I had mixed feelings about the sacking of Roger Scruton from the government’s Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission, following comments he made to the New Statesman. On the one hand it was utterly shameful and gutless on the part of the government, although no worse than one has come to expect from members of a party that is conservative in name only.
On the other hand, I have never been a huge admirer of Roger’s aesthetic sensibilities, no matter how eloquently they are expressed. He seems to have no time for anything which has happened since about 1738. I can’t be exactly sure what he had in mind for our towns and cities, but I suspect it would either be motte and baileys plus stockades, or at best a kind of fey neo-Regency cringing.
This may be doing the man another disservice and if so I apologise — not least because on other issues, and especially politics, I agree with a lot of what Roger has to say. Yes, it’s the stuff that got him sacked for which I admire the man. Not all of it: I am not entirely convinced, for example, that the Chinese government is trying to create an army of mutant androids with which it will acquire complete dominance over the rest of the world, possibly by tunnelling all the way from Shanghai to San Francisco as was imagined in the scary 1967 film Battle Beneath the Earth. But on the other stuff, Roger seems sound enough, especially regarding Islamophobia, which is of course an absurd confection, swallowed whole by a government that has no stomach for the fight against the tirelessly intolerant intersectional warriors. Being nasty about Muslims simply because they are Muslims is unpleasant, but it should not be given the title Islamophobia. My problem is with the ideology, not the followers.
It is the intolerance and the lack of reciprocity which is interesting, and the means by which liberals maintain their stranglehold on the culture of this country. It is not simply that the government spinelessly caved in over both Scruton’s views on Islamophobia — which I suspect are shared by a majority of people in the country — or indeed Toby Young’s views on something called progressive eugenics, which saw him removed from his role at the Office for Students. At least both men were actually asked into government in the first place. This happens so very rarely with conservatives that they are virtual anomalies and the outcome — both booted off shortly after the appointment — shows that the screeched intolerance of the lefties and their willingness to distort the truth to suit their own purposes is very effective.
But it is even more effective in preventing people of a conservative disposition getting anywhere near a public appointment. Our quangos, charities, boards and so on are staffed almost exclusively with liberals — often the very same liberals from one board to another. I have mentioned this before (I call it Six Degrees of Shami Chakrabarti): the fact that just having bien pensant opinions can get you on the board of just about any institution in the country, or a visiting professorship at universities from Exeter to Aberdeen. I know of no conservative journalists who are regularly invited to run things, or to lecture here or there, whereas the columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown — read by almost nobody — is an honorary fellow at Liverpool John Moores University and an honorary visiting professor at Lincoln University.
And that lack of reciprocity I talked about. Here’s part of Alibhai-Brown’s rant against the white working class: ‘Working-class white men provoked race riots through the 1950s and 1960s; they kept “darkies” out of pubs and clubs and work canteens. Who were the supporters of Oswald Mosley and Enoch Powell? The disempowered have used us to vent their natural-born hatred against the powerful.’
If I generalised in such a broad and spiteful manner against, say, Muslims, I would rightly be kicked out of my job. Not garlanded with praise. But then past indiscretions do not matter if you are on the left. Remember, the leader of the Labour party has called anti-Jewish terrorists his friends, made the salute of the Muslim Brotherhood and commended a grotesquely anti-Semitic mural. But Magic Grandpa is still there, doing his stuff. So, too, is the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, who called for IRA terrorists to be honoured by the British government. Can you imagine what would happen if some Tory suggested that the perpetrators of that fascist terrorist outrage in Christchurch, New Zealand, should be honoured by the state? I don’t see why McDonnell’s statement was any less grotesque than that.
Alongside McDonnell and Corbyn at Labour HQ during the 2017 general election was the high-born Andrew Phillip Drummond-Murray. He’s made supportive comments about the government of North Korea and one of the 20th century’s greatest mass murderers, Joseph Stalin. Yet none of this matters, it is merely brushed aside. Much as were brushed aside the allegations of rape made against Julian Assange: his supporters, including Diane Abbott, were suddenly able to forget their principled and splenetic opposition to such crimes.
The hypocrisy is genuinely astonishing. And at the end of it all you are left with one or two hard truths. Nobody of a conservative frame of mind will ever be allowed a role in government, or on a quango, not even when there is a Conservative government in office. They will not let it happen. And to stop it they will take everything you have previously said about anything, rip it out of context, distort the meaning, ignore the nuance. It’s happened to me, it’s happened to Toby Young and Roger Scruton. And it will keep on happening.
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