History / Politics

The quiet revolutionary Mark I

In her first conference speech as prime minister, Theresa May made a big deal of the ‘quiet revolution’ sparked by the Brexit vote. Was she sending a covert signal to a hitherto undetected army of Edward Heath’s loyal followers? This is from the Great European’s own first conference speech as prime minister, back in 1970:artwork-edward-heath

This then is the task to which your Government is dedicated: to give to all our people both freedom and responsibility. That is the challenge and from it will come opportunity. Opportunity to take our destiny, the destiny of the nation, once again in our own hands.

If we are to achieve this task we will have to embark on a change so radical, a revolution so quiet and yet so total, that it will go far beyond the programme for a Parliament to which we are committed and on which we have already embarked; far beyond this decade and way into the 1980s.

For it is the task of building something of style, of substance, and worth; something so important to the life and the future of this country of ours.


One thought on “The quiet revolutionary Mark I

  1. For those people who have grown up knowing only the enmity between Thatcher and Heath (more or less anyone under 55), it comes as a surprise to analyse the policies of Heath’s Government, in particular the policy on trade unions. The Industrial Relations Act of 1971 attempted to use the law and the courts to formalise negotiations within the formal trade union structures and take them out of the hands of the shop stewards. This is what Thatcher did later. On economic policies, Heath also believed in deregulation. When unemployment rose, he allowed money supply to be inflated and the economy to enter an unsustainable boom. Heath even had a banking crisis, which Thatcher never achieved not even when the economy moved towards recession in the late 80s and early 90s. Heath didn’t loathe Thatcher because she opposed his policies. With the obvious exception of the EU, she didn’t. Heath loathed her because she succeeded where he had failed.


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