Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

Speech at Institute of Economic Affairs 30th Anniversary dinner

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: Ballroom of Grosvenor House, central London
Source: Thatcher Archive: speaking text
Editorial comments: 1900 for 1930. MT seems to have discarded the prepared text to speak from written notes of her own making.
Importance ranking: Minor
Word count: 770
Themes: Arts & entertainment, Conservatism, Conservative Party (history), Economic policy - theory and process, Education, Labour Party & socialism, Law & order, Leadership, Science & technology


1. Thank you—stimulating evening and enabling us to do honour to your achievements.

2. Censorship of fashion—anyone who dared to challenge the conventional wisdom of the post war consensus was derided, criticised, [p2] frowned upon, looked down upon as either reactionary, pitiful, or ignorant. You dared to challenge. You didn't say what can a few people do—among so many. [p3] You recognised that most great changes in history come about by the conviction and action of the few. You set out to change public sentiment. [p4] In words of Abe Lincoln featured on one of your documents [Quotation on next page] Once you gave expression to your views—others followed—thankful to academics—and journalists who joined this great endeavour. [p5] “He who moulds public sentiment does deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions. He makes statutes and decisions possible or impossible to be executed.” [p6]

3. In 1974—the consensus had cracked (not yet destroyed, far from it). Keith Joseph & I, on the political scene, set out from first principles to create policies to do justice to the British character, & its heritage of liberty and its talent for enterprise. Genius of equity & the common law. [p7] What we have achieved since could not have been done without you. [end p1] Yes, you will have to go on. There are always those who would substitute government action for personal responsibility—a path [p8] Which would deprive man of both dignity & prosperity but there are those who would fall slave to such siren voices. The Battle of Ideas is never finally won. Sometimes the message takes a long time to get across …   . [p9] In another capital last week quoted from Alexander Pushkin (died in) Quote 1987 1837 — 150 It's now called restructuring Perestroika [p10] Alexander Pushkin (1799–1837) [38] [Pushkin's age of death was written above the preceding dates in the original text.] from Yevgeny Onegin: “He spurned Greek poetry and myth, But how he knew his Adam Smith! As an economist profound He understood and could expound The means by which a state gets wealthy And how its livelihood's controlled. Smith said it has no need of gold— Producing goods will keep it healthy” . [p11] The Road to Serfdom Constitution of Liberty

4. Hayek

Law, Legislation & Liberty Rule of law which makes freedom work. Common Law—Independent Judiciary—as much a part of liberty as economic freedom. [p12]

Central Control → Compelled to conform → Precious personality unique to each must bow the knee to those who while denying us our freedom to decide [end p2] Proclaim that they are free to impose their will on ours. [p13] and the alternative Govt must be strong to do those things which only govt can do. Defence, sound finance, and then create a framework of law which respects the rights & liberty of man and gives them their greatest opportunity to flourish. This view which [p14] drawing on a heritage of Magna Carta, bill of rights, Habeas Corpus, Trial by Jury found its greatest written expression in the American Declaration of Independence. [p15]

5. Extending your influence Education—cultivated person—easy to recognise so difficult to achieve Majesty of the English language The easier equations of mathematics The mysteries of science And all the wonderful things this country has done throughout its history. Right to Private Property so vital to personal independence challenge the view put forward by those who while [p16] asking us to help others (& rightly) criticise material benefits. It is those benefits which have enabled us to improve our homes, enlarge & enrich our lives, with arts, sciences, travel, conservation of the best of the past, & investment in the future. It is a challenge to the human spirit as to how [p17] to use this abundance—the results of man's own efforts. 30 years on [end p3]

6. There is still work to be done. never tied yourself to one political party We have confidence that you will tackle it boldly. And should you need [p18] a few political friends at the Commons end of Parliament, I think I know one or two people who will go forward with you. [added by MT with different pen:]

Words are my own Actions are those of my Ministers