Below is the text of Mr Major’s comments on his phrase of a nation at ease with itself, made in an interview on 9th February 1992.
[Mr Major was asked to explain what he meant by the phrase a nation at ease with itself].
What I mean by that is to make sure that everybody has the same opportunities whichever part of the country they come from, to achieve whatever it is they wish to achieve.
That people have the right to self respect, they have the right to dignity, they have the right to good service, and of course much of that, to take one part of it, much of it is reflected in what we’re trying to do in the Citizen’s Charter; to make sure that people, when they’re dealing with public services, are treated as individuals and offered the quality of service, and individual service to which I believe they’re entitled.
[Mr Major was asked how that objective could be achieved during a recession].
But if, if I may say so, that is the time when it is most important to have a nation that is at ease with itself. But of course it is important, whatever stage of the economic cycle you’re in, clearly at the moment as we come out of the recession, I think we’re beginning to show signs of doing that, as we come out of the recession it will be easier to make some of the policy changes that are necessary. But that it is important that people have those opportunities, those individual choices, I believe is undoubted.
[Mr Major was asked if he could comment on Neil Kinnock’s claim that as Prime Minister he has presided over a deep recession].
Well, Mr Kinnock has many virtues but I’m not entirely sure that a deep understanding of the economy is amongst them. We have economic difficulties in this country, that is certainly true, and I have never made any secret of that, that is why we have worked so hard to get inflation down from 11%, down to just over 4%. Mr Kinnock of course said it would go up above 11%. That is why we joined the Exchange Rate Mechanism to stabilise Sterling.