You are currently browsing the daily archive for September 8, 2021.

On Saturday, September 4, The Telegraph‘s Christopher Hope reported that, in 2020, the National Trust closed many of their tea rooms, some permanently, and shed staff members.

This happened despite the charity’s £400m in cash reserves.

Coronavirus restrictions are the obvious reasons for these measures.

However, this quintessentially British institution has been changing tack for a few years now:

I cancelled my membership a decade ago. The National Trust magazine started getting ‘woke’ before ‘woke’ was even an expression. After years of being informative about the historical sites it manages, it became a bit too preachy for my liking: less history, more left-wing social commentary.

Recently, the National Trust got rid of curators, surely necessary where great houses and rare collections are concerned. Their latest job offering is for a Complaints Handler. Note that the advert is in The Guardian, which tells one all one needs to know:

It used to be that a grand day out in England often involved visiting a National Trust property and enjoying a cream tea afterwards. No longer.

On June 18, 2020, Conservative Woman discussed the charity’s changes (emphases mine below):

‘WE are for everyone, for ever’ enthuses the mantra of the National Trust. As a long-standing garden volunteer, to me this slogan has all the poignancy of a soggy scone and a cup of tepid tea.

The charity was founded in the 1890s to preserve the English landscape and adopted the conservation of country houses as one of its purposes 40 years later. Over the last few years it seems that the Trust is constantly apologising for this

On her appointment in 2018, the Trust’s director-general Hilary McGrady maintained that the organisation had to be radical but ‘change shouldn’t mean alienating current members’, gushing that ‘our core supporters are what makes this possible’. With the Trust’s revenues taking a nosedive, it has appointed Dr Corinne Fowler as an adviser regarding its association with colonialism. Her research interests include rural racism and the slavery connections of the British country house. She has commented, somewhat menacingly, that she perceives the ‘problem’ as ‘more about slavery than cream teas’

Is the Trust’s mania to be ‘on message’ and signing up to a movement revelling in its neo-Marxist identity with various far-Left objectives really the way to encourage rational debate? The majority of the public are perfectly capable of making an informed and nuanced judgment. They have no wish to see the history of this country ‘cancelled’ at the behest of a charitable organisation engaged in a giant hand-wringing exercise to express solidarity with a pernicious movement that has created an institutional nervous breakdown by its self-indulgent, regressive, historically illiterate, myopic views beating the drum of ‘white privilege’ as a cover for perceived racial injustice.  

In its commendable diversity and inclusion policy, the National Trust has lost the plot. A fun family day out to help preserve the complicated cultural heritage of this country has become nothing more than a simplistic box-ticking exercise by those uninterested in social progress and fighting racial discrimination in all its forms, intent instead on dismantling capitalism with the disruption of the family structure. The country has been infected by the real virus of egregious identity politics of a dangerous political cult.

On November 11 last year, Heritage minister, Nigel Huddleston MP, criticised the charity for voicing support for a political organisation:

These tweets are in the replies:

On May 25, 2021, the Daily Mail reported that Tim Parker, the chairman of the National Trust, resigned:

after members launched a bid to depose him amid a growing row over the ‘woke’ direction the charity is taking.

Members are furious at its recent focus on politically correct issues, which has seen it link properties to colonialism and make staff wear rainbow ‘gay pride’ badges.

A motion of no confidence in Tim Parker was due to be tabled at this year’s annual general meeting by a grassroots organisation called Restore Trust.

The group is also demanding that the charity’s staff be treated ‘with fairness’ after many were let go during the pandemic, and for executives to rein in pay rises.

Members, ministers and MPs had grown increasingly frustrated with Mr Parker’s chairmanship, which critics said he used to take the 126-year-old charity in a ‘bourgeois’ and ‘politically correct’ direction. 

Last September, the Trust published an sensational 115-page report which ‘blacklisted’ 93 of its estates over their alleged links to slavery – including Chartwell in Kent, home of Sir Winston Churchill

The Charity Commission subsequently opened a regulatory compliance case and the heritage minister told Parliament that the report was ‘unfortunate’ and the Trust should go back to its ‘core functions’

Parker had been the National Trust’s chairman since 2014. Interestingly, he is also chairman of the Post Office.

Parker’s National Trust opponents from Restore Trust filed their motion at the AGM (Annual General Meeting):

According to the Telegraph, the rebel motion at the AGM said: ‘It is the task of a chairman to see an organisation through a crisis. The pandemic has presented the National Trust with severe challenges, and meeting these while securing the future wellbeing of the charity should have been the absolute priority.

‘Instead, the National Trust has been the subject of debates in Parliament and an investigation by the Charity Commission, which found that the charity published a report which generated strongly held and divided views without fully managing the risks to the reputation of the charity

‘The director-general has admitted that the timing of the publication of the ‘Interim Report on the Connections between Colonialism and Properties now in the Care of the National Trust, Including Links with Historic Slavery’ was ‘a mistake’.’

The motion continued: ‘The National Trust leadership has frequently been out of step with its members and supporters over recent years

‘Unnecessary controversies have threatened to undermine the charity’s simple duty to promote public enjoyment of buildings, places and chattels under its protection.

‘As a result, morale among volunteers and members is at an all-time low and the National Trust has suffered, both financially and reputationally

Actor and musician Laurence Fox, founder of The Reclaim Party, approved of Parker’s resignation:

One of Restore Trust’s members, Tony Adler, said that the organisation inaccurately linked slavery to Ham House in south-west London:

One of Restore Trust’s members, Tony Adler, said: ‘The plan is to change the whole ethos formally. And to get rid of the chairman. There has been a sea change in the Trust’s philosophy and they have lost sight of their charter.’ 

The charity was established in 1895 to ‘promote the permanent preservation… of lands and buildings of beauty or historic interest’.

Mr Adler, a retired history lecturer and former volunteer at Ham House in south-west London, claims he was forced out of the charity after he pointed out inaccuracies over the stately home’s supposed links to slavery.

In August, the National Trust dispensed with many volunteer education teams:

This year’s National Trust AGM will take place on October 30. Existing members can vote on the proposals by post or online:

It will be interesting to find out what happens, especially as Restore Trust is rightly calling for the reinstatement of education volunteers.

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