War of Words
January 31, 1976
Ladies and Gentlemen, I stand before you tonight in my green chiffon evening gown, my face softly made up, my fair hair gently waved. The Iron Lady of the Western World! Me? A Cold War Warrior?
Well, yes, if that is how they wish to interpret my defence of values and freedoms fundamental to our way of life. And by they, I mean that somewhat strange alliance between the comrades of the Russian Defence Ministry and our own Defence Minister. They are welcome to call me what they like if they believe we should ignore the build-up of Russian military strength, that we should not disturb their dreams of detente by worrying over the Communist presence in Angola. But I happen to believe that what is at stake, both in this country and in the world, is important and is crucial to our future.
We are waging a battle on many fronts. We must not forget the guns and missiles aimed at us, but we must not let them blind us to the much more insidious war of words which is going on. It is not just a matter of hurling insults, where he who hurls loudest, hurls last. That is the final resort of the man who has already lost the argument and the first of the man who knows he has no case. No, this is not such a war. The war is a true war of words, where meanings get lost in a mist of revolutionary fantasy, where accuracy is slipped quietly under the carpet, and where truth is twisted and bent to suit the latest propagandist line. That is what we are up against. And we have to fight it if only because we find it totally offensive to our notions of freedom and truth.