Alan Glyn – 1985 Speech on the Loyal Address

Below is the text of the speech made by Alan Glyn, the then Conservative MP for Windsor and Maidenhead, in the House of Commons on 6 November 1985.

I agree with the right hon. Member for Glasgow, Rutherglen (Mr. MacKenzie) that this country is in the middle of a third industrial revolution and that the pattern of industry is changing. As he said, we are moving towards microchip technology, and people must be trained to undertake that kind of work. It is no use trying to shore up old-fashioned industries such as steel. There is a world surplus of steel. It is difficult to estimate how much will be required. It is that kind of challenge with which we are faced. I agree with the right hon. Member for Rutherglen that unemployment is a source of concern for all hon. Members, but the Government are trying to reduce it.

It is quite right that the Gracious Speech should put defence first. I note that it says that the Government

“will continue to play a full and active part in the Atlantic Alliance and to enhance the United Kingdom’s own defences.”

This point was very well made in a recent debate, and I shall not bore the House with it. However, it is essential for this country to have adequate defences if an attack should be made upon it, and there must be sufficient ​ personnel to man those key installations and to ensure that the enemy cannot infiltrate. Paragraph 4 of the Gracious Speech says:

“My Government will continue to work for progress in arms control”.

Of course they must. However, that progress must be mutual and balanced, and provision must be made for full and comprehensive mutual inspection. That is very important.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister mentioned gas. One cannot, of course, provide for mutual inspection of gas, because this country does not have gas; only the Soviet Union has a stock of gas.

The Gracious Speech also refers to the Falkland islands and to the honouring of the undertakings given to the people of the Falkland islands. However, it does not mention sovereignty. This is a very important point. It must not be forgotten that there may be vast reserves in the whole of the south Atlantic which could be exploited.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said that in most cases privatisation has been not only economic but has enabled this country to become a nation of shareholders. People have a share in the industries in which they work. This is just as important as being a householder. If people have a share in the industries in which they work, they realise that if those industries make a profit they will benefit. This is important not only from the national point of view but from the point of view of encouraging a sense of responsibility in individuals and a desire to co-operate with management in order to make industry profitable.

Napoleon said that we were a nation of shopkeepers, and he was right. Our small businesses must be given more freedom. One of my hon. Friends complained earlier about the burden of VAT, but the main problem facing small businesses is the innumerable number of forms that have to be filled in. A small business man finishes his week’s work and then has to fill in all these forms. We need a simplified form of accounting, whether for income tax, VAT or anything else, which everybody can understand and deal with quickly so that valuable time is not wasted.

Reference is made in the Gracious Speech to social security. There is a crying need for legislation, because our social security system is so confused that no one knows who to go to and people do not know their rights. We need the new legislation that the Government are to introduce. The emphasis should be on the needy, and our NHS should not be in conflict with private practice, but should work in partnership for the good of the nation.

The two great issues facing the country are unemployment and law and order. We must consider the three important aspects of law and order—the law, its enforcement, and the punishment for breaking it. I have taken up the case of a woman constituent who has suffered because Hell’s Angels have moved in next door to her. I will not describe what goes on in that house; hon. Members can imagine what happens. There is no law that can touch them.

We must support the police. Discipline starts in the school and the home and it must continue into respect for the police. If the police have to be given more powers, that must be accepted. I do not mind the police having water cannon. As long as they are given sufficient power and are not continually criticised, we shall be able to make progress.

Where is the punishment? People go before the courts and get practically no punishment. The law, its enforcement and punishment must be looked at carefully.

When the Hell’s Angels moved into my constituency, we examined the law carefully because they were making life hell for Mrs. McSorley. We could find no way of catching them. If we go on like this, we shall find that the incidents that have occurred in various cities will get worse and will eventually spread. Now is the time to stamp out crime and violence. We must not wait until it overcomes us.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister is to tackle drug abuse and drug trafficking, and I am sure that she will also tackle crime. If we do not tackle the problems of unemployment and crime, we shall be criticised heavily at the next election.