Now the Storm has Passed: A Press Statement from Professor Sir Roger Scruton
Press Statement from Sir Roger Scruton in response to the apology from The New Statesman 8 July 2019
Statement, Sir Roger Scruton: “I am pleased to have resolved my complaint against the New Statesman. They have apologised for how they misrepresented my interview on Twitter and accepted that their article in some fundamental ways did not accurately reflect what I had said. I am pleased that the words I actually spoke are now available (transcript) (audio). This experience was very unpleasant, not least on account of the rush to judgment by others in the media and in politics. I was particularly distressed by the behaviour of the Minister who sacked me on the strength of the NS article, without asking me whether it accurately represented anything that I had said. I was also astonished by the comments issued from Number Ten Downing Street, and by the fact that the Conservative Party made no collective effort to defend me. I am grateful to the New Statesman at least for this, that these distressing events have awoken me to the true moral crisis of the Party to which, despite everything, I still belong.”
Text of apology from The New Statesman
Sir Roger Scruton
The New Statesman interview with Sir Roger Scruton (“Cameron’s resignation was the death knell of the Conservative party”, 10 April) generated substantial media comment and will be readily recalled by most readers. We have now met with Sir Roger and we have agreed jointly to publish this statement.
In the interview, Sir Roger said of China: “They’re creating robots of their own people … each Chinese person is a kind of replica of the next one and that is a very frightening thing”. We would like to clarify that Sir Roger’s criticism was not of the Chinese people but of the restrictive regime of the Chinese Communist Party.
Sir Roger is quoted accurately in the article: “Anybody who doesn’t think there’s a Soros empire in Hungary has not observed the facts”. However, the article did not include the rest of Sir Roger’s statement that “it’s not necessarily an empire of Jews; that’s such nonsense”. We would like to clarify that elsewhere in the interview Sir Roger recognised the existence of anti-Semitism in Hungarian society.
After its publication online, links to the article were tweeted out together with partial quotations from the interview – including a truncated version of the quotation regarding China above. We acknowledge that the views of Professor Scruton were not accurately represented in the tweets to his disadvantage. We apologise for this, and regret any distress that this has caused Sir Roger.
By way of rectification we provide here a link to a transcript of the interview and the original article so that readers can learn for themselves what Professor Scruton actually said in full.
Reaction to the New Statesman article
The reaction to the New Statesman article turned quickly from condemnation of Roger to slow and steady acknowledgement that an injustice had been done:
- Deletion of the Champagne Instagram by George Eaton;
- Apology from George Eaton for his ‘social media conduct’;
- Publication of the full transcript of the interview by the New Statesman;
- Expression of ‘regret’ for what had occurred and a statement that ‘we could have done things differently’ from James Brokenshire MP;
- Calls from MPs (including Iain Duncan Smith, James Gray and Zac Goldsmith) supporting Sir Roger and calling for him to be reinstated;
- Deletion of the New Statesman tweets by George Eaton and all corresponding re-tweets;
- Apology from the New Statesman in the agreed terms (Monday 8 July).
Wed 27th March, interview given to George Eaton in Roger’s own room in Albany
Wed 10th April Interview published online on The New Statesman with inaccurate and distorted Tweets which wholly misrepresented the interview.
Roger in Paris, civil servant from James Brokenshire MP’s department rings Roger’s home at about 3pm to say that in ten minutes time the government will announce he has been dismissed.
10th April onwards, many letters of support sent directly to Roger and many also sent to James Brokenshire, dismayed at his decision and lack of support for Roger. Douglas Murray and The Spectator start a campaign directed at George Eaton and the New Statesman to ‘Release the Tape’. Some Conservative MPs led by James Gray and Ian Duncan Smith call for Roger to be reinstated.
Roger writes articles where he is invited to do so giving his side: The Telegraph and The Spectator and Le Figaro; he is also commissioned by the Mail on Sunday although article only published later (links to articles below).
Friday 26th April The Today Programme releases the tape and in a high pressured interview, Roger has the chance to clear his name.
Audio tape published on Roger’s YouTube channel. That evening, the New Statesman publish a transcript of the interview. Some inaccuracies in the transcription.
Saturday 27th April The Spectator ‘The Scruton tapes: an anatomy of a modern hit job – How a character assassination unfolded on Twitter’ Douglas Murray.
Saturday 27th April James Brokenshire MP calls Roger for the first time.
James Brokenshire MP writes to Roger, letter dated 30th April. Both communications from Brokenshire refer only to the Twitter storm and a selected single phrase as justification for his decision. Roger not given right to respond.
Letters from supporters and European politicians to Brokenshire are not answered.
‘An Apology for Thinking’, Roger Scruton, The Spectator 11/4/19
‘The Scruton tapes: an anatomy of a modern hit job – How a character assassination unfolded on Twitter’, Douglas Murray, The Spectator 27/4/19
‘Sir Roger Scruton battled the Thought Police behind the Iron Curtain as a young man. Now he says they’ve come for him in Britain after he was wrongly accused of making racist slurs’, Roger Scruton, Mail on Sunday 30/6/2019