Margaret Thatcher on Wales

Speech to Welsh Conservative Party Conference, Patti Pavilion, Swansea, 19 July 1980

We received a third of all Welsh votes. Indeed, we cut such a swathe through Wales that if you wished to do so—and why not, for it is a lovely country—you could walk from the South-East corner to the North-Western most point and find yourself on Conservative territory all the way….

Economically, we are living in a harsh world. We are in the midst of a general recession, a world-wide decline in commercial activity. The prizes open to us are few. We have to strive to win them. The world won’t buy our goods because they are British—but only because it thinks they are the best. We can recognise this truth or bury our heads in the sand. At last year’s Election, the people chose truth and rejected illusion: they voted for reality and banished yesterday’s dreamworld….

There is a struggle ahead, though not, perhaps, as dramatic as some people would like to think. But no danger confronts us which it is beyond the power of this nation to overcome. What an amazing thing is our United Kingdom. Here we have the Welsh, the English, the Scots and the people of Ulster, each proud of their origin and concerned for their posterity; each regarding themselves, in some ways, as a separate cultural entity, but all combining to form a British nation with a British patriotism. It is that patriotism which has carried us through far sterner days than these and which is going to bring us once more, through toil and mutual trust, to a new and splendid future.

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Author: HanesCymru

I teach history at Swansea University.