Dr Madsen Pirie and Dr Eamonn Butler will be presented with the National Free Enterprise Award today. The Award will be made at the Institute of Economic Affairs annual conference on the state of the economy, held in the Institute of Directors near Westminster. It will be presented by Professor Stephen Littlechild.
The National Free Enterprise Award goes back three decades. Its lustrous past winners include the airline entrepreneurs Sir Freddie Laker and Sir Richard Branson, hotelier Lord Forte, Nobel economist Friedrich Hayek, politicians Sir Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher, Buckingham University head Dr Terence Kealey, and financial journalist Neil Collins.
The panel of judges includes prominent supporters of free enterprise from various walks of life, and most made Pirie and Butler their first choice for the award. The pair have been prominent for defending bankers during the recent crisis, and pinning the blame on inept central banks, spendthrift politicians, and incompetent regulators. As Eamonn Butler put it: "The cause of this crisis was the tsunami of paper money that the US and UK kept printing over fifteen years. At first, all of us who surfed on it enjoyed the ride. But inevitably, it crashed into reality and of course destroyed everything before it."
The pair are known for humour as dry as their politics. Butler described his 30-year professional partnership with Pirie as "one of the great double-acts, like Jekyll and Hyde", while Pirie assured journalists that "absolutely no bullying was used on the judges."
Click here to find out how you can attend a reception this evening to celebrate this achievement.