Donal Blaney is CEO of Conservative Way Forward, the Young Britons’ Foundation, and the Margaret Thatcher Centre, of which he is also the founder.
Last week, I was pleased to host the Margaret Thatcher Centre’s launch of its first donor club in the smoking room of the East India Club, where Margaret and Denis Thatcher celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. Guests were welcomed with a particularly apposite gin and tonic – “an opener”, in memory of Denis Thatcher.
Over 130 people attended the launch event, surrounded by pictures of the US Presidential libraries (which are serving as models for the Centre), George Gale political cartoons from the 1980s, and facsimile documents from the Margaret Thatcher Archives, provided by Churchill College, Cambridge.
Despite a three line whip, we were delighted to welcome parliamentarians, such as Lord MacGregor of Pulham Market, Lord Trimble, Sir Gerald Howarth MP, Lord Archer, Lord Flight, Andrew Rosindell MP and Bill Cash MP. Various figures from the wider centre-right community were also in attendance, including Iain Dale, Simon Richards (the Freedom Association), Matthew Elliott (Business for Britain), Jonathan Isaby and Matt Sinclair (The TaxPayers’ Alliance), and Eammon Butler and Dr Madsen Pirie (Adam Smith Institute).
The purpose of the event was to launch the Centre’s first giving club, the Pioneers. Members of this club will be recognised as the original founders of the Centre, with their names engraved on a cornerstone, as well as featured on all the Centre’s literature and its website. They will also receive other benefits and privileges. The signed pledge will be displayed in the building of the Centre in honour of those individuals.
The Centre will celebrate Lady Thatcher’s life and achievements, and look to the future, educating a new generation at home and abroad about her values. It will not only house exhibits but also run debates, symposiums and training sessions for students, the general public, legislators and political activists.
The Centre has already announced the launch of its first series of programmes, which will include a symposium on the 1988 Lawson budget, a half-day conference on the rule of law, two conferences on the European continent that will commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall, public speaking workshops focusing on the Bruges speech, and the publication of a book of Lady Thatcher’s speeches.
If you would like to learn more about the work of the Margaret Thatcher Centre, or you too wish to join the Pioneers, then please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.thatchercentre.com. She delivered. Now it’s our turn.