The Monster Under the Queen Anne Bed | William Hayes Esq.
A much-loved public institution, The National Trust, is sadly suffering from self-harm. It seems as if not a week goes by without another embarrassing revelation about their descent into militant, self-righteous political correctness. The Trust’s aim is to protect our heritage, yet resources and skills, in a period of time when the charity is strapped for cash, are being frittered away on a self-indulgent preoccupation with colonialism. Quite why National Trust bosses decided to take the path to shame and ridicule is hard to say. Perhaps, like so many other woeful institutions, they fail to see, that militants like Black Lives Matter are really violent extremists, not, in the words of one leading Trust figure, ‘a human rights movement’, or maybe from a desperate desire to be ‘relevant’, they’ve opted to pander to the lowest common denominator.
Speaking of the lowest common denominator…
Whichever of these causes started the gangrenous rot, the decay in the reputation of the trust has spread as a result of their association with a person known as Corinne Fowler. Sadly, her generously funded ‘COLONIAL COUNTRYSIDE; NATIONAL TRUST HOUSES REINTERPRETED’ has led to numerous resignations by trust members; caused dismay amongst volunteers; profound disappointment at their most recent AGM; and such offence, that the matter has been raised repeatedly in Parliament and pitted well respected senior politicians like Lord Peter Lilley, Sir Edward Leigh and Sir Desmond Swayne against them – so much so that Parliament’s Common Sense Group has been widely praised for highlighting the Trusts devastating error of judgement.
Meanwhile Mrs Fowler has remained unseen, hidden away in her lair, a huge, appropriately brutalist, place called Attenborough Tower in Leicester – so much for the countryside, so much for aesthetics. Worryingly her project, using children, is designed to ‘re-educate’ loyal and longstanding Trust volunteers. They must forget the charming anecdotes and delightful tales about the houses and families in which they take such pride, to presumably, in future, ‘lecture’ visitors – eager for no more than a nice day out with the family, a cup of tea and a cake – on the wickedness of colonialism and why they should feel deeply guilty about their nation, its landmarks and indeed about making the effort to leave home at all.
Now, I don’t know about you, but when I fancy a merry old trip down to a National Trust property, for the abovementioned; a glass of elderflower cordial and a cream tea, following a euphoric family walk in the sunshine, through our mystical meadows and magical woodlands, when I finally arrive at the House or Manor, so often the grand centre of these estates, I want to be entertained, enlightened and enthralled by the charming, particular and parochial history, in which we can all take delight and relate to. Bearing that in mind, whilst I’m enjoying all this splendour, it would be most inconvenient and the cause of great offence, to be interrupted by the incoherent, ahistorical and unwelcome ramblings of Corrinne Fowler (or someone she has helped to indoctrinate), shrilly preaching as they self-flagellate.
Mrs Fowler has recently published a book entitled ‘Green Unpleasant Land’. Now at first I thought this was a humble little project that was cobbled together for some harmless satirical fun, tongue in cheek self-deprecation if you will. The sort of thing to be found in the discount section of a gift shop, that you might buy a friend as a gag-gift, that will be put on the bookshelf or coffee table and never read as a result of its ubiquity, if the £19.99 price tag doesn’t put you off (how very accessible)! However, one quickly realises that this piece of ‘literature’ is simply corrosive bile. At best it makes ignorant, ill-informed and clumsy broad stroke assumptions about British history and at worst, as stated by the only review of this book on waterstones.com, entitled “Rehashed Drivel” (1 star by the way), ‘would appear to glorify violence to children – especially at a time when knife crime is a serious concern.’ In this book Mrs. Fowler also takes a jab at Downton Abbey of all things, for candidly overlooking the global history of country houses, glorifying them if you will – as if that isn’t something theatrical television dramas are supposed to do in the name of family entertainment.
Unsurprisingly, the book has been very poorly received. So much so in fact that a critic has publicly concluded ‘there are some very serious issues regarding the accuracy and nature of the material’ which ‘appears to be an attempt …. to make money by exploiting children (who are predominantly from ethnic minorities) without regard to the negative effects that they may suffer.’ Hard to believe that none of this seems to worry the National Trust.
Corinne Fowler, it seems, has associates, who have also worked on the National Trust Colonial Countryside project (commissioned in 2018). Most of these ‘academics’ aren’t particularly noteworthy – judging from the character of this work, it seems they haven’t moved on from adolescence. One that stands out is Raj Pal, a ‘historian’, who unwisely called for those who vandalised the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol to be presented with an ‘award for advancing knowledge and understanding of the past’. It is statements like this that provide perfect validity to my description above – a shining example of thoughtless man-child immaturity.
The National Trust has been a much-loved institution for more than 125 years, but love can die and now, due to careless self-injury, love lies bleeding.