Commentary (The Times)

Conservatism: “Another call from Sir Keith to free industry” (KJ speech at Leith)

Document type: Press
Venue: Leith
Source: The Times , 9 August 1974
Editorial comments:
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 284 words
Themes: Economic policy - theory and process, Employment, Industry, Monetary policy, Privatized & state industries, Pay, Public spending & borrowing, Taxation, Labour Party & socialism, Trade unions

Another call from Sir Keith to free industry

By Our Political Staff

Sir Keith Joseph, shadow Home Secretary, continued his free enterprise crusade at Leith Town Hall, near Edinburgh, last night. As in his Upminster speech in June, his warnings and criticisms were directed to his own party as well as to his political opponents.

“Ever since the war”, he said, “industry has been debilitated by well meant but damaging political policies.” As a result of three decades of almost colntilluous inflation and erratic government inter. vention, British industry was in such a weakened condition that large sections of it could soon come near to collapse unless something is done to remedy the harm,

“I say this”, he went on, “with full awareness of the seriousness of what I am saying. Things are worse than most of us in Parliament realize, worse even than many people inside industry fully grasp?

That dismal prospect had not been brought about, he maintained, by the failings of pri- vate industry. “People who could not tell a lathe from a lawn mower anid have never carried the responsibilities of management never tire of telling British managemenit off for its alleged inefficiency.”

Yet, “considering all the obstacles placed in its way by governments and unions, British industry has done remarkably well and deserves combined congratulation and com- miseration, not blame”.

Among Sir Keith’s list of what he terms the “fruits of three decades of semi-socialism” is an anti-business climate “fuelled by socialists, unions, media, universities”. Clearly he believes the Conservative Party has not been unaffected and the purpose of his speeches is to change the policy of his party and to influence public and political attitudes towards private industry.