Below is the text of the Conservative Party Press Release on Mr Major’s comments on the Conservative Party’s vision for the future. It was issued on Monday 23rd March 1992, reference 567/92.
Speech by the Rt Hon John Major, Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party, speaking at Sheffield, today.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, here in this great city of Sheffield, let me begin by saying -
In recent days I'm told that Labour have been calling our campaign negative. Good. That means our attacks are getting home. That means they don't like it. The only negative thing in this campaign are their policies for Britain. We Tories will continue to ring the warning bell about the effect Labour's policies will have on the living standards of everyone in Britain. The people have a right to know. And we will tell them.
Labour's facade is starting to crack under pressure:
And just this morning Mr Kinnock committed the Labour Party to re-
Once again Labour have provided the wrong answer at the wrong time.
Last week he said that Britain would have been a better place if Labour had won on their programme in 1983. A better place? With unilateral disarmament? Withdrawal from Europe? And the biggest nationalisation programme ever known?
Ladies and Gentlemen, by their gaffes ye shall know them. Labour's policies are falling apart. We are going to see to it that their vast experience of Opposition will continue indefinitely.
The Conservative Vision
Ladies and Gentlemen, what's at stake in this Election is the future of Britain. The decision we take on 9 April will be critical for the prospects of everyone who lives in our country -
Let me tell you why I came into politics. First and foremost, because there were things I wanted to change. Where I grew up, in Lambeth, we were told that decisions were best left to the State or the council -
Never forget the people who live on the wrong side of the tracks. They want to live on the right side. I want the sort of country that will let them do so. Ladies and Gentlemen, no Government that I lead -
Some people, I know, hang back from our Party for reasons of ancient loyalties. Let me say this to them. Our modern Tory Party is for each and every person in Britain. We want to banish for ever the artificial divisions in our society. And it is Conservatism -
I say to those who want a better Health Service, join us. Join the Party that has committed more resources than every before to the Health Service; that's giving local doctors and hospitals control over the decisions that are best for local patients; and which has seen the biggest explosion in modern high quality patient care this country has every known.
I say to those who want a better deal for tenants in housing. Join us. You won't get that better deal from the Labour Party with its mangy municipal socialism. It was our Party that gave you the Right to Buy. Our Party that has a Charter to guarantee new rights to tenants. Our Party that offers new ways into ownership. And our Party, and our Party alone that will crack down on arrogant Labour Housing Departments that neglect their tenants. Ladies and Gentlemen, I've seen too much of that sort of attitude from Labour local authorities. They're a disgrace to local government.
I say to those who want a better future, join us. Our vision is that every family should have the personal prosperity that comes from low taxes, from their own savings, their own pensions, their own home, their own endeavour. That every family should have their own piece of Britain -
Ambition comes in all shapes and sizes -
A free and responsible people must have -
Privatisation of choice
Ladies and Gentlemen, our Party is in the business of the privatisation of choice -
But Labour -
Ladies and Gentlemen, during this Election we're going to say a great deal about Labour's proposals on spending and tax. I know they won't like it. But we're still going to do it. We have costed their makeshift manifesto. Thirty-
Yesterday I challenged Labour to tell the people the truth. Take all their pledges, one by one. Accept our costing -
The issue of tax is fundamental to the Election. Because Labour's tax and spending plans would change the lives of millions upon millions of families for the worse.
Whatever the Socialists say, one thing we know. On their own admission, Labour will impose the biggest increase in tax since the War. It would be a disaster for Britain -
It would mean holidays deferred; cars sold; homes in jeopardy. The housing market would go through the floor.
Labour invoke the great names of fairness and justice, while denying their substance at every important point. What is fair about a society that denies those with ability the means to advance? What is just about a society that confiscates from the hard-
To meet John Smith's tax bills, banks and building society accounts would be plundered. And a whole new generation of shareholders would see their shares go down, and stay down. So much for Labour's claim of an investment-
Ladies and Gentlemen, I know that people are looking ahead to economic recovery. I know also that many businesses and families have been feeling the pressures. Those concerns will never be brushed aside by us, they will always be heard.
But they should not blind us to the underlying changes which have taken place in the British economy over the last decade -
There's a new spirit of enterprise -
We've been keeping strike records for 100 years. Last year, the number of days lost was the lowest ever. Why? Because we've changed industrial relations law and changed industrial relation attitudes. Don't let Labour change them back.
It's hardly surprising that Britain has become a magnet for overseas investment. We have as much investment from Japan as the rest of the Community put together. We are now a net exporter of television sets and video recorders. And the British motor industry is now known for exports and not for strikes. Do you think all this would have happened under a Labour government? Do you think the confidence the Conservative Government has built up would continue under Labour? You know it wouldn't.
On top of all this, interest rates have come down, inflation has come down and Britain's rate of inflation is below Germany's -
Now, after a generation of striving to achieve that very goal, within two days of its being achieved, Labour's John Smith says he'd be happy to see inflation rise again. He dismisses stable prices as an 'unnecessary virtue'. Those are the words of a shallow 'chancellor' -
Labour talk of recovery. But inflation is the enemy of recovery. It destroys profits. It destroys companies. So how is higher inflation going to help investment? How is it going to help jobs?
The foundations for recovery are in place. Let business speak for itself. Fifteen times more businessmen would increase investment under the Conservatives than they would under Labour. In fact, under Labour one in four businessmen have said they would cut investment.
I believe the 1990s will usher in a new era for prosperity and for jobs. The once impossible are within reach:
Only one thing could stop it.
The Labour Party -
Labour would turn recovery into slump.
I am not prepared to see that happen -
Back to Union Power
Ladies and Gentlemen, one of the Conservatives' most popular achievements has been the reform of trade union legislation. The benefits have been enormous.
We want more of those successful policies. So after the Election we have more changes to make. We will give individuals greater freedom in choosing a union. We will require all pre-
Labour would reverse all that. Give power back to the unions. Allow secondary strikes. Prevent employers from obtaining an immediate court order to stop an unlawful strike. Take away from individual union members the right not to take part in industrial action. Severely restrict the right of the courts to take away a union's assets when it breaks the law.
It would be back to wild cat strikes. Back to the flying pickets. Sheer madness. Can you imagine anything more calamitous for our country? That wouldn't bring recovery. That would bring industrial euthanasia to our country.
Law and Order
Ladies and Gentlemen, when I think of the rights of individuals I place at the top of my list the freedom to walk the streets and to open the front door without fear. Crime is a corrupting evil. There are those, like Mr Hattersley, who blame greed and affluence one year and poverty and unemployment the next. He rings the changes and contradicts himself -
Ladies and Gentlemen, I understand about hard times. I understand about unemployment. But I also understand about personal responsibility, about the decency that is the very bedrock of British character. In whatever place, in whatever station of life, the vast majority of British people detest crime. They want an end to it. And they know it's the criminal, no-
So let's have no more of Labour's posturings. No more excuses about society being always to blame. I accept no excuses for the criminal conduct. And nor should anyone who seeks high office in Britain.
Since 1979 we have put 16,000 more police into the fight against crime. The next Conservative Government will keep up the battle. Back our police. And bring in new methods of policing to keep more of them out on the beat among people they know. That is what the public want. And it's the best way to stop crime and catch the criminal.
In the growth of crime, there is one statistic that should make us all stop and think. It is the growth of crime against property by juveniles. I think sometime we have been so tolerant in understand crime at an early age that we seem to have accepted it. I believe we should be more severe in our condemnation of crime at an early stage so that the young criminal knows we won't accept it. That is a job for the Government. That is a job for schools. That is a job for families. It is a job for each and everyone of us if we are to nip crime at the roots and prevent it from growing. But not only that. We also owe it to our young people to let them know what is acceptable and what is not. And it we don't do it we let them down.
A word about Labour's attitude to terrorism. Year after year, for 10 years in succession, they have voted against the Prevention of Terrorism Act -
Socialism represents the past
The decade gone by, the 1980s, was one of the most historic decades of the century. It saw a battle raging between socialism and the people -
That battle took place in Britain, too. And in the 1980s, here, Socialism lost, the people won.
How could it be otherwise? Socialism is over. It belongs to the past. It failed -
Now Labour would have us believe that their latest brand of socialism is a much watered down variety, that their views have changed. Don't you believe it. What has changed is the coloured wrapping, the decoration. Mr Kinnock has tinkered with Labour policy not because he wanted to, not because his views had changed, but because his pollsters told him Labour's face wouldn't do, they needed a new one if the Party was ever to win again. That is the litmus test of Labour's convictions. Anything to win.
Let me remind you what Mr Tony Benn said -
Roll that around in your mind: “we've changed our mind to win, we could change our mind when we've won”. No-
Do you know what I think of Labour? Labour are like Sunday converts. They come to church on the Sabbath -
The Labour Party have been wrong on all the great issues in recent years. When we stationed cruise missiles in Europe, where were the Labour Party? Opposing us. Yet by stationing those missiles we made the world a much safer place. They wouldn't station missiles facing the old Soviet Union. But because we did, today there are far fewer missiles facing us.
Let me give you another example and take you back a few years. To the days of Soviet dictatorship and tyranny, when military might controlled the nations of Eastern Europe.
Every voice in the West speaking up for freedom was heard by those brave men and women struggling for freedom. It gave them hope. It strengthened their resolve.
And when all this was going on, where were Labour? Were they alongside the Conservative Party in speaking up for human rights in the Soviet Union? They were not. They saved their breath for attacking the values of the Western democracies, rather than the evils of the Soviet dictators.
Nothing was more repellent than to see those Left-
I am not talking about obscure Left-
On every important issue, the Labour Party has been swerving all over the place -
They always have a policy for the day. But that's the trouble -
Overseas governments don't know where they stand. We don't know where they stand. Even they don't know where they stand. And they say they want to form the next government. That is not going to happen. One Party -
What is it that we offer? A strong Britain, confident of its position; secure in its defence; firm in its respect for the law. A strong economy, set on the road to stable prices -
For every family, the right to have and to hold their own private corner of life; their own home, their own savings, their own growing piece of Britain for the future -
We Conservatives are building a country in which every family has the power to choose and the right to own, in which everyone has a fair share in Britain.
Ladies and Gentlemen, in this Election there is a clear and straightforward choice to be make. Is enterprise to be crushed or encouraged? Is choice to be reduced or widened? Is income tax to go up or come down? Is our defence to be weak or strong? Is the United Kingdom to be broken up or is it to be upheld?
This Election is about the kind of country we want to live in. I know the answer. You know the answer. And I believe the British people know the answer. That is why on 9 April they will give us a resounding victory.”