228 days ago
My grandfather, Sir John Winnifrith, loved the National Trust and was thrilled to be its Director General helping it to preserve old buildings and countryside. For him, as a socialist, part of the joy was that this would open up an opportunity for the less privileged to access the rich history of Britain. Today I am sure he is again spinning in his grave as the organisation goes further and further down a woke cul-de-sac.
330 days ago
Of course Black Lives Matter. This is a mixed raced household so why would we think anything else? However, as I noted at the weekend, the Black Lives Matter movement has fallen from popular grace and is now overwhelmingly seen as increasing racial division by both white and BAME folks. As I noted then, there are those last redoubts who seek to hide inconvenient truths. The teaching unions and the school system is one redoubt. So too are the Marxist Madrassas, such as Manchester University. Also doing its bit is the National Trust. But the strongest supporter is, of course, the BBC.
330 days ago
For seven years, as I described here, I have been noting the various ways that the National Trust has pursued a costly woke agenda, alienating its core supporters, and, as a result, being less able to deliver its core mission of saving historic buildings and lands. My Bennite grandfather, Sir John Winnifrith, who ran this body as its Director General, would, I am sure, have washed his hands of the NT in disgust by now, resigning his membership. This weekend, the Trust doubled up on its latest woke blunder: the publication of a detailed report which, effectively, branded one third of its properties as racist.
347 days ago
For seven years I have been recounting various episodes which will have caused my grandfather, Sir John Winnifrith, a former Director General of the National Trust, to spin in his grave. Slowly, the organisation he loved is destroying itself but like the frog in slowly heating water it seems oblivious to its fate. For those who run the Trust live in a small liberal and elitist bubble.
398 days ago
The National Trust has finally published its widely flagged report into which of the houses it has been bequeathed are tarnished by associations with slavery or the evil that is colonialism. My late grandfather, Sir John Winnifrith, will be – yet again – spinning in his grave. The report is a predictably dire and academically flawed document but the sort of exercise in self-flagellation that has become compulsory for guilty white, Guardian reading, liberals in 2020. If the report itself was not bad enough, the coverage of it by the BBC was excruciating and another reason why we must #defundthebbc. But we must now also #DefundtheNationalTrust.
425 days ago
My friend Bill Long and I attended a lecture a few years ago in New York, given by the historian Madge Dresser and organised by the American branch of the National Trust. Its theme was the links between slavery and National Trust properties. Although Madge and I disagreed a little on the history of the South Sea company, it was balanced, fair and very interesting indeed. But in the wake of BlackLivesMatter, the NT has decided that it has not acknowledged its sin fast enough or sufficiently enough and so has commissioned a major new report. Yes: that is the same NT that is firing 14% of its staff, 1200 folks, because it says, untruthfully, that it faces a cash crisis and there is no other way.
453 days ago
The lizards who run the National Trust have announced that they are to sack 1200 staff, 13% of the workforce, to save £60 million as part of a £100 million package of cost cuts. Some homes it owns will have to restrict hours going forward. My grandfather, Sir John Winnifrith, was Director General of the NT and will, yet again, be spinning in his grave at the deceit and the inevitability of this outcome after years of folly.
2783 days ago
The veteran Labour politician Tony Benn has this morning died aged 88. As is the case, even for Bob Crow, his family have my sympathies. So what to make of Wedgie? This may rather surprise you.
Anthony Wedgwood Benn was an aristocrat who renounced his seat in the Lords to fight for what he believed in from the House of Commons. And he certainly had strong beliefs. During the 70s and 80s as Energy Minister in the appalling Callaghan Government and then in opposition he tried to swerve the Labour party violently to the left and he almost succeeded. He did his part in making Labour utterly unelectable and thus gave the blessed Margaret a good stretch in office. For that he deserves our eternal gratitude.
My grandfather, Sir John Winnifrith, was a Bennite. After retiring from the Civil Service he was for the first time in his live, as head of the National Trust & War Graves Commission, able to speak his mind. And thus in the 1975 EU referendum campaign he found himself now and again speaking on the same platform as his hero. Their reasoning for opposing staying in the Evil Empire was that it was a construct to make rich farmers and industrialists richer at the expense, largely via food prices, of the working classes.
I am not sure that I follow their logic but at least I could agree with my Grandfather and Benn on one thing, the EU was a bad thing.
In his declining years Benn came to be seen as a bit of a National Treasure.
2926 days ago
Oh dear. Oh dear. The Global warming nutters are in disarray. Their models – on the basis of which trillions of dollars have been pissed away and Al Gore has become an incredibly rich fat bastard – have been shown to be just WRONG!
I quote from Der Spiegel which cites NASA as its source:
Whenever the ice at the North and South Pole is mentioned, it is mostly in the context of melting triggered by global warming. However, the sea ice in Antarctica - in contrast to that in the Arctic - has proved to be remarkably robust. New measurements have now confirmed that. As the U.S. space agency NASA announced, the sea ice in the Antarctic has extended over an area of 19.47 million square meters at the end of September. That is the highest since measurements began in 1979. Why the white splendour is extending there while it is rapidly disappearing in the Arctic is a mystery.
A mystery eh? Perhaps it is because the world is er…not getting warmer. It has got colder since 1997. So why does that matter?
2928 days ago
My father has done more than his fair share of work as Treasurer of the Shipston Parish. Its finances are okay – thanks in good part to my father handing over far too much of his dosh – but the finances of the wider C of E are a shambolic disaster. The reason is that it is a failing organisation – it keeps on losing customers to the grim reaper, other faiths and sects or to apathy and it is not replacing them.
One reason for this may be that the Church, like other once respected bodies such as the National Trust and the RSPCA seems intent on straying off its core patch. All three of these bodies have made themselves look ridiculous with their pronouncements on matters such as global warming and hunting of animals. But they just cannot help themselves.
And thus the Archbishop of Canterbury has today waded into the energy price debate telling companies that they should sacrifice profits by cutting prices ( prices agreed with the regulator) so folks are less badly off. Why not instead cut this Government’s ludicrous energy taxes imposed to help reduce our carbon footprint? Er…. Because the Church still thinks the planet is getting warmer (even though we are now in year 16 of cooling).
This is not a moral point the Church and the Archbishop is making but a political one.
2991 days ago
My immediate family, bar uber-enlightened step sister Flea, are all deluded lefties and thus take the view that if Uncle Chris (Chris Booker) holds one view they should naturally take the opposite line. I tend to take an alternative view. Other than his one little blind spot (a failure to support the only democracy in the Middle East), Booker’s judgement is never wrong. On issues such as the global warming scandal, the EU and inner City development he has for decades been way ahead of the curve.
Today my mother’s brother writes in his Sunday Telegraph column about the West’s failure to appreciate the Islamofascist threat from Iran. Again he is bang on the money. Perhaps we should all have listened to the Israelis a bit more?
But he also picks up on my piece last week about the National Trust and how it is losing the plot. In that snippet he observes correctly why my father’s father, Sir John Winnifrith, would today have been disqualified from being head of the National Trust. It is a good and fair comment which my immediate family will find it hard to disagree with. But on (misguided) principle they probably will do so anyway.