Orders of the Day — Budget Proposals and Economic Situation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st April 1955.

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Photo of Viscount  Hinchingbrooke Viscount Hinchingbrooke , South Dorset 12:00 am, 21st April 1955

We have had this altercation before. My answer then was that that was to meet an external enemy. That is a very different thing. Now we have the threat of the internal enemy of Socialism coming back.

I do not think that at this distance from the war, and with memories of the war fast fading, the people of this country want to see established on them by taxation a new society of equal shares and of equalitarian outlook. I believe that they are leaving that era behind, and that families do not want to be treated exactly alike by a civil servant in Whitehall who sends them all certain types of margarine or builds them certain types of houses. They want to secure an advantage for themselves over their neighbours, and to rise in the social and financial scale by their own efforts and ability, in and into a society where there can be competition in an atmosphere of freedom.

If right hon. and hon. Gentlemen are going to the country with policies and proposals of that old kind they will be turned down at the polls. They might be turned down sharply, in circumstances which reduced them to the position they were in in 1931. That would be a profound pity, because I believe most firmly in the two-party system in this country.

Both the right hon. Member for Leeds, South yesterday and the right hon. Member for Bishop Auckland today raised the bogey that the economic situation of the country would get worse in a few months. I am not saying that the situation is wonderful. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer showed us in February that it was not. His speech on the Budget, showed that he did not expect a very rosy situation to arise immediately.

What does that mean? It means that the people of the country will tend to put their trust in the party which, by tradition, has always been placed in power when the future was hazardous or uncertain. They did it in 1951, to save the country from an economic crisis created by hon. Gentlemen opposite. If hon. Gentlemen opposite now go to the country saying, "The situation is rather dangerous, the outlook is dark, and we are not too happy about the fortunes of our country," the people will instinctively react by returning us on 26th May by an overwhelming majority.