Tory cronyism: a seemingly endless source of bigotry
Poor Tories. All they wanted was a housing tsar; someone to bring beauty back to public spaces. OK, so Roger Scruton (pictured) had some peculiar notions. He was on record with the view that “many of the Budapest intelligentsia are Jewish, and form part of the extensive networks around the Soros Empire”. Was this antisemitic conspiracy gloop, even before he high-tailed it to the metaphorical golf club with Nigel Farage? Scruton was also persistently anti-Muslim, but still, housing tsar, right? All the government wanted were some pretty buildings to make England look like England again, and if that came with a side order of fulminating bigotry, so be it. Except that was not all: Scruton was also found to bemoan the “orthodox liberal view … that homosexuality is innate and guiltless”. “It’s not normal,” he once supplied to the public record, via the Sunday Telegraph, in plainer language still.
This is the recurring melody of the government’s mood music: every time they chuck a job at one of their mates, the most casual scrawl through their Twitter feed reveals that a lack of any meaningful qualification or transparent application process for the role is the very least of their problems. Toby Young, it turns out, doesn’t just want to educate the masses; he also wants to leer at the breasts of famous people and control the procreation of those of low IQ, although, luckily for his bloodline, only those on a low income. Ben Goldsmith, meanwhile, thinks that the reason he can’t get a seat on the tube is that there are too many immigrants, and suddenly the sheer shadiness of his non-executive post at Defra, given he is a from a family who have donated £1m to the Conservatives, pales into insignificance beside the eerie spectre of tube seats for the British-born. Doctor Who just covered Rosa Parks: your average six-year-old knows that turning public transport into a race war is not a good idea.
Bad luck? Or is this the inevitable end of cronyism, since part of the point of a proper and impartial appointment policy is to weed out the bigots before they’re in post? Yet still, if I woke up prime minister, and gave jobs to all my friends, I’m pretty confident that their Twitter woodwork would not be crawling with murky, alt-right propaganda memes worthy of the 1930s. Sure, you might find one who had some salty views about the M&S jumpsuit everyone’s wearing; some of them don’t like dogs, which is a surefire way to alienate the voting public. Definitely, positively, I wouldn’t give a culture brief to the one who wants to eradicate mime and all history of it, and I had an uncle with very strong prejudices against the Spanish based – obscurely – on Michael Portillo, but that was many years ago. I have a friend who dislikes the Yorkshire countryside, and one who reacts more strongly to Piers Morgan than could ever be considered reasonable, but I don’t have any eugenicists in this portfolio, or people who want to reattach guilt to homosexuality.
It’s almost as if this isn’t a coincidence: one might just about conclude that the kind of people who think it is OK to give jobs to their friends are the kind of people with shady friends.