When James Brokenshire announced that the head of the Government’s new Commission on “Beauty in the built environment” would be Roger Scruton, the criticism came thick and fast. He was an unrepentant bigot, a racist, an Islamophobe, an anti-Semite. He founded the Salisbury Review, a magazine which for many years advocated “repatriation”.
Wake up Prof - you've been fired
Also coming thick and fast were his defenders, not least the loathsome Toby Young, Niall Ferguson, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines, Tim Stanley, and to their lasting shame David Aaronovitch and Staggers editor Jason Cowley. All were prepared to overlook the crude bigotry, the anti-Semitism, the claim date rape didn’t exist, the suggestion sexual harassment was “impoliteness”, and that homosexuality was “not normal”.
Sadly, all of this has now been shown to have been pointless, as I said at the time. Scruton remains a bigot, this having been confirmed in an interview The Great Man has given to the Staggers in which he claims “Anybody who doesn’t think that there’s a Soros empire in Hungary has not observed the facts”. Anti-Semitism? Check!
The Chinese? “They’re creating robots out of their own people … each Chinese person is a kind of replica of the next one and that is a very frightening thing”. They all look the same! Islamophobia? “A propaganda word invented by the Muslim Brotherhood in order to stop discussion of a major issue”. And Viktor Orbán? “The Hungarians were extremely alarmed by the sudden invasion of huge tribes [!] of Muslims from the Middle East”.
The reaction has been as before, only this time yet more vehement in its condemnation. TellMAMA UK responded “We strongly condemn Roger Scruton for his ‘invasion of huge tribes of Muslims’ comment, for claiming that Islamophobia is a propaganda term, for invoking antisemitic tropes of a ‘Soros Empire’, and describing Chinese people as ‘robots’ who are ‘kind of a replica of the next one’”. This was not a minority viewpoint.
Dawn Foster of the Guardian noted “Roger Scruton, still a government adviser, making grim racist remarks on Hungarian Jews, antisemitism, Chinese people, and Islamophobia”. Ash Sarkar of Novara Media was on the same page: “Roger Scruton in this interview reveals himself as a crank, a conspiracist and a racist … But what’s more, he’s the head of the UK government’s architecture commission.” That Government sinecure again.
Worse for the Government, some Tories gave the strongest of hints that keeping faith in Scruton was not a good idea - like George Osborne. “Yesterday, leading Conservatives rightly ask what they can do to reconnect to modern Britain. Today, these bigoted remarks from the man they bizarrely appointed to advise them on housing. How can Downing Street possibly keep Roger Scruton as a government adviser?”
For Labour, Dawn Butler concluded “Roger Scruton's comments are despicable and invoke the language of white supremacists … Theresa May should sack him immediately. If she doesn't, she will again be turning a blind eye to the deep-rooted prejudices & racist views in the Tory Party and endorsing disgusting views”.
And push duly came to shove as a Ministry of Housing spokesman confirmed Scruton’s dismissal. The only remaining question is why he was even considered for the post in the first place. He was a bigot. He remains one. This is not rocket science.
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