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Antagonistic Andy, the Labour loudmouth who smeared Scruton


FOR admirers of Douglas Murray, the past few weeks have been a festival. Not only is his new book The Madness of Crowds now available, to promote the tome Douglas has been dispensing wisdom on many a podcast.

A few days ago, TCW’s Kathy Gyngell acclaimed the chinwag between Douglas Murray and American conservative campaigner Candace Owens.

Amongst his numerous other appearances which recently have become available for listening and viewing, Douglas was the latest guest on Peter Whittle’s excellent series So What You’re Saying Is. The title obviously mocks Channel 4’s Cathy Newman and her now notorious attempt to skewer Jordan Peterson; and coincidentally, Whittle’s interview with Douglas Murray highlighted another attempted ambush by a Left-wing activist journalist.

In addition to discussing The Madness of Crowds, which is Douglas Murray’s dissection of today’s insane identity politics, Peter Whittle’s final question (from 36:00) concerned the treatment over the past year of Roger Scruton. Appointed chair of the new quango Building Better, Building Beautiful last November, then dismissed (though later reinstated) following a hit piece in the New Statesman, the offending journalist smugly posed with a champagne bottle and captioned the picture ‘The feeling when you get Right-wing racist and homophobe Roger Scruton sacked as a government advisor’.

Fortunately, Sir Roger had in his corner Douglas Murray, who did more than anyone to expose the shameful stitch-up. As he told Peter Whittle: ‘A young journalist called George Eaton lied, and thought that we live in an era when you are allowed to lie and get away with it . . . there’s no way I was going to let them get him. The moment Eaton and the New Statesman published his lies I decided to undo them, to expose them.’

Which Douglas duly did, with characteristic élan. However, because the Jacobin behaviour of the New Statesman became such a story, it overshadowed the earlier attempts by Labour to prevent Sir Roger taking up the post at all.

Prominent amongst those who, at the time of the appointment, had twisted beyond recognition some of Sir Roger’s utterances was Andrew Gwynne, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Here is Gwynne in parliament last November, disgracefully portraying Scruton as some sort of goose-stepping Nazi due to ‘Sir Roger’s links to the far-Right and his propagation of their antisemitic conspiracy theories’.

At the time, antagonistic Andy also told BuzzFeed News: ‘Nobody holding those views has a place in modern democracy. The prime minister needs to finally show some leadership and sack Scruton with an investigation into how he was appointed in the first place.’ 

Andrew Gwynne subsequently celebrated Sir Roger’s sacking here. Furthermore, even after Douglas Murray and others had entirely discredited the New Statesman’s spiteful slant, Gwynne still complained about Sir Roger’s reinstatement and continued to smear Scruton for his ‘history of Islamophobia and antisemitism’. 

A year after the Labour spokesman blackened the name of Roger Scruton in parliament, Douglas has not forgotten. Nor, from his barely contained fury, is Murray likely to forgive: ‘Andrew Gwynne, the Labour frontbench spokesman who attacked Roger Scruton when he was appointed by the government last autumn, said in one of his public statements – this is a man so dim I’d be surprised if he’d finished any short book – somebody with Roger Scruton’s views not just shouldn’t have any public appointment but has no place in the modern world.’

Peter Whittle was visibly surprised by the vehemence of Douglas’s response. Of which there was more: ‘Okay, Andrew Gwynne: where are we to go in future for information about Kant and Hegel? Are we going to come to the Labour frontbench? Are we going to be asking Diane Abbott and Andrew Gwynne and a few other geniuses if they can explain nineteenth century German thought to us? This is what we’re being invited to agree to. We’re being invited to agree to a public square so stupid and deracinated that people who are thoughtful and have thought about things can be disappeared at the whim of an ignoramus.’

Labour’s front bench might know little of Kant and Hegel but they are experts in cant and humbug. Well done, Douglas, for reminding everyone that George Eaton of the New Statesman should have been joined in the dock by Andrew Gwynne.

Douglas Murray calls Gwynne an ignoramus; however, the final word on Labour’s partisan pygmy should go to the man whose reputation he tried so hard to besmirch, Sir Roger Scruton. Charged with having been sympathetic to eugenics in a book review, Sir Roger remarked of his parliamentary accuser: ‘Mr Gwynne has probably not read further in my [book] review than the parts retailed by BuzzFeed and, although he has time to write malicious and mendacious letters to the PM, it is surely only right to assume that he does not have time to immerse himself in a difficult and sensitive argument about a question that it requires a measure of intellect and scientific knowledge to understand.’ 


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Gary Oliver
Gary Oliver
Gary Oliver is an accountant who lives in East Lothian.

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