the main justification is that we have achieved a complete turn-around of the prospects for Britain. There is a total new confidence and a new spirit in Britain when you compare it now with what it was like in 1979 when we took over.

We have run the basic finances prudently; defence is confident; we have given law and order enough resources; [end p1] manufacturing has risen to the challenge of making itself competitive through its own improved management, helped by our reduced controls, helped by the change in trade union law.

We have concentrated on the much wider spread of ownership of property as a great part of our general theme. We believe in people building up their own independence, their own responsibility, and that means a much much wider spread of property. The standard of living is higher and not only has growth continued for six years in succession now, but we have at last got both an increasing number of jobs and falling unemployment and the prospects for the future are good, and that too has enabled us to do more for the social services than any previous government.

You add to that one final thing: Britain's standing in the world is higher than it has been for many a long year.

I think that is not a bad basis on which to ask for a third term.

James Bishop, Illustrated London News

Yes. You would not go to the country saying: “Because we have done these things, therefore we should be rewarded by another term!”?

Prime Minister

Good Heavens, no. We shall say: “Look! We have brought about a great turn-around in Britain. There is a new confidence in Britain. It is because of the positive approach we have taken to everything and we have not had stop-go, stop-go. We set our course. Everyone knew what it was. That course has brought us to [end p2] a position which we would not otherwise have been in and we are ready to go forward for the next part of the voyage from there. So we have got a very good basis. We shall take the next moves forward. They will all be positive, as they always have been with us, and based on the same fundamental principles.”

James Bishop, Illustrated London News

There seem to be some particular anxieties amongst what you might call the middle-of-the-road voter, the one who swings from one party to the other party at times of elections; it particularly seems to have occurred in by-elections recently. The sort of things I am thinking about are the concern about the high rate of unemployment, which is one thing that people are very troubled about. Another is the apparent North-South divide in the country that has built up. Another is the apparent polarization of political parties to perhaps the extreme left and further right, so that the middle-of-the-road seems to be vacated with the opportunity perhaps of another party coming in.

Prime Minister

Well now, you have put rather a lot there in one question. Just let me try and remember what you said.

James Bishop, Illustrated London News

The first was unemployment. [end p3]

Prime Minister

Yes, of course there is worry about unemployment, but look at the amount of hidden unemployment there was when we came in, with restrictive practices, with overmanning. A fantastic amount of hidden unemployment. Industry was getting totally uncompetitive.

Look at the steps we have had to take to make it competitive, and if we had not taken those steps whole industries would have gone out of business and the unemployment would have been far worse.

Look at the steps we have taken to get inflation down, and if we had not ... ... if we had had rip-roaring inflation, we should have lost all our export trade and unemployment would have been far worse.

Look at the steps we have taken to restore initiative, so that it is worthwhile starting up business on your own; worthwhile your top scientists, engineers, managers, staying here - and if we had not done that and had the tax reliefs and made all the effort worthwhile unemployment would have been far higher than it is.

New jobs come from new business and expanding business. That is what has been happening. That is a very positive approach. It is the only realistic approach. It is the only approach producing success.

You asked about extremes. May I ask you what has been extreme about any single thing which the Government which I have had the privilege to lead has introduced?

Do you think it extreme to cut tax, to enable top managers and scientists and engineers and writers and great people in the entertainment world and authors to stay here? Of course it is not.

Do you think it is extreme to try to see that the nurses, teachers, factory workers, pay less tax? [end p4]

Do you think it extreme to appoint pay review bodies for nurses, to give a fair deal for teachers?

Do you think it extreme to get rid of statutory pay controls, statutory price controls?

Do you think it extreme to want to spread ownership more widely?

Do you think it extreme to say: “Look! If you want to do more things, first you have got to get the growth before you can distribute the results and the fruits!”?

That is what we have done.

Do you think it extreme to hand over more powers away from the trade union bosses to the ordinary decent hardworking members of trade unions?

Do you think it extreme to have more police, to give them better equipment to restore their morale?

So there is nothing extreme in what we have done.

Do you think it extreme to see that this country is properly defended?

There is nothing extreme and I take you to task very much for the totally false premise that because the left, parts of the left, are Troskyite Militant Tendency, that you are falsely saying that there are parts of my party which is extreme.

James Bishop, Illustrated London News

I was not suggesting that personally, Prime Minister. What I was saying was that I think that that is … [end p5]

Prime Minister

I think you have your reply!

James Bishop, Illustrated London News

I certainly have a reply, yes.

Prime Minister

Now what was the third point? The North-South divide. Again, something that is spoken very very readily and easily.

The North, of course, used to be the very wealthy part because that is where our great industries developed, based on coal, steel, shipping, shipbuilding, heavy engineering. They became too dependent on some of those things.

Other parts also have those. There is Vosper Thorneycroft down in Southampton; there are coal mines in Kent; there is steel in Wales; and where you get any major factory closing down anywhere, the consequences are devastating for that area.

We lost quite a bit of our car industry - not in the North; in Birmingham - and a lot of engineering, and I think people speak in far too facile a way about this.

There are parts of the whole country where we have pockets of high unemployment because they are particularly dependent either upon on one industry or one particular product, and times have changed.

Certainly, there is a greater proportion of it in the North, but the North is fighting back. Textiles have made a really big fight-back in the North-West. They are doing very much better, they are doing well. [end p6]

We are still having difficulty with shipbuilding and will continue to have because the whole world gave subsidies to building ships, so there were so many ships built that now there two years supply of new ships swinging on the buoys. That is why.

We had in fact to modernise steel and make it competitive.

Yes, there are some problems.

In the post-war period there has been a difference between North and South and the difference proportionately is not really greater now than it used to be.

What I cannot stand is people running down the North or some of those who come from there giving the impression that it really is a waste-land. I go up there. The roads are among the best in Britain. Look at the roads in the north-east; fantastic! Look at the roads round Manchester! Access to the whole of the country. Fantastic!

Their universities are excellent. The university facilities in Manchester, in Newcastle, the universities, the polytechnics, some of the teaching hospitals, are absolutely first-class. We are getting more of the arts into the provinces but look again at Manchester, its music, fantastic! The Royal Northern School, Cheethams, the Hallé Orchestra, the art galleries. When I went up there to the chamber of commerce, they told me there were the best restaurants in the country in Manchester and we certainly had traffic jams! And you can get out to the country quickly.

The housing costs are lower. The travelling costs are lower.

I wish sometimes they would shout from the house tops the fantastic numbers of advantages they have. They have some excellent people in the north-east, you know, some of the world's [end p7] leading sportsmen. They are very very well known.

Oh, they have a very great deal going for them.

Look! I opened the new Nissan factory. It chose to go to Sunderland. I was thrilled. We worked jolly hard to get business for shipyards. We worked jolly hard to get the Chinese ships and we got them for Govan, and no-one is more thrilled than I am at the news that Glasgow is to be the cultural city of Europe in the early nineties. Fantastic! Shout it from the house tops!

Edinburgh, the most fantastic capital city!

As a matter of fact, if you look sometimes at what people say and sometimes how their regional television advertise their advantages when they are wanting people to take advertising space on their television, they advertise it in a very very different way. You look at the way some of Scotland's advertising managers for television space advertise it.

Scotland: second highest income per head in the United Kingdom, except London and the South-East. Lower costs and lower housing costs and therefore a bigger proportion of their income to spend.

Edinburgh, the second financial centre of the United Kingdom. An enormous number of people engaged upon it.

So I think the thing is exaggerated, but there is a problem in that they have a bigger proportion of the old heavy engineering industries, a bigger proportion of shipbuilding than the south, but now self-employment is coming back, small businesses are coming back, enterprise allowances are getting young people who have been out of work starting up on their own. It was people starting up on their own that built Britain. It was this spirit of enterprise that is enjoying a rebirth. [end p8]

That is the basis on which we shall continue to go forward, yes.

James Bishop, Illustrated London News

What I was saying was that these are the concerns which appear to be expressed. You have refuted them, but there are others. One is the apparent, as they would say, decline in the standard of education. The other is the Health Service.

Prime Minister

I will give you all the facts and figures.

Let us take the Health Service first.

You tell me one government that has put more into the Health Service than this one. No government has put in more in money, in real terms. No government has had a higher number of nurses; more doctors; more patients treated; and no government has given the medical services, the professions supplementary to medicine and the nurses a better pay deal. So we have more doctors, more nurses, better paid, treating more patients.

Governments do not pay - the people do.

When I came into No. 10, dividing the country into families, say, of four, you find the average family of four, the day I walked through the door here, paid every week through its taxes to the Health Service under £11 a week. It is now paying £27 a week. It has just topped £27 a week, whether it uses it or not, whether it has need to call on it that year or not.

It is the people who pay and they have lots of other demands. I might say the same family of four pays £23 a week for education [end p9] and the same family of four, on average, pays £55 a week for the great social security, for pensions, for sickness benefit, for unemployment benefit, for maternity benefit.

I am saying when people start promising things, I just start to remind them: “It is your constituents' money you are promising! Do not put your hand too deeply in their pockets! There is no point in politicians being so generous with the tax-payers' money that the ordinary person has not enough left to be generous to their own family and their own old folk and to their own hobbies and their own voluntary causes!” So that is on health.

Education: more is spent per pupil than ever before. There is a bigger proportion of teachers to pupils than ever before. The teachers are better trained, better qualified, than ever before, and you may well ask: with that record, why is it that they are not getting as good an education as we think and wish children to have? They are asking. Because it is not lack of resources, it is not lack of training of teachers, it is not lack of more teachers. On the contrary, all of that has happened, and this is why for the first time we are looking at policies which we have not looked at before. We are seeing that although some children are getting a superb education - in some local authorities children are getting a superb education and parents are very well satisfied; in others, it is just not at all good.

Look! There is an Inspectors' Report out on Brent Education. Have a look at it!

To people, education is under the local education authorities; the tax-payer, through the government, pays a considerable amount. Education is not free any more than health is free. [end p10] The tax-payer and the rate-payer pay for it, and in some cases we do not think they are getting a fair deal.

So yes, there are fundamental proposals for changing education and we have, in our last Act, put more power into the hands of parents to influence their children's education, because the parents know - and the children know - when they are not getting a good education, and we are taking powers to have a basic curriculum, because we are getting too many complaints that young people, after eleven years of compulsory education from the age of five to sixteen, are not coming out with some of the basic capabilities. Every child, no matter how average, no matter if they are comparatively slow learners, they all ought to have certain basic capabilities, certain basic abilities.

We have, again, given the teachers the best pay deal they have ever had. We really are trying to up the prestige of teachers, but for that you need their cooperation. I believe the majority of teachers are with us. They do not believe in taking it out on the children if they do not get everything they want for themselves. The majority of teachers are professional, but there are others who, I think, do not always enhance the teaching profession. A profession does not go on strike and damage the interests of the children. It just does not.

James Bishop, Illustrated London News

It is a common criticism, I think, of the people who are opposed to you, particularly politicians I suppose, that as a result of your initial policy and still policy for free enterprise and self-reliance and encouraging people to do the thing themselves [end p11] instead of relying on government, that the government has been an uncaring government.

Would you refute that? I assume you would.

Prime Minister

But of course. The people who talk most about caring are not always the people who do most about it. The criticism comes from those who cut the hospital programme in the National Health Service, cut in real terms for two years the amount spent on the Health Service, because they got the country in such a financial mess that we had to go like some Third World country to be bailed out by the IMF. These are the people who are making these claims.

These are the people who actually cut the pensioners' Christmas bonus, cut it out, for two years.

These are the people under whose stewardship the pay of nurses actually fell in terms of what it would buy. They are the people who talk about not caring.

Before you can find the practical means with which to care, someone has to create the wealth, and then it can be distributed. The wealth is being created and as I have indicated to you, it is also being distributed to the Health and Welfare and Education Services.

But you know, if you take so much away from people that it is not worthwhile them making an extra effort, what you will be doing is to turn into the old vernacular - you will be killing the geese that lay the golden eggs. Do not kill those! They are where you get the golden eggs from, and only when you have got the eggs can you hand some of them out. [end p12]

I personally would regard it as caring to run a policy which enables parents, as a result of their own efforts and their own hard work, to do better for their own children, to be responsible for their own children, to want to give them a better home, to want to earn enough out of their own effort to give the children prospects of seeing countries and places which they never saw; to save and to have something to hand on to the children at the end of the day; to build up a building society account for children from quite a young age. That is real caring. Caring you can do for yourself provided out of your own effort, but you have got to be able to do that.

People work for their families and so long as they can work for their families they will go on working. They will pay a fair whack of tax. They understand that you have to pay the tax to keep the great services going and to keep defence going, but you do not care for people by taking away too big a proportion of the fruits of their own work. That is not caring for them. That is disregarding their legitimate rights and aspirations. [end p13]

James Bishop, Illustrated London News

You mention defence there, things have been moving quite fast, obviously since you visited Russia and came back and now there is - it appears - a distinct possibility that there will be some backing off on nuclear armaments, at least on the medium nuclear weapons in Europe. Does this, do you think, create a problem for NATO and Europe?

Prime Minister

I believe that there will be an agreement on intermediate nuclear weapons. I hope this year it can come about - and I believe we shall come to an arrangement among the NATO allies as to how we tackle the related shorter-range missiles, the related short-range missiles down to about 400 kilometres range for example. I believe we shall come to an agreement on that but I believe we are all very much aware that defence also consists of having a look at the imbalance in chemical weapons, the total imbalance in conventional weapons and never making an agreement which undermines or risks undermining your fundamental defensive position. That is why we have to look at conventional because the Soviets have an enormous lead over us in conventional weapons in tanks, in aircraft, and so on. Why they have an enormous lead over us in chemical, because we abolished ours years ago as you know and the Americans did not modernise theirs; we have to have a look at that as well before we go any further beyond the things I have indicated and of course as soon as we get an intermediate agreement, [end p14] and I believe that we shall consequently come to an arrangement about the shorter-range ones. May I make it perfectly clear that that gives an increasing significance to the British and French Independent Nuclear Deterrent? Because as I constantly explain - and I am dealing and talking to the Soviet Union - one points out what Winston ChurchillWinston pointed out that nuclear deterrence is the only thing which makes the smaller countries like Britain and France able to stand up to countries like the Soviet Union - we traditionally have the nuclear weapon. It has in fact stopped not only nuclear war but conventional war as well - there are far too many people seeming not to take that into account. Another conventional war in Europe would be terrible - infinitely worse even than the last two - and the existence of the nuclear weapon has, I believe, prevented that because nuclear weapons are so horrific that everyone knows that if a war was to start there could be no victory. But I believe that we shall come to an arrangement on that particular nuclear thing, that NATO itself will also take into account the chemical imbalance, so we shall go hard on the Russians destroying their chemical weapons and we shall, as the next step, say that we cannot go any further until we get parity in conventional.

James Bishop, Illustrated London News

Can I just ask a question to make clear my mind? The intermediate, the removal of intermediate nuclear weapons is not dependent on these things; that can happen anyway. It is just the short range? [end p15]

Prime Minister

No, the short-range, right from the beginning one has always said that there have to be, with the intermediate ones, there have to be constraints on short-range; it is the nature of those constraints or the nature of the negotiation on those short-range at the moment which is one of the factors which is under discussion between the NATO powers and also the nature of the verification, and it is no good the short-range - whatever numbers - just simply being taken out, the Warsaw pact countries, the Soviet Union is simply taking out the shorter-range missiles from the satellite countries and putting them in the Soviet Union because they could move them back and you have to come to a verification - you either have to come to an agreement on numbers and verifying them and some of them, I think, would have to be destroyed - otherwise you just would not have any security. This is on the move, this is what I am worried about.

James Bishop, Illustrated London News

Yes, I understand this and I realise that.

Prime Minister

It is intermediate with associated constraints on short-range.

James Bishop, Illustrated London News

In the end you would be happy if … [end p16]

Prime Minister

And you then have a strong look at chemical because there is a great imbalance in chemical; the Russians have got an enormous stockpile of the latest ones and that of course gives us very considerable cause for alarm and the Soviet Union has an enormous preponderance of conventional forces over us, particularly on your tanks and your aircraft - that also must be taken into account before we would consider any further reduction in nuclear weapons - except between America and the Soviet Union. You could go down 50&pcnt; on your Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and still have more than adequate deterrence.

James Bishop, Illustrated London News

Would you be happy for the Americans and the Soviets to make an agreement where they pulled all their missiles out - the nuclear missiles - but the British Government retained theirs?

Prime Minister

That is not so because the intermediate ones would go in return for which we get the SS20's going but then you also have the under 400 kilometres which are heavily associated with conventional, but there are the smaller ones there and which, as you know, NATO is considering modernising, and also there are the ones associated with aircraft which are not in the present negotiations at all; so it does not leave us totally naked, and of course there are the British and French Independent Nuclear Deterrents. [end p17]

James Bishop, Illustrated London News

That will stay, that is not involved at all.

Prime Minister

Those are not involved in the present negotiations, no, this is about land-based missiles, it is not about air-based, it is not about air-launched, it is not about sea-based.

James Bishop, Illustrated London News

And you don't feel any fear at the end of the day that you might be dangerously exposed?

Prime Minister

We should not make an agreement which we felt would dangerously expose Europe but as I indicated, it gives a bigger significance to the British and French Nuclear deterrents as Trident will in our case.

James Bishop, Illustrated London News

(inaudible)

Prime Minister

I don't believe the United States would. No, they are consulting with us at every stage. The United States is in Europe because it is not only out of friendship with Europe and historical association and joint heritage and so on, but because it is in the United States' interest to be in Europe. [end p18]

James Bishop, Illustrated London News

Can I ask you about the problem of international terrorism, because this has developed very much over the last few years, and it appeared that we had some agreement of the way it should be handled and you and the British Government supported the American attack on Libya to try and eliminate some terrorist bases there. It was subsequently followed by the American deal with the hostages in Beirut which seemed to go against the agreement or at least the understanding of how international terrorism should be handled. Do you feel that this has happened - that the situation is now more difficult than it was?

Prime Minister

Well, you know my view on this, and we have stood by it consistently: we do not pay ransom for hostages, because if ever you do that, it means that the terrorist countries only have to seize a few more hostages to blackmail you for what it wants; and I have stuck to that rigidly and it is not - let me tell you that it is not always easy to stick to it - I have stuck to it, I will continue to stick to it because it is the right policy; but I do understand how sometimes people feel, when they get relatives coming to them and saying, “Look, it is all very well for you to say that, but my husband, brother, son has been, through no fault of his own, taken hostage and you do not know how I feel about him”. Well, of course one knows how we feel but one has - I am afraid - to stand and sometimes you get a hard reputation for doing it, but you have to stick to it otherwise you are exposing far more people and far more lives and so we have stuck to that absolutely and I must say that I [end p19] believe that to be the right policy. When it comes to cooperating about terrorism, it is a thing that the less said about it the better because the more effectively you can then cooperate.

James Bishop, Illustrated London News

Prime Minister, can I ask you a very broad question? What would you regard as the main achievements of the last eight years? You have mentioned controlling inflation, reducing taxes. You have not mentioned privatisation which might be a part …

Prime Minister

Well, that is part of the property-owning democracy and it is part of redressing the balance of power between the Government and the citizen. When we came into office there was far too much power in the hands of the state: too many nationalised industries, too many controls, statutory incomes and prices and dividend policy, exchange control, industrial development certificate, far too many controls and far too many shackles on private enterprise and of course high direct taxation is a form of Government control over people. Now we have released many, many of those and it is only because we have released those and only because we got direct taxation down that in fact we have got the growth and the rebirth of enterprise and we have associated it all along with wider distribution of property, more power to the individual citizen to purchase his own council house for example, and far more prospects of becoming a share owner - I believe there are about some eight million shares in individual hands and Governments are not good at running industries. Governments should know their own limitations, [end p20] so all of that has been done. It is a sort of return of greater responsibility to people, greater freedom, coupled with greater responsibility and it is working. You see you need a free society under a rule of law, not only in order to have the dignity of freedom and the dignity of improving yourself by your own effort but in order to have greater prosperity, because if you look at the societies that have not got it, the Soviet Union has not got individual freedom, the Soviet Union has total control by the State, and it does not produce either dignity for their citizens which is why they are wanting to change it, nor prosperity for their citizens which is why they are wanting to change it. So you have to have a freedom under a rule of law both to give you dignity and the human rights associated with it and that freedom does bring about a greater prosperity which is part of freeing things up.

James Bishop, Illustrated London News

So the answer to the question would be that those interlinked operations, that you would feel is the main achievement of …

Prime Minister

Yes, I think it is, it is redressing the balance of power in favour of the citizen and less power to the state. It is releasing some of the controls which is the financial control. It is returning genuine power and responsibility to people and having Government to be very, very strong on things which only Government can do: that is defence; seeing that there are the right forces and morale of those in charge of law and order, having sound financial policies, then setting the framework of law and regulation within [end p21] which your industry and commerce can thrive and among other things, London is just about the main, the most cosmopolitan centre of international finance and it earns 7½ billion pounds net for the United Kingdom as a whole and the great big property-owning democracy. This is why - if I might put it this way - during our period we have tried and we are getting well on the way, to seeing that what used to be the expectations and the privileges of the few, become the expectations and necessities of the many. Look at the supermarkets; they are full, look at the shops, the amount of money that is being spent. Look at the numbers of people who own their own houses, the numbers of people who own their own shares and think that within another twenty years, the prospects of everyone in this country will be transformed as they can look to a time when their grandparents, great-grandparents are in a position to leave something to their families almost as a matter of form. It will happen to most people. I mean, this is the way to build one nation. You are not talking about a north-south divide, you are talking about rising prosperity being created by the result of their own effort and being able to keep the fruits of their own effort to build up their own independence, their own security, pass it on to future generations.

James Bishop, Illustrated London News

What would say you were most unhappy about failing to achieve so far in your Government? [end p22]

Prime Minister

I am not going to say because there are several things which one would have liked to have done more about. Let me put it this way: we have waited on education, we waited to move on education but the reason we are having to move is that really some of the Labour councils in power, I believe, have behaved so appallingly - I need hardly tell you; it is there for all to see, including on education that they have changed the kind of conventions between local Government and Central Government and we are now getting blamed for some very bad education even though some of those authorities, ILEA for example, is spending enormous sums of money on it but the children are not getting properly educated and that is why we are now moving on education.

We are doing a great deal on the environment as well, people do not generally realise it, but there is far more land under the green belt than there was when we came into power. We set up the National Heritage Fund, we are doing a great deal of conservation.

We have also done more for the Arts.

I tell you one thing that bothers me no end and it is something that people could do for themselves: we talk about environment, so do I, but you know you look at the amount of litter about. It is no good saying you expect local authorities, other people to clear it up. The thing is we ought not to throw these things away, ought not to cast them down and it is appalling. It is a scar over so many places that in the towns, on the motorways, it is dreadful. It is worse than other countries and it is a thing which people can do for themselves. Do not throw it down and if other people do, pick it up. One day we will have to simply double [end p23] or treble the fine for throwing litter down and have a real good go at it and saying “Now look, the police have got enough to do!” but we really will have to have a real good go at seeing that people, if they do throw litter down, suffer the penalties under the law. It is horrid, it is dreadful.

James Bishop, Illustrated London News

… because it does appear that we are a law bound society.

Prime Minister

Just as I have said litter - I agree. The worse thing of all is violence. Every person, every single person can chose between good and evil. Every person who turns to violence, it is his or her decision. What we have to do is to try to provide the forces of law and order and the police are making clearing up the crimes of violence a priority now because they are obviously a small minority of crimes but they are the most hideous terrible crimes. But please understand, this is the violence within the person, this is the evil within the person. This is one reason. It would be much worse if we had not strengthened the police, strengthened the courts, strengthened the sentences - and we have done all of that and got a prison building programme.

But please understand, in a free society it is the choice of the individual and I am afraid freedom can be freedom to do good or freedom to do evil, and you rely on the law and the forces of society to stop it.

Now, a number, I think, of the great institutions of society are not as strong in some of their condemnation as they were in the [end p24] past and that, I am afraid, puts more duties on government.

In a smaller town, people have their own taboos. There are things that they will not accept and which are totally unacceptable, and that itself is a constraint. Come to big cities and some of those constraints go.

Also, do not forget that by the time you have got far more prosperity, it gives far more temptations towards drugs and so on. I must say the Home Office, the Police and the Customs are doing a very goodjob on drugs, very very good indeed, but you have to remember that each person is a person, a unique human being, with the choice as to how he should govern his own life and the law is there to enable people to have freedom and to provide stiff penalties for those who commit these dreadful crimes, and we put the penalties up.