Roger Scruton – The Last Englishman
“There was a time when all my books were slaughtered...”
What does it mean to be a conservative in 2015? Garry’s guest tonight is Professor Roger Scruton, one of England’s leading philosophers and the author of How To Be A Conservative, along with many other provocative and intelligent books which question the dominant left-liberalism of modern Western thought.
The son of a working class Mancunian Labour Party supporter, Roger’s contrary views were shaped by the 1968 Paris uprising when he realised that he was on the other side: the side that wanted to preserve rather than destroy.
Scruton went on to champion dissidents in Eastern Europe before the fall of Communism, and was banned from Czechoslovakia for his pains.
One of the many subjects that concerns the professor more recently is the fate of England.
He criticised English voters being excluded from the debate about Scottish independence last year, and has said that given the opportunity he would vote for English independence.
His book England an Elegy was a stout defence of English values and virtues.
And he asks why Scruton has written that the belief in human progress is unreal. Literacy is widespread, we have beaten many diseases, our people are relatively prosperous. Isn’t that progress? Is Roger Scruton really just a pessimist?
Photograph by Pete Helme