Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Rebuilding a conservative party after electoral defeat...

Margaret Thatcher writing in 1975 on rebuilding a conservative party after electoral defeat:


One of the most hackneyed of political quotations is Disraeli's dictum that the Tory party "is a national party or it is nothing." Yet it means more than the obvious truths that Conservatives must put the interests of the whole nation first and must seek their electoral support among all classes and sections of the community. It means also that the party cannot long survive unless its policies are in tune with the deepest and best instincts of the British people. . . .

My kind of Tory party would make no secret of its belief in individual freedom and individual prosperity, in the maintenance of law and order, in the wide distribution of private property, in rewards for energy, skill and thrift, in diversity of choice, in the preservation of local rights in local communities.

Size is not all, any more than economic growth is all. Even efficiency is not enough. People come first—their needs, their hopes, their choice, their values and ideals. We have to understand these first—to be seen to be listening with sympathy and concern. It is important to be able to lead, certainly. But you cannot for long lead people where they do not want to go.