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The Bizarre Kerfuffle Over Roger Scruton’s Appointment to a British Building Commission

2 11 5

Scrutongate is not a means of ingress to Sir Roger Scruton’s farm in Wiltshire, England, but a digital witchhunt against the English-speaking world’s most eminent public philosopher. The mob already know where Scruton lives: The witchfinder-generals of the left have been “no platforming” him since the early 1980s. The novelty is that this time, the digital denouncers are massing at Scruton’s virtual gate because of architecture.

In early November, Britain’s Conservative government appointed Scruton the unpaid chairman of its Building Better, Building Beautiful commission. Scruton has long campaigned against Britain’s postwar penchant for building badly: throwing up hideous public housing in a cheap and unpopular pastiche of modernist styles. The problem recently has been that governments are failing to keep up with demand for homes of any style at all. In the decade between 2007 and 2017, immigration increased Britain’s population by nearly 10 perecent, from just over 60 million to just over 66 million. The cost of housing has risen by more than 5 percent in every year since 2014, and faster in desirable areas of London and the commuter belt towns protected from further development by a “Green Belt” of woods and legislation.

The Englishman increasingly struggles to buy the home that should be his castle. After the war, Labour established itself as the builder of sprawling public housing projects it called “council estates”: The socialist architecture was part of the architecture of state socialism. Later, Margaret Thatcher established the Conservatives as the patrons of the aspirant working class by allowing council tenants to buy their homes. Now, the Conservatives under Theresa May have committed to refreshing the vote-winning compact between government and affordable housing.

It is a British tradition that the arbiter of official taste in municipal construction lives in a Georgian townhouse but condemns the poor to live a hundred feet off the ground in a concrete box. So it was greatly to the credit of May’s otherwise........

© The Weekly Standard