She was an irrepressible force for liberty. A lioness who minced no words. Fierceness personified. Britain and the world are better off because of Margaret Thatcher’s towering battles in defense of freedom and free markets. The world should mourn not just her passing, but that such leaders as the Iron Lady are so few and far between.
One of Thatcher’s classic moments debating blithering socialist blockheads on her legacy:
Bookmark, re-read, and share with your children: The essential Margaret Thatcher.
Margaret Thatcher paying tribute to Ronald Reagan on his 83th birthday:
And from her speech to Britain’s Conservative Party Conference in 1975, Thatcher’s blunt and timeless diagnosis of the economic and moral ills of destructive left-wing policies:
The economic challenge has been debated at length in this hall.
Last week it gave rise to the usual scenes of cordial brotherly strife.
Day after day the comrades called one another far from comradely names, and occasionally, when they remembered, they called us names too.
Some of them, for example, suggested that I criticised Britain when I was overseas. They are wrong.
It wasn’t Britain I was criticising. It was-Socialism. (Applause).
And I will go on criticising Socialism, and opposing Socialism because it is bad for Britain—and Britain and
Socialism are not the same thing.
As long as I have health and strength, they never will be. (Applause).
But whatever could I say about Britain that is half as damaging as what this Labour Government have done to our country?
Let’s look at the record.
It is the Labour Government that have caused prices to rise at a record rate of 26 per cent a year.
They told us that the Social Contract would solve everything. But now everyone can see that the so-called contract was a fraud—a fraud for which the people of this country have had to pay a very high price.
It is the Labour Government whose policies are forcing unemployment higher than it need have been—thousands more men and women lose their jobs every day.
There are going to be men and women many of them youngsters straight out of school—who will be without a job this winter because Socialist Ministers spent last year attacking us, instead of attacking inflation.
And it’s the Labour Government that have brought the level of production below that of the 3-day week in 1974. W’ve really got a 3-day week now,—only it takes five days to do it. (Applause).
It’s the Labour Government that have brought us record peace-time taxation. They’ve got the usual Socialist disease—they’ve run out of other people’s money. (Laughter).
And it’s the Labour Government that have pushed public spending to record levels.
And how’ve they done it? By borrowing, and borrowing and borrowing.
Never in the field of human credit has so much been owed. (Laughter). End of section checked against ITN News at Ten, 10 October 1975.
But serious as the economic challenge is, the political and moral challenge is just as grave, perhaps more so.
Economic problems never start with economics. They have deeper roots—in human nature and in politics.
They don’t finish at economics either.
Labour’s failure to cope, to look at the nation’s problems from the point of view of the whole nation, not just one section of it, has led to loss of confidence and a sense of helplessness.
With it goes a feeling that Parliament, which ought to be in charge, is not in charge—that the actions and the decisions are taken elsewhere.
And it goes deeper than that. There are voices that seem anxious not to overcome our economic difficulties, but to exploit them, to destroy the free enterprise society and put a Marxist system in its place.
I sometimes think the Labour Party is like a pub where the mild is running out. If someone doesn’t do something soon, all that’s left will be bitter. (Laughter). And all that’s bitter will be Left. (Laughter).
Whenever I visit Communist countries, their politicians never hesitate to boast about their achievements.
They know them all by heart and reel off the facts and figures, claiming that this is the rich harvest of the Communist system.
Yet they are not prosperous as we in the West are prosperous, and they are not free as we in the West are free.
Our capitalist system produces a far higher standard of prosperity and happiness because it believes in incentive and opportunity, and because it is founded on human dignity and freedom. (Applause).
Even the Russians have to go to a capitalist country, America to buy enough wheat to feed their people. And that aftermore than 50 years of a State controlled economy.
Yet they boast incessantly while we, who have so much more to boast about, forever criticise and decry.
Isn’t it time we spoke up for our way of life? (Applause) After all, no Western nation has to build a wall round itself to keep its people in. (Applause).
So let us have no truck with those who say the free enterprise system has failed. What we face today is not a crisis of capitalism, but of Socialism. No country can flourish if its economic and social life is dominated by nationalisation and state control.
The cause of our shortcomings does not therefore lie in private enterprise. Our problem is not that we have too little socialism. It is that we have too much.
THE FREE SOCIETY AND THE ECONOMY
A man’s right to work as he will to spend what he earns to own property to have the State as servant and not as master these are the British inheritance.
They are the essence of a free economy. And on that freedom all our other freedoms depend. (Applause). End of section checked against ITN Early Evening News, 10 October 1975.
But we want a free economy, not only because it guarantees our liberties, but also because it is the best way of creating wealth and prosperity for the whole country.
It is this prosperity alone which can give us the resources for better services for the community, better services for those in need. (Applause).
By their attack on private enterprise, this Labour Government have made certain that there will be next to nothing available for improvements in our social services over the next few years.
We must get private enterprise back on the road to recovery, not merely to give people more of their own money to spend as they choose, but to have more money to help the old and the sick and the handicapped.
The way to recovery is through profits. Good profits today, leading to high investment, well-paid jobs and a better standard of living tomorrow. (Applause).
No profits mean no investment, and a dying industry geared to yesterday’s world.
Other nations have recognised that for years now. They are going ahead faster than we are; and the gap between us will continue to increase unless we change our ways.
The trouble here is that for years the Labour Party have made people feel that profits are guilty-unless proved innocent.
But when I visit factories and businesses I do not find that those who actually work in them are against profits. On the contrary, they want to work for a prosperous concern. With a future—their future. (Applause).
Governments must learn to leave these companies with enough of their own profits to produce the goods and jobs for tomorrow.
If the Socialists won’t or can’t there will be no profit making industry left to support the losses caused by fresh bouts of nationalisation.
And if anyone says I am preaching laissez-faire, let me say this.
I am not arguing, and never have argued, that all we have to do is to let the economy run by itself.
I believe that, just as each of us has an obligation to make the best of his talents so governments have an obligation to create the framework within which we can do so. Not only individual people, but individual firms and particularly small firms. (Applause).
Some of these will stay small but others will expand and become the great companies of the future.
The Labour Government have pursued a disastrous vendetta against small businesses and the self-employed. We will reverse their damaging policies. (Applause).
Now let me turn to something I spoke about in America.
Some Socialists seem to believe that people should be numbers in a State computer. We believe they should be individuals.
We are all unequal. No one, thank heavens, is like anyone else, however much the Socialists may pretend otherwise.
We believe that everyone has the right to be unequal but to us every human being is equally important.
Engineers, miners, manual workers, shop assistants, farm workers, postmen, housewives—these are the essential foundations of our society. Without them there would be no nation. (Applause).
But their are others with special gifts who should also have their chance, because if the adventurers who strike out in new directions in science, technology, medicine, commerce and industry the arts are hobbled, there can be no advance.
The spirit of envy can destroy. It can never build…
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