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Old 30-09-2017, 09:43 PM   #57
grimstock
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Margaret Thatcher interview (excerpt) from Weekend World, January 16th 1983: (prior to the 1983 election)


Brian Walden

All right Prime Minister let me swing away from the economy now, to ask you something rather more general but I think very important. Politics isn’t all about promises and pledges and rates of inflation and percentages. A great deal of it is about vision. People have to get a feel of what they’re being offered and why they’re being offered it. Now, in your case, I happen to personally believe that this is rather more important both for good and for ill—as far as the Conservative Party is concerned—than it has been with most Prime Ministers for a long time, so can I ask you—What sort of Britain do you eventually want? And give you some benchmarks to go at. Am I wrong when I say that what you seem to be looking for is a more self-reliant Britain, a thriftier Britain, a Britain where people are freer to act, where they get less assistance from the State, where they’re less burdened by the State, is that the sort of Britain that you want to bring about at the end of your Premiership?

Margaret Thatcher

Yes, very much so. And where people are more independent of the State. I think we went through a period when too many people began to expect their standard of living to be guaranteed by the State, and so great protest movements came that you could, by having sufficient protests, sufficient demonstrations against Government, get somehow a larger share for yourself, and they looked to the protest and the demonstrations and the strikes to get a bigger share for them, but it always had to come from the people who really strived to do more and to do better.

Brian Walden

All right, now you know, when you say you agree with those values, those values don’t so much have a future resonance, there’s nothing terribly new about them. They have a resonance of our past. Now obviously Britain is a very different country from the one it was in Victorian times when there was great poverty, great wealth, etc., but you’ve really outlined an approval of what I would call Victorian values. The sort of values, if you like, that helped to build the country throughout the 19th Century. Now is that right?

Margaret Thatcher

Oh exactly. Very much so. Those were the values when our country became great, but not only did our country become great internationally, also so much advance was made in this country. Colossal advance, as people prospered themselves so they gave great voluntary things to the State. So many of the schools we replace now were voluntary schools, so many of the hospitals we replace were hospitals given by this great benefaction feeling that we have in Britain, even some of the prisons, the Town Halls. As our people prospered, so they used their independence and initiative to prosper others, not compulsion by the State. Yes, I want to see one nation, as you go back to Victorian times, but I want everyone to have their own personal property stake. Property, every single one in this country, that’s why we go so hard for owner-occupation, this is where we’re going to get one nation. I want them to have their own savings which retain their value, so they can pass things onto their children, so you get again a people, everyone strong and independent of Government, as well as a fundamental safety net below which no-one can fall. [Churchill] Winston put it best. You want a ladder, upwards, anyone, no matter what their background, can climb, but a fundamental safety net below which no-one can fall. That’s the British character.

Brian Walden

Shall I put to you the argument that I think is most likely to be put against that, and by the way I’m bound to say an extremely frank and revealing statement of your basic attitudes. But a lot of people will say, ‘Well, it’s all very well Mrs Thatcher talking about Victorian values and citing self-reliance and all these excellent things, but that isn’t going to give us equality. If we’re going to have those sorts of values we’re going to have a more unequal, or at least an equally unequal society than the one we’ve got at the moment. Thatcher will never give you equality’. Now what do you say to that?

Margaret Thatcher

That nations that have gone for equality, like Communism, have neither freedom nor justice nor equality, they’ve the greatest inequalities of all, the privileges of the politicians are far greater compared with the ordinary folk than in any other country. The nations that have gone for freedom, justice and independence of people have still freedom and justice, and they have far more equality between their people, far more respect for each individual than the other nations. Go my way. You will get freedom and justice and much less difference between people than you do in the Soviet Union.

Brian Walden

All right, then that’s your view on equality. What would you say to those people who are not necessarily equalitarians, but say, ‘The trouble is, Mrs Thatcher, we don’t find your vision compassionate enough. You’re not—you’re too concerned with various economic regenerations and all the rest of it. You don’t appear to have sufficient compassion, either in your character or in your Government.’ Now what would you say to that?

Margaret Thatcher

Compassion isn’t determined by how much you get together demonstrations in the street to protest to government that government, which is other tax-payers, must do more. It’s determined by how much you are prepared to do yourself. Of course we have basic social services, we will continue to have those, but equally compassion depends upon what you and I, as an individual, are prepared to do. I remember my Alfred Roberts father telling me that at a very early age. Compassion doesn’t depend upon whether you get up and make a speech in the market-place about what governments should do. It depends upon how you’re prepared to conduct your own life, and how much you’re prepared to give of what you have to others. [end p30]

Brian Walden

All right, now I think we’ve learnt from you this morning in very clear terms what the resolute approach means. It means that your options on the general election are open from June onwards, you haven’t pre-empted them. It means that you feel that the pound may well rally and you don’t think it’s going to have a great impact on inflation. We’ve learnt that you’re still very, very firm on nuclear weapons and that you feel that it’s the Russians that must make the concessions. We’ve learnt on the economy that you more or less intend to adhere to what you’ve been following through. Can I ask you a very last question, for unfortunately a very brief answer. What do you say to those people, and there are some you know, who say, ‘The ends are all splendid, it’s the means, does she have to be so bossy, does she have to be so strident, couldn’t it all be done much more emolliently and consensually?’ What would you say to them?

Margaret Thatcher

Consensually, anyone who’s had any convictions has always put those convictions. There would have been no great prophets, no great philosophers in life, no great things to follow, if those who propounded the views had gone out and said ‘Brothers, follow me, I believe in consensus.’ No Brian, no.

Brian Walden

So it’s going … it’s the tough approach, verbally as in every other way?

Margaret Thatcher

No, it’s the sincere approach.

Brian Walden

All right …

https://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/105087

Last edited by grimstock; 01-10-2017 at 07:11 AM.
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