Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

Party Election Broadcast

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: Lower Regent Street, central London
Source: Thatcher Archive: BBC transcript
Editorial comments: Recorded between 1900 and 2300. The PEB was broadcast on television at 2100 on 8 June 1987. The radio version excluded all but MT’s final speech to camera.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 1146
Themes: Conservatism, Defence (general), Defence (Falklands), General Elections, Privatized & state industries, Housing, Labour Party & socialism, Law & order, Religion & morality, Social security & welfare, Terrorism

Voice Over

1981, Mrs. Thatcher's Conference Speech:

The Rt. Hon. Mrs. Thatcher

Nothing is beyond this Nation, decline is not inevitable, they say I'm an optimist, well in this job you get called all sorts of things, an optimist is one of the nicer ones and I wouldn't deny the label.

Voice Over

Brighton 1982, Mrs. Thatcher's speech following the Falklands War.

Mrs. Thatcher

This is not going to be a speech about the Falklands Campaign, though I would be proud to make one, but I want to say just this because it is true for all our people, the spirit of the South Atlantic was the spirit of Britain at her best. The first duty of a British Government is the defence of the Realm and we shall discharge that duty. It is now clear without doubt that given the change the Labour party wants they would dismantle Britain's defences wholesale, and yet do you remember how Aneurin Bevan pleaded with an earlier Labour party conference not to send a Labour Foreign Secretary naked into the conference chamber? Well, it's a good thing there isn't going to be a Labour Foreign Secretary.

Voice Over

Brighton 1984, Mrs. Thatcher's speech just after the Grand Hotel bombing.

Mrs. Thatcher

And the fact that we are gathered here, now, shocked but composed and determined is a sign not only that this attack has failed, but that all attempts to destroy democracy by terrorism will fail.

Voice Over

Blackpool 1985, Mrs. Thatcher's closing conference speech.

Mrs. Thatcher

Government apart, the strength of a civilised nation depends on the natural authority of the family, the school, the Church and our great institutions. [Holst's “Jupiter” begins] Who is to answer the child crying for help, who is to protect the elderly couple, who can win back the youngster hooked on drugs, the police, the social workers, the voluntary organisations, all must and do respond, but that's not enough, we are the neighbours of that child, of that elderly couple, of that youngster. Upholding the law can't be left to the police and the courts alone, we are all involved, we cannot pass by on the other side.

Come with us then towards the next decade, let us together set our sights on a Britain that three out of four families own their homes, where owning shares is as common as having a car, where families have a degree of independence their forefathers could only dream about. A Britain where there is a resurgence of enterprise, with more people self-employed, more businesses and therefore more jobs, a Britain where there is a standard of health care far better than anything we have ever known. Yes we have set our sights high but these goals are within our reach, let us ensure that we bring them within our grasp. [end p1]

[Music ends. Studio film begins, MT seated addressing the camera] [Radio Version begins]

Mrs. Thatcher

In the past eight years something has changed in Britain—perhaps the most important change for a generation. Quite simply, it is a change in the spirit, people all over Britain are finding a new confidence and a new pride. The Conservative Government didn't create that spirit, it's the true spirit of the British people. What we did was to set it free. We were determined to give people back the incentive to work and the confidence to save. That's why we had to cut inflation. That's why we were determined to take power from the trade union bosses and give it back to union members, and that's why we abolished a whole mass of controls.

We stopped Government trying to run businessess, which is something politicians have never been much good at, so we privatised them, the Managers managed, the workers shared in the ownership and the industries turned from losses into profits.

As a result of all this, the living standards in this country are the highest they have ever been. Britain really is a great country again, and this prosperity is spreading steadily through the community. Thirty years ago only 30 people in 100 owned their own homes. Today it is 65 in every 100. It has always been the dream and the ambition of the Conservative Party that what used to be the luxuries of the few should become the daily experience, indeed the necessities, of the many. It is happening with homes, it's happening with shares, and it's happening with savings. And the result has been a greater prosperity. It is not only our standard of living that has increased, it means we have been able to put greather resources into health and social security. But you can only do that when you have first created the prosperity.

And all this has been achieved by Government and People together, the Government running things well, like any good housekeeper and the People responding. And that Partnership is even more vital in keeping the Law.

Yes, this Government has increased the numbers of police and we will increase them still further. There are more bobbies on the beat, but crime is not a matter for the police alone, it never was. Police need support from all of us, indeed the enemies of the British bobby are the enemies of liberty itself. The police serve the rule of law inpartially, they need our support, they deserve our trust.

And there's one thing that only Government can and must do, it must secure the country's defences, and in a nuclear age that means we must have a nuclear deterrent. Winston Churchill, who knew so much about the dangers of weakness and appeasement warned us thirty-five years ago, he said “Be careful above all things not to let go of the atomic weapon until you are sure, and more than sure, that other means of preserving peace are in your hands.”

For Government to surrender our nuclear deterrent would be an unprecedented act of folly that would put the Nation in jeopardy. The nuclear deterrent has preserved peace in Europe for forty years. And I believe peace is at the heart of what we in Britain ask our Government to safeguard. Peace in industry, that enables people to earn a living without fear of intimidation or being called out on strike against their will and without a ballot; peace of mind, that comes from knowing that this will continue to be a safe country, a good place for us to live, and for our children to grow up in. [end p2]

Peace that comes from being independent, and being able to run your own life, and spend your own money in your own way. Above all the peace of a country that is properly defended against any adversary.

That's what this Government and people, in partnership, have been building for the past eight years. Yet all of it will vanish unless we preserve the economic strength, the strong defence and spirit of enterprise that has made us prosperous at home and respected throughout the world.

It is that which is at issue on Thursday. Of course we feel passionately about it, because for us it is about the very heart and soul of Britain.