The last 5 years have been a showcase in political theatre: people screaming past each other, the devolution of reasoned debate, and the rise of social media mobs who often trade in volume rather than sense. There has been much talk of unprecedented polarisation and a “divided Britain”. Most of us agree with this assessment and see evidence of it each day. But what are we polarised about exactly? The assumption might be that we simply cannot see eye-to-eye on issues.
I first came across the name Roger Scruton through his books being recommended to me on Amazon. Make of that what you will. One book was entitled How to be a conservative, which I found unpalatable and so I avoided exploring further. That is until I found a video of Sir Roger in conversation with Douglas Murray. Murray’s book—The Madness of Crowds—was one of the funniest and most incisive books I had read this year, so I thought I might be missing a trick.
In the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the surge of protests around the world, there was a call for education: for all of us to carry out our own research, so that we could dismantle the racism that continues to cause so much hurt and suffering. Unless you have been living under a rock, you will have seen a lot of book recommendations. These are books like White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo and, if you’re in the UK, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge.