Margaret Thatcher: Prime Minister Indomitable

By Juliet S. Thompson; Wayne C. Thompson | Go to book overview

11
Changes in World Affairs

To a Meeting of Chelsea Constituency Association, July 26, 1975

Already this year, we have seen remarkable changes in world affairs. Here in Britain the question of our membership of the European Community has been clearly and dramatically settled. The policies we have pursued over the past years have been overwhelmingly supported by the British people. Membership is no longer an issue. The argument is over, and we are established as full partners, accepting the comradeship of our fellow Europeans. Now it is up to us to make our contribution to a new Europe.

But it is a dangerous world that we live in. Freedom has taken a major battering over the last few months. Close to home in Portugal the first faint flickers of democracy are being snuffed out by Communist reaction. Further East the island of Cyprus is torn by communal strife. Next door Middle Eastern neighbours struggle to achieve a just and lasting settlement.

Meanwhile, the world's most formidable navy, not America's, not Britain's, but Russia's, relentlessly extends its power from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean. Only this spring the Soviet fleets displayed their awesome new potential to strike at the world's shipping lanes in the largest navel manoeuvres ever staged. Yet this is the moment the Labour government has chosen to start pulling the Royal Navy out of the Mediterranean and to ditch the Simonstown Agreement. In South East Asia the loss of South Vietnam and Cambodia was a major setback for the free world. Who can tell where it will end?

-177-

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