tvParty Election Broadcasts

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 our nation.

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.

EDWARD HEATH:

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 help.

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

EDWARD HEATH:

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.

REGINALD MAUDLING:

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 area.

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.

REGINALD MAUDLING:

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

SELWYN LLOYD:

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.

EVELYN HILL:

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.

SELWYN LLOYD:

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.

EDWARD HEATH:

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 or purposive.

EDWARD BOYLE:

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.

EDWARD HEATH:

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 practices.
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.

REGINALD MAUDLING:

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 housing.

KEITH JOSEPH:

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.

EDWARD HEATH:

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.

PETER THORNYCROFT:

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 means test.
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.
Now 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.
These then 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.

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Last Modified: 22 Oct 12
© Richard Kimber