Roger scruton

What Roger Scruton can teach his detractors

I thought I knew everything about Sir Roger Scruton. I had already written two books on his life and philosophy and was just about to embark on the last volume in my Scruton trilogy. This was to be a book of conversations that encompassed all facets of his biography and intellectual interests. Over three days at his farm in Wiltshire, we discussed everything from religion, architecture, wine and music, to sex, farming, family and fame. Scruton spoke to me not as a fellow philosopher or journalist but as a long-time friend. As such, our conversations revealed Scruton at his most intimate and humorous. It was, however, on the last night


Watch: James Brokenshire taken to task over Roger Scruton sacking

James Brokenshire has been keeping a low profile since the controversial sacking of Roger Scruton three weeks ago. But now the Housing Secretary has finally been taken to task for his handling of the row. Brokenshire sacked Scruton from his unpaid government role within hours of the publication of an interview in which Scruton was accused of making a ‘series of outrageous remarks’. As Douglas Murray details in this week’s magazine, the truth about what Scruton said was rather different. On LBC, Brokenshire was asked by Iain Dale whether he regretted sacking Scruton: ‘It is just that regret I have. I have a huge amount of respect and acknowledgement for

Roger Scruton is a friend, not a foe, of Islam

I am not a right-winger. I am ashamed to say that I discovered Sir Roger Scruton only four years ago when an argument in a Washington DC think-tank led to a search for contemporary philosophers who took a long view of civilisation, history, ideas, and implications of philosophy.  It happened when I was an advisor to Tony Blair and visited Washington DC for a think-tank meeting representing Tony. There, left-wing Muslim activists, who put their community’s interests before their country, accused me of being a ‘neoconservative’ because I argued that the national security of our countries and peoples mattered more than any Muslim community identity. A safer country, logically, meant

Roger Scruton on the interview that got him fired

Roger Scruton has appeared on the Today programme to discuss the interview that got him fired. Here is the full transcript and recording of his conversation with Justin Webb: RS: I don’t think I spoke intemperately. I speak as I speak and I discuss things as they are presented to me, according to my vision of them. But you know obviously the way in which it was presented in the New Statesman was such as to cause some kind of scandal. JW: At one stage, George Eaton, well he tweeted these words that he ascribed to you, ‘each Chinese person is a kind of replica of the next one and

The Scruton tapes

Sometimes a scandal is not just a scandal, but a biopsy of a society. So it is with the assault on Sir Roger Scruton, who in recent weeks has been smeared in the media, fired by the government and had his life’s work assailed. Scruton is the latest, though far from the first victim of the modern outrage mob. It is now four years since the Nobel prize-winning scientist Tim Hunt was fired by University College London (among other institutions who were lucky to have him). That happened after one member of the audience at a conference in Korea tweeted something he had said about working with women and professed

Roger Scruton: It’s time to release the tape that got me fired

Miraculously my family forgive me for that interview. The children are adamant that there should be no resentment but even a measure of sympathy towards the journalist. He probably thought that you make friends on the left by making enemies on the right. I open the computer: hundreds of emails in support, but nothing official to say what I have done wrong. If there is evidence to incriminate me then obviously the New Statesman must make the tapes of the conversation public: how else will any of us know what we are allowed and not allowed to say, when working for this government? This is an extract from Roger Scruton’s Spectator diary,

Why conservatives can’t survive in government

I had mixed feelings about the sacking of Roger Scruton from the government’s Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission, following comments he made to the New Statesman. On the one hand it was utterly shameful and gutless on the part of the government, although no worse than one has come to expect from members of a party that is conservative in name only. On the other hand, I have never been a huge admirer of Roger’s aesthetic sensibilities, no matter how eloquently they are expressed. He seems to have no time for anything which has happened since about 1738. I can’t be exactly sure what he had in mind for our

Diary – 17 April 2019

I travel back from London with the St Matthew Passion filling my head, after the moving performance from the Elysian Singers and Royal Orchestral Society under Sam Laughton at St James’s Piccadilly. Why does that last chord send shivers down the spine? The dark instrumentation, the sense that it is not an ending but a beginning, that this shadow-filled saraband will repeat itself for ever? Or is it just the story — surely one of the greatest narratives in all literature, in which nothing is redundant and yet everything is said? I arrive home with the chord still in my head, C minor with a B natural thrust like a

When will Roger Scruton’s detractors admit they were wrong?

In American law there is a concept called ‘the fruit of the poison tree’ which means that if the source of some alleged evidence is rotten, or has been wrongfully obtained, then everything coming from it is also recognised as tainted. After this past week I would suggest a similar concept enters the lexicon in British journalism. Perhaps we might call it ‘the fruit of the Eaton mess’. I refer of course to the ‘interview’ with Sir Roger Scruton that George Eaton – deputy editor of the New Statesman – published last week. The interview led not only to Scruton’s firing from an unpaid government-appointed position, but to a set

The Roger Scruton row brings shame on the Tories

A friend of mine – another twenty-one year old – has resigned his membership of the Conservative party this morning over a single issue. It’s not Brexit; it is the comments made by Conservative MPs James Brokenshire, Tom Tugendhat, and Johnny Mercer about the sacking of Roger Scruton from his unpaid government advisory role following an interview he gave to the New Statesman. In a week where Conservatives have spouted platitudes about appealing to young voters, they are putting off young people by pandering to the lynch-mob mentality that has been nurtured on university campuses and Twitter, and promoted by the luminaries of the Labour party. It is particularly disappointing

Roger Scruton: An apology for thinking

I recently gave an interview to the New Statesman, on the assumption that, as the magazine’s former wine critic I would be treated with respect, and that the journalist, George Eaton, was sincere in wanting to talk to me about my intellectual life. Not for the first time I am forced to acknowledge what a mistake it is to address young leftists as though they were responsible human beings. Here is my brief response to an unscrupulous collection of out of context remarks, some of them merely words designed to accuse me of thought-crimes, and to persuade the government that I am not fit to be chairman of the commission

Roger Scruton’s sacking exposes the Tories’ cowardice

So the New Statesman decided to interview Sir Roger Scruton. Perhaps there are those who think that Scruton should not have agreed to be interviewed by the New Statesman, the left-wing magazine being unlikely to conduct a fair interview. But Scruton was the magazine’s wine columnist for many years, and under the editorship of Jason Cowley the magazine has been a slightly fairer and less battily leftwards publication than it was of old. But today the magazine’s deputy editor, George Eaton, took to social media to announce the results of what he is parading as a ‘gotcha’ interview. The interview – which Eaton conducted himself – was, he promised, positively

Home truths | 21 February 2019

The creation of a commission to examine beauty in new building created a stir in the media, with the chairman subjected to a hate storm of unusual turbulence even by the standards that he regularly has to endure. Hate storms arise when powerful interests are threatened, and this was no exception. There is hardly a person in this country who is not aware of what Milan Kundera has called the ongoing ‘uglification of our world’ and who does not hope that something might be done about it. No one I talk to denies the need for a large number of new houses. But they all hope that this need can

In defence of Roger Scruton

Once identified as right-wing you are beyond the pale of argument,’ wrote Sir Roger Scruton. ‘Your views are irrelevant, your character discredited, your presence in the world a mistake. You are not an opponent to be argued with, but a disease to be shunned. This has been my experience.’ Unfortunately, that experience is due to intensify for the 74-year-old conservative philosopher. Last weekend, the government announced it had set up a commission to try and make new housing developments ‘beautiful’ and appointed Sir Roger as its chair. It’s one of the few sensible things the present government has done; so, of course, it’s caused a scandal. Within minutes of Sir

Life ‘n’ Arts Podcast: Knight of the Living Philosophers

In this week’s Spectator USA Life ‘n’ Arts podcast, I’m casting the pod with Sir Roger Scruton, the knight of the living philosophers. Of course, Scruton is more than a philosopher. He has written widely and well on subjects as various as wine and Wagner, fox-hunting and free trade, and he has three new books out this month. The philosopher has Conservatism: An Invitation to the Great Tradition. The musician — there are two pianos at hand in Scruton’s study — has an essay collection, Music as an Art. And the fiction writer has his second collection of short stories, Souls in the Twilight. One of the pleasures of talking

Is being green good for business?

On Monday 11th September, The Spectator hosted a round table discussion over lunch about whether being green is good for business. Guests included: Philosopher Sir Roger Scruton, Shaun Spiers, CEO of Green Alliance, Mark Saxon from Coca-Cola Great Britain, journalist Harry Mount, Tom Robinson, founder of Adaptavate, Bill Wiggin MP, Peter Aldous MP, Neil Parish MP, Scott Mann MP and Anthony Marlowe of Edelman. Fraser Nelson chaired the discussion. A podcast was recorded on the same day, which can be played above. Recent bedtime reading for Sir Roger Scruton was a 50-page treatise by an art historian on the design of the classic Coke bottle, whose twists, it transpires, were

Losing our religion

Sir James MacMillan’s European Requiem, performed at the Proms on Sunday, isn’t about Brexit. The composer had to make this clear in a Radio 3 interview just before the broadcast, because the BBC was just itching to cast the work — a melancholy score, despite its thunderous drumbeats — as a lament for us leaving the EU. That would have been neat, given that the second half of the concert consisted of Beethoven’s Ninth, whose ‘Ode to Joy’ has been clumsily appropriated by Brussels. Incidentally, some Remainers in the audience chattered through the symphony’s first three movements, impatient for their Big Tune. I don’t know if there were any ancient

Letters | 15 June 2017

Divining Rod Sir: Please congratulate Rod Liddle on being the only commentator who accurately forecast the uncertain general election result (‘This is the worst Tory campaign ever’, 27 May). His prediction of the ‘stickiness’ of the Labour vote and the likelihood that Ukippers would return to the Conservatives in the south, where they mostly were not needed, were especially prescient. Mr Liddle goes to show that instinct, common sense and a sceptical nous are worth more than all the pseudoscience of polling. Well done him. Poor old us! Dr Barry Moyse North Petherton, Somerset Our lefty deplorables Sir: An astonishing 41 per cent of the British electorate voted for Jeremy

A whirlwind life

The dust cover features one of the best-known caricatures of Richard Wagner, his enormous head in this version opened like a boiled egg, with a photograph of Simon Callow either emerging from his skull or sinking into it. The idea is that rather than just writing another book on this over-biographised figure, Callow will let us know what it was like actually to have been him, something he also tried in his one-man show at the Linbury Theatre, Inside Wagner’s Head. Callow tells us that he has been a lifelong Wagnerian, but that only in the last four years has he investigated him as a man, reading the most important

Why we need a second referendum – on the EEA

Roger Scruton once observed, in his astute way, how important national feeling was to democracy: ‘Democracy is a form of government that depends upon a national, rather than a credal or tribal idea of loyalty. In a nation state the things that divide neighbours from each other – family, tribe and religion – are deliberately privatised, made inessential to the shared identity, and placed well below the country and its well-being on the list of public duties. It is this, rather than any Enlightenment idea of citizenship, that enabled nation states so easily to adopt democracy. In a place where tribal or religious loyalties take precedence, democratic elections, if they