THIS week TCW has published two articles critical of the National Trust, the first by Ann Farmer, ‘The National Trust bends the knee to Churchill slurs’ and the second by Chris McGovern, ‘National Trust’s oh-so-selective history of slavery’. Today Victoria Baillon has a follow-up.
EARLIER this year I wrote in TCW about my experiences as a garden volunteer with the NT, ‘Woke virus infects the National Trust’, in which I argued that the Trust, a charitable organisation, had taken it upon itself to trash the heritage of the country it was founded to preserve.
Later I wrote to the Trust’s director-general, Hilary McGrady, voicing my dismay, amongst other things, at its ‘absolute’ support for the Black Lives Matter organisation and attaching my article as a matter of courtesy.
Subsequently, I was contacted by an NT representative whose only major concern appeared to be that I didn’t bring my decidedly ‘non-woke’ and unacceptable opinions to the hallowed herbaceous borders of a Trust property rather than addressing my arguments. The presumption was that all visitors were quite happy to be harangued and lectured about LGBT rights, women’s issues and latterly slavery which, as has been pointed out, the Trust’s ‘experts’ continue to confuse with colonialism. I replied that I had never presumed to offer any personal opinions on anything, but plenty of punters had obliged with vehement denunciations of the Trust’s increasing forays into identity politics and virtue signalling. Finally, I was somewhat flabbergasted to be asked whether or not I had completed my obvious lack of education by visiting the ‘Prejudice and Pride’ day at Kingston Lacy? The sort of claptrap peddled by the Trust in their ‘celebration’ of Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson at Sissinghurst, whose sexual predilections have been common knowledge to most people for at least fifty years.
I must have passed muster, as in a follow-up email the next day, with breathtaking hypocrisy, the Trust graciously permitted me to continue volunteering as it was ‘satisfied’ that ‘I would leave my politics and religion at home’; I replied with a reminder that we still have free speech in this country. Unfortunately that appears not to apply to anyone who is ‘off message’ and doesn’t conform to what Melanie Phillips has described as ‘approved attitudes – in this case the anti-white racism of BLM which it uses to further its openly stated agenda of undermining and overthrowing western society‘.
Currently engaged in a ‘Reset Programme’, the National Trust appears to be in a downward spiral of self-destruction, incapable of understanding that its role is conserving this country’s complicated heritage, warts and all. It is haemorrhaging visitors and volunteers alike with its obsessive cultural revisionism and political interference, and for this volunteer in particular it has crossed the Rubicon.