25 July 2019 | OPINION
This article has been republished from here with permission.
Sir Roger Scruton has been reappointed head of the Government’s ‘Building Better, Building Beautiful’ commission. He was sacked from the body in April due to his views being seriously manipulated after an interview with the ‘New Statesman’ magazine.
I am impressed that Sir Roger Scruton has accepted an invitation from Housing Secretary James Brokenshire (responsible for sacking him in April) to be reappointed back to the Building Better, Building Beautiful commission, as co-chair alongside Nicholas Boys-Smith.
It would have been very easy, and quite understandable, for Sir Roger to stick his two middle fingers up to this suggestion, after his recent treatment by the government. Understanding the great need for a shift in focus for building in Britain, however, he rose above this natural reaction of anger and so will be back to work with the commission shortly.
I will not regurgitate the doings of this affair here; Jake Scott, the avid follower of Sir Roger and his work that he is, has written at length on this topic for the third print issue of Bournbrook Magazine, and a statement from Sir Roger appears (to our delight) in the fourth.
It is, however, worthwhile reflecting on the state of the Government, and the wider Conservative Party, in light of this.
That the Government sacked Sir Roger without bothering to investigate the truth behind clearly misrepresented semi-quotes is immensely incompetent. This suggests it is more interested in pandering to the Twitter mob (hell-bent on ruining the career of Sir Roger) than in upholding the truth.
This is made all the worse by the way the Government handled its actions. Indeed, a timeline produced by Sir Roger shows James Brokenshire only properly contacted him whole weeks after he foolishly issued Sir Roger’s sacking. Even then, Mr. Brokenshire only referred to ‘the Twitter storm and a selected single phrase as a justification to his decision’ (from the timeline). Was any of this properly thought out, or is the party incapable of thought altogether?
It is also worrying that, while a few Conservative Party MPs did speak out in defence of Sir Scruton, most remained silent, or even added to the attacks.
This adds to my belief that the party is hostile against conservative thought. The election yesterday of a man who – in both his political and private life – is the very antithesis of conservatism, does not fill me with any more hope.