Conservative Party Television Election Broadcasts 1964
Note: The text is based on transcripts by Dr Michael Pearce
held at the Labour History Archive at the National Museum of Labour History. Some sections have been divided into paragraphs for ease of reading
26th September 1964
Sir ALEC DOUGLAS-HOME:
In nineteen days from now we come to polling day in the
general election in which thirty six million people have the opportunity
to vote in a secret ballot. There will be immense issues at stake and there
are momentous choices to be made. If I have to select two which transcend
all others, I think the first is the security of Britain and the authority
of Britain in international affairs. Every recent event has underlined
that this is still a dangerous world and emphasised the wisdom of a defence
and foreign policy which is based on strength and conciliation and what
is more this foreign policy has shown results in the past. We have come
through the cold war with our island secure. There is markedly less tension
between the Soviet Union and the West and there we have achieved an act
of enormous significance to mankind and that is the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
on which we hope to build. Now it is at this time of all times when the
Socialist Party come forward with a proposal to abandon all control by
the British government over Britain's nuclear arm. I want you to have no
doubts of the consequences of such a decision. It would, of course, remove
us at once from the highest Councils of the world when the countries are
discussing international affairs and peace and war in a nuclear age. These
would be left to Russia and the United States. But for the first time in
our history such an act would mean that decisions about the future and
the life of Britain would be put into the hands of another nation. Now
that I will never do and I want you to know it now.
The second issue is
this. To-day we have full employment and prosperity in the sense that the
standard of living is better than it ever was before. Now these are not
matters of political argument, they are facts which everyone can verify
inside their home and not very far outside too. And we in the Conservative
Party have great ambitious programmes of development and modernisation
and they all have one objective and that is by the sum of the success of
countless individuals, to build a community in which to-morrow is always
better than to-day. Now that's what I've called prosperity with a purpose
and the purpose is wider opportunity and happier days for all our people.
Now every individual has his own problems and there are local problems
too. But I do ask you to think most seriously about these great themes
and these great issues , for on your decision on these hangs the fate of
SPEAKER NOT KNOWN:
Scotland, the new Forth Bridge, a magnificent
feat of engineering, pointing the way to a new industrial future for Scotland.
My task as Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development
is to help bring this about. Already we've offered sixty-two million pounds
for the expansion of industry and for setting up new industry in Scotland.
This includes Rootes of Linwood, the B.M.C. at Bathgate and a good many
other factories for new industries in Scotland.
Well I am on the bankside of a firm of [-] and flour millers.
SPEAKER NOT KNOWN:
Naturally we buy into the thousands of tons of grain
from the Lothians and the Borders and the opening of the Bridge has definitely
helped us with speeding up lorries and deliveries are much quicker.
SPEAKER NOT KNOWN:
Well, I've been driving for approximately twenty
years and the last twenty years there's been a vast improvement as far
as my job's concerned being a driver. The new roads and the bridges have
brought new industry, more jobs for Scotland. I think the government deserves
the credit for this transformation that's brought Scotland to the forefront
Now let us look at the North-East of England. There shipbuilding
is going ahead, chemicals are expanding, there are to be two new refineries,
a new industrial estate on the Tees, a new town at Washington. All over
the area factories are springing up, a good many of them with government
SPEAKER NOT KNOWN:
Well, I am a North Easterner born and bred
and it gives me a good deal of pleasure to see this factory giving work
to these people in the north-east and I've seen in the last two years a
good deal of improvement where other heavy industries have come and it
has provided a lot of work in the heavy engineering district and the Board
of Trade have been very very helpful and when one thinks that from the
eleven months that this factory was started we occupied it and were in
production, this can only give credit to the builders and everyone else
and the organisation behind it from the Board of Trade.
SPEAKER NOT KNOWN:
Oh, yes, when the shipbuilding closed down,
of course that was it and for a while there was nothing doing and then
of course the trading estates they come in, Siemens and other people -
then the steel works they had a bad run for a while and now they're back
in full production so they're all right.
SPEAKER NOT KNOWN:
I've seen a lot of changes - new schools, new
factories and hospitals and the health service - you know, maternity hospitals,
they're really wonderful and I came back here when I was twenty-two for
a holiday and met Teddy and we got married. I wouldn't like to live anywhere
else but West Hartlepool.
SPEAKER NOT KNOWN:
There's factories going up all over the place.
I came here when I was six year old and I wouldn't move for - if they'd
give me a pension to-morrow, tell you the truth - I'm quite satisfied
We've concentrated particularly on Central Scotland and
North-East England because these are the areas which are changing most
where the older industries are being replaced by the newer ones. We were
also tackling the other main areas of the country. South Wales is already
a great success story with a wide variety of new industries. On Merseyside
the motor industry has gone in, Fords and Vauxhalls, in Northern Ireland
there's Courtaulds, Duponts and another large number of new industries.
Then in the South-East we've produced our proposals for dealing with he
increase of population there. The Labour Party wanted us to hold these
up. That would have been a body blow at the re-housing of Londoners and
other people in the south-east and so we are combining these regional programmes
with the great national ones. More houses, more schools, hospitals, roads,
docks and airports and these are essential if we are going to increase
our production and expand our exports and that is vital for the future
of our country. We want this widening prosperity to be shared by all areas
of the country. All these programmes to-day are going ahead faster than
ever before and everyone knows it.
SPEAKER NOT KNOWN:
I was born in Liverpool and I must say over
the last five or six years I've seen a great improvement in general in
the town re-building, re-housing in particular, a general cleaning up of
the place, slum clearance down the town and I think it's a very nice thing
to see as well. I'm very interested when I go round these new estates and
the lay-out of them, they're obviously not cramping them together too much.
One thing that interests me particularly I'm very glad to see, is this
prefabrication, there's only a start made on it yet, but it is a start.
SPEAKER NOT KNOWN:
I'm a farm manager here in Tetbury in Gloucestershire
and I've been in Gloucestershire all my life in the farming community and
I think there's wonderful opportunities for farming and any other young
school leavers to-day.
SPEAKER NOT KNOWN:
Well I've lived here in Reading all my life.
I bought this shop six years ago and I've got on very well, it's a very
prosperous town this. All the factories here are a great help to me, full
labour and no shortage of work and the housing going ahead like wildfires
- a grand place to live in, very prosperous.
So it is the same tale of progress up and down the
length of the country. As Chancellor I'm especially glad to see the progress
being made in areas like Scotland, for example, or the North-East where
unemployment is above the national average. Because this means that the
special measure of the 1963 Budget are having a very real effect and we
are achieving our objective which is to ensure that economic growth and
prosperity is more evenly spread throughout the country. Now take another
example, not this time a large industrial city but a busy and thriving
country town. King's Lynn.
SPEAKER NOT KNOWN:
King's Lynn in Norfolk is typical of the new
bustling and growing Britain. A busy and up-to-date port serving the agriculture
and the new industries of East Anglia. Crowded on market days, more trade,
more to spend, more to buy. For the British house-wife prices compare well
with anywhere in Europe. There is a great improvement in this last - what
- three or four years and I think there will be even greater opportunities
in a few more years because after all industry is coming this way. As you
probably know we have a trading estate in King's Lynn and it's expanding
all the time.
SPEAKER NOT KNOWN:
There's more people coming to King's Lynn -
coming to stay to live here. There's more light industry. There's a great
number of schools being built, not only in King's Lynn itself but in the
SPEAKER NOT KNOWN:
Well I do work in a Canning factory locally
and as regards nationalisation, my one regret is if nationalisation of
steel especially could affect well say affect my job and perhaps hundreds
of others as well. Being in a canning factory there is that thing to remember.
SPEAKER NOT KNOWN:
Nationalisation - it's old-fashioned and out
of date but the Labour Party are committed to it. Steel is the basis of
over half our exports. Our steel industry is among the most modern in the
world. There are over two hundred and fifty companies specialising in different
products. It's part of all our lives - suspension bridges - for screws,
everyone, every day handles steel.
SPEAKER NOT KNOWN:
Conservatives believe that choice and competition
guarantee the best steel for the housewife - the Labour Party say they
will introduce planning every aspect of our life. Their policy is nationalisation
and ever spreading State control. If the Labour Government were to nationalise
things I feel that we would have to pay more taxes.
SPEAKER NOT KNOWN:
I think nationalisation is the enemy of any
private enterprise or free society.
SPEAKER NOT KNOWN:
As a housewife I feel at the moment life is
pretty good. But with nationalisation I feel that the money has to come
from somewhere and it's always the housewife, it hits her first.
No, nationalisation is no answer to our problems
and nor are the other traditional Labour Party ideas, like bulk buy(?)
or more State control or widespread subsidies. Our greatest problem, and
as Chancellor I know that it is a real and urgent one, our greatest problem
is to secure a new and vigorous growth of our export trade. It can be done
of that I have no doubt but it will call for great efforts from all of
us. Efforts to sweep away any restrictive practices of labour or capital
that place unnecessary limits on growth or efficiency. Efforts to increase
competition, efforts to accept change and a grasp of new methods. Efforts
in particular to agree as a nation on an incomes policy - a policy by which
incomes continue to rise but not so fast that they push prices.
28th September 1964
I like general elections, the fun of public meetings,
the arguments, the heckling, the extravagances each way. Last time in the
course of the same evening I was called a murderer and a darling - though
not by the same person. But I like the election campaign principally because
of the chance to talk to a lot of people who are not usually interested
by politics, [quarrels] in politics, what one hopes to achieve. Some of
you no doubt will get very bored with it all before polling day, but for
our democracy it is the vital period.
Of course hard things are said, the
critics do not pull their punches, in a free country I hope they never
will. But this time the critics of the Conservative Government have started
in a remarkable way. The Labour Party's manifesto tells us that Britain
is stagnating, our economy is wilting, we are in a decline, our society
is vulgar, we believe in nothing but money, the last thirteen years have
been wasted, they've been years of vacillation and eccentric pomp. Every
abusive cliché has been called into service. Incidentally, all this
talk does us no good overseas - it delights our enemies, alarms our friends
and makes our customers wonder whether it is wise to place more orders
in such an allegedly decadent country.
For my part, I wonder where Labour
talkers and writers have been for the past thirteen years. What have they
been doing? Do they ever go out and look about them or do they spend their
time locked up in some back room? I would like to take the critics or the
doubters about the place and show them the new factories, I should like
to take them to see Summers Steel Works at Shotton where private enterprise
has spent between sixty and seventy million pounds in the last ten years
on new developments and where some of the most modern techniques in the
world are used. They can see everywhere the thousands of new houses, the
splendid new schools, increasing provision for the old and those in difficulty.
I know I'm sticking out my neck, I can hear some of you saying - how smug,
how complacent, we could show him some bad spots, how dare he say that
all is perfect. I haven't said anything of the sort.
Of course there is
much more to be done - in slum clearance, housing, education, health services,
care of the old, modernisation, preventing rises in the cost of living.
But this writing off by the Labour Party of all that has happened since
1951 is wholesale condemnation of our industry and our society is not justified
and those who do it are obviously so out of touch with reality that if
I were a doubtful voter I would for that reason alone disbelieve the whole
of the rest of what they say.
Whatever you think about what has happened,
no country can live in or on the past. We seek your support again because
of what we intend to do in the future. I can put our objectives in very
simple terms. The maintenance of British influence in world affairs, the
strengthening of our economic position, the improvement of the standards
of living for all our people, not just raising them materially but also
improving the quality of our national life. Some of the most important
matters are education, housing and health. I am going to ask one of my
most respected colleagues in the last House of Commons, Mrs. Evelyn Hill,
who has great experience in these matters, to say something about them.
There is one thing the politicians must understand and
that is that so far as their home and families are concerned, women today
are clear-headed, realistic and prepared to stand no nonsense. That is
why all this Socialist talk about stagnation in the past thirteen years
cuts no ice with them. They realise that if things had stood still as the
Socialists say, it would mean that the great majority of women were still
standing at their kitchen sinks instead of putting the dirty clothes in
the family washing machine. That is why I resent this sneering at improved
standards. It isn't sordid materialism for a housewife to have the chance
of a run in the car at the week-ends or a decent holiday.
During the past
thirteen years, as you all know, great strides have been made in building
new homes and schools but we will not be satisfied as a party until we
have cleared the remaining slums, modernised the older houses and made
certain that everyone has a decent home to live in. We will not be satisfied
until the older schools have been replaced, until classes have become smaller
and every child who qualifies can get to university or a technical college.
And we are carrying out a big programme for increasing the number of teachers.
The cost of the Health Services in Great Britain has grown from four hundred
and ninety million in 51-52 to over one thousand million today and there's
been a steady expansion of the service. The ten year hospital building
programme is well under way - we can see new hospitals rising, new extensions
to older hospitals and the replacement of out-dated wards. The complementary
Health and Welfare plan for the next ten years which includes preventive
medicine, is administered through the local authority. This plan will include
more maternity and child welfare clinics, more health visitors and home
nurses and an increasing number of home helps. Additional new homes will
be built for the community care of the elderly who can no longer look after
themselves. There are many families faced with the sad experience that
one of their number is compelled to lead a life apart, a life difficult
to manage fully in the family circle. For these physically handicapped
and the mentally handicapped there will be new hostels and training centres.
The hospital plan will give Britain a hospital service as modern in buildings,
equipment and organisation as it already is in medical knowledge and techniques.
The health and welfare plan will ensure that all those not requiring hospital
care can be properly looked after in their own homes and in the community.
But all these plans depend upon two things - peace and
our ability to pay for them. Peace. We, unlike our opponents, consider
that we should keep our nuclear weapons, not for vain glory but because
we know from experience that being a nuclear military power increases our
influence. Some doubt that statement and do so sincerely. To them I would
simply say that otherwise we would not have been able to play what President
Kennedy described as an indispensable role in the negotiations leading
to the Test Ban Treaty last year. That's a fact. I believe that Britain's
security and influence for peace and prominence in the world will be greater
under a Conservative Government.
The second necessity is that Britain should
be able to pay for these expanding programmes. To take an example, for
every hundred pounds spent on education in 1951 when we got in, over three
hundred and fifty pounds is now being spent, one thousand four hundred
millions instead of three hundred and eighty millions and the cost will
grow, it requires economic strength and this depends on a whole lot of
things - modernisation of factories and plant, money being saved for investment,
research, enterprise getting a fair reward, and the ending of out of date
restrictive practices. Adding it all up it means that by our efficiency,
by our low costs, we must be able to sell our goods abroad in a very competitive
world and this will not happen under Labour, under a violent change to
compulsory State planning, to more nationalisation, highly centralised
controls, deep hostility to private enterprise. I cannot see an unsubsidised
private company taking over from a nationalised concern an air service
costing the tax payer a million and a quarter a year, without suffering
a doctrinaire anti private enterprise spasm.
Our approach is utterly different.
We believe in planning by consent, as with NEDDIE, not by compulsion. In
voluntary savings - a pound is now being saved for every shilling saved
in 1951. In incentives for investment and re-equipment as good as any in
the world. In supporting and strengthening free enterprise, in a free society,
not one in which people spend their time being pushed about by the government.
We want world influence, to use it wisely. We want prosperity to help poorer
nations as well as ourselves. We want improvement in our standard of living
for all our people, particularly the old and the handicapped and not just
materially and there's nothing wrong in that but in other fields as well,
personal behaviour, moral values, the arts and sport. We claim no monopoly
of wisdom, things did not suddenly become perfect when we came to power.
Mistakes will be made but if you return us again we will do what we honestly
believe to be right. Good night.
6th October 1964
SPEAKER NOT KNOWN:
Nationalisation. Cor, I'm dead against it.
I wouldn't 'ave nationalisation at any price. I'd soon get out of it if
ever it come again. I think transport would be worse off with it. Definitely
be worse off. Might just as well join the ruddy army and 'ave done wi' it.
SPEAKER NOT KNOWN:
There's no question about industry depending
on road haulage. It must have an efficient haulage system to clear the
product from the factory and to get it to the vessels in time. Difficulties
have been experienced with delays in other forms of transport where vessels
have sailed before the goods have got there. In our system if we pick up
goods in Nottingham this afternoon they are delivered alongside tomorrow
morning in any of the Ports which we serve. But if they centralised control
at Whitehall and tried to operate road haulage from there from one central
office, they will lose efficiency, they'll lose all personal touch with
customers, they'll lose the expert knowledge of particular customers which
smaller operators have, they'll gain nothing at all in my opinion by so
doing. You see it gets too big and unwieldy. Free enterprise is by far
in my opinion the better system because it enables the person to be able
to choose and we are given the incentive to work.
EDWARD DU CANN: In every town and village in Britain, private enterprise
transport, the big lorries, the vans, are delivering the goods. Imagine
the dislocation nationalisation and controls would cause and imagine too
the effect upon the men who work in transport and on their families. As
Minister of State at the Board of Trade my responsibility is Britain's
exports. We're making progress. Over the last five years exports have increased
by twenty five percent and they're up again this year. And over the last
twelve months I've visited seventeen different countries negotiating contracts
for Britain - North America, South America, behind the Iron Curtain, Africa
- and of one thing I'm absolutely certain. It's this: that nationalisation
and controls and higher taxation will not add one pennyworth to Britain's
exports, indeed they may even lose us orders. For we all know the truth.
The world doesn't owe us a living, we have to make it by our competitiveness,
by our inventiveness, by grasping every opportunity.
SPEAKER NOT KNOWN:
I believe it's very important to have a society where
people can back their own hunch. Where people can think of a bright idea
and then with a modicum of luck and with good health and by picking the
right people to work with, see that hunch grow into an idea that benefits
not only them but the community at large. We now employ over four hundred
people and twenty three out of thirty six of our top executives have all
come right up from the floor - operators, inspectors, progress men. They
have shared in the success of the company. My job's mainly concerned within
the taking on of personnel for the shop floor, once we've taken them on
looking after them, welfare, first aid and various things in general, lots
of little things that could be neglected. Everyone within this organisation
feels that we are going places not only by the product we turn, the type
of service we give, which we like to feel is the best, but because everybody
has the right heart.
SPEAKER NOT KNOWN:
Well, we started from a garage with a very limited
capital in 1951 and we've now got a factory occupying [thirty six]square
feet, employing one hundred and sixty people. I think we must be satisfying
our customers both in design and price. We're very conscious of the need
to export and in this direction we're very fortunate in the fact that we
mostly contract to the business machine industry which I believe about
ninety percent of which is exported. Apart from that we do export typewriter
parts direct to Holland which we hope to expand as we go along. Our main
line of endeavour now is to create more engineers to take part in this
highly skilled production. To this end we run an extensive apprenticeship
training scheme. As a small company we had a part to play in training.
We felt we had a part to play in training and started this school about
nine years ago to produce boys not only for ourselves but engineering in
general. They serve a six month probationary period with us and at the
end of that time some stay with us, three lads, usually three lads, go
to the [Waddon] Training Centre for their first year apprenticeship.
Well I think the door is wide open for anyone starting up on their own
because I think that as organisations get bigger in the main they get less
efficient. If you take the thing one further you get an organisation as
big as nationalised industry, it's almost a music hall joke the fact that
they're not always all they should be. Therefore if someone starts up on
their own and gives personal attention and personal service to a job then
I think he's bound to get airborne.
There are two men who have seized their opportunities.
Their firms have the right ideas, their companies are a success. And I
know from my experience at the Board of Trade that these are two among
many. These are the people who get the results. It can't be done by Labour
politicians sitting in Whitehall. I believe that the British people want
to have the opportunity to show their enterprise and initiative. They want
the government to create the conditions in which they can do this. That
is our policy.
When we came into power in 1951 we dismantled Socialism
and the result was a great upsurge of energy and enterprise in the British
people. And this has led to all the achievements of recent years. We began
our programmes at once in housing and in schools, 1954 in roads, in 1955
in railways, 1956 in technical colleges - these were the foundations. And
then in this last Parliament we have carried further programmes on a much
wider basis leading to the great expansion of the Universities, the hospital
building programme and so on, and the regional development programmes which
are all co-ordinated. These programmes are the springboard for future success.
We shall drive ahead with them.
The Labour Party says it will produce a
centralised plan. It will back this up with further nationalisation and
with government interference in industry. The Labour Party says it will
go back to the purposive planning of 1945-51. The climax of purposive planning
of 1945-51 was the de-valuation of the pound, rocketing prices, increase
in taxation and in 1951 they ran away. None of that was either planned
One of our most important programmes is our programme
for extending education after school. Conservatives know that Britain needs
more trained manpower at every level - scientists, engineers, craftsmen
and apprentices as well. And we also realise that there are many more young
people all the time wanting to achieve some qualification after leaving
school. Well that's why we're doubling the University population within
eight years; the ten Colleges of Advanced Technology which have been pioneers
in advanced engineering studies are to get University status and we are
also going to spend much more money on the technical colleges, the technical
colleges which provide a certain amount of degree level work and advanced
courses but also large numbers of part-time courses including part-time
courses which provide a second chance for boys and girls who haven't gained
any major educational qualification while at school. And then we're also
setting up a number of Industrial Training Boards which will make it far
easier for young workers in industry to get release during the day for
a technical course. Now our policy for extending education after school
is linked to our policy for science and technology. We want to help industry
to use the latest discoveries and we want to make the whole of industry
and also all Whitehall more science and technology minded and I believe
as the years go on we shall see the results of these policies more and
more in all parts of the country.
EDWARD DU CANN:
Of course, fine modern buildings like those we have
just been looking at, remind us just how rapidly the methods of construction
change and that's why Conservatives attach such importance to the training
and re-training in industry and also why we intend to bring in wage related
social security benefits so that people can change their jobs more easily.
But in addition, surely, fine buildings are an important part of our society.
When we go abroad we all of us want to look at the new buildings overseas
and very many visitors from abroad have greatly admired some of our post-war
buildings like our schools. And this takes me back to the Conservative
theme of this Election - Prosperity with a Purpose. We want to use increases
in our national wealth wisely so as to build a more attractive society.
That will not be done by the methods proposed by the Labour
Party. There is no other industrial country in the Free World which uses
those methods today - not even those with Socialist Governments and we
must not go back to them.
What we will do is this. We will get the national
priorities right, putting our industry and our exports first and these
must meet the needs of the consumer. The Labour Party always thinks first
of the producer but if we are to hold our own in this modern world we must
meet the needs of the consumer. You the housewife, the shopper and the
overseas buyer. And how shall we do it? We will do it in this way - first
through private enterprise and if we encourage private enterprise then
we must see that it gets the rewards which it deserves. It's no use making
demands on private enterprise and then sneering at the rewards which it
gets. We want to see better management and we are setting up the colleges
to produce it. We want to see greater competition, to make enterprise still
more enterprising and this we will secure through our further legislation
on monopolies, mergers and restrictive practices. We must see the re-equipment
of industry, greater use of automation and new mechanical devices. We want
to see the improvement of scientific development and the extension of education.
We shall secure our expansion through our Regional Development programmes
and above all, we must see a change in attitudes, a change in attitudes
in this country towards industry and exports, the abandonment of restrictive
Of course there is nothing easy about this. We have seen that
already. This is a challenge - a challenge from which the Labour Party
when confronted has always retreated. The Beeching Plan - no, they will
stop it. Resale Price Maintenance - they funked it. The South-East Plan
- they will cancel it. In every occasion in practice when they have been
faced with modernisation, the Labour Party has run away. This policy which
I have put before you is two-pronged. It is to provide the means of expansion
and to remove the obstacles to expansion. We now have the resources and
the opportunity to break out of the circle of economic problems which has
confronted us since the war and with which the Labour Party is still obsessed.
Our policy is not a cry for restraint - it is a call for expansion, expansion
to produce greater happiness and greater prosperity to the people of this
country as a whole.
9th October 1964
R. A. BUTLER:
Now this is the last week-end of the campaign and there
is one vital issue to decide - namely have we the strength and authority
behind our foreign policy and our diplomacy to keep and preserve peace
and perform all our diplomacy with success? I believe that we are the one
Party who have provided that and can provide it in the future. When I talk
about strength I mean economic strength as well as strategic strength and
I am going to say a word about both.
We have kept the economy so strong
and so much have we increased our prosperity that we have been able to
treble, that is to increase three times, the help to the poorer nations
of the world. Now if there is one problem which affects me as Foreign Secretary
it is the relationship between the richer nations and the poorer nations.
Because unless we can help the poorer nations we shall not be able to deal
with the trouble, the famine, the disease and the consequent spread of
Communism which may result between the richer and the poorer nations. This
problem of the richer nations and the poorer nations is just as important
as the problem of East-West relations which I discussed when I was in Moscow.
There is a relief of tension and that relief of tension is due to the fact
that each side respects the other. They respect us because of our strength
and it is the fact that we have our own nuclear deterrent which has given
our voice that extra strength and which has kept the peace between us.
Now this question of keeping our own nuclear deterrent is the vital issue
I want you to decide and you will decide it in our favour because the Socialists
are not only muddled about their Defence policy but they say that they
want to do away with our own independent nuclear weapon. I am convinced,
without it that we cannot keep the peace through strength. I am convinced
that our voice will not be strong enough in the future negotiations which
we want to undertake. We want to try and stop the spread of nuclear weapons.
We want to make further progress with disarmament and in all these matters
our voice will be stronger if it is known we are speaking from strength.
And in that way we shall hope to keep the peace through strength.
Yes, strength. Economic strength. This is the condition
of all that we want to do abroad or at home. And in these years of Conservative
Government our economic strength has Grown enormously. Look around you.
Look at the new factories, the new roads, the new workshops production
is at record levels, employment is full, earnings have never been so high
- the steel industry that Mr Wilson wants to nationalise has just recorded
record levels of output and of exports. We have launched on a bold policy
of expansion and I say bold deliberately because it will call for great
efforts and it will involve difficulties and I do not wish for one moment
to minimise the difficulties. Because nothing that is worth doing in this
world is really achieved without effort. But the question is which Party's
policy is more likely to solve the real problem, the real and urgent problem
which I told you about at the start of this campaign, which is how to increase
Britain's export trade.
We Conservatives say the answer can only be more
enterprise, more competition, accepting new ideas, grasping change, sweeping
away all restrictions on output and efficiency. This is the way of progress,
this is the way to achieve the objective, the bold ambitious objective
we have set before ourselves as a nation.
And what of the Labour Party?
I must say to you quite frankly as Chancellor, that their policies would
be as disastrous as their speeches are damaging. Many of the wild exaggerations
put about by some of their leading speakers positively contribute to making
our problems more difficult. We are at the moment borrowing money abroad,
as I always said we would borrow money abroad, as part of our programme
just as any expanding business might borrow from its bank, just as every
big country in Europe and North America has done in recent years. And yet
the Labour Party prefer to sneer at Britain alone for doing what every
other country does. And then their policies - nationalisation, they don't
say nationalisation of what - they don't say how they will bring about
the nationalisation of steel for example, which is at the basis of more
than half of our export trade. But then there is their programme of expansion.
A programme which they know perfectly well goes far beyond what any responsible
party could possibly promise the British people.
That perhaps is why they
won't answer the question what will their programme cost. We've asked them
often enough and you should be interested because you'll have to pay the
bill. They should tell you surely how much their programme will cost you.
Why don't they? There can only be one of two reasons: either they do not
know or they will not tell. Whichever it is it seems to me, whichever the
reason, this makes their programme wholly unacceptable to the people of
this country. Our programme on the other hand is worked out and costed
in detail. It's based on experience and on achievement. Take for example
To build more and faster we must use new methods as well
as old. This year twenty-five thousand homes are being built in new ways.
Here are two hundred in a brand new British labour-saving building system.
We've built four million houses since 1951 and modernised another million.
Nearly one-third of the population are living in houses built or modernised
since we came to power. We've cleared half the slums. Nearly half the houses
in the country are owner-occupied. Nearly three-quarters of the houses
in the country are modern or modernised. A larger proportion of houses
in Britain have bathrooms, lavatories, hot water, than in any European
country except Switzerland.
Of course there's still a great deal to be
done, with rising population and with people marrying younger and living
longer. That's why we're accelerating. This year we'll complete three hundred
and seventy thousand houses - more for Councils, more for owner-occupiers
and from now on we're building through non-profitmaking housing societies,
scores of thousands of fine houses which can be got for a deposit of about
one hundred and fifty pounds. There are four hundred and thirty thousand
houses now under construction. We'll complete four hundred thousand houses
next year and at least that from then on.
Labour's policies amount to a
confidence trick. They try to give the impression that they'd do more but
their target is four hundred thousand - the same as ours, copied from us,
the target we shall reach next year. They propose not a single extra house,
not a single extra house and their cock-eyed Land Commission would slow
down the vital supply of land. The only way to tackle house and land prices
is to build more houses and end the shortage and that's what we're doing.
Labour's Land Commission would mean fewer houses being built than now.
If you're a young couple, you'll want to know that a house
will be available for you in a reasonable time, that there will be schools
for your children, technical colleges and universities for them to go to
after that. That there will be new hospitals and a good Health Service,
that there will be a job in an expanding economy. And if you're retired
there will be increasing pensions growing with the prosperity of the country.
All this is part of a modern Britain. And the decision which the nation
will have to make on polling day is this. Which party can best get on with
the job of creating the modern Britain which we all want to see? I have
absolutely no doubt about the answer.
The whole of my political life has
been based on the belief that it is the Conservatives who can best do this.
Our achievements are here for you to see. Our programmes can do this in
the future. Our prosperity of course must be based on our industry, an
industry which is modern, re-equipped using automation and the latest mechanical
devices. An industry which is well trained making the best use of scientists
and with good management. An industry which is competitive. An industry
which is competitive will product the goods at prices which will help the
housewife and which will secure the exports which are so vital to us. I
do not believe that this can be done under Labour Party policy. A policy
which is backward looking. A party which is subject to all the pressures
of vested interests. A party and a policy which is tied to nationalisation.
There are two things which I value above everything. The first is freedom
and the second is opportunity. Real freedom to make your own decisions
and to plan your lives in your own way, and a genuine opportunity to make
to-morrow always better than to-day for yourselves and for your children.
The decision whether we keep or abandon control over
our nuclear weapons is certainly one of the really great issues which we
have to decide in this election. It is moreover a decision which once taken
will be irrevocable. I speak to you to-night as the Secretary of State
for Defence, the man responsible for this field of policy and I am bound
to tell you that this is a major issue between the Conservatives on the
one hand who wish to keep these weapons and the Socialists and the Liberals
upon the other whose firm intention it is to abandon them.
You know if
any of you was holding my responsibility this evening as Secretary of State
for Defence, and asked yourselves the direct question, should we keep these
weapons or abandon them, you would answer - keep them. And that would be
the overwhelming answer of the people of this country and that's why the
Socialists have covered the whole of this problem with a great deal of
what I can only describe as intellectual sludge. They pretend that it won't
deter. I must tell you, and I speak of what I know, that one V bomber to-day
on a single mission can carry in destructive power more than was carried
by the whole of the Royal Air Force in the whole of the last war. Or they
pretend that it will bear too heavily on our total cost. It costs less
than ten percent of our defence budget at the present time and that cost
will progressively decrease. Or it's said that if we could only set an
example and cast our own arms away, others would follow suit. I can assure
you that if we abandoned them to-morrow it wouldn't have the slightest
effect on General De Gaulle or Mao Zhe Dung or anybody else. Or they ask
the sort of trick question - when would you strike with this weapon? The
answer is that these weapons are not to start war, they are to deter war.
The basic problem of politics is power, not simply military power but power
and influence in the world. It is the Conservative's belief that we should
use power wisely sensibly and with restraint. Keep it, hold it, even with
humility but not cast aside a weapon or abandon our influence before we
have played, as we can, our full part in building a more peaceful future
for the world.
13th October 1964
Sir ALEC DOUGLAS-HOME:
When I first talked to you as Prime Minister, and that
is about a year ago now, I said I would share the government's thinking
with you and tell you what we were doing and why. And I did this of course
because I want to see government by understanding and consent and not government
by compulsion. I hope looking back on these months that you feel that government
business has been conducted with efficiency but also with humanity. And
it is because government is concerned with individual people that whenever
I could in the last three weeks I've been out and away from Downing Street
and out in the country. And I'm about to tell you something of what I have
found. The Britain that I have seen bears no relation whatever to the picture
painted by the Labour leaders of a country which is selfish, gloomy and
stagnant. Indeed, quite the contrary. I have found people confident, buoyant
and self-reliant and that goes for both factory and farm. With prosperity,
I'm glad to say, the people have higher incomes that they're using them
wisely and well; to give children a better start in life, to buy their
own homes, to take out more savings, to take out shares in industry and
thus acquire a stake in the future of their own country. And I think the
basic reason why people are confident and happy, and that really is the
right word to use, is because there is today work for the members of the
family at a good wage and the standard of living has been rising year by
year. There has, therefore, never been so much at stake and it is on these
two facts, the fact of full employment and the fact of rising standards
of living, that I ask you to support the Conservatives.
Of course there
are problems to be solved. The young have much wider opportunities than
they ever had but they also have new and very often anxious responsibilities.
But these are problems which are the problems of prosperity and no longer
the problems of poverty and these are the sort problems that we can solve
if we work together. So this is the first great issue which you have to
decide - whether to put prosperity at risk by adopting socialist policies,
remembering always that from full employment and rising standards of living
all our hopes for the future and for our children are based. Now there's
no doubt whatever that the Labour Party's policies would knock the props
away from our prosperity; whether it's nationalisation by the front door,
or the back door, it is all the same. State monopolies are clumsy and inefficient
and costly. Direction from Whitehall kills the enterprise and initiative
on which our export trade depends. High taxation penalises savings and
the reckless spending policies which I have called a menu without prices
would inevitably lead to uncontrolled inflation.
Now we've had all these
policies before, they have not changed them at all and inevitably the evil
results would happen again. We have the State monopoly, we have planning
by compulsion and when the socialist leaders say that their first task
will be to plan every aspect of our lives, they mean it. It means more
officialdom and more red tape for that is what Socialism is. Now surely
the last thing we want when our major competitors still rely on the individual
enterprise system is to turn over from one which suits us so well to a
Socialist system which must inevitably cramp our style? Now we want to
use the enterprise and initiative of our people to create a society in
which tomorrow is always better and more exciting than today, just as today
has been better than yesterday and therefore we have programmes of social
and economic advance which are tremendously ambitious and here are some
of them. Mile upon mile of modern roads - you can see them everywhere you
go. Power stations which will serve industry and put power at the elbow
of the worker. Schools, colleges and universities which will give to our
boys and girls the best education in the world and therefore enable them
to compete with their contemporaries in any other country. And a hospital
programme in which every mother who needs to do so will be able to have
her baby in hospital. And above all, more homes.
Now all these programmes
have been published and costed and are within our means, but the Socialist
programmes would cost something like one thousand million a year more than
our ambitious plans and that is a tremendous sum of money to put on the
shoulders of the taxpayer and the ratepayer who are already, of course,
bearing heavy burdens . I was talking about homes, and nothing is more
important for the young family starting out in life than a good home and
so we are going flat out to get the maximum number of houses built. When
the Socialists were in office this stuck at two hundred thousand a year.
Last year we were able to see three hundred thousand houses built. This
year it will be three hundred and seventy thousand houses. Next year four
hundred thousand houses.
Now by contrast the Labour Party's programme of
nationalising all urban building land is bound to mean fewer homes at higher
prices. Now there's another contrast that I would bring to your notice
between Socialist promise and Conservative performance and that is in the
field, the very important field of old age pensions. Some will remember
how acutely the old age pensioners suffered when the Socialist Government
was last in office. It wasn't that the Socialist leaders didn't try to
help the old age pensioners, they did. But the net result was that at the
end of the last five years of Socialist government the old age pension
was worth less than it was at the start. Now during the years of Conservative
office we have been able to raise the old age pension five times and we've
been able to keep it ahead of prices and ahead of earnings too. Now I will
never promise more than I feel the Conservative Party can perform. But
this pledge I can give: that as the national wealth increases we will add
to the basic rate of pension keeping it ahead of prices and we will provide
extra for the older pensioners because it is the older pensioners that
have the greatest need. And, of course, there will be no question of a
Now there's nothing more important for the old age pensioner
or the people on fixed incomes than that prices should be steady and we've
managed to keep prices steadier in Britain than in almost any other country
in the world. Anyone who's been on the Continent for a holiday knows that.
But we must do better still and that is why as Prime Minister, if you'll
remember, I insisted on the passage of the Resale Price Maintenance Bill
through Parliament. I felt that in no circumstances could we allow
prices to be held artificially high against the housewife who is catering
for the family. And in the next parliament we shall follow with a Monopolies
Bill also aimed to keep prices down. And so the choice that you have is
between a high cost Socialist system which will force prices up and a Conservative
system in which all our influence will be used to keep prices down.
I'd like to give you one more contrast between the Conservative and the
Socialist performance and this concerns restrictive practices in industry.
If we are to modernise and if we're to expand these must go but they will
never go if there is a Socialist government. They didn't even mention the
words restrictive practices in their manifesto. And so I ask all of you
and in particular the young who want to get ahead, to elect a Conservative
government which will throw these obsolete relics out of the window and
for good because they have no relevance whatever to our modern times. Now
you may have noticed that whenever I've spoken of prosperity, I've spoken
of prosperity with a purpose and that is because the purpose of earning
wealth is to share it, not only among our own people but among those less
fortunate people overseas in the developing countries. For if we gain all
the riches in the world and lose our feeling for religion, for service
and for sacrifice, then we lose the soul and the character of Britain.
And so prosperity for purpose in my mind has a very simple meaning. It
means serving ourselves but at the same time serving our neighbour, then
we will be one people and our nation will be true at heart.
are some of the great issues which you will decide in the privacy and the
secrecy of the polling booth on Thursday. But there's another issue about
which we don't talk very much but with which we live all the time and on
which everything else depends. It concerns the security of the nation and
the place of Britain in the international councils of the world. In recent
years I have very often described British foreign policy to you as one
of strength and conciliation - the strength which in a nuclear age must
contain a nuclear arm and conciliation which insists that all disputes
should be brought to the negotiating table and kept there until they are
settled. Now these policies have stood the tests of all the trials of the
Cold War years when any mishandling or misjudgement by the British government
could have made all the difference between peace and war. And you yourselves
have been able to see the results in the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty which
I myself was able to sign in Moscow and in the reduced tension between
the Soviet Union and the West which has lifted a weight of anxiety from
the minds of men. But as Foreign Secretary and now as Prime Minister, I
know that the world is still a dangerous place and it is just at this moment
when France and China are becoming nuclear powers that the Socialists would
propose to discard all control by a British government over Britain's nuclear
arm. Now this is our sole defence against blackmail or attack by a nuclear
power and it is our only passport to the highest councils of the world
where matters of peace and war are decided in a nuclear age. Now I must
make my own position as Prime Minister quite clear. I'm not prepared to
contract out of the struggle for peace or to give up Britain's seat at
the table to others. Today the Prime Minister of Britain sits with the
Chairman of the Soviet Union and the President of the United States where
these great matters are decided and that is where the British Prime Minister
must be. And so I must be sure that each of you recognises the consequences
of such a Socialist decision. It would mean that we surrender all our authority
in world affairs and hand over the decision about the future life and the
future of Britain to another country. Now this I'm quite sure that you
cannot allow and when you're faced with these questions then you cannot
answer I do not know, the answer must be Yes or No. Plainly then I've told
you my point of view and the responsibility and the choice is now yours.
So remember that your vote on Thursday will decide not just your way of
living and your standard of life but that of your children too and I believe
that when you think seriously about it, you will decide that the right
thing is to vote Conservative.