Britain’s National Trust has backed down on a controversial policy which saw volunteers banished to behind-the-scenes roles if they refused to wear gay pride apparel after public outcry, and reports of membership cancellations.
The U-turn came after volunteers at the 17th Century Felbrigg Hall, a stately home in Norfolk, had been ordered to wear rainbow-flag coloured National Trust badges to coincide with the organisation’s ‘Prejudice and Pride’ season celebrating the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in the United Kingdom.
A number of volunteers refused, and after reportedly hundreds of National Trust supporters cancelled their memberships and the story gained traction in the national press the organisation has now said wearing the badges will no longer be mandatory.
"We're seeing a movement not in the interests of personal choice and freedom but to the exact opposite: tyranny." https://t.co/XmZ4Lp9bOb
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 5, 2017
Speaking to Breitbart London, the chairman of the Bow Group, Britain’s oldest Conservative think-tank Ben Harris-Quinney said the decision of the Trust to make wearing LGBT badges mandatory was ‘un-British’.
He said: “The National Trust is largely made up of members who have an interest in British history and heritage.
“I find it highly unlikely that those members support the compulsory wearing of any political or religious iconography, which would be distinctly un-British, and I would guess it is even more unlikely that they would support one representing the ideology of Cultural Marxism.
It is therefore unsurprising that the National Trust has received a deluge of complaints and membership cancellations over their forced rainbow flag badge policy.”
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 27, 2015
Noting how the change of leadership at the National Trust in recent years, which has seen the overtly political Dame Helen Ghosh cause controversies over climate change and wind farms, Harris-Quinney said: “It would appear their membership has already reduced by 10,000 since the current Chair took over, it seems likely to continue in that direction. The National Trust also receive very large donations from the British taxpayer, for which they need to ensure the continued support of the British public.
“Whilst the National Trust yesterday reversed its decision following pressure from their members, the rotten ideology remains and there has been no apology for the incredible amount of offence caused to members and non-members alike.”
What a bizarre decline. pic.twitter.com/fkYzqJaUX6
— Ben Harris-Quinney (@B_HQ) August 5, 2017
The Trust, which during the course of the 20th century transformed into a quasi-governmental body given custodianship of hundreds of historic properties taken from aristocratic and industrial families during periods of extremely high death taxes was the subject of controversy in 2015 after it launched an “experiment” under the direction of Dame Ghosh, in replacing period antique furniture with bean bags.
The move brought widespread criticism, including from art historian Bendor Grosvenor, who called it “patronising nonsense”.