Lord Lexden is co-chairman of the Conservative History Group and the author of A Gift from the Churchills: The Primrose League 1883-2004 which was published by the Carlton Club in 2010.
As the Conservative Party wonders how most fittingly to commemorate Margaret Thatcher, it is worth recalling the posthumous cult which was founded in memory of another of its very greatest leaders, Benjamin Disraeli, who died on 19 April 1881.
While Lady Thatcher was the first and so far only woman to lead the party, Disraeli was the first and so far only Jew. But in both cases, initial status as an outsider did not prevent - indeed may well have encouraged - the securing of a deep place in Tory affections.
And Disraeli's case shows that if only someone can hit on a happy form of commemoration, it ought to be possible to do something genuinely popular, which would make up for some of the present weaknesses in Conservative organisation and the dramatic fall in party membership. A party that cannot call on large numbers of committed activists labours under a severe handicap. Perhaps some genius among the readers of ConservativeHome can even think of a project that will bring UKIP activists flocking back to the Tory colours.
For over fifty years an immense Tory festival took place annually on 19 April, which was marked on the nation’s calendars as Primrose Day. Between the 1880s and the 1920s it was infinitely more important than the autumn party conference in sustaining the faith of the Conservative party faithful.