Government apart, the strength of a civilized nation depends on the natural authourity of the family, the school, the church and our great institutions. Who is to answer the child crying for help? Who is to protect the elderly couple? Who can win back the youngster hooked on drugs? Police, social workers, the voluntary organizations all must do respond. But that is not enough. We are the neighbours of that child, of that elderly couple, of that youngster. Upholding the law can’t be left to the police and the courts alone. We are all involved. We can not pass by on the other side.
Come with us then towards the next decade. Let us together set our sights on a Britain that three out of four families own their homes, that owning shares is as common as having a car, where families have a degree of independence their forefathers could only dream about: a Britain where there is a resurgence of enterprise, of more people self-employed, more businesses and therefore more jobs; a Britain where there is a standard health care far better than anything we have ever known.
Yes! We have set our sights high, but these goals are within our reach. Let us ensure that we’ll bring them within our grasp.
In the past eight years something has changed in Britain, perhaps the most important change for a generation. Quite simply, it is a change of the spirit. People all over Britain are finding a new confidence and a new pride. The Conservative Government didn’t create that spirit. It’s the true spirit of the British people. What we did was just set it free. We were determined to give people back the incentive to work and the confidence to save. That’s why we have to cut inflations; that’s why we would determine to take power from the trade union bosses and give it back to Union members; and that’s why we abolished a whole mass of controls, and we stopped government trying to run businesses, which is something politicians have never been much good at. So we privatized them. The manager is managed, the workers shared in the ownership and the industries turned from losses into profit. As a result of all this, the living standards in this country are the highest there have ever been. Britain really is a country again and this prosperity is spreading steadily through the Community. Thirty years ago only thirty people in a hundred owned their own homes. Today it’s sixty-five in every hundred. It’s always been the dream and the ambition of the Conservative Party that what used to be the luxuries of the few should become the daily experience, indeed the necessity of the many. It’s happening with homes; it’s happening with shares, and it is happening with savings. And the result has been a greater prosperity. It’s not only our standard of living that has increased, it means we’ve been able to put greater resources into health and social security, but you can only do that when you first created the prosperity. And all this has been achieved by government and people together, the government running things well, like any good housekeeper and the people responding, and that partnership is even more vital in keeping the law.
Yes! This government has increased the numbers of police and we will increase them still further. There are more bobbies on the beat! But crime is not a matter of the police alone. It never was. Police needs support from all of us. Indeed, the enemies of the British bobby are the enemies of liberty itself. The police served the rule of law impartially. They need our support. They deserve our trust.
And there’s one thing that only government can and must do. It must secure the country’s defence, and in a nuclear age, that means we must have a nuclear deterrent. Winston Churchill, who knew so much about the dangers of weakness in appeasement, warned us thirty-five years ago. He said, Be careful above all things, not to let go of the atomic weapon until you are sure and more than sure that other means of preserving peace are in your hands’. For a government to surrender our nuclear deterrent will be an unprecedented act of folly that will put the nation in jeopardy. The nuclear deterrent has preserved peace in Europe for forty years.
And I believe peace is the heart of what we in Britain ask our government to safeguard. Peace in industry has enabled people to honour living without fear of intimidation or been called out on strike against their will and without a ballot. Peace of mind, that comes with knowing that this will continue to be a safe country, a good place for us to live and for our children to grow up in. Peace that comes from being independent and being able to run your life and spend your own money in your own way, above all, the peace of a country that is properly defended against any adversary, that’s what this government and this people in partnership have been building for the past eight years. Yet all of it will vanish unless we preserve the economic strength, the strong defence and spirit of enterprise that have made us prosperous at home and respected throughout the world. It is that which is at issue on Thursday. Of course, we feel passionately about it because for us it is about the very heat and soul of Britain.