We were honoured to have Margaret Thatcher as our Founding Patron. She launched New Direction in the City of London on 30 September 2010 and continued to give us support thereafter.
Her political career was one of the most remarkable of modern times. Born in October 1925 at Grantham, a small market town in eastern England, she rose to become the first (and for two decades the only) woman to lead a major Western democracy. She won three successive General Elections and served as British Prime Minister for more than eleven years (1979-90), a record unmatched in the twentieth century.
During her term of office she reshaped almost every aspect of British politics; reviving the economy, reforming outdated institutions, and reinvigorating the nation's foreign policy. She reversed the psychology of decline which had become rooted in Britain since the Second World War, and pursued national recovery with striking energy and determination. Like Ronald Reagan in the United States, Margaret Thatcher restored British national pride and self-confidence.
In the process, Margaret Thatcher became one of the founders, with Ronald Reagan, of a school of conservative conviction politics, which has had a powerful and enduring impact in Britain and the United States, and earned her a higher international profile than any British politician since Winston Churchill.
By successfully shifting British economic and foreign policy to the right, her governments helped to encourage wider international trends which broadened and deepened during the 1980s and 1990s.
Along with Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II and a very few others, she was instrumental in defeating communism and spreading democracy and freedom. She was a major contributor to the growth of free markets and to strengthened political and economic freedom in every continent.
Margaret Thatcher became one of the world's most influential, respected and recognised political leaders, as well as one of the most controversial, dynamic, and plain-spoken - a lode-star for friends and foe alike.
Geoffrey Van Orden was instrumental in the creation of the European Conservatives & Reformists Group in the European Parliament in 2009 and immediately founded New Direction as its affiliated think-tank.
Following his career as a senior British Army officer he was elected as Conservative Member of the European Parliament for the East of England in 1999 and re-elected in 2004, 2009 and 2014. From the beginning he was one of that small group of MEPs determined to change Britain's relationship with the EU and to reform the EU itself.
As a long-standing Member of the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committees of the Parliament he has been a foremost supporter of the transatlantic relationship and of the NATO alliance and leads the opposition to EU involvement in defence matters. He attaches particular importance to the relationship with India and now chairs the Parliament's India Delegation.
He read politics at the University of Sussex; attended the Indian Defence Services Staff College; was an instructor at the German General Staff College (Führungsakademie der Bundeswehr); Research Associate at the International Institute for Strategic Studies and Service Fellow at King’s College, University of London. He writes and speaks on EU reform, on India and on a range of defence and security topics.
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