Michael Foot defends Labour party manifesto – archive, 17 May 1983

17 May

The Labour leader, Mr Michael Foot, accuses Tory propagandists of disfiguring the general election campaign with smears and scares about Labour’s policy on defence in the foreword to the Labour Party manifesto published yesterday.

Mr Foot says of Tory claims that the Labour Party proposes to throw away the country’s defences and abandon its alliances: “It is just not true. And it should not be forgotten that one of the last acts of Mrs Thatcher’s government was to stop the debate in the House of Commons when these slanders could have been nailed.”

But the main thrust of Mr Foot’s foreword, written in the past few days, is a justification of the party’s £11,000 million programme to tackle mass unemployment.

The manifesto, called New Hope for Britain, advances the policies first outlined in the campaign document described in detail in the Guardian on Wednesday, March 30. A summary of the key proposals is given here.

It is described by Mr Foot as Labour’s plan for “doing the things which are crying out to be done.” These include: getting Britain back to work; rebuilding our shattered industries, getting rid of the ever growing dole queues; protecting and enlarging the National Health Service and helping to stop the nuclear arms race.

Explaining how Labour would pay for its emergency programme, Mr Foot says some of the money could come from the North Sea oil revenues now pouring down the drain, some would come from the billions wasted on the dole queues, some would come from the billions now being allowed to be exported in investment abroad.

“And some of it will be borrowed, Mrs Thatcher’s dirty word,” says Mr Foot. “But borrowing in that sense is what every intelligent government since the war in Britain has done – including even Conservative governments. Borrowing in that sense is what has been done by other govrnments in this world slump who have kept their unemployment much lower than ours – and their inflation rates low too.
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Front cover of Labour’s 1983 manifesto.



Front cover of Labour’s 1983 manifesto. Photograph: Martin Argles for the Guardian

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