Orders of the Day — Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th March 1968.

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Photo of Mr John Cronin Mr John Cronin , Loughborough 12:00 am, 20th March 1968

The hon. Member for South Angus (Mr. Bruce Gardyne) made a very interesting and enlightened speech, though I do not agree with his peroration. I was very glad that on the whole he avoided the rather tedious forms of political attack which we have heard several times on the causation of the present economic crisis. The Leader of the Opposition was a particular offender in that respect yesterday afternoon.

The plain fact is that the crisis has not been brought about by three years of Labour Government or 13 years of Conservative Government. As we have had crisis after crisis ever since the last war, it is obviously not due to any particular political party. Both the previous Conservative Governments and the present Government have not been as successful as they should have been in coping with the situation. Therefore, nothing could be more idle than the remarks of the Leader of the Opposition yesterday. But I do not want to drive that point too far, because, whatever difficulties we have on this side of the House, our great consolation is that there is always the Leader of the Opposition on the other side.

I hope that my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary will convey to my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer my congratulations on his political courage in composing the Budget and on the excellent way in which he presented it not only in the House but on television yesterday. Nothing is more helpful than to present our difficulties in a candid and simple way and to indicate the solution. My right hon. Friend's total abstention from soft soap salesmanship and any kind of smooth talk and his presentation of the blunt facts of life are something which the British public will respond to. I was most impressed by the fact that he succeeded in inducing not only some of my Left-wing hon. Friends to wave their Order Papers yesterday, but also got the applause of the gnomes of Zurich last night and the Stock Exchange today. This is a unique political feat.