Page 4, 12th January 1979

12th January 1979
Page 4
Page 4, 12th January 1979 — Thatcher tested

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Thatcher tested

I read with serious interest, your accounts of your interviews with Mr. Thatcher (December 22 and 29). have always thought that one should never accord uncritical allegiance to any single political party, but I must admit that I have always had an innate distrust of the extreme Left. I have now decided that the time has come to have another look at the extreme Right; eller all, extreme begets extreme.

For some time I have been troubled by the number of utterances of Mrs Thatcher which seem to be over-simplifications which do not stand up to the test of critical examination. Her manner, when addressing members of the Government in the House, is somewhat tutorial.

I am often remindedof an enthusiastic headmistress, lecturing the Rotters of the School who have, by unworthy means acquired power of which they are about to be deprived by the righteously enraged Head.

I was quite shocked by the statement to you, by the Leader of the Opposition, that "nowadays there is no primary poverty left in this country". That is an inaccurate and brutal generalisation. True, there are, no doubt, some people who may be fairly placed under the category of "The undeserving poor." Like "The undeserving rich," they will always be with us — Mrs Thatcher's little • parable on the therapy of self-help was not particularly edifying, in my opinion.

We are told of the good nurse who says to her patient: 'Now come on, you've been very ill but you've got to try to get up." A better nurse would perhaps have thought of the cause of the patient's illness and whether he had the potential to get to his feet unaided.

How are the unemployed to struggle to their feet, economically, if

there are no jobs available in theirarea and no means of increasing social mobility?

1 was not impressed by "The reason why I voted for abortion", with the crisp, almost ex-cathedral pronouncement: "You may have to take the life of the child in order to save the mother, but that is a medical judgment."

"What you do has got to be somehow, in touch with and in tune with the times" seems to me to be a particularly dangerous generalisation. I also shuddered at the ethical outlook apparently underlying her answer to your question about the desirability of including human rights clauses, in agreements: "And how does that help people who are not in prison, etc?"

In one of his articles, Mr Norman St John-Stevas referred to his leader, whimsically, as "The Blessed Margaret". It is possible that even some of her party's followers may wonder whether she is a suitable candidate for political canonisation!

Molly M. Donovan

London, SWI7.

Your personal interview with Mrs Thatcher, (December 22 and 29), came at a particularly apt time, even though the answer to the question posed by your headline never became apparent.

he interview did highlight how much we need to learn about how little our politicians know.

Your report of Mrs Thatcher's answers on abortion showed that she neither knows nor cares what law is. Clearly she has given no thought to the matter, for example she says and repeats that abortion only applies to the early months and later she says the "very, very early dose.

Now one would expect that the potential next Prime Minister would be better informed on the laws passed by Parliament. At present abortion can be carried out at up to 28 weeks' gestation — seven months, hardly the "very, very early days"!

The comment about taking a child's life to save the mother's is one which can only be taken as evasion and almost total irrelevance. The incidence of the latter is so small that it has virtually no importance.

Those of us with the pro-life movements are concerned about more than 135,000 abortions in 1978, more than 80 per cent of which were carried out on No 2 of the "Grounds for Abortion" — "Risk of injury to the physical or mental health of the woman. Compare this figure with .007 per cent — yes, less than 1 in 10,000 — carried out for Ground No 5 "In emergrency, to save the life of the mother."

I hope that the initiative shown in your interview will be followed by Catholics seriously wishing to find Out their prospective Parliamentary candidates' views on important issues.

K. Stensosi Mirfield, West Yorkshire.

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