tvParty Election Broadcasts

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 Leeds.

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 job.


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 minutes.

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.

Conservative 19.2.74


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, and 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.

You see, 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.


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 done.


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 people.

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 and 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 to do.

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Last Modified: 22 Oct 12
© Richard Kimber