Quadrant Online has this week published four of our contributors’ thoughts and regrets on the passing of Sir Roger Scruton. The Spectator has more, much more, from the likes of Daniel Hannan, Timothy Garton Ash, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, William Shawcross and many others. Unfortunately their paeans remain behind a paywall, needed to support publications such as The Speccie and Quadrant, but in this instance to be regretted, as the assembled messages are moving statements of value and loss.
Here, from The Spectator, is Sir Roger’s friend and champion Douglas Murray:
I first met Roger almost 20 years ago. I was starting out at a web publication that promised to bring right and left to debate on equal terms. Of course the whole thing was stacked, but it introduced me to the only other conservative there — Roger — who spotted a kindred (if very junior) spirit. ‘Well Douglas,’ he said, ‘it’s you and me against about 50,000 leftists. So it’s a fair fight.’ Over the years that followed we ate together, travelled together, painted the rooms of his house in America together, and when I gave up the lease on my tiny London studio ten years ago, I handed it over to Roger and his wife Sophie. I would go back regularly for meals and, accompanied by good wine, we would roam over everything. There is nobody whose mind I will miss more, and no one I still had so much to ask.
Last year Roger had a terrible experience that readers of this magazine will know about. I tried to be helpful. When I phoned him to tell him that the matter was solved, he asked nervously: ‘So do you think I still have a career?’ I could have cried. It reiterated the feeling I always had about him, which is that we were fortunate to have him, and too few people realised it. Spectator readers did of course. Last year at our event together in London more than a thousand readers got to their feet the moment we walked on stage to give Roger a standing ovation. It was a beautiful sight which slightly startled Roger, who when he realised what was happening produced that wonderful smile of shy gratitude.
Atop this post, 90 minutes of Sir Roger and Douglas Murray in conversation. It is a video clip that can only further highlight the magnificent mind that has been taken from us.