Insights from Quadrant

Look, a conservative.
Get him!

In Quadrant‘s April edition, reviewer Oliver Friendship addresses Sir Roger Scruton’s recent collection of short stories, Souls in the Twilight, observing that the conservative thinker’s fictions are all the more valuable for being at odds with the politically correct strictures that hobble the imaginations and output of so many writers less keen on telling stories than courting favour with the modern literary scene’s doctrinaire arbiters.

Well it seems literary luvvies are not the only ones with whom Scruton is at odds. As Quadrant contributor Anthony Daniels reports under his pen name Theodore Dalrymple, a nasty little hatchet job by the deputy editor of The New Statesman has prompted Sir Roger’s ejection from the chairmanship of Britain’s Building Beautiful Architecture Commission. Dalrymple writes:

… It was obvious from the first that his appointment was a wound to the predominant faction of the British intelligentsia that could be healed only by his dismissal. The sheer hideousness of most of what has been built in Britain over the last few decades (so immediately apparent that only an intellectual could miss it) was no excuse for having allowed Scruton to sully the corridors of power even for a few months. In the great work of ridding the body politic of the stone in its shoe or the thorn in its flesh, any slur would do, any libel or slander that came to mind was perfectly acceptable.

An interview with the deputy editor of the New Statesman, a left-wing weekly, sealed Scruton’s fate, as it was intended to do. The deputy editor, George Eaton, almost certainly counted on the utter pusillanimity of the British government—and he had himself pictured swigging champagne directly from the bottle immediately after the government dismissed Scruton. In the published version of the interview, Eaton gives an impression of Scruton as an anti-Semite, hater of Muslims, and despiser of Chinese. All these accusations are false and defamatory, as any reader of Scruton would know…

That’s Eaton pictured above, chucking down the champers to celebrate, as he tweeted scalp-in-hand before deleting both the snapshot and this comment

The feeling when you get right-wing racist and homophobe Roger Scruton sacked as a Tory government adviser.

In the interest of fairness, it should be noted that Eaton denies being anything but a principled and upstanding chronicler of straight-bat truth. Why, he’s shocked — yes, shocked! — that anyone might suspect him of spreading thick the slime and slurs to bring down a man whose conservative philosophy he disdains. Eaton’s defence of the hatchet’s place in architectural criticism can be read in full here.

UPDATE: ‘We’ve lost, I’m afraid’ — below, Paul Weston on the lynching of a giant, Roger Scruton, by the ‘pygmy Left’ and, far more distressing,  his abandonment by those who should have been his champions.

— roger franklin

2 thoughts on “Look, a conservative.
Get him!

  • Macspee says:

    We are looking at (still) a Pavlovian response conditioned over some years by way of a holier than thou version if morality that compels it victims (carriers) to accept any expression of disfavour expressed by its proponent (practitioners). How else can one explain the instantaneous acceptance of and revulsion from people in the media to a tissue of lies – people who should know better (and generally do). The idea of a right to free expression has been perverted to such an extent that it has been turned into a sword to be used to attack and dismember (at the very least) anyone who dares to express a view outside the mainstream of the virtuous.
    Nothing Scruton actually said could be described as misguided, wrong, objectionable, or harmful to any person, but so many jumped in response to a false claim without any question of its veracity we must surely worry for the future of our society and the well-being of our children.

  • Ian MacDougall says:

    I agree with much of what Roger Scruton has said. But conservative is a word that can mean many things to different listeners. The present British distribution of wealth for example rests on monumental acts of land theft in the 17th Century and after, as in Cromwell’s conquest of Ireland, the Highland Land Clearances and the Enclosure Acts passed by Parliaments and the House of Lords, which institutions were only ‘democratic’ according to the slackest possible definition of the term.
    Yesterday’s radical after all is often enough today’s conservative. If true ‘conservatism’ had prevailed down through the ages, Britain’s Parliament today would still be based on rotten boroughs and pocket boroughs, with no payment of members as a rule still keeping out the riff-raff. Britain would not just be as before the Great Reform Bill of 1832, it would be as it was before the Civil War of the 1640s.
    No, correction: before Bad King John was forced into signing the Magna Carta of 1215. Feudalism, which some would argue is the default condition of humanity world-wide would of course, still operate everywhere except Switzerland and Iceland: if those two exemplary nations had managed somehow to avoid being dragged into it by those who did not like the example they were setting to travellers and the rest of Europe.

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