Queen Elizabeth II – 1965 Queen’s Speech


Below is the text of the speech made by HM Queen Elizabeth II in the House of Lords on 9 November 1965.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons:

My Husband and I look forward to our forthcoming Caribbean tour and to our visit to Belgium.

My Government will seek to promote peace and security throughout the world, to increase international confidence and Co-operation and to strengthen the United Nations. They will promote disarmament, and in particular will seek the conclusion of a treaty to prevent the further spread of nuclear weapons. They will persevere in efforts to secure peace in Vietnam and to promote the stability of South-East Asia.

They will continue to support Britain’s alliances for collective defence and will work for a generally satisfactory organisation of the nuclear resources of the allies.

My Government will continue to work for the greater unity of Europe. They will seek to strengthen the European Free Trade Association and to promote co-operation between the Association and the European Economic Community, and the establishment of a wider European market.

They will play a full part in promoting the success of the negotiations for tariff reductions under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. They will seek a successful conclusion to their discussions with the Government of the Republic of Ireland on the establishment of a Free Trade Area between the two countries. They will continue to encourage Commonwealth trade.

My Ministers will continue to assist, in concert with other industrialised nations and the international institutions, the social and economic advance of the developing countries.

My Government will maintain their unremitting efforts to bring about through negotiation a peaceful and honourable solution in Rhodesia on a basis acceptable to the people of the country as a whole.

A measure will be laid before you to reorganise the Army Reserve and Auxiliary Forces.

Members of the House of Commons:

Estimates for the public services will be laid before you.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons:

My Government’s aim is to develop a soundly based economy. They will give priority to ensuring that balance in external payments is restored next year and that the strength of sterling is maintained. They will continue their efforts to increase exports. They will also further the international discussions of means of strengthening the world payments system.

In implementing the National Plan My Government will extend the range of the Economic Development Committees and encourage British industry to achieve greater competitive efficiency by reorganisation, the more general use of advanced technology, and better use of manpower. They will give special attention to ensuring balanced economic growth in all regions.

Steps will be taken to improve the arrangements for providing incentives for industrial investment with due regard to the development of the economy and the special needs of particular areas.

My Government will strengthen and develop the policy for productivity, prices and incomes which they have agreed with management and unions. They will introduce a Bill for this purpose, and will continue to develop the policy in co-operation with all concerned.

My Government consider the more efficient working of the ports, including a radical improvement in industrial relations and more efficient use of labour in the docks, to be of the highest importance and will introduce legislation and take other necessary action to further this objective.

My Ministers will pursue their policy for the selective expansion of agriculture, based on increasing productivity. They will introduce legislation for the longer term development of agriculture through better farm structure, cooperation, and improved hill farming and to establish a Meat and Livestock Commission. They will promote the economic development of the fishing industry.

For the protection of consumers, a Bill will be introduced to strengthen the law on misleading trade descriptions.

Legislation will be introduced to remove statutory limitations impeding the proper use of the manufacturing resources of the nationalised industries.

A Bill will be introduced to assist the financing of the coal industry and the redeployment of its manpower.

A Bill will be introduced to establish a Land Commission with power to acquire land for the community and to recover a part of the development value realised in land transactions. My Ministers will introduce legislation to reform the leasehold system for residential property in England and Wales, including provision for leasehold enfranchisement.

Legislation will be introduced to establish a new system of Exchequer subsidies for local authority housing.

A Bill will be introduced to regulate priorities in privately sponsored construction.

Legislation will be introduced to lessen the injustices of the rating system and to limit the burden of rates.

My Ministers will continue to develop higher education. A Bill will be introduced to facilitate revision of the constitution of the older Scottish universities and to provide for separate universities at St. Andrews and Dundee.

My Government will take steps to provide more teachers and promote further advances in secondary education on comprehensive lines. A Public Schools Commission will be set up to advise on the best way of integrating the public schools with the State system.

Measures will be laid before you to provide supplementary national insurance benefits, related to earnings, in the early stages of sickness, unemployment and widowhood; to extend the supplementation of workmen’s compensation; and to empower agricultural wages boards to fix minimum rates of sick pay for agricultural workers.

Other measures will increase the pensions of retired members of the public services and their dependants and provide a pensions scheme for teachers’ widows in England and Wales.

My Government are studying with the medical profession ways of improving the family doctor service and will introduce the necessary legislation.

Measures will be introduced to improve the administration of justice and to reform and modernise the law.

My Government will promote the provision of improved services for the family, the development of new means of dealing with young persons who now come before the courts and the advancement of penal reform.

Further steps will be directed to the effective integration of immigrants into the community and to strengthening the control of Commonwealth immigration.

A measure will be introduced to provide for fuller disclosure of information by companies, including the disclosure of political contributions.

A Bill will be introduced for the appointment of a Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration with powers to investigate individual grievances.

My Ministers will bring forward proposals for the more effective coordination of inland transport. You will be invited to approve a measure designed to promote greater safety on the roads.

Provision for meeting the special needs of Scotland will be made in the various measures proposed by My Government.

Other measures will be laid before you.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons:

I pray that the blessing of Almighty God may rest upon your counsels.

Harold Wilson – 1965 Memorial Speech to Winston Churchill


Below is the text of the speech made by Harold Wilson, the then Prime Minister, in the House of Commons on 25 January 1965.

I beg to move, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty humbly to thank Her Majesty for having given directions for the body of the Rt. Hon. Sir Winston Churchill, K.G., to lie in state in Westminster Hall and for the funeral service to be held in the Cathedral Church of St. Paul and assuring Her Majesty of our cordial aid and concurrence in these measures for expressing the affection and admiration in which the memory of this great man is held by this House and all Her Majesty’s faithful subjects. In accepting this Motion, this House, and, by virtue of its representation in this House, the nation, collectively and reverently will be paying its tribute to a great statesman, a great Parliamentarian, a great leader of this country.

The world today is ringing with tributes to a man who, in those fateful years, bestrode the life of nations—tributes from the Commonwealth, from our wartime allies, from our present partners in Europe and the wider alliance, from all those who value the freedom for which he fought, who still share the desire for the just peace to which all his endeavours were turned. Winston Churchill, and the legend Winston Churchill had become long before his death and which now lives on, are the possession not of England, or Britain, but of the world, not of our time only but of the ages.

But we, Sir, in this House, have a special reason for the tribute for which Her Majesty has asked in her Gracious Message. For today we honour not a world statesman only, but a great Parliamentarian, one of ourselves.

The colour and design of his greatest achievements became alive, on the Parliamentary canvas, here in this Chamber. Sir Winston, following the steps of the most honoured of his predecessors, derived his greatness from and through this House and from and through his actions here. And by those actions, and those imperishable phrases which will last as long as the English language is read or spoken, he in turn added his unique contribution to the greatness of our centuries-old Parliamentary institution.

He was in a very real sense a child of this House and a product of it, and equally, in every sense, its father. He took from it and he gave to it.

The span of 64 years from his first entry as its youngest Member to the sad occasion of his departure last year covers the lives and memories of all but the oldest of us. In a Parliamentary sense, as in a national sense, his passing from our midst is the end of an era.

He entered this House at 25—already a national and controversial figure. He had fought in war, and he had written of war, he had charged at Omdurman, he had been among one of the first to enter Ladysmith, an eye-witness of the thickest fighting in Cuba, a prisoner of a Boer commando—though not for as long as his captors intended.

And he brought his own tempestuous qualities to the conduct of our Parliamentary life. Where the fighting was hottest he was in it, sparing none—nor asking for quarter. The creature and possession of no one party, he has probably been the target of more concentrated Parliamentary invective from, in turn, each of the three major parties than any other Member of any Parliamentary age, and against each in turn he turned the full force of his own oratory. If we on this side of the House will quote as a classic words he uttered over half a century ago, about the party he later came to lead, hon. Members opposite have an equally rich treasure-house for quotations about us, to say nothing of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway.

When more than 40 years after his first entry as a young M.P. he was called on to move the appointment of a Select Committee about the rebuilding of this Chamber, he proclaimed and gloried in the effect of our Parliamentary architecture on the clarity and decisiveness of party conflict; he recalled, with that impish quality which never deserted him, the memories of battles long past, of his own actions in crossing the Floor of this House, not once in fact but twice.

For those who think that bitter party controversy is a recent invention and one to be deplored, he could have had nothing but pitying contempt. And as he sat there, in the seat which I think by general wish of the House should be left vacant this afternoon, in those last years of the last Parliament, silently surveying battles which may have seemed lively to us, could we not sense the old man’s mind going back to the great conflicts of a great career and thinking perhaps how tame and puny our efforts have become?

A great Parliamentarian, but never a tame one—they misjudge him who could even begin to think of him as a party operator, or a manipulator, or a trimmer, or a party hack. He was a warrior, and party debate was war; it mattered, and he brought to that war the conquering weapon of words fashioned for their purpose; to wound, never to kill; to influence, never to destroy.

As Parliament succeeded Parliament he stood at this Box, at one time or another holding almost every one of the great Offices of State. He stood at the Box opposite thundering his denunciation of Government after Government. He sat on the bench opposite below the Gangway, disregarded, seemingly impotent, finished. His first Cabinet post—the Board of Trade—made him one of the architects of the revolution in humane administration of this country. He piloted through the labour exchanges; he led the first faltering steps in social insurance.

The Home Office and then the more congenial tenure of the Admiralty—Ministerial triumph and Ministerial disaster in the first War. Colonies, War, the Treasury: the pinnacle of power, and then years in the wilderness. The urgent years, warning the nation and the world, as the shadow of the jackboot spread across an unheeding Europe. And then came his finest hour. Truly the history of Parliament over a tempestuous half-century could be written around the triumphs and frustrations of Winston Churchill.

But, Sir, it will be for those war years that his name will be remembered for as long as history is written and history is read. A man who could make the past live in “Marlborough”, in his dutiful biography of Lord Randolph, who could bring new colour to the oft-told tale of the history of the English-speaking peoples, for five of the most fateful years in world history, was himself called on to make history. And he made history because he could see the events he was shaping through the eye of history. He has told us of his deep emotions when, from the disaster of the Battle of France, he was called on to lead this nation. I felt he said, as if I were walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial. Ten years in the political wilderness had freed me from ordinary party antagonisms. My warnings over the last six years had been so numerous, so detailed, and were now so terribly vindicated, that no one could gainsay me. I could not be reproached either for making the war or with want of preparation for it. I thought I knew a good deal about it all, and I was sure I should not fail. Therefore, although impatient for the morning, I slept soundly and had no need for cheering dreams. Facts are better than dreams. His record of leadership in those five years speaks for itself beyond the power of any words of any of us to enhance or even to assess. This was his finest hour, Britain’s finest hour. He had the united and unswerving support of the leaders of all parties, of the fighting services, of the men and women in munitions and in the nation’s industries, without regard to faction or self-interest. In whatever ôle, men and women felt themselves inspired to assert qualities they themselves did not know they possessed. Everyone became just those inches taller, every back just that much broader, as his own was.

To this task he brought the inspiration of his superlative courage, at the hour of greatest peril; personal courage such as he had always shown, and indeed which needed a direct order from his Sovereign to cause him to desist from landing on the Normandy beaches on D-Day; moral courage, the courage he had shown in warning the nation when he stood alone, now inspired the nation when Britain and the Commonwealth stood alone. There was his eloquence and inspiration, his passionate desire for freedom and his ability to inspire others with that same desire. There was his humanity. There was his humour. But above all, he brought that power which, whenever Britain has faced supreme mortal danger, has been asserted to awaken a nation which others were prepared to write off as decadent and impotent, and to make every man, every woman, a part of that national purpose.

To achieve that purpose, he drew on all that was greatest in our national heritage. He turned to Byron—”blood, tears and sweat.” The words which he immortalised from Tennyson’s “Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington” might well be a nation’s epitaph on Sir Winston himself. Not once or twice in our rough island-story, The path of duty was the way to glory; He that walks it, only thirsting For the right, and learns to deaden Love of Self, before his journey closes, He shall find the stubborn thistle bursting Into glossy purples, which outredden all voluptuous garden-roses. The greatest biographer of Abraham Lincoln said in one of his concluding chapters: A tree is best measured when it is down. So it will prove of Winston Churchill, and there can be no doubt of the massive, oaken stature that history will accord to him. But this is not the time.

We meet today in this moment of tribute, of spontaneous sympathy this House feels for Lady Churchill and all the members of his family. We are concious only that the tempestuous years are over; the years of appraisal are yet to come. It is a moment for the heartfelt tribute that this House, of all places, desires to pay in an atmosphere of quiet.

For now the noise of hooves thundering across the veldt; the clamour of the hustings in a score of contests; the shots in Sidney Street, the angry guns of Gallipoli, Flanders, Coronel and the Falkland Islands; the sullen feet of marching men in Tonypandy; the urgent warnings of the Nazi threat; the whine of the sirens and the dawn bombardment of the Normandy beaches—all these now are silent. There is a stillness. And in that stillness, echoes and memories. To each whose life has been touched by Winston Churchill, to each his memory. And as those memories are told and retold, as the world pours in its tributes, as world leaders announce their intention, in this jet age, of coming to join in this vast assembly to pay honour and respect to his memory, we in this House treasure one thought, and it was a thought some of us felt it right to express in the Parliamentary tributes on his retirement. Each one of us recalls some little incident—many of us, as in my own case, a kind action, graced with the courtesy of a past generation and going far beyond the normal calls of Parliamentary comradeship. Each of us has his own memory, for in the tumultuous diapason of a world’s tributes, all of us here at least know the epitaph he would have chosen for himself: “He was a good House of Commons man.”

Clement Attlee – 1965 Memorial Speech to Winston Churchill


Below is the text of the speech made by Clement Attlee in the House of Lords (he was then the Earl Attlee) on 15 January 1965.

My Lords, as an old opponent and a colleague, but always a friend, of Sir Winston Churchill, I should like to say a few words in addition to what has already been so eloquently said. My mind goes back to many years ago. I recall Sir Winston as a rising hope of the Conservative Party at the end of the 19th century. I looked upon him and Lord Hugh Cecil as the two rising hopes of the Conservative Party. Then, with courage, he crossed the House—not easy for any man. You might say of Sir Winston that to whatever Party he belonged he did not really change his ideas: he was always Winston.

The first time I saw him was at the siege of Sidney Street, when he took over command of the troops there, and I happened to be a local resident. I did not meet him again until he came into the House of Commons in 1924. The extraordinary thing, when one thinks of it, is that by that time he had done more than the average Member of Parliament, and more than the average Minister, in the way of a Parliamentary career. We thought at that time that he was finished. Not a bit of it! He started again another career, and then, after some years, it seemed again that he had faded. He became a lone wolf, outside any Party; and, yet, somehow or other, the time was coming which would be for him his supreme moment, and for the country its supreme moment. It seems as if everything led up to that time in 1940, when he became Prime Minister of this country at the time of its greatest peril.

Throughout all that period he might make opponents, he might make friends; but no one could ever disregard him. Here was a man of genius, a man of action, a man who could also speak superbly and write superbly. I recall through all those years many occasions when his characteristics stood out most forcibly. I do not think everybody always recognised how tender-hearted he was. I can recall him with the tears rolling down his cheeks, talking of the horrible things perpetrated by the Nazis in Germany. I can recall, too, during the war his emotion on seeing a simple little English home wrecked by a bomb. Yes, my Lords, sympathy—and more than that: he went back, and immediately devised the War Damage Act. How characteristic! Sympathy did not stop with emotion; it turned into action.

Then I recall the long days through the war—the long days and long nights—in which his spirit never failed; and how often he lightened our labours by that vivid humour, those wonderful remarks he would make which absolutely dissolved us all in laughter, however tired we were. I recall his eternal friendship for France and for America; and I recall, too, as the most reverend Primate has said already, that when once the enemy were beaten he had full sympathy for them. He showed that after the Boer War, and he showed it again after the First World War. He had sympathy, an incredibly wide sympathy, for ordinary people all over the world.

I think of him also as supremely conscious of history. His mind went back not only to his great ancestor Marlborough but through the years of English history. He saw himself and he saw our nation at that time playing a part not unworthy of our ancestors, not unworthy of the men who defeated the Armada and not unworthy of the men who defeated Napoleon. He saw himself there as an instrument. As an instrument for what? For freedom, for human life against tyranny. None of us can ever forget how, through all those long years, he now and again spoke exactly the phrase that crystallised the feelings of the nation.

My Lords, we have lost the greatest Englishman of our time—I think the greatest citizen of the world of our time. In the course of a long, long life, he has played many parts. We may all be proud to have lived with him and, above all, to have worked with him; and we shall all send to his widow and family our sympathy in their great loss.

Anthony Eden – 1965 Memorial Speech to Winston Churchill

Below is the text of the speech made by Anthony Eden in the House of Lords (he was then the Earl of Avon) on 15 January 1965.

My Lords, this is a day not only of national mourning but of mourning throughout the Free World. For Sir Winston’s service was to mankind, and for this his place will always be among the few immortals. Many of your Lordships knew Sir Winston well, and worked with him closely at one or other period of his career. But this afternoon, as has been apparent from almost every speech, our minds go back more especially to that period of the Second World War which he himself called our “finest hour”, and which was certainly his.

It seems to me in every sense appropriate that this sad occasion should be so exceptionally signalised as in this Royal Message—and not only because of Sir Winston’s qualities of true greatness in leadership above all. These in themselves would be cause enough for the Message which we have received. But there is also another reason: that Churchill epitomised, at the same time as he led, the nation, at a time of brave and (why should it not be said?) splendid resistance against odds which might have seemed overwhelming. So, my Lords, as we mourn and honour Sir Winston, we reverence also all those who fell to bring victory to a cause for which he had dedicated himself and us. They are now together.

My Lords, what follows is a suggestion to which I expect, of course, No immediate reply or comment, and which I make with some temerity, but from messages I have received I believe that it is not only my thought. It seems to me that the nation would feel glad if there could be a “Churchill Day”. This could be most appropriately connected, perhaps, with some date in that summer of 1940, when both Churchill’s leadership and this country’s will to resist, whatever the cost, expressed themselves so gloriously. They could then be enshrined together for as long as our calendar endures.

I should like also to associate myself with the messages to Lady Churchill. No tribute, however penned or phrased, could out-measure what is deserved.

My Lords, courage is never easy to define. Sometimes it is shown in the heat of battle; and that we all respect. But there is that rarer courage which can sustain repeated disappointment, unexpected failure, and even shattering defeat. Churchill had that, too; and he had need of it, as the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, will remember, not only for days but sometimes for weeks and for months. Looking back now at the war, victory may seem to have been certain. But it was not always certain; and when news is bad, it is very lonely at the top.

Like one or two of those who are with us in this House this afternoon, I saw much of Sir Winston then—often many times a day, not only at official meetings but in such periods of comparative relaxation as there were, at meals and, as was his wont, late into the night. I grew to respect and love him, even though the argument might sometimes be sharp.

My Lords, there is the granite type which feels little. Sir Winston was nothing of that at all. He felt deeply every blow of fortune and every gleam of hope. Alert, eager and questing as his temper was, he could hold on through all tides and tempests; and he had that gift, rare and difficult to discharge in statesmanship, of knowing when to reject “No” as an answer, recognising that the arguments against any positive action could always be trusted to marshal themselves. During those war years his mind was always projected to the next move, and in this he was aided by an energy which was something much more than zest for life. With that constitution, Sir Winston would have survived any strain in any age, but he loved best the present one in which he lived. I have heard it said in criticism that his opinions were of his own generation. Certainly they were. And that was his strength, because he was at the same time open-minded and comprehending as are very few men in this century. He saw clearly and further than most, and he spoke fearlessly and without favour of what he saw. He sensed the danger for his country with the instinct of the artist and the knowledge of the historian.

As we cast our minds back this afternoon and pay tribute to his memory, there is, of course, nothing for which we in this Assembly shall remember him more than as a Parliamentarian. He called himself a “child of the House of Commons”. But he was, of course, much more than that. He had been brought up in a great Parliamentary age. I remember how he used to tell me how in those days speeches, even of Under-Secretaries, were fully reported in the Press. With awe, almost, he spoke of those days. And the great figures that dominated that period gave him an intimate sense of the power of Parliament which he never lost, just as he never forgot that Parliament put him where he was in 1940. It was a memory with him always.

So, my Lords, as we say farewell to him now, we thank this, the greatest of all Parliamentarians whom we shall know; and we can best enshrine his work by devoting ourselves to the same thing, to those cherished thoughts, traditions and beliefs to which he held, through life, till death.

Edward Heath – 1965 Conservative Party Conference Speech


Below is the text of the speech made by the then Leader of the Opposition, Edward Heath, to the 1965 Conservative Party Conference.

Lady Davidson, I want first to say how absolutely wonderful it is for all of us here to have you presiding over this final session of the Conference. Your typical approach and stimulating introduction have reflected the high spirits of this Conference which are obvious to us all. We thank you for the start you have given to us for our final session. We would like to say ‘Thank You’ for the splendid record of service which you and your husband have given so unstintingly to our Party. It is nearly half a century of service. I have to confess to you, Lady Davidson, that my early recollections of your entry into politics are slightly hazy. All I can say is that they are very much clearer than those of the present Chairman of the Party, who was not even born at that time!

It is a great pleasure to have Lord Davidson with us today, because he is part of our Party’s history. Ill though he is, we are glad that he has been able to come and give us that sense of continuity of our Party in all its activities during these past decades. So together we express to you our intense gratitude. Thank you for the welcome you have just given to me. We miss you from the House of Commons, because you were always our guide and friend. There was no need for us to adopt the present method of the Labour Party and have a lady in the Whips’ Office; there you always were, to look after us. I hope it will not be misunderstood if I say that to all of us – and especially my generation – you were indeed our mother.

Many happy things have happened to me this week, for which I want to thank you all. There have been many kindnesses, which I have greatly appreciated, and other things as well. I found in my Daily Mirror yesterday – I read it avidly, as no doubt you always do – that the barbers of West Bromwich had banded together and come to the conclusion that, seen from the back, my haircut was the best in the country. I can only apologise to you all that this splendid panorama has been reserved for the members of the National Executive Committee.

We have got to know each other well, and this is all-important in our political life. To come and be here at the Conference throughout has been of immense help to me, and perhaps, Madam President, Sir Max and Sir Clyde, who have done so much to make this Conference a success, I may express the hope that the invitation to the leader to be present may become part of the permanent pattern of our Party Conference. I think it will mean a new relationship between the Party as a whole and the Party at this Conference, lacking, I hope, nothing of the past but also being in tune with the times today. It has been a good Conference. Just think of all those fellows in Transport House with their eyes glued to the television screen, just to see that everybody was being fair to us and fair to them.

It has been a good Conference, and at Bexley, my own constituency, a fortnight ago – I had to get a plug in somewhere – I asked that this Conference should face facts realistically, frankly and courageously. Madam President, that is what we have done. We have done it to an even greater degree than I ever dared to hope.

Just look back over those splendid speeches from the hall: frank, honest, sometimes critical. Gone are the days of praise and platitudes – well, almost gone! A little praise is very agreeable sometimes, and the speeches from the platform show that I am right to be proud of the splendid team we have heard during the whole of this Conference. They are men of great experience: Mr. Maudling, the Deputy Leader of our Party, always at my right hand and by my side; Sir Alec Douglas-Home, a man of great experience with a wealth of negotiating experience; Iain Macleod; Enoch Powell; Peter Thorneycroft; Sir Keith Joseph; Tony Barber; and the other members of the Front Bench who have spoken; and Sir Edward Boyle, who not only spoke here during the Conference but addressed a great gathering of 2,000 people at CPC. It was a great intellectual gathering which had come to listen to what, I am told, was a very detailed, sustained argument about forecasting, or indicative planning, as it is technically known. This interested me greatly. I somehow feel that indicative planning is not really endemic in the British character. The forecast for the night of the CPC meeting – broadcast far and wide in every hotel – was heavy rain. Yet 2,000 people came to this hall without a single umbrella between them. It only shows that weather forecasts themselves are not enough. Somebody has got to do something about it. Then there were the younger members of the Front Bench: Margaret Thatcher, Peter Walker, David Price. They also made admirable speeches.

Did I really hear it said at Blackpool that Mr. Wilson, looking at the Government, said that man for man they could more than match us, more than match this team? Look again, Mr. Wilson, look again.

He had better look at some of the others as well. I will not mention their names; it would not mean anything to you. I will mention their Departments. What about the Minister of Transport in the present Labour Government? He has done absolutely nothing to alleviate our traffic problems, but he is the only Minister who produces jam today as well as promising jam tomorrow.

Then there is the President of the Board of Trade. Poor Mr. Jay – reduced to carrying George Brown’s bags to international conferences. When there is good news, that is; when there is bad news he has to open the bag and read it himself.

And Mr. Willey, the Minister landed without any natural resources. And the Postmaster General, Wedgwood Benn, that would-be whiz kid who always gets the wrong number – even when adding up his election expenses.

But there is one matter which is beyond a joke, and that is the Minister of Technology. In Londonderry a fortnight ago I challenged him to stand up and be counted, separate from the block vote, straightaway. I said, ‘Resign as General Secretary of your Union or resign as Minister because you cannot do both with honour.’ But he has not stood up to be counted. So I ask Mr. Wilson when he is going to restore the collective responsibility of his own Cabinet. Unless he does so, and until he does so, the whole country knows that despite the fine words, he is too weak himself even to deal with Mr. Cousins.

Now to return to our own Conference. On Wednesday I called for a change of mood, that we should put the emphasis on individual effort and enterprise, on the importance of choice for us all, on the need for freedom and independence to stand on our own feet. The outstanding thing about this Conference in Brighton this week has been that the mood is already changing. It is clear here in this Conference. It is a mood, too, of realism. Let me affirm that to the eyes of the world which are upon us.

Our task is to change the mood of the country as a whole. We know our line of advance. Let us see that other people do. Let us heed the wise, stimulating words of our young Chairman, who has just been speaking to you. We have presented and discussed our policies. We know them. Let us see that everyone else does. Let that be our resolve as we leave this Conference.

Realism, I said. We are realistic. What a contrast with Blackpool. Did you notice that George Brown in one of his happier moods said, ‘This has been a great year for Britain.’ A great year for Britain? Do we really read it aright? Where has he been living all this time? Has it been a great year for industry? The longest period of 7 per cent bank rate since 1921. The toughest credit squeeze since the twenties. Investment and modernisation programmes curtailed. Costs rising and production static. A great year for agriculture? The farmers, whom I am getting to know better and better, thought the weather was the biggest hazard they had ever had until they met this Government. Was it a great year for education, with the building programmes: universities, the technical colleges, colleges of education – the CATS – all severely cut? A great year for motorists, with the road programme slowed down? For the taxpayers, with taxes going up more than at any time since the last Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer? For the householders, with rates higher than ever before? For the ‘young marrieds’ with many home loan schemes closed down and with mortgage rates higher than for twenty years? Was it a great year for all of them?

Oh yes, I remember well that Mr. Wilson came to London and made a great speech, and said: ‘We shall provide specially favourable interest rates’ for those who are going to buy their own homes. He referred to a 4 per cent rate. Nothing specific – nothing in small print even, but just the implication – 4 per cent. This was enough to bring George Brown rushing down from the North to my own constituency, and what did he say? He implied that what he had in mind was 3 per cent. At any moment I expected to be overwhelmed by Jim Callaghan coming down and saying ‘2 per cent.’

We have the highest mortgage rates since 1945, and prices rising faster than for years – and what did George Brown say here? ‘We will tackle the problem of rising prices at the roots.’ Well – he did; he manured the roots.

Was it a good year for sterling – under threat for eleven months and supported by £1,100 million of additional debt? They sat there waiting for something to turn up, and in August, when another £1,000 million standby turned up, they preened themselves on having found the solution to our problems. A great year, indeed!

Yes, it has been a great year for the public relations men, stimulated by keen competition from the Prime Minister. It is the only competition in which he is really interested. He has his army of ‘admen’ in the basement – they must be getting pretty close to the bottom of the barrel now, looking for the glowing terms with which Mr. Wilson can pat himself on the back – ‘a dynamic Government,’ ‘a purposive Government,’ ‘an honest Government,’ ‘a frank Government,’ ‘a Government imbued with the Dunkirk spirit,’ and ‘a Government with guts.’ What self-adulation – and the latest word is ‘gritty.’ It goes back to David Lloyd George – sand in the works.

What is their defence for all these broken promises, for the blunders, for the incompetence and for the very high debts? The so-called £800 million deficit. Let us deal with this once and for all. It is time the people of this country recognised the truth, and it is very relevant to the judgment of last year, 1964, and it is very relevant to those of you who from the hall in our debates on policy and economic affairs asked us questions about the management of the economy next time.

Mr Wilson’s favourite trick is bitterly to attack those whom he accuses of selling sterling short. I will tell you the name of the man who in the past year has done far more than any other to sell sterling short: that is Harold Wilson himself. He did it by his politically-motivated exaggeration of the £800 million so-called deficit. We have suffered enough from this lie, and we must suffer no more. Let us look at it.

Of the £750 million overall deficit, £350 million was British investment overseas – solid assets like the Shell share in the Italian petrochemical industry. Those are assets of which Mr. Wilson is proud to boast when he travels abroad. Of the remainder, another £100 million was due to aid for the developing countries – and we in the Conservative Party are not ashamed of that, and we were always pressed to do more by the Labour Opposition.

But there was a gap, and I will tell you why. It was because during 1963 and 1964 the Conservative Government, under Mr. Maudling’s guidance, was deliberately trying to break out of the cycle of recession and expansion which we had experienced since the war: a stable expansion, more modernisation, greater competition, intensive regional redevelopment – all these together formed a coherent policy. And, as part of this expansion, we forecast a high level of imports in 1964. They were needed for our expansion, but they were higher because of stockpiling from fear of the restrictions which a new Labour Government might impose on our manufacturers. And by our policies we were encouraging exports to rise to catch up with our imports.

And, of course, the myth about this has been exploded by the Labour Government themselves. It has been exploded in their own National Plan – page 69, chapter 7, subsection 4. Go and read it, Mr. Brown, go and read it, and you will find there a fairer balance set out of the situation. It acknowledges and accepts all these facts, and demolishes the myth of the White Paper of 26th October of last year.

Let me remind you that Mr. Wilson himself supported this policy. Indeed, Labour, pressed us to expand faster. And on this policy of a steady expansion depended many of our hopes for the future, But what have the Government always done? They have always accused Mr. Maudling and our Government of refusing to take necessary action last year because of electoral considerations, refusing to take advice to deal with the economy. In fact, Mr. Maudling put up Bank Rate in January. He put another £100 million on the Budget in April. There is not one word of truth in the accusation that advice from any quarter to act was refused or rejected, and certainly never for electoral considerations.

But Mr. Wilson put political interest before the national interest. He broke the confidence on which our expansion depended. What mock horror he shows now at the state of affairs he says he found when he took office. What he forgets is that five weeks before the Election he accurately predicted the trade position. What he forgets is that two weeks after the Election he himself officially stated there was no need for measures of restriction. At the same time, he knew that the deficit this year was going to be halved – he was told so, and he said so in his own White Paper. Plus is no new discovery as a result of the Government’s policies of the past year. There were seven weeks when they knew the position, seven weeks when they said it was manageable. The crisis only came after their exaggeration and their muddle. The mess was created by Messrs. Wilson, Brown and Callaghan – messers indeed.

This Conference will be remembered for our policy document, Putting Britain Right Ahead. What we have done here is to work together on our action plans for the next Conservative Government. These plans you can put to the people. There are five of them which I wish to put before you to sum up our discussions.

First, our action plans to give all those who have already retired individual care and attention.

Second, our plans to give all those who retire in the future the real security for themselves and their families of a pension which can really be called their own.

Third, our plans for helping the young marrieds to find a home of their own, and a home at a reasonable price.

Fourth, our plans to ensure that the earner enjoys the prosperity that he himself, and only he himself, will be creating.

Fifth, our plans for giving the customer, whether the motorist or the commuter, the hospital patient or the housewife, better service and, above all, steadier prices.

All of these plans derive their strength from the two great driving forces of modern Conservatism. First, our belief in the virtue of a property-owning democracy, which Iain Macleod elaborated in his speech here. What does it mean? For us, it means three things: a home owning democracy, a share-owning democracy, and a pension-owning democracy. The other force, which has been emphasised time and again at this Conference, is our belief in the individual, the man and the woman, the individual as taxpayer and as a member of a trade union, the individual in the school and in old age, the individual at work and at play. Here, all around us, as well as in the rest of our country, we see the immense richness of diversity of individual character and personality and, let it be said, often eccentricity, which is the great source of our strength as a nation. It is this which we must nourish.

This Conference will be remembered, too, as you, Sir Max, recalled, for the debate on Rhodesia, in which passionate feelings were expressed with reason and in which the Conference reached a firm and clear decision. There were two young men yesterday who, I think this Conference will agree, showed great courage in the speeches which they made. One of them was Jonathan Aitken, son of a dear friend of many of us here, Bill Aitken, who, alas, died so recently – but with whose great uncle, I am afraid, I sometimes disagreed. His was a remarkable speech.

I wish to say a few words about Rhodesia. Last Saturday I saw Mr. Smith. I did so only after the negotiations between the two Governments had broken down. My main object was to find some means of re-starting the dialogue between the two Governments, of seeing that the negotiations continued. We could not leave the British Government to sit in Whitehall and Mr. Smith to go off to Salisbury, possibly to take the drastic step of a unilateral declaration of independence. I did not believe that this could possibly be allowed to remain where it was.

Later that night, we saw Mr. Wilson. As a result of the points we raised, there was a further meeting between Mr. Wilson and Mr. Smith on Monday, and I was glad of it. Later that evening, I issued a statement, after the meeting of the Shadow Cabinet, urging further negotiations. On the Tuesday, Mr. Wilson made the proposal for a Commonwealth Mission. It may seem strange to some that, if such a proposal were going to be made, it was not discussed with Mr. Smith when he was in London. But at least it means that another method of keeping negotiations open is being examined.

The position the last British Government took up, which has been followed by the present Opposition, was clearly stated yesterday by Sir Alec Douglas-Home. A unilateral declaration of independence would be invalid. Its impact would have the gravest consequences. The whole Commonwealth, the old members of the Commonwealth as well as the new, have made that abundantly plain. In these two respects the present Government’s policy has followed ours, but the handling of the negotiations is the Government’s responsibility alone. They have not, and cannot have, a blank cheque from us on that. We are free to criticise the conduct of the negotiations, and, if I may say so, the Government themselves need to look again at the psychology of their handling of these negotiations and their relations with Rhodesia.

To all our citizens in this country, in these very difficult moments, I would say how greatly I deplore the use by anyone of the emotive words, words like ‘treason’ and ‘traitors,’ which can do nothing whatever to help to bring a solution to this problem. As an Opposition we shall concentrate all our efforts on securing a solution by negotiation.

This Conference made it abundantly clear yesterday that the overwhelming majority present wish to do nothing to prejudice that. This is why it overwhelmingly supported the Resolution. As your Leader, I bear an immense responsibility in this matter. With my colleagues I shall continue to discharge it, knowing that you have given us your confidence. Today, at the end of this eventful week everyone here prays that there will be no unilateral declaration of independence by Rhodesia. We pray that with all our hearts. Our views are known to the British Government, and, on behalf of us all, I should like to send this solemn message to Mr. Smith and his colleagues: ‘We believe that a middle way must be found. If there are still thoughts of unilateral action, then turn back from the brink.’

In that debate yesterday, and throughout the week, many of you spoke of the consequences, for good or ill, of change. We are just twenty years since the end of the Second World War. There is no particular magic in that figure, but a whole generation has now come to manhood who knew nothing of it, and those of us who did now realise how far off it all is. To my generation, who had just reached manhood before the last war, how different the situation is. Some of us were born along this coast, looking across the Channel always towards Europe, loving our country and outward-looking. Then we used to take our chance without any money to get across to Europe and to wander round and see it. Why? Because Europe still then, and only twenty-five or thirty years ago, was the hub of power in the world as a whole; it was the centre of affairs still as it had been for centuries. Then it all changed. Now today this is a time, twenty years after that cataclysm, when men’s minds are again beginning to question so many of the things they have since taken for granted; to question the things in their daily lives, in their jobs, in their families and in their country. This is happening all over the world where people are trying now to find a fresh equilibrium. Even in the year since the last election this process has moved apace. The first practical steps have been taken towards nuclear weapons in China. We have seen the polarisation of the Sino-Soviet conflict. For us in some ways the most important of all, we see the changing balance between the two sides of the Atlantic. Whether it is in trade, in industrial goods or in farm produce, whether it is in the international financial arrangements, whether it is in the defence of the west as a whole, the old arrangements are being questioned and new ones have to be worked out.

How different the situation was when these arrangements were first made. Europe was weak then, and across the Atlantic they were powerful. They gave generously of their strength, and as a result Europe today is rebuilt, prosperous and flourishing in trade and finance. The more clearly the changing balance between the two sides of the Atlantic is understood, then the greater are our chances of redressing the balance without friction between friends. It is in this position today that I want Britain to be able to exert her influence.

I want again to have a British policy. I do not want this in any nasty nationalistic sense; I want it in order to be able to perform our duty internationally as we do here, with the traditions of centuries and she experiences of ages, to do our duty as we see it. I want us to do our duty in the Western Alliance, in Europe, in the Commonwealth and the developing countries as a whole. Alas, today this Government has neither the power nor the will to pursue such a policy; overburdened with debt it is inhibited from pursuing effective action. Therefore, it is we who must pursue a British policy.

What we have to do now is to carve out a new place for Britain in the world, carve it out without nostalgia, without bitterness and without regret, but with imagination, skill and with determination. That is what our discussions this week have been about. Change has been constantly on our lips. Change in attitudes, change in skills, change in policies, and in people. But the change most necessary is a change in Government.

In this world where the constant need is to understand change, the Labour Party today, as we see them, have all the wrong attributes. Why? Because they consist of one part revolutionaries and three parts stand-patters. They are revolutionary optimists wishing to march back into the 19th century to the time of the birth of their doctrine. They are evolutionary pessimists finding every conceivable argument why day-to-day change should not take place. They are rooted in vested interest. They are avid for the status quo. It is no paradox, strange though it may seem, that in a period of rapid change like this, what the nation needs is leadership from a progressive and modern Conservative Party, for it is only we Conservatives who will get moving and seize the opportunities which exist for us as a country. It is only we Conservatives who will act, and it is only we Conservatives who will remember and care, as change goes on, for the individuals – and there are always many who find it difficult and uncomfortable. Above all, it is only the Conservatives who will have the foresight and the sense of history to keep and protect those elements which are fundamental and valuable in our society, to keep the things which make this country the place where we want to live.

The moral of this is plain. We must regain power, but power has to be won. We must work to bring it back. There is no easy way. I did not disguise this when I became your leader. It must be clear to every one of us here at this Conference. Once again, it is the efforts of the individual men and women which count. Let us face this fact realistically. The Government today is still on trial by the people of this country. But we also know that the day of reckoning will soon come. It will come when the people of this country find that words are no substitute for deeds; that publicity is no substitute for policies; and that gimmicks are no substitute for government. We here, every one of us, and those whom we represent in our constituencies can bring that day nearer. We do so as we capture the hearts and the minds of our fellow citizens by our own personal influence one upon another. You, Madam Chairman, with all your long experience of politics, will know that that is in fact the only way. But great is the prize. It is to guide the destinies of Britain in this ever-changing world. It is that upon which we set our hearts here at this Conference today. It is that prize and nothing less which together we will win.

Harold Wilson – 1965 Labour Party Conference Speech


Below is the text of the speech made by the then Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, to Labour Party Conference in Blackpool in 1965.

Mr. Chairman and fellow delegates, I present to Conference the Parliamentary Report. The delegates here, and those whom we represent here today, were responsible by their unremitting and dedicated efforts for the election to Parliament, for the first time for 13 years, of a Labour majority. And it is entirely right and fitting that in the name of that Labour majority I should today report back to you. In every phase of the tough year through which we have gone, we have never for one moment forgotten those who put us there, the ideals for which they fought, the sacrifices they have made: for every one of us realises that not one of us would be in Parliament today as a result of his own efforts, but that we are there as representing a determined people.

When the country voted a year ago, it was not just a decision to replace one group of men and women by another, as in the long history of ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ which characterised an earlier phase of our Parliamentary history. The country took a decision. It was a decision for a New Britain, for a more positive and purposeful Britain – a Britain in which our economic resources would be planned and mobilised for the welfare of the British people as a whole – yes – but more than that, for the strengthening of Britain’s influence in the world. It was a decision that our latent economic strength, measured not in terms of industrial buildings, and plant and machinery, but in terms of the innate skills and energies of our people, should be purposefully developed year by year, in fulfilment of an economic and social plan – and not contemptuously and fitfully organised on a stop-go-stop cycle directed less to Britain’s strength and wellbeing than to the electoral success of the Party of privilege. It was a decision that the economic strength, which has so long lain dormant and only partially realised, should be used to build a New Britain – a Britain that cares – a Britain that rejects the distortion which Tory policies and Tory philosophies had created. It was a decision – last October – springing from a sense of frustration – of shame even, at a distortion of our society which had come to exalt private gain and purely material affluence and which had sacrificed to that scramble for material affluence the social priorities – social affluence as opposed to private affluence – which is the hallmark of a civilised society.

It was a decision that the old closed circle of opportunity based on family connections and school connections should go and should yield place to a land of opportunity for every boy and girl – for every man and woman – equal opportunity in our schools, equal opportunity to the right to higher education in all its forms, equal opportunity for the keen and thrusting and trained men and women in industry to get to the top. It was a decision that not only our industrial system, but every aspect of our national life that has been corrupted by the doctrine of a self-perpetuating establishment, should give way to an open society where knowing your job would mean more than knowing the right people.

It was a decision that national purpose should override sectional interests and that just as social good should take priority over private gain, so earning money should take precedence over making money. It was a decision for change, not change for its own sake, but change, radical and dynamic, for economic and social purpose. It was a decision that this second industrial revolution (which Harold Collison has just referred to) should be tempered with a humanity that was lacking from the first industrial revolution, a lack indeed that led to the creation of this Labour Movement.

It was a decision, in short, that Britain should have a government and that that government should govern.

For Britain for a long period before the last election had had no government. Whatever limited ideals and policies had animated the incoming Tory Government of 1951, had long ago lost their fire. The Conservative Government had remained in office in a posture of almost total abdication, content to leave the basic decisions that affected Britain’s economic life to the irresponsible and faceless controllers and manipulators of the centres of economic power. And drift and lack of purpose at home had led to drift and lack of purpose abroad.

It was this abdication, this refusal either to take the decisions that had to be taken, or to make way for those who would; it was this sacrifice of decision to electoral manipulation that more than anything else created the formidable problems which have dominated the past 12 months – the first year of this new Labour Government.

One thing I think, Mr. Chairman, you will allow me to say.

For nearly a year now, Britain has had a government, prepared to tell the nation the facts, prepared to talk in the gritty accents of reality, to tell the nation what had to be done, and unafraid to take the decisions that have to be taken, regardless of their short-run political popularity or any long-run electoral considerations.

We said it would not be easy. We said, in the spirit of the imperishable philosophy of Nye Bevan, first proclaimed here in Blackpool, that our actions would be governed by the language of priorities.

Time and time again before the election, we warned that our entry into office would be dominated by a deep-lying industrial and trade crisis. A crisis which in the event, was made immeasurably graver by their postponement of the day of electoral decision, and their failure in those humiliating months to take the decision that had to be taken.

When we issued those warnings, and I can take you back to a whole series of speeches beginning in Swansea in January, 1964, we underlined three things.

We underlined first, that we should be facing this crisis with a limited range of financial weapons which would be all that they would bequeath to us, but that we should use these weapons to the full, if necessary, to make Britain strong and sterling strong, whatever it meant, and however this might appear contrary to our broad long-term policy. We said that long before the election.

But we said, secondly, that while we were doing this, we would be taking every measure open to us not only by refurbishing and modernising the financial weapons, but also by creating new and more selective weapons of economic policy, to ensure that Britain should no longer be fated to plunge into a trade and payments crisis every time we dared, fitfully, for a few months, to break out of economic stagnation into a short period of expansion.

For we said that the condemnation of the Conservative stop-go-stop cycle was not merely their emphasis on stop. It was their failure all the time to build up our economic strength, to broaden our industrial base with more and modern equipment, to speed the training of skilled labour – so that we could break out of this cycle of crisis.

And the third thing we said – and all this was said before the election – was that if we faced a crisis, we would not, as happened in the bitter years that have followed each Tory election victory – seek to solve our problems by placing the greatest burdens on those least able to bear them; on the old, the sick, the disabled, the children. And neither would we hold back in a general freeze, the urgent task of bringing work to those areas where work was needed.

Although the Parliamentary Report I am presenting today has been dominated throughout this past year by the economic situation we inherited, it would, I think, be wrong for me to deal in detail with either the crisis and its causes, or with the action we have taken because the First Secretary of State and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if they catch your eye, Mr. Chairman, will be dealing with this on Thursday.

It is for me only to draw out one or two central themes. One – we have met the successive developments of this crisis by decisions, by measures, that have been taken, measures which were not only relevant to the current need and the current problems and the current state of sterling, but were also relevant to the deep, underlying, longer-term problems we are facing. And equally, and no one would question this, the measures we have taken to rid this nation not only of the economic crisis that we inherited but of the industrial inadequacies, the industrial distortion which underlay and caused that crisis – those measures that we have taken have been opposed, misrepresented and irresponsibly misused by the very men who bore the responsibility for the crisis and who, for their own unworthy reasons, had failed to take the decisions which they knew, and which they know, to have been necessary.

My second point is that while we have had to use the rusty and outworn weapons they left to us, we have from the outset been making an attack on the root causes of our economic problems. We have attacked irrelevant and costly prestige defence projects. We have attacked the problem of our uncontrolled capital exports. We have attacked the problem of our unbalanced investment programmes and the problem of government expenditure. But above all through the National Economic Development Council, through the separate councils for individual industries, through the Ministry of Technology, we are engaged now on a great campaign to make this country technology-conscious and to speed the application of the fruits of scientific research to our industrial processes.

And, Mr. Chairman, they fought us: they fought us on the aircraft cuts – the Conservatives, aided and abetted by the Liberals in their Censure Motion on the aircraft cuts; they fought us on our attack on the debilitating freedom of the City to export abroad capital which we needed at home; they attacked us on our policies to modernise industries – all the things we have done have been resisted and opposed by day and by night by the Conservative Opposition.

The long process of filibuster and delay on the Finance Bill has been presented by certain sections of the Press as though all that was involved was a cliff-hanging exercise in Parliamentary majorities and a long drawn-out Tory selection conference. But what was really at stake was this: the most fundamental reform of our system of taxation which Parliament has seen for over half a century – and we did it with a majority of three. And let it be noted that in this Finance Bill battle, there were 107 divisions in which the Liberals – shades of the 1909 People’s Budget – voted 13 times with the Government for fiscal modernisation and 94 times with the Opposition against fiscal modernisation.

There they were, Conservatives and Liberals alike, with modernisation on their lips, voting with their feet against urgent measures of fiscal reform. And what they were fighting against was the Government’s attack on the expense account racket; against an effective capital gains tax; against the Corporation Tax, which when it is stripped of all its technical detail was a measure to get industry to plough back more of its profits into expansion and re-equipment and modernisation and to distribute less of those profits as dividends; and when it is stripped of all its detail was a measure to ensure that less of our investment capital is exported abroad and more of it is kept where it is needed, here in Britain. For that Budget and that Finance Bill were directly relevant to our industrial problems. But they were more than that, they were an essential part of the task of creating a fairer Britain, of eliminating economic and fiscal privilege, they were an essential element in creating the climate of social justice that we always said would be necessary if we were to appeal to all sections of the community for restraint, for sacrifice of personal advantage in the matter of prices and incomes and productivity. How could George Brown have gone to Brighton if we had not carried through the Finance Bill first?

Fourthly, we have the whole relevance of the National Plan to our future policies for industrial expansion. As George Brown will be dealing with this on Thursday, I don’t propose to say anything about it now. This is a breakthrough in national economic policy. It is more than that. It is also a breakthrough in the whole history of economic government by consent and consensus. In a very real sense, the publication of the Plan marks the beginning of phase two of the work of this Parliament and of this Government.

Because, after a year in which our first preoccupation was how to weather the storm, the whole world realises that despite the sour pronouncements of our opponents, we are now getting within measurable distance of balancing our overseas payments. The economy is strong. Sterling is strong. Employment is strong. But let no one under-rate the weight that we have been carrying in facing this economic problem over this last year. Indeed, because our first year, which is the period covered by this Report, has been utterly dominated by the economic situation they left us with, it would have been perfectly understandable if I had had to stand before you this morning and to say that because of that economic situation I was sorry but we had lost a year in starting the attack on the problems we were facing last October: if I were to stand up and say that we have not been able to build the New Britain because we had a demolition job to do first, to clear away the damage left by the Tory economic crisis. If that were what I had to report, I would not have apologised to this Conference.

But, in fact, this has been one of the most productive years in British Parliamentary history. It has been a year of Government. It has been a year of active and progressive legislation. The Parliamentary Report lists; – and I am not going to go through the whole list – the massive legislative programme that we have carried through the House of Commons, or will have carried into law by the time this session finally ends next month. As one reviews this record it brings back to me all that they were saying a year ago, when they said that Labour would not be able to form a government. ‘The chaps weren’t there.’ All right. Man for man, woman for woman, I challenge comparison between every member of the Labour Front Bench and their predecessors. I will go further. Man for man, woman for woman – I challenge any Tory editor to answer this (I hope you will pass this message on), and to make a comparison between every Labour Front Bencher and his Tory Shadow Cabinet opposite number – always supposing that any single Tory editor even knows at any moment of time who the opposite number is.

Indeed, I would go further. Even if – and heaven forbid – all of my colleagues and I were to get under an illuminated tram tomorrow – every one of us – you could form out of our present second-eleven, our Ministers of State and Parliamentary Secretaries, a Cabinet and top Ministerial team at least as good as we present to you now, and far better than anything our opponents could put forward. You don’t win either the F.A. Cup or the English cricket championship unless you have got good reserves.

So, ‘Labour could not form a government.’ That was one of the things they said a year ago. Another thing they said was that we would not have firmness of purpose, that we would not govern with authority, that we should be pushed around. We have not been pushed around. We have not been pushed around abroad, and we have not been pushed around at home – and we are not going to be. This is government of the people, it is government by the people, it is government for all the people. And the accent is on government.

Let me remind you of something else they said. That with a majority of three we could not get through major legislative programmes. And certainly all the time, while we have been doing this, there has been this anxious pulse-taking about our majority by pollsters and by Press alike. Day to day medical bulletins in the national Press. It has, in fact, been a diversionary Opposition tactic to concentrate attention on the size of our majority and not on the measures that that majority was systematically carrying through the House.

Let me give you the figures. In this session so far, there have been 268 divisions. Thirty-nine of these were free votes – an unusually high proportion. Two hundred and twenty-nine, therefore, were straight confrontations between Government and Opposition. Three of these we can dismiss. They were lost when the Tories were playing their midnight game of Cowboys and Indians in the houses of Smith Square and Lord North Street – which Tony Benn generously connected up with a telephone so that they could know what they were voting about. And they talk about proxy voting for sick MPs! The other 226 we won and our average majority was more than 13. In only a handful of divisions did we have a majority below our nominal three. And just to put Scarborough into its perspective, perhaps it is right that I should record that the Liberal Party – what Mr. Grimond quaintly calls the Radical Left, voted 68 times with us and 157 times with the Conservatives. To be fair, on four occasions, they abstained.

Five years ago, Mr. Chairman, you told Conference that you did not join the Labour Party to become a left-wing Liberal. To judge from the right-wing Liberal voting record in this Parliament, you would have been a lonely man if you had.

It would be utterly wrong in presenting this Parliamentary Report to Conference if I did not now pay tribute to the magnificent work of the Government Whips, led by Ted Short, Sidney Irving, and if I might draw the veil aside a little further, our pairing whip, John Silkin I do not believe any team of whips has ever done such a magnificent job in the history of Westminster, but it would be equally wrong not to pay tribute to the tremendous morale and loyalty of our Labour Members, not least the new Members whom you returned to Westminster last October. Our new Members are already veterans. They have already been through what is one of the greatest Parliamentary ordeals in history and they have enjoyed it. I don’t know how many times I have talked to some of our new Members during the small hours, even as dawn approached, talked to them a little anxiously perhaps, to be greeted with the rebuke ‘this is what we came here for.’

And if the House adjourned at 3 am or 3.30 am you could see them gaily claiming that they had been lucky – they had got a half day off. But day by day, and night by night, as the small majorities ticked their way across the scoreboard, we were carrying through a fundamental reform of our tax system. And the Finance Bill they said we couldn’t get through, and that we wouldn’t get through, is now the Finance Act.

But, sir, you would agree that no tribute to the unity, the morale and the loyalty of the Parliamentary Labour Party could possibly be complete without a tribute to the Chairman of the Parliamentary Party, that great and ever young veteran, Manny Shinwell.

In a lifetime of service to this movement, nothing has surpassed or will surpass his contribution in this past year.

So, despite the economic crisis, despite the obstructive time-wasting manoeuvres of the Tory Party on the Finance Bill, the Rent Bill and other measures, we succeeded in a little over eight months in carrying through the Houses of Parliament 65 Bills. That is two more than the Tories managed in the previous session with a majority of 100; it is 14 more than the average for the 13 years 1951 to 1964. What is more, many of these were major Bills and we had to produce them without having had the time or the opportunity before we came to power, of course, to get them drafted. So that with the usual delays that an incoming government has, we have still been able to present a formidable legislative programme.

I am only going to say a word or two about some of these Bills. The first one was referred to yesterday by Peggy Herbison. It was a small one but there are many here who know what it means in terms of real humanity when we carried out our pledge – in our first Bill – to introduce a Bill to give old-age pensioners on our housing estates and elsewhere the right to free or concessionary bus fares – the Bill the Tories refused to introduce, the Bill the Tories blocked for years.

2.  We said we would take urgent action to raise pensions, and as Peggy told you yesterday, within a fortnight of Parliament meeting, we introduced the Bill.

3.  We had given a pledge to abolish the earnings rule for widows and to increase the pension of the ten shilling widow. We honoured the pledge.

4.  We said we would abolish the prescription charge. We abolished it.

5.  We said we would provide security of tenure for families in their homes. Without waiting for our main Rent Act repeal measure, we put an immediate stop to evictions.

6.  We had promised to repeal the Tory Rent Act, to provide new machinery for fixing fair rents, and to give Government and all others who required them, the powers they needed to fight the evils of Rachmanism. That Bill is through the Commons despite Tory obstruction. It is in the Lords – within a week of Parliament meeting again, we intend it to become law. It was on the Bill to restore security of tenure, and it was on the Rent Bill that our new Members, not I imagine to their surprise, saw the full virulence of Tory Opposition tactics when the Tories were fighting for something near and dear to them, the rights of landlords and property interests.

7.  We had said that those who lost their jobs as a result of industrial changes should receive, as of right, severance pay. In the Redundancy Payments Bill – which you carried through Parliament, Mr. Chairman, we have kept that pledge.

8.  We said we would take action to bring new life to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. The Highlands and Islands Development Act – what they call the ‘Marxist measure’ – is on the Statute Book.

9.  We gave a pledge about the Trade Disputes Bill. We have honoured that pledge.

10.  We have introduced a new Monopolies Bill to curb the abuses of monopoly power.

11.  We said we would provide machinery to overhaul our archaic and obsolete system of law. The Law Commissioners have been set up and they are at work under Labour’s Act of Parliament, and the Lord Chancellor is now due to present to Parliament the detailed and imaginative programme of law reform to which the Commissioners have set their hands.

12.  We said we would get rid of the restrictions on the right of railway workshops and other nationalised industrialised undertakings, to do work for export or for strengthening our industrial base. That was our pledge and the Minister of Transport has already acted. And we shall introduce a further measure to remove those restrictions which require statutory repeal.

This is just part of our record for one Parliamentary session. We have begun to lay the legislative foundations of the New Britain, though – I must repeat this – it takes time, it necessarily takes time, for the legislation to bear fruit. Dick’s Rent Act, when it becomes law, will take time to work through but, at this, stage we cannot put it to Conference.

When I talk about phase two, if you like, session two of this Parliament, I am not only referring to the improvement in our economic position, I am referring to the fact that starting with the Plan a fortnight ago, we shall now have a steady flow of new Government measures and new Government Bills.

Yesterday, Dick, the Minister of Housing and Local Government, told you something of our plans in the field of housing. Let me say that he did not tell you a half of it. He cannot yet, but he will soon, and he will have a great deal more to say when the National Housing Plan is published in a few weeks’ time. You see, we have had to spend so much of the first session in clearing up the festering debris of the Tory Rent Act legislation. Now we can go forward.

The housing problem, as every one of us said in the election, is the greatest social problem of this age, comparable in its impact, comparable in terms of human misery, to the problem of unemployment in those pre-war years. We said in the election that we would treat it as a priority operation. We said that if it were necessary to hold back any form of less essential building so that the Housing Programme could be increased, we should not hesitate to see what was necessary and to do what was necessary. Yesterday, Charlie Pannell, the Minister of Public Buildings and Works, gave you details of what this meant.

Dick told you what the programme was. Five hundred thousand houses a year by 1970, and a rising proportion of houses to let, but within that total is more to let and more for the owner-occupier. This is the only answer to the over-crowding problem in our towns and cities. The only answer to the problem of the slums, the only answer to the problem of Rachmanism – the evils of which the Tories, when they were in power first denied and then minimised – evils which were dramatically highlighted by the Milner Holland Report last autumn.

Last week, we announced our plan for London Housing and Dick yesterday rightly paid tribute to Bob Mellish who has worked day and night to get this London housing programme launched – and it has been a labour of love.

But you cannot build houses without land. Last week, the Minister of Land and Natural Resources published our White Paper with our proposals for a Land Commission. This, and the Bill which is to follow, make a reality of one of the central promises of Labour in the last election – our promise to deal once and for all with the problem of racketeering in the price of land, our promise to see that land is available when it is needed both for local authority housing programmes and for owner-occupiers; our promise that we would do this because otherwise Town and Country Planning is meaningless; our promise – a basic theme of Socialist belief – that profits arising through the action of the community should accrue to the community.

I call that a Socialist theme; yes, I should have thought a Liberal theme, too. That great ‘modernising’ Party on this theme at least at Scarborough last week carried through an exercise in recidivism which places its present leadership some years behind the Liberals of 60 years ago. In 1909, in 1910, they filled the land with song, ‘God gave the land to the people.’ Now, in 1965, we have the first fruits of Liberal revisionism: while they would not intend to throw doubt on the Almighty’s intention in this respect, their researches suggest that He did not intend this declaration to be taken too literally.

The Conservatives, predictably, condemned the proposals out of hand. The umbilical links between the Conservative Party and the landlords and property interests are too close to permit of much objectivity. But it is interesting to see in their first statement that they now support a levy on land profits. Since when? In Government, right to the last minute, they rejected all our proposals for a radical solution. On television, and throughout the election, their leader proclaimed his determination to die in the last ditch in defence of the free market in land.

Let this be clear. We regard our land proposals, worked out after an infinity of care and study, as essential to our housing programme and to our programme of rebuilding Britain. These issues cannot be discussed in the vulgar currency of Press comment about deals with this, that or the other political Party. Our land programme is a categorical imperative for this movement, for this Government, and for Britain.

We will not trade this or any other principle with those who may be faint of heart or infirm of purpose. We shall insist that all these measures go through. To take any other course would be an abdication of the responsibilities of Government.

As with land, so with financial provision. Dick referred to this yesterday. We shall announce our proposals for the long-term relations between the central Government and local government in the matter of finance. We shall announce our new and revolutionary proposals (that Dick was hinting at yesterday) for the finance of local authority housing. We are hard at work on rating reform.

And let me say to our friends from Wales – I opened the General Election campaign just a year ago last Saturday in Cardiff – to our friends from the Midlands, from London and other areas, we are pledged in this forthcoming session to deal once and for all with the leasehold problem.

Having referred to housing, I think it is right since this is referred to at length in the Parliamentary Report – and you would not want me to burke it – that at this point I should say something about immigration.

I do not propose to anticipate the debate which is to take place on Wednesday about the Government’s White Paper and our proposed legislation. But I want it understood that this is a decision, not of one Department of State, it is a Government decision, collectively taken and after the fullest consideration, by the highest authority in our system of government. But it is right, first, that I should stress our insistence on the positive attack on the problems presented by immigration. This is a positive White Paper. There has been too much talk about the negative side of it. We have legislated against racial incitement and against racial discrimination in public places. A number of senior Ministers have been, and are, spending, and will continue to spend, a lot of their time, and an energetic junior Minister is spending practically his whole time, on the practical problems of assimilation and integration of Commonwealth immigrants in our big towns and cities, especially in the fields of housing and education. We have sought to deal with the problem of immigration in consultation with other Commonwealth countries. But we must face the fact that largely because of the widespread evasion of the Act, in the concluding months of the Conservative Government – and, of course, the loopholes remain – there are towns and cities in Britain which are being asked today to absorb a degree of immigration on a scale beyond their social capacity to absorb, without serious risks, having regard to the time required for absorption.

There have been those – and we all know there have been those – who did not scruple to play on issues of race and colour for squalid and ignoble political motives. I want to say to you, with all the emphasis at my command, that the Government takes the view that we have a duty to act here and that failure to fulfil that duty might lead in a very short time to a social explosion in this country of the kind that we have seen abroad.

We cannot take the risk of allowing the democracy of this country to become stained and tarnished with the taint of racialism or of colour prejudice. I want to make it clear that in the positive policies set out in the White Paper for assimilation, for absorption, for integration, we proceed from the proposition that everyone living in this country, everyone who has come in or will come in is a British citizen, entitled to equality of treatment regardless of origin or race or colour.

Time will be required for assimilation and this is why we must have restriction, particu;larly having regard to the widespread evasions. But I repudiate the libel that the Government’s policy is based either on colour or on racial prejudice. We repudiate, and let me say for my part, I resent, the accusation of illiberality or of any desire whether on the part of the Home Secretary, or of the Government as a whole, to act in an arbitrary manner. Our concern was with evasion, and the new power – which I know has caused anxiety – in respect of repatriation relates only to those who have illegally or fraudulently entered this country.

Mr. Chairman, I have referred to the last session of the Commons. Sixty-five measures in the last session: and it would not be right or proper for me to indicate all the measures which we can expect to see passed in the session which is due to begin on 9 November. We have already announced that we shall. legislate to give effect to the forward looking measures in Fred Peart’s White Paper on Agricultural policies. Before Parliament meets, we shall be publishing our proposals for a Parliamentary Commissioner, the so-called Ombudsman, to investigate the grievances of individual citizens where a prima facie case is made out involving injustice or culpable neglect by great Departments of State. We shall be laying before the nation the reforms necessary in social security and our detailed plans for relating benefits to earnings.

And we plan to introduce another measure of which we gave notice in the Queen’s Speech at the Opening of Parliament last November. As part of our proposals to reform Company Law, so as to give shareholders greater information about the activities of the companies they own, we propose to introduce a statutory obligation on the part of members of boards of directors to give full details of any contributions of their shareholders’ money towards the funds of any political party, or of any front organisation which exists for political purposes. I think that it will be generally agreed and here I confidently count on the unanimous support of the House of Commons, that this will not only be a valuable reinforcement of existing statutory provisions within the field of Company Law and the protection of shareholders, but it will also provide a necessary cleansing agent – cleaning up one of the seamier sides of British public life and improving the standard of our democracy.

The Parliamentary Report I have just discussed gives the record of our achievement in our first session. By the end of our second session, we shall have carried into law almost the whole of the specific pledges which we laid before the country last October, and on which all of us fought that great campaign. Our manifesto was designed for a full five year Parliament. It was not our final programme: it was the first of a broadening series of Socialist programmes, and yet, though it is designed for five years, in two sessions the greater part of it will have become law – to say nothing of a great programme of social reform which we have introduced or shall be successively introducing outside the specific pledges we made a year ago.

I beg you, in your humanity, to consider what all this means for the Conservative Opposition. For their stock in trade is based on the repetitive use of two dying assets. One is their unscrupulous political use of the measures we have had to take to deal with their economic crisis. The second is their pathetic complaint that we have broken our election promises, and this complaint which, as we have seen in Parliament and outside, has taken the form of a newly discovered Conservative concern for many groups of people – or should I say groups of voters – whose needs they scorned for 13 years. They are suddenly concerned about aid for owner-occupiers, about aid for ratepayers, about the doctors, about the teachers. As I said on television last week, nothing is more pathetic than this repetitive complaint that in less than a year, we have not yet done everything that they failed to do, or neglected to do, or hadn’t the humanity to do, or refused to do, or didn’t know how to do, in 13 years.

And now, as the economic deficit moves slowly but surely into economic surplus, and equally, as we put into effect measure after measure in fulfilment of the mandate for which we asked in our election manifesto – as these two things happen – so will this discredited Tory Party be reduced to a querulous and impotent irrelevance, because during all this period they have not put forward a single positive proposal.

I call as witness 300 Labour Members of Parliament. In a year of almost unprecedented Parliamentary, activity, with measure succeeding measure in its passage through the House, we have not had from the Conservative Opposition, a single statement of alternative policy on any of the issues on which we have legislated. Negative opposition to one Bill after another, whether they are Bills for which we have sought and obtained a mandate, or whether they are corrective financial measures made necessary by the crisis they had bequeathed to us, on all these things their record has been not only negative, it has been nihilist. We have had from them no proposals, and, of course, anyone who looks at the political scene – even the Press will be admitting this in their leaders very soon – will say that when a country has to judge it is not judging between two parties on the record of how negative one of them has been in Opposition: it is judging between a government and an alternative government, and the Conservative Party have destroyed any claim they might have had to be regarded as a credible alternative government.

And so it goes on. Most measures they have denounced out of hand as soon as they have seen them. They have now set up a department in the Conservative Central Office to divide all our Bills and White Papers into two classes: those they attack on sight and those they attack before they have read them.

Month by month; we have been promised the new statement of Conservative principles. It was ready in January, it will be ready in March. It was ready for a spring election, we should have it in July. Now we are told it is going to be available before, during, or after the Conservative Party Conference. For my part, I shall neither praise nor condemn its contents until I have read it. But I will say this. In so far as it calls for changes in Government policies, or improvements in our system of society, or improved quality of management in industry – which they now keep talking about – or reforms in trade unions, in so far as it calls for a fairer distribution of our social services, then the publication of this policy statement will be a more eloquent and damning indictment than any words or comments of mine could be, on the Conservative record, of their failure to do all the things they now say are necessary, when they have just ended responsibility for the conduct of the nation’s affairs and the shaping of our social system – which lasted for 13 years.

Nye had a word for it, as always: Why look in the crystal ball when you can read the book? Thirteen volumes of it.

This is one reason why their efforts to produce a policy should command our sympathy; they can produce nothing new without utterly condemning their own record.

Another reason for sympathy – and I am sorry that I am not getting the sympathetic expressions on your faces that I hoped for – is that they are trying to produce a policy in a Party which is fundamentally divided not only on means but also on its basic philosophy. Weasel words cannot bridge the gulf between those who slowly and reluctantly have come to accept, at any rate, some measure of economic planning and those among their leaders – recently promoted some of them – who claim a policy of economic and social anarchy, a policy, a philosophy, which had already been repudiated by some of the more progressive Tories in the 1860s.

But there is something more serious than this. We are told that under their new leadership, the old slogans will go and that new and more inspiring themes will lie at the heart of their policies. What are these themes? Partnership? Co-operation? A combined operation to modernise Britain? None of these.

We are told, with authority, that the keynote is to be ‘conflict.’ That is to be the philosophy – ‘conflict.’ That the Conservative Party should now consciously ally itself with management against all other groups in the community.

That management must be set against labour, that equally, labour must be set against management. This apparently is what is meant by the fashionable new word ‘abrasive’ – a return to the bitterness of Taff Vale and to the class-war philosophy of Galsworthy’s ‘Strife.’ This is the modernisation. The Conservative Party, always materialist, is now logically getting itself ready to adopt a Marxist posture.

I warn these men that they are playing with fire for electoral purposes. Some of them showed that they were not above unleashing the evil passions of race and colour hatred, and none of them, even yet, has denounced what was done in their name a year ago.

But now, it is clear that in the top leadership of their Party there are men who will not scruple for electoral purposes to unleash a new source of conflict in Britain, in British industry, by incitement and provocation in industry. This Government of ours has not been slow to condemn nor slow to act where industry has faced paralysis through sporadic unofficial disputes and our condemnation, through your words and actions, Mr. Chairman, is directed against any – be they feudal managements, or irresponsible strikers – who have jeopardised our industrial recovery.

Now the Tories, who for 13 years did nothing, claim to have discovered the problem of industrial relations. Let them realise that the course on which they now appear to be set, so far from reducing industrial problems, could set industry ablaze.

The truth is that the new Conservative appeal to professional management is a diversionary tactic to conceal their basic preoccupation not with the functions of management and industrial efficiency with which we are concerned, but with ownership (following their tradition), with the rights of a privileged minority, by those who own money and make money out of that ownership, or those who own land and hold the rest of the country to ransom through the ownership of land. That was the inspiration of their Finance Bill fight when the Shadow Chancellor and his cub tycoons, that assembly of city acolytes, were fighting not for industry but for finance. It was also the spirit that informed the two successive Conservative leaders in their attacks on the Highland and Islands Bill and all other land legislation.

For what they are engaged on is not a question either of measures or of men. It is a desperate attempt to provide the admen with what they call the new image.

I have said before at this Conference that I don’t think much of this image stuff. For us men at any rate, our shaving mirror tells us what the image is. It is something never very far removed from the face that we present. Nikolai Gogol, so far as I am concerned, has the last word on these Colman, Prentiss and Varley techniques in his foreword to his play, ‘The Government Inspector,’ a century and more ago when he quoted this Russian proverb: ‘NA ZERKALO NYETCHA PYENYAT KOLI ROZHA KRIVA.’ For the benefit of any who are not familiar with that, in the words of the authorised translation, ‘Don’t blame the mirror if the mug is ugly.’

Enough of them. We have more important things to talk about. We are building the New Britain, and with this I close my introduction this morning. We do not claim to have built it yet. In our first year, we were building with the brokers’ men looking over our shoulder. We have had to clear from the building site the debris of wasted years. What we can say – it is a modest claim, perhaps – is that this year has been spent on the foundations, on putting the footings in. But in all we have done, whatever the difficulties, whatever bottlenecks we have had, and the two principal ones have been money and Parliamentary time, in all this difficult year, we have kept our eyes raised to the great design of the structure that we are seeking to build.

I began this morning by saying what I felt was the vision of the New Britain for which our people voted a year ago. I have shown how in this unprecedentedly difficult year, we have started to move towards that new Britain. The years that lie ahead will see our forward march.

Soon, we shall be announcing our plans for a great productivity drive, a great technological revolution, which will turn into a reality the vision that we proclaimed at Scarborough.

This new Britain that we are building will be a Britain of opportunity. An opportunity for the young; an opportunity under the forward looking proposals which Alice Bacon has worked out in the Home Office for children, deprived of a fair chance in life, to have that: chance. And opportunity to us means for every boy and girl, the right to the educational development which will enable him or her to develop their innate talents and qualities to the full.

This is why educational expenditure is running at a record level, why school building has been exempted from the restrictions of the past year, and why it is planned to raise it at so rapid a rate over the next five years. This is why we have made the purposive start on the ending of the 11 plus selection and on the creation of a truly comprehensive system. This is why the Secretary of State for Education and Science has moved to give effect to the plan set out in Signposts for the Sixties and approved by conference for the integration of the public school system.

But equally, if there can be no arbitrary selection at 11 plus, there can be none either at 18 plus hence our drive to build up the universities and to establish parity of esteem between those universities with a technological background and those founded on older disciplines. And I am proud to speak as the. Chancellor designate of Bradford University.

But this must be the Britain which releases the energies of our people at every age.

We do not regard the battle for production as a limited private war confined to Ministers and Government servants, and top industrial managers and trade union leaders. It must be a battle in which the whole British people is mobilised. That is why we have called for the establishment of production committees in every factory, allowing all who have contributions to make to increased production to play their full part regardless of outdated ideas about the sacred preserves of management.

We want to see – and here our great new regional councils can give the lead – the service of our young technologists and scientists mobilised in an assault on the technical problems of industry and I should like to see our junior chambers of commerce mobilise keen young business men, exporters, salesmen, marketing experts, for the attack on the export markets. We promised you two years ago it would be our aim to release the energies of the British people and we meant it.

But this cannot be judged in industrial terms alone. The new Britain must be related not only to the quantity of production but to the quality of life. At Scarborough, I said the automative age would at once make possible these facilities and create the demand for increased facilities for the use of leisure.

And even with the limitations which the last year has imposed, we all of us are proud of what Jennie Lee has achieved in providing for increased expenditure and increased investment in our national arts and amenities and especially for the extension of this programme to the provinces.

And she is working with equal determination to make a reality of another cherished Labour proposal – the University of the Air, to provide for our people an opportunity of higher education, perhaps a higher education they missed through no fault of their own, whether vocationally or in pursuing more liberal studies. Jennie and those advising her have already studied in depth all that will be involved in creating a new national university of the air, with its vice-chancellor, its system of degrees and diplomas, its courses, using television and radio, particularly local broadcasting stations, bringing into the service the work of colleges of further education, making use of residential and correspondence courses, the W.E.A., and the extra-mural departments.

There are those who are disappointed that we have not done more to alter the external trappings of our society. Frankly, we have been more concerned with the citadels of effective power than with its external embellishments. It has been more important to assert national and social responsibility in our economic and social life. This may be disenchanting, but we are more interested in the monthly trade returns than in Debrett, more preoccupied with reading what is said by the industrial correspondents and economic editors than what is said by William Hickey; more concerned with modernising the machinery of government, including the vitally necessary creation of modern regional machinery, much more with the action that will need to follow the Report of the Estimates Committee on the Recruitment, Training and Structure of the Civil Service than in altering the layout of Burke’s Landed Gentry. In the language of priorities, we are more concerned with the work of the House of Commons – a newly nationalised House of Commons – than with the future of the House of Lords. Though I should perhaps mention that since last October, there have been no hereditary peerages created, and no baronetcies either, nor has the Labour Chief Whip followed the example of his Tory predecessors who regularly used the Honours List as a means of rewarding, and corrupting, their Parliamentary Party.

That is our Parliamentary Report to you. We intend to get on with the job you gave us to do. I believe that is what you want. I believe that is what the country wants and for once, I find myself reinforced by the unity of the two public opinion polls – I have not seen an Express one lately – which show that an overwhelming majority of our fellow-citizens are sick and tired of manoeuvring, of Press gossip about an early and unnecessary election, and want to see what Labour can do with the mandate they gave to us.

Others may manoeuvre. We have a job to do. We have not been approached by any other Party with a view to a pact, a deal or a coalition. It is entirely right and proper that a Party leader should be concerned to show the fullest respect, as he does, to those who elected their 10 Members; it is equally right and proper for us to show our equal respect for the views of those who elected our 300. We are clear what our mandate means in terms of our Parliamentary programme and in terms of executive Government. I hope that others will feel able to support these measures which we put forward because we believe them to be in the national interest. If they can, we shall welcome their support. If they cannot, we shall have to go on without them.

So, if others find themselves unable honourably to support the measures we put forward – and I intend no reflection on their motives – this must be a matter for them. But if this leads to a seizure in our Parliamentary government, or a situation in which effective government cannot be carried on, then let this be understood – this will not then be an issue to be settled in the back corridors of the Palace of Westminster, it will be an issue to be settled by the sovereign and independent decision of the British people.

For the power you conferred on us is not a gift, but a trust; it belongs not to us but to the whole British people; and it will not be the Parties or the pressmen; the pollsters, the principalities and powers who will decide: it will be the people, who alone can refresh and reinforce our mandate, and it will be to the people that we shall render the account of our stewardship in carrying out the task they gave us of building a new and fairer Britain.