In the past I have written ac couple of times about the challenges being presented to the National Trust by parts of the Conservative Party. They seem unwilling to accept that some of the premises which the National Trust now owns on behalf of our Nation should be disclosed with their genuine history. Almost a year ago there was this piece and it was a reflection of the statement by John Hayes who is a very extreme MP on a number of themes. Back on the 12th November 2020 he stated
Britain’s heritage is under attack, ironically from those missioned to be the guardians of it. The National Trust, while losing money and sacking staff, has commissioned an expensive review of its properties’ links with colonialism, including Churchill’s Chartwell; unheroic characters at the National Maritime Museum are re-evaluating Nelson’s heroic status; and the custodians of the Churchill War Rooms are claiming that they need to look again at Churchill’s legacy. Can we have a debate on how these charitable organisations’ purpose is being perverted by political posturing, as they all seem to be in the thrall of the militant Black Lives Matter movement? Mr Deputy Speaker, defending our history and heritage is our era’s battle of Britain.
There now appears to be another challenge being set out to attack the National Trust by a group of people seeking to become a new group of Trustees. The most disturbing concept if accurate in this piece in the Guardian is that this group of people who are working together and have got funding to campaign for some of their group to succeed. As the article states
a range of “extreme” positions taken by individuals involved in a group called Restore Trust, which is backing a slate of candidates in elections for the NT’s governing council.
The group, which has been heavily promoted in the pages of the rightwing press after its foundation and has spoken of building up a “fighting fund” of tens of thousands of pounds, is also now using paid-for social media adverts to try to influence the election.
This is deeply concerning on several fronts but what is equally disturbing is that one of the people who has been identified within the group is a person who I have spoken to on one occasion and who tragically has a very strong view about themes that he wishes to change in our nation and beyond based on the article. He he has set himself up as though he was able to speak out on behalf of Christianity under his charitable agency called Christian Voice which is not promoting views that all Christians agree with. It raises many challenges, and when on the one occasion we spoke about his public criticism of someone else who had been a board member of the BBC he took my view as to determine that I am not a Christian. The irony was that the person he was criticising was someone who I had met and who was a Christian and his anger was the way in which the BBC was behaving. The fact is that board members don’t control every detail operated by their agency but perhaps he will have a different expectation if he is appointed as a Trustee. He has also visited Brighton on several occasions to campaign against the Pride events which creates a whole range of challenges for our area. Inevitably some other people agree with his views and may will support him in his new approach. However we need to enable the approach taken in the past by the National Trust to help explain what some of their premises have been used for in the past. Given that Slavery is still being identified today as a challenge from a range of churches, it seems acceptable that our history is also being displayed by groups like the National Trust. Equally if people in the past were LGBT, it would be very strange for the National Trust to be unable to disclose this in their settings.