Delingpole: Boris Johnson Must Reinstate Sir Roger Scruton as the Government’s Buildings Tsar

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Three months after slandering him, unfairly trashing his reputation, and costing him his job as an unpaid government advisor, the left-wing New Statesman has finally apologised to Sir Roger Scruton.

So too, finally, has the government minister James Brokenshire who sacked Scruton from his job for no better reason than that he lacked the courage or the moral principle to stand up to the left-wing witch-hunt mob baying for Scruton’s blood.

But it really isn’t enough.

As Benedict Spence eloquently argues here, it is now the duty of Britain’s next prime minister to draw a line under this ugly affair by giving Scruton his job back.

The job, as chairman of the Building Better, Building Beautiful commission, was an extremely unusual government appointment. First, it was unusual because it was decided on merit — Scruton, Britain’s pre-eminent living philosopher, and an author of books on subjects including aesthetics and architecture, really does know about beautiful buildings. Second, it was unusual because, for a change, it went not to some talentless, left-liberal quangocrat after failing in some other government job but to someone who is openly, unashamedly conservative.

But it’s not just on merit, of course, that Scruton should be reinstated. Nor is it purely a question of justice, either. Yes, of course, it’s quite proper that if you’re sacked from a job as punishment for crimes you didn’t actually commit then you should get that job back. What’s even more important, though, is the symbolism.

Spence puts this well when he writes:

What is most important is that the next prime minister needs to reinstate Sir Roger Scruton to indicate that a line has been crossed. It is high time that politicians stopped succumbing to the culture of vindictive outrage that has crept into the heart of our society, where a well-organised minority of people with a thinly-veiled (if veiled at all) agenda can hound others from their jobs and lives with carefully orchestrated social media hits.

Sir Roger’s sacking by James Brokenshire was thoroughly indecent, and thoroughly unconservative. It was done with the utmost haste to appease a baying mob — hardly in keeping with the spirit of Edmund Burke — without giving thought to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, or even bothering to read the whole transcript.

But other, supposedly conservative newspapers behaved just as badly. As did the Conservative MPs Tom Tugendhat and Johnny Mercer, both of whom weighed in with fatuous, virtue-signalling criticisms before they had a clue what the truth of the matter was. As did the Jewish Board of Deputies, which leapt all too eagerly on to the outrage bandwagon, forming an unlikely alliance with the rentaquote Muslim Council of Britain.

Anyway the point is this: Britain in the last decade or so has become far too ready to surrender to the cry-bullies of the Social Justice Warrior left. The Scruton affair was a particularly appalling example of this.

Boris Johnson, Britain’s next prime minister, has vowed to fight back against political correctness and Nanny Statism and to stick up for freedom of speech.

Restoring Scruton to his rightful place as a government advisor would be an important gesture of intent.


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