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Her Majesty's Government (Opposition Motion)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th June 1976.

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Photo of Mr Frank Tomney Mr Frank Tomney , Hammersmith North 12:00 am, 9th June 1976

The hon. Member will be going. It is just a question of time until he is left with nothing to do but play the bagpipes beside Loch Ness.

There is disillusionment in every sector of our activity. When we in this Chamber should have been speaking our mind or reflecting the mind of the people, we have shown cowardice and been silent.

Consequently, a feeling of cynicism and intolerance is growing up in the electorate. This must stop, and we must take the people with us on a crusade. Great Britain is a tight island with few resources, but we have a skill—adaptable and ingenious—which we must use.

My solution to the problem is the industrial solution. We must go back to first bases. Since we lost the Empire and Imperial Preference there has been a long slide down, and we are still sliding. We have kept up the pretence of a Commonwealth, and it has always been a heavy financial drain upon our resources. I know that the Commonwealth countries send us raw materials and use our banking facilities, but the sooner we say that the old association with grants-in-aid and financial support must be strictly on an economic, financial and industrial basis, the better it will be both for us and for the Commonwealth countries. We can no longer pour out thousands of millions of pounds for mother India as we have done for the last 40 or 50 years. The people of the country want to know why we cannot mind our own garden for a time and see how we get on.

Our problems can be settled only by the industrial efforts of the country. The censure motion is wrong for that purpose, especially at this time. The Conservative Party knows that it cannot risk another confrontation. The Conservatives have no adequate policies to deal with the economic and international problems, and the world currency market is now calming down.

We are all in the same boat, and the boat is top-heavy and has no sails. It is being pushed along with us all in it. If the motion has an adverse effect on world currency markets it will be deplorable, but if it is defeated by a majority tonight, as I hope it will be, there will still be time for new ideas and for a new purpose in industry, and that is what we are after. That is the kernel. We shall achieve success only by full employment, full production, full export potential, heavy reinvestment and, in the first few years, round-the-clock working. Once we can get that going, the opportunities for the country will be boundless. That is why I welcome the Prime Minister's speech and the manner in which he made it. I have had my belly-full of economists of all natinalities, especially Hungarians. He was at it again this morning in The Times. These people frighten me to death.

What we need is a practical realisation, without economic jargon, of the application of productive processes. The people must be firmly convinced that they are going along with the destiny of the nation. They will then play their part in securing for us the future that should rightly be ours. If we all address our speeches to that theme, we may get somewhere in the next four or five years.