Antony Fisher's achievements throughout a varied and fascinating life were extraordinary. A successful entrepreneur from his twenties, and a decorated Battle of Britain fighter pilot in World War II, he later introduced chicken factory-farming to the UK (his second wife said, 'Antony did more to put a chicken in every man's pot than any king or politician,') and made a fortune in the process. But it was Fisher's concern with the liberty of the individual, crystallised by a meeting with the free-market thinker Friedrich Hayek (author of The Road to Serfdom) that redirected his life. As a result, Fisher poured his wealth into establishing the Institute of Economic Affairs, an independent economic think tank that later had enormous influence on public policy and the views of leading politicians, notably Margaret Thatcher. By the time Fisher died in 1988 (having lost his fortune in a turtle-farming venture, and only four weeks after being knighted), the IEA and its spin-offs around the world had played a crucial role in changing the direction of post-war politics forever.
“Shortly after meeting Hayek, Antony started work on The Case for Freedom, an 86-page pamphlet, in which he sought to apply his thoughts to the problems of the day. Despite its lackluster prose, and diffuse argument, it was remarkably perceptive in identifying the concerns, which were to dominate the political agenda over the next half century.
These included economic issues such as inflation, currency-exchange problems and housing shortages (which Fisher correctly discerned were the consequence of rent controls). He also registered strong concern about such international problems as communist expansion, the inadequacy of international arms-control measures as a means of controlling the proliferation of atomic weapons and the creation of a European super state.”
Gerald Frost is the former head of two think tanks, including the Centre for Policy Studies. A speechwriter to Keith Joseph during the 1979 general election, he knew Fisher and many who helped establish the IEA, as well as the politicians who came to embrace Fisher's views. He is an experienced journalist and author and has also been an adviser and speechwriter to Margaret Thatcher .