Conservative Party Conference
Address Delivered in Blackpool, October 10, 1975
The first Conservative Party conference I ever attended was in 1946, and I came to it as an undergraduate respresenting Oxford University Conservative Association (I know our Cambridge supporters will not mind). That conference was held in this very hall, and the platform then seemed a long way away, and I had no thought of joining the lofty and distinguished people sitting up there. But our party is the party of equality of opportunity, as you can see.
I know you will understand the humility I feel at following in the footsteps of great men like our leader in that year, Winston Churchill, a man called by destiny to raise the name of Britain to supreme heights in the history of the free world; in the footsteps of Anthony Eden, who set us the goal of a property-owning democracy--a goal we still pursue today; of Harold Macmillan, whose leadership brought so many ambitions within the grasp of every citizen; of Alec Douglas-Home, whose career of selfless public service earned the affection and admiration of us all; and of Edward Heath, who successfully led the party to victory in 1970 and brilliantly led the nation into Europe in 1973.
During my lifetime all the leaders of the Conservative Party have served as prime minister, and I hope the habit will continue. Our leaders have been different men with different qualities and different styles, but they all had one thing in common: each met the challenge of his time.
Now, what is the challenge of our time? I believe there are two: to overcome the country's economic and financial problems, and to regain our confidence in Britain and ourselves.