Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

Article for News of the World ("We’ve set people free and it works")

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Source: News of the World, 5 August 1990
Editorial comments: MT put her a name to a column run in place of Woodrow Wyatt’s (Wyatt was on holiday).
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 1318
Themes: Conservatism, Employment, Privatized & state industries, Environment, Public spending & borrowing, Taxation, European Union (general), Foreign policy (International organizations), Foreign policy (Middle East), Labour Party & socialism, Northern Ireland, Social security & welfare, Terrorism

The Prime Minister writes for Britain's favourite Sunday paper

We've set people free and it works

By the Rt. Hon. Margaret Thatcher

What is the real difference between the Government and the Opposition? Or, in simple terms, between Conservative and Labour?

My first reaction to such a question is to say: Lots of difference. As different as chalk and cheese.

Yes, but I hear people insist, what is the real difference these days? Can you explain it in words of one syllable? It is simply this.

We (Conservatives) know what we stand for. They (Labour) do not.

We know what we want to do and how to do it. They do not.

At the drop of a hat they discard their beliefs. If they are so quick to dump what they did believe in, how long would they take to dump what they don't?

For more than a decade as Prime Minister I have had the opportunity to put my fundamental beliefs into practice. And I believe in freedom.


This means taking less from people in income tax and leaving them free to spend more of their hard-won earnings.

So far we have cut the basic rate of tax by 8p in the pound to 25p. We intend to cut it further.

And we have cut the tax on savings too—that is only fair, above all to the pensioners.

It also means not interfering with industry. So we have privatised more than 20 major industries, ending the vast subsidies taxpayers had to pay them every year.

Could there be a better demonstration of the benefits of freedom than the steel industry?

Where the losses of nationalised steel used to take more than £3 million a day from the taxpayer, the profits of private sector steel now yield £2 million a day for the Treasury to tax.

They put money into the nation's coffers to meet the bills for health, education and so on.

Freedom also means freedom to choose— •WHERE to work without having to get the say so of the union boss through the closed shop; •WHICH school to send your children to; •WHICH hospital to go to, depending on which treats you better and quicker; •HOW much your council should spend and bill you for community charge. If it is too much compared with others, you should vote them out; •WHETHER to buy your council house or continue to rent it.

The result of these policies: we now have more jobs in this country than ever before. The highest standard of living ever known. Two out of three families own their own homes.

With Conservative government, business has created more wealth. So we have been able to spend more on the social services.

The day I walked into 10 Downing Street this country could only afford to spend £8 billion a year on the health service. This year it is £29 billion.

Pensions and cash benefits have similarly risen from £17 billion to £53 billion a year.

Who says we Conservatives don't care? We may not talk so much about it, but we certainly deliver the goods.

We have kept our defences strong and sure. To all who believe in freedom, that is crucial.

We don't chop and change our beliefs—we stay true to them.

The task between now and the next election is:

To get inflation beaten and interest rates down, as we have done before;

To improve education by bringing in a basic national curriculum so that children leaving school are equipped for the business of life;


To put Health Service reforms into effect for the benefit of patients;

To carry through improvements to the environment as in the Bill before Parliament this year, and to help other countries because this is a worldwide task;

And to play a full part in creating a common market in Europe, bringing opportunities for our young people greater than my own generation has known.

All of this against a background of events in Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union where Socialism has utterly failed.

Now they are coming our way. What exciting times, what a wonderful prospect.

When nations are free to choose, they choose freedom. The remaining material was printed in boxes and columns around the main article:

Evil that menaces the world

Today I shall be in Colorado, USA, delivering an address at the distinguished Aspen Institute.

My subject is how the nations of the world can better live together and cooperate for our mutual good.

One of the international problems I shall mention is the drugs menace. Across the world there are 40 million drug addicts—40 million lives in danger of ruin; 40 million families devastated.

Wherever I go I seek greater cooperation to combat this scourge. We need to mobilise the world's resources and expertise to beat it.

Seek out the IRA's callous cowards

This has been a heart-breaking week with the loss of another dear and true friend, Ian Gow, to the IRA terrorists.

We all stumbled for words to try to express how deeply we felt, but words seemed totally inadequate to describe the matchless qualities of this courageous and principled man.


His wife, Jane GowJane, and the family are strong in Faith. That and the love of friends will help them in their sorrows.

There must be no safe haven for terrorists anywhere. All countries must root out these murderers and return them to face justice.

In crushing these callous, cowardly enemies of civilisation we shall honour the memory of Ian Gow and all who have suffered at their hands.

And as Ian so often said, they will never prevail.

Behind the green door at No.10

I am often asked what we are doing in No.10 to help the environment. Well, let me tell you.

Our cars run on lead-free petrol. For household cleaning, I use Greencare products—washing up liquid and washing powder, chlorine-free bleach and ozone friendly hairspray.


Our kitchen rolls are made from recycled paper. And, of course, I carefully separate newspapers and bottles for collection.

On energy efficiency, we have a real problem. Everyone who works in No.10 comes in through the famous front door. With all the messages and callers that means it opens about 800 times a day.

In winter the cold air rushes through the corridors of power!

And having an historic house, we have to be careful what we do to preserve its appearance—and that causes problems with double-glazing.

So I have an energy expert coming in this month to advise us how to be more economical with fuel.

A will for peace

Alas, as I arrived in Aspen on Wednesday evening word came that Iraq had invaded Kuwait.

My immediate reaction was that we should go to the UN Security Council to obtain a resolution condemning Iraq and calling for an immediate and unconditional withdrawal. That was quickly secured.

The question now is whether the nations of the world have the will to take effective, collective action to uphold the UN Charter. Speaking for Britain we have.

The clear message to Iraq is to pull out and negotiate any difference.

I am afraid this ugly episode underlines only too clearly what I will be saying today in Aspen about the need for an authoritative UN to keep the world's peace.

Attack of the Euro meddlers

Part-time work is often the only way women can combine looking after the family with an outside job.

Yet amazingly part-time work is under attack from Brussels.


In one of the world's worst examples I have yet seen of bureaucratic meddling, the European Commission is trying to bring in a new law which will adversely affect it.

They say all people working more than eight hours a week must pay National Insurance contributions. But in Britain NI contributions are linked not to hours but to earnings. And anyone earning less than £46 a week is excused payment.

So if this law is passed, 1.75 million people earning less than £46 will be worse off and so will be their employers. That will put up costs and cut part-time jobs.

It is mad. It must be stopped.

Woodrow Wyatt is on holiday.