Conservative Party Election Broadcasts from February 1974
Note: the text is based on transcripts
held at the Conservative Party Archive at the Bodleian Library, and Dr Michael Pearce's
transcripts of tapes held at the Election Broadcast Archive, University of
7th February 1974
As many of you will have heard already Her Majesty the Queen
agreed today to my request that parliament should be dissolved. As a result
there will now be a general election on February the twenty-eighth. The
issue before you is a simple one. As a country we face grave problems at
home and abroad. Do you want a strong government which has clear authority
for the future to take the decisions which will be needed ? Do you want
parliament and the elected government to continue to fight strenuously
against inflation? Or do you want a government which will abandon the struggle
against rising prices under pressure from one particular powerful group
of workers ?
Big changes have been taking place in the world outside. I am thinking
particularly of what has been happening about the supply and the price
of oil. If the negotiations for peace in the Middle East go well, we can
hope that oil supplies will go back to normal. But the price is four times
as high as before. The problems that creates are enormous for us, as they
are for every other country in the western world, the developing countries
as well as the industrialised countries. Prices of the food and other raw
materials which we import from the rest of the world have also gone up
very sharply in the last year. So what is happening elsewhere outside our
control is creating big new problems for us here in Britain. If we look
a little further ahead, the view is not so gloomy. If you look at our energy
prospects, they are better than most people's. We have a great coal industry,
despite everything that is happening now. We have nuclear skills equal
to any in the world and from next year we shall have steadily increasing
supplies of oil from the North Sea. And so if we don't allow ourselves
to be deluded, if we understand and accept the realities of our situation,
if we tackle our problems with resolution, with courage and with moderation,
and if we tackle our problems together, we have a bright future to look
forward to. But for that we need a government which can look to the future
and provide the firm and fair leadership which the country needs. That
is what I and my colleagues offer you today.
Some weeks ago many people were telling me that we should have called
an election then. I believed, and I still believe, that that would have
been wrong. I was quite sure it was our duty to put all our energies and
all our patience into trying to find a solution to the miners' dispute.
That is what we have been doing. We were asked to treat the miners as a
special case and we did so right from the very beginning. The terms of
our Stage III code were drawn up with just that particularly in mind. The
sixteen and a half percent they can get from the Coal Board's offer is
far more than the increases already accepted as fair by more than six million
other trades unionists. We do believe the miners are a special case. No
argument about it. We have demonstrated it not just with words, but with
deeds, by investing many hundreds of millions of pounds in the future of
mining, by putting money into pensions for miners' sickness benefits and
modernisation of the pits by stopping the long rundown of the mining industry
once and for all. We told the Mineworkers' Union that we were ready to
work out immediately with them and with the Coal Board what the future
structure of pay and benefits in the industry should be. Alas - the miners'
leaders did not respond. We were asked - I was asked in particular by the
Leader of the Opposition - to see if we could use the new report on relative
pay to see whether the miners might be entitled to more compared with other
industries. We offered to do so. I told the miners' loaders that. Again
they did not respond. They refused to discuss what the Relativities Report
might have to offer. Nevertheless, we thought it right to keep working
along this line. It is the only line on which a fair settlement can be
found, the sort of examination of the miners' claim which we have proposed.
So I have now asked Mr Whitelaw to set up immediately standing arrangement
for the examination of major relativity claims. This will be based on the
existing machinery of the Pay Board. As its first task this new machinery
will conduct a full examination of the miners' case. This examination will
be conducted in accordance with the principles of the Relativities Report.
It will take account of the relative claims of other groups, many of whom
such as nurses and teachers gave evidence during the preparation of the
report. It will be completely free to take evidence from any quarter and
to decide upon its recommendations. So it will be impartial. It will be
thorough. It will be fair - not only to the miners but to every one else.
And it will work as fast as is consistent with being fair. We don't want
it to feel that it has to hurry and skimp its work in order to meet a particular
date so the government is prepared to undertake that whatever recommendation
the new body makes on the miners' case can be back dated to the first of
March. Then in due course when the recommendations are known, we shall
need to take account of what they mean for the future development of our
policies for dealing with inflation. I have therefore asked the mineworkers'
leaders to call off their strike during the campaign. I am glad to hear
that the President of the National Union of Mineworkers has agreed to recommend
to his Executive Committee tomorrow that they should agree to do so.
Now, I know a lot of people have been asking : What will an election
prove ? The answer is this: an election gives you the people a chance to
say to the miners and to everyone else who wields similar power in Britain
"Times are hard. We are all in the same boat and if you sink us now we
will all drown." Once you have said that, then the government you elect
will be in a far stronger position to reach a settlement with the miners
which safeguards your interests as well as theirs. Your vote will indicate
who you trust to see you through the difficult years ahead. As you know,
we have a policy that gives a special place to the pensioner, to the lower
paid and to those who like the miners do dangerous and disagreeable jobs.
That is the fair way. The alternative is to let everybody fend for himself
and we have all seen what happens in that situation. The strongest wins
as he always does and the weakest go to the wall. That is the unfair way
and we will have no part in it.
So the issues are very clear. A strong
government to deal with our problems at home and abroad; new strength to
our arm in the fight against inflation. There is something else which I
must add. There are some people involved in the mining dispute who have
made it clear that what they want is to bring down the elected government,
not just this government but any government. They have made it clear they
want to change our whole democratic way of life. You've seen them on television
and I have seen them in action at first hand. The great majority of you
are fed up to the teeth with them and with the disruption that they cause.
The election gives you the chance to make it clear to these people how
you feel. I think they will find that to try to take advantage of the British
people when times are hard is not well advised, let them be reminded of
this through your vote in three weeks' time. I said we were living in a
difficult, even dangerous, world. I can't promise you single solutions
or easy answers; no party can honestly promise you that. But only one thing
can threaten our future; that is our continued tragic record of industrial
strife. We cannot afford the luxury of tearing ourselves apart any more.
This time the strife has got to stop. Only you can stop it. It is time
for you to speak with your vote. It is time for your voice to be heard
- the voice of the moderate and reasonable people of Britain, the voice
of the majority. It is time for you to say to the extremists, the militants,
and to the plain and simple misguided: "We have had enough. There is a
lot to be done - for heaven's sake let's get on with it." That is the true
and familiar voice of Britain. The voice of moderation and courage. That
is how it has spoken in those times in our history when the country has
faced great problems. That voice now has the, chance to speak once more,
to speak loud and clear.
14th February 1974
We've heard a lot lately about special cases, but in a fair society
there are quite a few special cases.
We've accepted our pay offer and I think that we are a
special case but we've been reasonable about it.
Well people they just don't have a sense of responsibility
these days. I mean everyone seems to want to grab everything for themselves.
They don't think about the consequences, what effect it's having on other
people especially the old in the community. I mean these are the innocent
ones who have to suffer. And it's no wonder that the public will get angry
when things go on like this. They can take so much I think; they can have
sympathy with these different strikers but in the end they are going to
get jolly cross about it all and say well get back to work and do your
Being fair to everyone is what Conservative government is all
about. Responsibility for those who can't look after themselves is very
much at the doorstep of Sir KEITH JOSEPH.
We very much want to bring help to those who need it.
We've expanded the National Health Service and the social services that
help people at home and in the community at record rates. But we know how
much there's still to do. We shall go on improving services for the elderly.
There have been record increases in the number of home helps and district
nurses, for instance, and for the mentally handicapped and the mentally
ill, the disabled and the deaf. We shall try to help deprived children.
We are paying benefits now, invalidity benefits and attendance allowance
that just didn't exist when we came to office, to more than half-a-million
households to help the chronically sick and those so disabled that they
need constant attention.
But the largest single group of people who need
help are the pensioners. Labour did produce one decent increase for them
in their first year of office, but, for their remaining five years they
did virtually nothing. An increase every second year, just enough to keep
pace with prices. We've done better. An increase now every year and big
enough, after allowing for rising prices, to enable pensioners to buy a
bit more each year.
So, compared with Labour, a bigger average increase
in real buying power twice as often. And, on top, two ten pound lump sums
and pensions for the over-eighties. I'm not saying the pension is as high
as we'd like it to be. Indeed not. Not as high, for instance, as in Holland
or Germany - much more prosperous countries - perhaps because they don't
have strikes the whole time. Strikes hurt pensioners. So, we've moved to
an annual increase. And now we're going to move to an increase every six
months. There'll be an increase later this year and thereafter about every
six months for pensioners, war pensioners, widows and those on attendance
allowance and invalidity pension. We shall at least keep pace with prices
and we shall try to make each increase a real one, better than is necessary
to keep pace with prices, as we've done up to now. We know there's much
more to do. We shall go on as we have these last years making real improvements
particularly in the services and cash needed by the elderly and the disabled.
Well I don't think if Mr Wilson had been in that we would
have got that ten pounds at Christmas and also we wouldn't have got the
rises that we have got with the Conservatives; and we pensioners have to
live in the same markets as their big wage does.
Stage three of the Government's incomes policy is the fairest
way to share the national cake. The power workers have already had their
slice. So have the school-teachers and the nurses. So far, six-million
people have settled for a reasonable slice, but there are some people who
want more than their fair share and we don't think that's fair.
Shall I tell you something I personally find deeply
disturbing and, from the people I've talked to as I travel up and down
the country, I don't think I'm the only one. That young nurse we saw earlier
summed it up when she said: "People don't seem to have a sense of responsibility
any more". If that's true, then we really are in a bad way. Perhaps I am
old-fashioned but I was brought up to believe that, because you were lucky
enough to be born in a free country, and thank heaven this still is a free
country, if you ever found yourself in a position of any authority, then
the price of that authority was a thing called responsibility. This Conservative
Government has gone to great lengths to look after those who can't look
after themselves. That, to me, is the real test of any government. And
you can never do enough, but I do believe we've tried harder and done more
than any government in modern times.
But you know that's only part of it
because a government has got to be fair to everyone and there are an awful
lot of people who don't have a powerful organisation to protect them. In
fact, that's most people. And it's most people who get crippled by that
terrible disease called inflation. It's to prevent that disease turning
into an epidemic we've called this election. We've just got to behave sensibly
and it's the responsibility of government to make sure that we do. The
sad thing about the present situation is the talking's stopped. When disagreements
go deep, whether they are well-founded or not, they don't go away in five
One of the things I learned in Northern Ireland is it's no good
giving up. You must go on until you find a solution. Of course, it takes
two to talk. For instance, we want to talk to the unions about our new
proposals on strike pay. We want to be fair about them but we do think
things will have to change. It doesn't seem fair to me that you should
foot the bill for someone else to strike, especially if that strike is
going to upset your life, while that union has quite a lot in the "kitty".
It comes back to responsibility. Trade unions are powerful organisations
and so they should be, but the price of that power is responsibility. Isn't
it fair that they should put their own hand in their own pocket first?
After that, of course, it is the duty of government to make sure that families
do not suffer. And then the Labour Party. They've got responsibilities,
too. But I do wish they'd show more signs of accepting them. It really
isn't responsible to promise things without saying how you propose to deliver
them. Blank cheques are all very well but they are inclined to bounce,
and it really isn't enough to say: "Well we'll solve everything because
we've got good connections with the unions." It's not too difficult to
have good connections if all you ever say is yes.
I remember someone saying to me about Labour at the last election: "They
are just fighting to stay in office. They don't have a cause." Well, we
have a cause. We are most definitely fighting for something. We are not
fighting against the unions. We are not fighting against the miners. We
are fighting to save this country and all the people in it from the sleeping
sickness of inflation and we will do whatever is required. We shall fight
the dangers from outside, whether they be the cost of oil or the world
price of food. These things are bound to affect us but to be forewarned
is forearmed. We shall fight the dangers within. We have no intention of
allowing extremists to divide us as a nation. This election finds us at
a moment of decision and at such moments in our history we have never failed
to put aside our differences and act as one. I have no doubt that we shall
do so again. We need each other. We must stand by each other. That is the
responsibility each of us has. Don't let us forget it.
Have you heard about Harold Wilson and his magic money? The miners
want a bit more - well give it to them. But what about nationalising a
couple of hundred companies? Well why not? Food subsidies, won't they cost
a few bob? Well, it's only money. When you've got magic money it doesn't
matter what you promise or what things cost. And where does Harold Wilson
get his magic money? From you.
If you're thinking of voting Labour - think about this. Honestly
now, which Labour Party do you think you're voting for? When you vote on
February the twenty eighth you have a choice to make. The Labour Party
want you to choose them but how do you know which Labour Party to choose?
And how much choice do Labour have? Take nationalisation. For years it's
been a dirty word, a bit of dead dogma. But suddenly the party machine
slips out of gear. Even Jim Callaghan admits the Labour Party is moving
to the left, and suddenly they want to take over your insurance policy,
your bank account, your mortgage, your pay packet. You name it - a million
or more people could find themselves working for the State, and it wouldn't
take much more of a move to the left and you could find yourself not even
owning your own home.
That's the real price of Labour. They're playing
a game with other people's lives. But however much Labour likes to dodge
the issue, the real problem is inflation. The biggest threat this country's
faced in time of peace. While a Conservative Government has built up a
pay and prices policy to protect us, what would Labour do? Take away our
only hope - a policy that most people in this country now feel is a necessary
defence, and put in its place - what? Another solemn and binding undertaking?
What real alternative do Labour offer? Even Roy Jenkins admits they have
no simple solution and in a Labour Party Broadcast only last Friday Shirley
Williams confirmed they could do nothing about prices. In other words,
they'll think of something - later.
But if you happen to be one of the eight million pensioners,
the three million lower paid, the sick, the weak, or any of those who've
been helped by a Conservative government, later could be too late.
But of course the real reason why Labour won't have an incomes
policy is that Labour can't have an incomes policy. The trade unions pay
the Labour Party's bills and their left-wingers' answer is simple - nothing
doing, no way. Finally, when you're considering Labour's policies, as you
should, consider what these men have said about the kind of Britain they
want to see.
"It's not negotiation in Downing Street that we want.
It's agitation in the streets of the country, to remove the Government."
"I'm out to make Britain a Communist State and if it
means acting against the law, so be it."
And then consider what this man has to say:
"The party can float an idea early in the year and
it can become official Labour Party policy by the autumn. "
And he should know, because Bert Ramelson is the party's industrial
organiser, and the party is the Communist Party.
What is at stake in this election makes it, without
doubt, by far the most important that any of us have seen in our lifetime,
I'll tell you why. Britain is a democracy and what that means quite simply
is that we abide by the will of the majority as expressed by parliament.
But now, in recent weeks, we've seen all too clearly certain men, who if
they got their way, would put an end to all that. These men reckon that
they've now got the power to create so much chaos that they can make the
British government, and so the British people, do just what they went.
And this is the crucial issue which has got to be decided, and decided
by you. What this election is going to decide is just what sort of a society
we want here in Britain - whether we're going to stick to the tradition
that parliament decides things or whether we're going to allow the industrial
force of a minority to take over what happens to our country.
when Mr McGahey, the Communist Vice- President of the Mineworkers' Union,
when he said that only massive industrial action can defeat the Tory Government,
when he said that he knew that in order to succeed he and his Communist
friends had to achieve two things. They first had to force a general election
- and the fact is, you know, and it may as well be admitted, that the action
which they advocated has forced a general election - but the second thing
they had to do to succeed in their Communist aims - as they frankly stated
- was to replace the Conservative government with a Labour government -
a Labour government that would be putty in their hands.
And if you doubt
that, remember that over these past few weeks the Labour party has resolutely
refused to make the slightest attempt to persuade the Mineworkers' Union
to stop the industrial disruption. And why? Because, like Mr McGahey, they
hope that it might succeed in defeating the policy of the elected government.
Twice the Prime Minister has urged Mr Wilson to support the government
in asking the miners to call off their strike during the election and twice
Mr Wilson has refused. Remember that, and ask yourself why he refused.
As Chancellor of the Exchequer there are really two aspects of the Labour
party's policy which worry me deeply and I hope you'll understand when
I say, with the experience which any Chancellor gets at the Treasury, that
I know what the consequences would be and I'll tell you. In the first place
the Labour Party are pledged to a big increase in government expenditure.
All right, there may be some argument about the actual amount but it's
agreed on all sides that it would be a substantial increase, over and above
existing plans. Now the one thing that is absolutely certain is that Labour's
programme would be bound to mean higher taxation and it would be you who
would have to pay for it. There simply is no other way.
The second aspect is what I must tell you I consider to be the appallingly
irresponsible pledge of the Labour Party, to abolish - to abolish altogether
- all control over incomes. Now, a pay free-for-all, at this particular
time, would make it quite impossible to get a grip on inflation. Mr Wilson
has now come up with the idea of what he calls a new social contract, but
you know he tried all this before and it failed before. And, anyway, did
you hear Mr Scanlon on television last night? I know Mr Scanlon and he's
certainly a straight talker. What he said, last night was absolutely clear.
He said that there's no real agreement between the T.U.C. and the Labour
Party - so that's that. I can tell you one thing: if we were now to abandon
all control over pay, at this of all times, prices would just go through
the roof. And it would be the elderly, the pensioners and all those who
haven't got powerful unions to back them, these are the people who would
go to the wall. And think very hard also about what I said earlier. The
stability of our parliamentary institutions, our political maturity - these
you know are admired and respected the world over - and this is why, this
is why people all over the world are waiting for the result next week.
They're waiting to see whether our parliamentary democracy - the oldest
in the world - is going to stand up to the test. Britain is the best country
in the world to live in. It's a free country. A democratic country. It's
a country which is run by the properly elected government and by no-one
else. Let's keep it that way.
22nd February 1974
I think the best description of government that I've heard is
crisis management, and about sixty percent of government work is responding
to situations which are not of your own making. Government is more than
simply trying to put into action the promises that are on a piece of paper
in a manifesto. They require experience and they also require the confidence
of statesmen on an international level. And on those particular grounds
I think that the present Conservative Ministers, the team which the Conservatives
are fielding at this election, has a record of experience which will be
of benefit to the country.
GEOFFREY JOHNSON SMITH:
This election has caused more people to think
more about what kind of country this is, and what's at stake, than ever
before. And probably nobody is more concerned than the young voter.
This election, like any election, is about getting something done,
about getting a party into government with a big enough majority to actually
achieve something. And I suppose when one's thinking about how one's going
to vote, one thinks about the party which is most likely to get something
done, the party most capable of achieving practical results. I shall vote
Conservative this time because in my view they are the party most capable
of meeting that requirement for me.
I run a youth club, and in my view most young people have a similar
requirement from a government. They're fed up with talk, they're fed up
with politicians, just sitting round discussing it, they want to get something
GEOFFREY JOHNSON SMITH:
How far do you think the Conservative Party
reflects the needs of young people?
Yes in terms of actually the ability to achieve something I think
it does mirror that need. Obviously elections are about the future, they
are about the next few years, I think this election is about the next fifty
years. But one has to look at the record, and one has to be practical about
this, who is most likely to achieve what I want to see achieved, what young
people want to see achieved. And in my view, yes, I do think the Conservative
Party reflects this. Obviously one can never do enough, there's never going
to be a time when one can sit back and say, right that's it, we're finished.
There's so much hardship in the world, but on the whole, yes I think the
Conservative Party does reflect that need.
This election has been about the kind of country we are
going to be. And I think everybody realised it, particularly the young,
not surprisingly because they are going to have to live their lives in
it, for a long time ahead. It's made everybody think about what they want
and what they believe in. It's made them more involved, and I don't see
how that can be anything but a good thing. It's too easy to leave things
to other people and then blame them when you don't like the outcome. I
suppose I went into politics in the first place for that sort of reason.
You get to a point when you realise that left to its own devices, society
isn't in a natural state of balance, and if some people aren't to be in
a permanent down, somebody has to pitch in and do something for them, and
if that's the case why shouldn't it be you. We don't think in terms of
things like democracy, you take that for granted and thank heaven you still
can. You want to see your country work better as a whole country. It doesn't
much matter whether you call it one nation or the fair society, you can't
have that united society while the most needy part of the community is
left out in the cold.
The question is how do you actually do it. At that
stage you don't think about political parties, certainly when I was young
I didn't know what I was. But when I came to the practical point of choosing
and seeing who could do actually what, it seemed to me that the Conservatives
represented a kind of mainstream. They seemed to embrace more different
groups in society and because of that they have a better all-round view
of the world and what could be done about it. They were practical politicians
and reformers - uncluttered by dogma. It seemed then, and it seems now,
to be the best vehicle for people who want to get things done. You see
I don't think it's enough for politicians to say they care, we all care
about people. What matters is what you can actually do for them. Idealism
by itself isn't enough, it doesn't feed the people, it doesn't protect
I became a Conservative all those years ago because I thought they
were concerned and also because I thought they were competent and I'm still
a Conservative for the same reasons today. We make our mistakes, we get
it wrong from time to time, but I do believe we get things done. Perhaps
we make the mistake of not saying enough about what we do. We've done more
for the pensioners, the first party to look at pensions every year, now
every six months to make sure they keep ahead of the cost of living. Pensions
for the over eighties, special benefits for the chronically sick and the
disabled. All these for the first time. We've done more for the lower paid,
family income supplements, freehold agreements, a whole new tax credit
system, in fact a whole incomes policy, carefully planned to help them
the most. And there are two-million families who under our Act received
rent rebates in both council and privately rented houses and flats. And
all of these things are happening for the first time.
We've looked for new areas of need, and we've tackled them
where we've found them. Now I know it's not always the way people think
about us and that's a pity, but if you look at the record you'll find that
there have been more innovations, more changes under a party called a Conservative
Party than with anyone else. I do believe we are a Party of change, and
we're not fighting yesterday's battles. We believe that everyone should
be free to find his own place to stand just as long as he respects everyone
else's right to do the same. I suppose we believe in constant evolution
and not sudden revolution, and I suppose that's really why our Party seems
to be able to appeal to people of all ages and from all classes. I'd like
you to think about what I've said when you vote because I do believe this
is the most important election we have any of us faced. When I look at
Labour I see a great party, but for the moment a party divided and uncertain
in where they are going, but uncertainty in today's world adds up to weakness.
Can we afford weakness? When I look at the Liberals I see a different choice.
In fact a man stopped me in the street the other day and put it into perspective.
He said to me, I'm a genuine don't know, why shouldn't I vote Liberal?
And it's not an easy question. Conservatives and Liberals after all are
not such different people, we both want to do many of the same kinds of
things for this country. I suppose I could have said to him, they don't
have the experience of government, which is an accident of history, but
still a fact of life. I could have asked him do you really think this is
the time to experiment? I could just have said that a Conservative government
would look after the whole community with fairness and govern with strength
and determination. I could have said that in my view we are the party that
best represents the needs of this country today. But what I actually said
was, you should vote Conservative because we need a government that can
govern. And I say the same thing to you tonight - if you want to get things
done give us a Conservative government that can govern. Ask yourself this
about the party you're thinking of voting for. Is it strong? Is it united?
Does it care? Could it do the job? Does it have the leaders? Would the
world respect it? Vote Conservative - it must be the right thing to do.
26th February 1974
June the eighteenth, 1970. A new tenant takes over an old
address, and makes a pledge.
This government will be at the service of all the people
- the whole nation. Our purpose is not to divide, but to unite and where
there are differences, to bring reconciliation. To create one nation.
In February 1974 he finds himself fighting that same battle
with more than just a political outcome at stake.
Our message to the militants is clear. We've had enough of you.
We're going to get on with the job. It's time to take a firm line, because
only by being firm can we hope to be fair.
You don't get to be Prime Minister without being a fighter
and in getting to Downing Street Ted HEATH took on a battle they said couldn't
be won - and won it. And he would need every bit of grit and determination
to tackle a world more torn with conflicts than at any time since the war
- conflicts that could only be resolved by meeting and talking.
But in today's world talk takes travel. No Prime Minister
has travelled further to put the British point of view, or put it to better
effect. Before long foreign observers would note with relief that Britain
was out in the world again.
It was late - but not too late. And it would pay dividends.
But the outside world is only one of a modern Prime Minister's concerns.
There are all those thousands of miles to be covered up and down the country
- more talking, more listening. All the time keeping a finger on the pulse
because how can you govern a country unless you know that country? Ted
HEATH knows his country and he's come to know it the way he knows best
- the hard way. And that way you learn more about what's going on in people's
minds and hearts, than anybody stuck behind a desk in Whitehall.
This is a man who got where he is by knowing what's going
on. At press conferences seasoned journalists agree they'd never come across
anyone with such a complete grasp of the whole range of government. HEATH
is a practical man. He likes to see things run efficiently. To do that
you need a strong team around you. He has that team. Their combined experience
and different talents makes the HEATH government one with real depth. They've
not been afraid to tackle some of the more deep-seated problems that have
beset us for years. HEATH himself is proud of the fact that we have tried
to do things other governments have only talked about doing. Ireland was
one of them. "It haunts us every day," said HEATH. "It requires patience,
imagination, and indeed humility to solve." But after hundreds of years
of bloodshed a real solution seemed in sight. Deep-seated problems don't
go away overnight. For more than half a century unions have struck attitudes
with employers, employers with unions. The HEATH Government actually did
something: they started a dialogue that offered a real chance of partnership.
A real solution to strife. We no longer live in ordinary times. It takes
an extraordinary man to be Prime Minister. But this is an extraordinary
man. A private man; a solitary man. These are some of the words that have
been used to describe him. Perhaps single-minded sums it up. For this is
a man with one concern: what happens to this country. "If I have one ambition,"
he said, "it is to move this country on." This is a man the world respects.
A man who has done so much and yet a man who has so much left to do. One
remark sums up how many people feel. On a walkabout during the election
campaign a reporter heard a woman in the crowd say: "I don't know much
about politics but I'll tell you one thing - we've only got one man who
can do the jobs and that's Ted HEATH."
Remember what this election is about. We are fighting
inflation. If we don't go on fighting it it will cripple us all - not only
for now but for a generation to come, maybe more. So it's your children
you're voting for, too. The government has a policy to beat inflation.
It's not easy but it's fair and it's fair for everyone. And it's working.
If you vote for a Conservative government it will go on working. But you
must decide. The alternative is to encourage a powerful minority - any
powerful minority - to believe they can bend the rules of the game when
it suits them, and make no mistake - if you vote any other way that is
the risk you'll run. You may think you're voting for other things, with
the beat of intentions but you could end up with more than you bargained
for. It's a short cut to chaos. But you must decide. What you must not
do is turn away. There's no excuse for saying after the event "Don't blame
me, I didn't do anything." When you vote ask yourself this question: will
you be voting for something or against everything else? Are you giving
your vote or giving it away? The line of least resistance can lead to the
most dangerous destinations. It's no good saying we'll stand firm next
time. This is next time. It's time to be for something.
These last three
and a half years we've tried to be for something, for quite a lot of things.
We haven't done enough yet, we know that. We've made our mistakes. But
we have worked, and cared, and done things that other governments have
just talked about doing and I'm proud of that. We've made this country
something to be reckoned with once more. And I am proud of that. We've
begun to create a partnership for progress between management and the unions
and we've come a lot further, a lot faster than many people believed possible.
And I'm proud of that. And we've begun to strike a better balance in our
society so that the people who can't stand up for themselves are still
given their fair share, without having to beg for it. And I'm particularly
proud of that. We've tried to be strong - not just for the sake of being
strong but because only the strong can protect the weak. You've got to
be strong to be moderate. It's weakness that leads to extremism. You must
have strength to influence events. If a government has no power to do what
has to be done at home it has no voice in the world outside either. I'm
sure sometimes you feel that world outside takes up too much of our time.
Perhaps it seems we're so busy with that we can't possibly know or care
what's happening in your street, to your life. Well if you think that,
ask one of the eight million pensioners, because they know we've done something
to make their lives better. And ask the three million of the lower paid
whether they haven't had a better deal these last three and a half years.
And ask one of the two million families living in a home made easier by
a rent rebate.
In fact, ask any one of those millions of people who have
no strong trade unions to argue their case. They haven't needed one because
this government has had the strength to look after their interests. We
are their trade union. People tell me I'm stubborn. Well, is it stubborn
to fight and fight hard to stop the country you love from tearing itself
apart? And is it stubborn to see that everyone in that country should have
the choice and the chance to take his life and make of it what he can?
And is it stubborn to want to see this country take back the place that
history means us to have? If it is - then, yes, I most certainly am stubborn.
But surely stubborn means not giving-up when the going gets rough. And
isn't stubborn another way of saying determined? We've had to be determined
these last few years for no government in recent times has been more tested
by events and each one has been dealt with firmly and decisively. We shan't
get on by giving up. We can't go on saying to the rest of the world - go
away, come back later, we're not ready for you. That's being afraid of
our future. We have never been afraid of the unknown. Dangers have never
deterred us. Whatever the future holds we must seize it, we must shape
it. If there is fire we shall face it and come through it stronger, wiser
more at one with each other. We've never failed to yet. I love this country.
I'll do all that I can for this country. And isn't that what you want to
do, too? We've started a job together. With your will we shall go on and
finish the job.
Ask yourself this about the party you're thinking of voting for.
Is it strong? Is it united? Could it do the job? Does it have the leaders?
Would the world respect it? Vote Conservative - it must be the right thing