Conservative Party Election Broadcasts from October 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
24th September 1974
JOHN MOORE(on telephone):
Hello, John Moore here.
This is Tom King. Down in the south west we have already seen
all too clearly one aspect of the present crisis, and this has been the
appalling increase in rates. People have been faced with ever-rising prices
in the shops, substantial increases in so many bills, and then suddenly
on top of it all the savage increase in rates.
Sarah Hogg here.
Marcus Fox. Er, this is an industrial area in the north.
We have known hard times in the past when jobs were impossible to find
and today there is unease and a fear that it could happen again, a feeling
that things are not right and yet what can be done. Is it so inevitable,
and are we so helpless to prevent it.
John Moore here.
Eric Cochrane in the north west. People here are very
worried about unemployment, which is going up steadily. Everywhere I go
people ask "Look, we've heard a lot about crises in the past from politicians.
Is this crisis really different from previous ones?"
People in this country are more worried than at any time
since the war. Britain faces an economic crisis, and they're waiting to
see what, if anything, can be done about it. During the election campaign,
we shall be listening to the things that are on your mind as you make up
your mind on how you'll vote in the most important general election in
our lifetime. All over the country Conservative candidates will be going
round, talking to people in their constituencies and they'll be keeping
in touch with us here.
In turn. we shall be keeping in touch with Conservative
shadow ministers and putting your questions to them. What would a new Conservative
government do to put Britain back on course in this crisis? But perhaps
we should really begin by asking is there a crisis, and how bad is it?
What are the facts?
Let's look at the facts. And the fact is that Britain is in the
red. This year alone we're having to borrow four thousand million pounds
to pay for the things we buy. Now that's two hundred pounds for every family
in this country - three times what it was a year ago. Now it would be one
thing if being in debt solved all our other problems. But it doesn't. Take
inflation. Last year it was going up at the rate of nine percent. Today
it's doubled. Eighteen percent. Although, um, yesterday Mr Healey seemed
to make it come out at only eight point four percent, and so the Conservative
and Liberal manifestos were telling lies. I can only imagine he hadn't
read this: "Inflation afflicts all the countries of the world. From Japan
to France, from the United States to Britain, prices are rising at between
fifteen and twenty five percent a year". And that comes from the Labour
So even Labour agree that inflation is a world wide problem
these days. Well then, is it so bad if we're all in the same boat? The
trouble is, it's not the same boat. Because this time last year Britain
was sixth in the inflation league table. Today we've dropped to tenth.
There's only Italy between us and the second division. Now if you think
er inflation is an abstract sort of word, let's look at prices. The same
story: up and up. The Labour government has made efforts, but they've only
made things worse. And it's not just the price of things in the high street.
It's all the other bills that keep landing on the mat. Any one of them
is up by between fifteen and thirty percent. And then there are the rates.
This year they've risen by up to fifty pence in the pound, and they won't
stop there. But perhaps it's worth putting up with all that because at
least we've all got a job, and that's something to be grateful for. But
have we all got a job? Today, six hundred and forty seven thousand of us
haven't. And you can see the trend. Before long it could be off the chart.
And that's just where it will go if wages go on rising. In the last year
we've given ourselves. at least some of us have, an increase in our wage
packet of twenty percent. And what have we done to earn it? How much more
have we produced? Ten percent, fifteen percent? Nothing - absolutely nothing.
We're paying ourselves what we haven't earned. That's what this crisis
is about, and that's a fact.
JOHN MOORE (?):
Those are the facts. Are we in a vicious circle that
can't be broken? Or could the new Conservative government get us out of
it, and how? Earlier today Sarah Hogg talked to EDWARD HEATH.
Mr Heath, when we talked about this crisis last week you
said something that intrigued me. You said no government could save this
country unless the country wanted to save itself.
Well how can we save ourselves?
By uniting on the things we have in common. Why should
we British always emphasise our differences? We ought to concentrate on
the things which unite us, not on those things which divide us.
But even if we can agree on what's gone wrong, can we agree
about how to put it right?
Yes, I believe that there's a great area with things which
we hold in common er which would enable us to overcome this crisis.
What are these things we have in common?
Well, first of all let us agree that if we're going to
be able to pay for what we buy from overseas our industry has got to be
able to produce the goods. Then let us put fresh heart into industry, let
us banish the threat of nationalisation which hangs over so much of it
and the threat of state interference and control from departments in Whitehall
and from civil servants.
Er it's easier to discourage industry though than to encourage
it. Just how would you put heart back into industry?
Well, the one of the main problems which industry is finding
at the moment is that it just hasn't got the cash to enable it to carry
on its daily activities, yet alone to invest. Er, the government in fact
has been taking so much cash in the form of taxation. We've simply got
to put this right. And on the shop floor men now and women are in fear
of losing their jobs. They see unemployment mounting and we've got to be
able to show them that if they are producing more, if industry has got
the means to carry on its activities, why then this is in the national
interest and their jobs will become more secure.
But they will only become secure if we can have industrial
peace. How can you guarantee that?
No man, no government can guarantee industrial peace,
but I do believe that there is when there is a proper realisation of this
crisis by all those who are working in industry, management and men, then
surely they will have new approach to industrial relations and realise
there's really no place in this country at the moment for the waste of
production which ensues every time we have a strike er or a stand off of
some kind or other.
But how can you convince them of this, how can you convince
them that your government will be a truly national government?
Because we in the Conservative party are putting forward
policies which we believe the great majority of people in this country
can accept, and which they will recognise are in the national interest.
That is why I am asking for a Conservative government to be returned with
a majority, and when we have our majority then I will consult with the
other party leaders in parliament, all of them, and with those outside
of parliament so that we can get the widest possible measure of agreement
on the er action necessary to overcome this crisis.
But what could this national government do that an ordinary
one party Tory or Labour government couldn't?
I believe it can produce policies which will have the
support of the great majority of the people of this country and it'll be
because that is evident within parliament that we shall get the response
of a united country to the action which we take. I'm absolutely certain
that that is the only way we can overcome a crisis of the scale, magnitude
and kind which is facing us at the moment.
Mr Heath, thank you.
27th September 1974
I'm not really sure yet erm I'd like I'd like something different
and I'd like some sort of a a government that would be able to sit down
with lots of different people and and discuss it all from different parties
and different walks of life erm, it just seems so much more sensible
erm I think probably there are a lot of people who agree with me and who
aren't really sure how they're going to vote yet.
What happens at this election will decide what kind of Britain
you and your children will live in for the rest of your lives. And that's
a decision you can't put off until next time - maybe you did that last
time. But now things are getting worse. And you know they are. Prices are
rising faster, bigger bills keep on coming in, your money is losing its
meaning, your savings are going down the drain, and so is your peace of
mind, because you can't even be sure of your job. Something has got to
be done. And somebody has got to know what to do.
All through the election campaign, we've been up and down
the country talking and listening and looking at what's happening and why
it's happening, and what can be done about it. There's no doubt the crisis
is beginning to bite very hard indeed. All over the country we're seeing
new kinds of need, new kinds of hardship, we're seeing the real price which
inflation makes people pay. Thousands and thousands of people who want
nothing more than to be left to get on with their lives are now finding
that they can no longer make ends meet. Life is getting too much for them,
and they wonder "does anybody care?" Lots of small firms, and some not
so small firms, are suddenly finding that they haven't got the cash to
carry on, so they've got to lay people off. And they wonder "does anybody
know?" Everywhere people who've never asked for much now feel that they
have nothing and nobody. And these people are then told by Labour that
there is no 'meeting point', to use Labour's own words, no meeting point
between them and the people Labour claim to represent. But there are millions
of people Labour don't represent, most of the people of this country in
fact. And Labour dare to say 'no meeting point'. No meeting point because
you don't happen to agree, no meeting point even though we're all British?
No wonder people feel forgotten. Well, we've not forgotten them. They've
told us what's worrying them, and we're going to give them a new deal,
a new deal for Britain. In this crisis the first thing we must do is to
protect people wherever we can, and through the campaign we've spelt out
how. There's no such thing as security if you haven't got a roof over your
head. The first thing we must protect is people's homes. So there'll be
a new deal for homes.
First, the mortgage rate will be cut to nine and a half percent.
That's for all mortgages, not just new ones. Whatever you're paying now,
nine and a half percent by Christmas. Second, help with the deposit for
the first mortgage. If you save, the state will help you. Third, for council
tenants, the right in law to buy their home at two-thirds its market value.
Fourth, an end to the domestic rates within five years, and immediate action
All of that will help, and it'll help millions of people
now. Next we must protect people's pensions. And we shall do that now.
So, a new deal for pensions.
First, pensions will be increased twice a year and the first increase
will be by February at the latest. Second, this applies to old age pensions,
public service pensions and disability pensions. Third, the ten pounds
Christmas bonus which the Conservatives started will be paid this year
as usual. Fourth, we shall relax the earnings rule and scrap it as soon
as we can. Fifth, the starting point at which people over sixty-five pay
tax will also be raised.
Now these five measures really do add up to a new deal
for the pensioner, and all of that will help. And of course the other thing
we've got to protect is people's jobs. We've got to get rid of these Labour
policies that are actually causing more and more unemployment. So there's
a new deal for industry.
Industry will be allowed to keep the cash to pay its way, and provide
the jobs people need.
And again that will help. We can't create jobs over night,
but we can make a start. We will do all of these things right away, they
can't wait. They will help us hold the line against inflation. There'll
all practical, there'll all possible. They must be done. Is there really
no meeting point between the parties on things like these? Now I've told
you very clearly where we stand, that's what you're voting for if you vote
Conservative. If I were you I'd ask myself what voting Labour means. Or
even voting Liberal. Because those Liberal votes gave you a Labour government
last time, and it could very easily happen again, for all the wrong reasons.
If you vote Labour, for instance, you'll be voting for nationalisation.
You may choose to think you're voting for something else, but that's what
you'll get. You can't have one without the other.
And this is what it means:
it means higher prices, fewer jobs, and no choice - no choice of goods,
no choice of jobs, and the state pushing its nose into every aspect of
your life. Is that what you want? Labour want you to put your money on
the same old deal all over again. Well, it's your money. I must warn you,
the next Labour government will be nothing like the last one. We've yet
to see their true colours, but we will do if you give them the chance.
Within five years you wouldn't recognise this country and your children
certainly won't. And there'll be no way back. Is that what you want? Ask
yourselves what's important in your life. What are Labour likely to do
for you? Are you self-employed? Perhaps you own your own shop or small
business. Labour will increase your national insurance contributions by
as much as a hundred and sixty pounds a year. A Conservative government
will put a stop to that. And if you're a farmer, a Conservative government
will give you an immediate review and more cash - you won't get that if
Labour gets in. And with Labour and their taxes you may not even be able
to pass your farm onto your son. Unless you're one of what Labour consider
the useful people, Labour will leave you out. All they want is your vote,
and they're quite prepared to frighten you into giving it to them. "Vote
for us, or else" is what they say. Well, it won't work.
In this country
we vote with our hearts and we vote in private. We're not to be bought
and we're not to be bullied. We've never faced the kind of problems which
we're facing today. It's a different and dangerous world out there. We
can't cope with it by looking inwards all the time. We've got to keep our
friends, we've got to make new friends, for our security and for our future.
And we can't go on doing things in the old way. It doesn't work any more.
And people know it doesn't work. They want to see something different.
They use different words to express it, but they're all saying the same
thing. They're saying "things are serious, so why don't you politicians
stop arguing, get together and sort things out?" And it's a good question,
why can't we? It's the only way, the only sensible way, to tackle our long-term
problems. No one party has all the right answers, how can it? We must get
together for all our sakes.
Only one party, the Conservative party, has
said that it will. We will form a coalition of talents that can out Britain
back on course, that can unite this country. It must be the right answer.
It must at least be right to try. If you tell us by your vote that this
is what you want I believe that men of good will from all parties will
listen to the voice of Britain. This country belongs to us all. How can
we be strangers, one to another? We must get together and work together.
If it means sacrifices we shall make sacrifices together. But we must find
the meeting point. If you elect a Conservative majority I promise you this:
this country will come through, there will be a new beginning, there will
be new hope, it is the only way.
3rd October 1974
VOX POP MAN 1:
I'm all right Jack - it's the same as everybody
in this country we're all out to feather our own beds - it it's a cold
hard truth, we all want to earn our own money. If that man
over there's earning fifty pound a week and I want to take home a hundred
and twenty pound - I'm all right Jack
But are you all right Jack? If you haven't got a strong trade
union behind you, digging its heels in, and pushing through a large wage
increase for you, the chances are you're anything but all right. So nobody
listens to you. And if nobody listens what are they going to do for you?
Now we don't think that's right. And that's why a Conservative government
is going to introduce a national contract, one with all the people in this
country, not with just some of them. On election day, you elect your MP,
you expect him to look after the interests of all the people, not just
his party. It's the same with the government. It has a contract with all
the people. It cannot and must not serve just one section. People have
to be protected. Inflation's a killer. It's because we're determined to
protect people that we put homes and jobs and pensions slap bang at the
top of our list of priorities. Of course we've got to protect the pensioners,
and we've already said very clearly what we shall be doing.
Yes, we're going to do four things for pensioners, and we're
going to start doing them straight away. First, we're going to increase
pensions twice a year and pay the first increase as from February at the
latest. Second. we're going to pay the ten pound Christmas bonus again
this year, just as the Conservative government did in each of the last
two years. Third. we're going to scrap the earnings rule as soon as we
can and start relaxing it straight away. Fourth, we're going to raise the
starting point at which people over sixty-five begin to pay tax. Now these
four measures really do add up to a new deal for old people.
So that's straight forward. But it's going to be much harder
to protect people's jobs, and that's where these big wage increases don't
help at all. They simply feed inflation. They make employers - state, private,
it doesn't matter who they are - it makes them say: "Well, if that's what
it costs to employ people I can't afford to employ so many of them". So
you get unemployment. That's happening now. You've got the ridiculous situation
of firms with full order books and they haven't got the cash to pay the
wages. So they have to lay people off. So Labour policies are actually
causing unemployment, and more nationalisation will only make things worse,
and nobody wants it anyhow. But these wage increases are also doing something
else that I find very worrying. They're creating new divisions in our society
that were never there before. We used to talk, and I'm afraid we still
do, about rich and poor, the haves and have-nots, today it's not that simple.
There really are a lot of people who have got nobody to protect them. There
are millions of them. They've no trade union, they've no voice, and you
could be one of them.
VOX POP WOMAN:
Well, I think that we were brought up as working class
VOX POP MAN 1:
VOX POP WOMAN:
And we have tried to improve ourselves er educationally,
and looked to better things than our parents had, erm and we seem to be
penalised for it.
VOX POP MAN 1:
In terms of what was er achieved so far and instead
of being able to progress we're held back. I- I - it I think we're typical
of a large number of people who want to be independent of of the local
authority, want to be independent of large erm Labour unions erm who have
found it very difficult to survive over the last erm six months, nine months
and it's not a case now of us thinking how our standard of living is going
down, it's already gone down, and we've seen that happening, and I think
there are lots of young people now who have er to some extent gone out
on a limb to buy a house who are finding things very very tight, and the
children suffer, erm we don't pursue anything particularly brilliant in
terms of a lifestyle but we do feel that there ought to be some reward
at the end of the line for people who are prepared to work hard.
VOX POP MAN 2:
Mortgage payments at the moment are very high. I think
we're paying here eleven and a quarter percent. If that rate of mortgage
interest went up anymore than that frankly I don't quite know what we'd
do about it, because eleven and a quarter when we took it out was fine
but er with inflation and everything else at the moment if it goes up much
higher we could have a big problem.
VOX POP WOMAN 2:
It's not only a question of the mortgage repayments,
there's also the rates which at the moment are very high.
Mr and Mrs Maybury were only saying what a lot of
people are thinking. Nothing is more important than the security that comes
from knowing you've a home of your own. But it's becoming more and more
of a problem to get that home. And when you've got it, to meet the costs
of running it. We're determined to make it less of a problem. And we've
said how. Just let me repeat it. Nine and a half percent mortgages from
Christmas. And that's not just for new mortgages, it doesn't matter what
rate you're paying now, from Christmas, down it comes to nine and a half
percent. And then special cash help for people trying to get a deposit
together for their first home. And people who have been council tenants
for at least three years will have the right in law to buy their home at
two-thirds the market value.
But what if you've started to buy your home,
and then find you can't afford the running costs? What about the rates?
For many people, what was difficult has become almost impossible. But of
course the whole system wasn't really fair to begin with. You can have
an old retired couple living next door to a family with two or three wage
earners bringing in, say, eight pounds a week , and next door again is
a young married couple with small children, just starting out on say forty
pounds a week. And yet they all pay the same rates. It's just not fair.
The Conservative government is going to put an end to this, and we're going
to make a start straight away. Next year we shall take teachers' salaries
off the rates and have them paid by the government. That means there'll
be immediate relief. And you'll be able to see the difference in the first
rate demand you receive next year. That's just a start. Within the next
five years, as soon as we can manage it, we shall get rid of rates all
together. The bills will be paid from the ordinary tax system, and that
must be a fairer way to do things.
VOX POP MAN 2:
Maybe one man's forty thirty forty percent wage increase
is another man's thirty forty percent cost increase, and it's those who
have got the power and the might behind them with the unions that certainly
seem to be getting the better end of the deal at the moment.
We've just got to put an end to'them' and 'us'. There's no need
for it, there's no time for it. We've got to start working together for
all our sakes. The problems we face today are too severe for any one party
to solve on its own. That is why we have to get together. That is the only
way we have a chance to beat inflation, and avoid another winter of strikes.
I don't believe that the trade unions will refuse to work with a government
which represents all the people of this country, a democratically elected
government. We want a clear majority so that we can form a government of
national unity, of all those who put Britain first. That is a firm promise.
A week today you cast your vote. Thursday October the tenth. On Monday
the fourteenth, we shall be making a start, we shall sit round that table,
all of us, and start working together. A national government of all the
people - that's what this country needs. And the only way it's going to
get it, is to vote Conservative.