Friday, 4 August 2017

The National Trust gay pride furore, and the difference between toleration and celebration

The National Trust has told volunteers they'll be banned from jobs which involve meeting members of the public, unless they agree to wear gay pride badges (rainbow lanyards). It's all part of the organisation's prejudice and pride programme to mark the 50th anniversary of the legalisation of homosexuality in the UK. The announcement follows the outing by the Trust and Stephen Fry (who, rumour has it, may possibly bat for the other side) of Robert Wyndham Ketton-Cremer, who bequeathed Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk to the Trust, as a homosexual. His descendants have criticised the organisation,  on the grounds that Kelton-Cremer would have been embarrassed to have his sexuality made public. But, of course, nothing must be allowed to stand in the path of the Great Progressivist Juggernaut.

Now for the obligatory disclaimer: I am not anti-gay. The legalisation of homosexuality was A Good Thing. They are excellent company. Some of my favourite writers, performers, composers, priests, neighbours, political commentators - whatever - are or were gay. I have had (in the non-Biblical sense) gay friends. I've worked with many gays over the years (although never, come to think of it, for a gay boss), and they were - almost without exception - splendid. True, I feel rather hurt that not a single gay person has made a pass at me in the last 40 years, but I felt honoured to be told by a flamingly homosexual TV director that I had a gay sense of humour (I think he meant I was bitchy). I live in an area where the gay population is well above average - even for London - and I suspect that's one of the many things that makes it so pleasant, relaxed and civilised.

Despite all that, I can think of very few situations in which I would agree to wear a gay pride badge. Partly, that's because I haven't earned the right: while I've never knowingly done anything to impede the cause of gay rights, I've never knowingly done anything to advance it. Besides, I've had my doubts about certain aspects of the struggle for gay liberation. While I thought introducing civil partnerships for gays was sensible, I have doubts about gay marriage. While I fully support moves to stop gay pupils being bullied at school, I object to progressivist propaganda encouraging confused adolescents to question their sexual identity. I don't think those doubts qualify me as a homophobe - but one never knows these days.

I am tired of "normies" (white, law-abiding, middle-class heterosexuals) publicly appropriating the struggles of various minorities in order to show how compassionate and liberal they are - especially when these displays of moral rectitude and "wokeness" cost them absolutely nothing. You're pro-gay? Good for you. Pro-black? Excellent. Pro-Muslim? Ah, bless! Pro-transgender? Well, who isn't? Your heart bleeds for the victims if the Grenfell Tower fire? Group hug! You think all immigrants are wonderful? What a saint! You want the UK to remain in the EU? Mwah! You want to save "our" NHS? You rock! You want to save the planet? Well dur!

Wear badges, wave placards, shout slogans, sign a petition or go on a march in favour of any of these "causes", and your career won't stall, you want be pilloried on the BBC,  your earnings won't plummet, and you won't run the risk of being shunned by colleagues or friends. Contrariwise, wear a badge, wave a placard, shout a slogan, sign a petition or go on a march calling into question the validity of any of these progressivist causes - and there probably will be a price to pay. But even this sorry state of affairs isn't enough to satisfy the progressivist mainstream's gauleiters. Now you don't even have to publicly oppose or query their pet causes in order to suffer retribution: refusing to enthusiastically endorse any of their beliefs will result in the left-liberal establishment's great clunking progressivist fist smashing down on your evil, reactionary head.

All you can ask of people - employees, friends, colleagues, whoever - is to show reasonable tolerance towards those who are different from them. When you start demanding that people positively celebrate those who are different to them - and then punish those who refuse to endorse the current progressivist cause of the month -  something has gone very, very wrong here in dear old Blighty. Being a National Trust volunteer has nothing whatsoever to do with your attitudes to homosexuals. The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty is active in England, Wales and Northern Ireland - not North Korea. I suggest it collects all of its rainbow lanyards into one enormous pile and shoves the whole lot right up its smug corporate bottom (or Stephen Fry's smug bottom - I'll leave the choice up to them) - and then apologises to its volunteers and to Robert Wyndham Ketton-Cremer's descendants.


  1. The National trust has become a pretty vile organisation, the victim of considerable entrysim by the worst sort of nu elite and much given to displays of excruciating right-onness. The appointment of 'Dame' Helen Ghosh (her honour in quotes as I can only conclude it was some sort of joke award meant as mockery of her sparkling career) was the final confirmation.

    I suppose, to be fair, it was always a questionable organisation, its founder being a socialist bore but these days it is as self-consciously worthy as a Cotswold dwelling organic quinoa farmer.

  2. Breaking news:The National Trust has now decided the wearing of the badge is optional.
    A rare victory for common sense these days.

  3. Ghosh, what a turn up. They are, of course, pretending that it was meant to be voluntary all along. Obviously it had nothing to do with the fact that many of their volunteers don't care to be bossed around on social issues which have nothing to do with the upkeep of historic properties and were about to walk out.

  4. Rejoice! Well, a bit. The problem with progressives is that they're never satisfied, and they never rest - "Dame" (I will follow GCooper's lead) Helen is no doubt already planning her next attack on custom, tradition, and common sense.

  5. Well, actually, she's off to exercise her special form of leadership all over the institution of Balliol. They can no doubt look forward to a wind turbine in the quad before too long.