Aug 07

‘Hurtful’ National Trust in Rainbow Row

National Trust goes gay with 6-colour homosexual rainbow badges and lanyards - but volunteers objected.

National Trust goes gay with 6-colour homosexual rainbow badges and lanyards – but volunteers objected.

The National Trust is in a row over the promotion of homosexuality after volunteers refused to wear homosexual equality symbols.

The National Trust is Britain’s leading conservation charity. It exists, according to its most recent Annual Report, to protect ‘the nation’s heritage and open spaces … for everyone to enjoy’. It operates in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. There is a separate National Trust for Scotland.

According to the BBC, the National Trust required staff and volunteers at Felbrigg Hall, a stately home in Norfolk, to wear rainbow badges and lanyards in support of a campaign to promote homosexuality.

Annabel Smith, the Trust’s head of volunteering and participation development, said ‘Whilst volunteering for the National Trust we do request and expect individuals to uphold the values of the organisation.’

But of course, the promotion of homosexuality does not appear in the aims or values of the National Trust.

Felbrigg Hall

Felbrigg Hall

Dissenting volunteers

By Friday, over 30 (and possibly as many as 75, depending where you read) of 350 volunteers refused to be part of the stunt.

Initially, National Trust management offered them duties away from the public gaze.  Non-rainbowed staff would be an embarrassment.  Its director general, Dame Helen Ghosh, said anyone who did not agree with the campaign was ‘free to step back from the volunteer role or take a different role for the duration’.  Who said Victorian-style labour relations were dead?

But Lucy Pasha-Robinson writes in the Independent that 240 National Trust members revoked their membership over the weekend in disgust. Meanwhile, the volunteers went to the newspapers.  They accused the Trust of encroaching on their political freedoms.  The Trust began to get rattled.

Dame Helen was left humiliated as a National Trust official later issued a statement on Saturday.  Now they were ‘making it clear to volunteers that the wearing of the badge is optional and a personal decision’.

Previous owner ‘outed’ as homosexual

Professor Richard Sandell has been promoting LGBT issues for twenty years.

Professor Richard Sandell has been promoting LGBT issues for twenty years.

One Robert Wyndham Ketton-Cremer owned Felbrigg Hall. The distinguished historian and author left his ancestral home to the National Trust when he died in 1969.

But as part of its pro-sodomy campaign – it actually has a special page for it – the National Trust latched onto rumours that Lord Ketton-Cremer was homosexual. It commissioned Professor Richard Sandell from the University of Leicester to dig up any dirt he could find.

In true gutter journalism style, Sandell trawled the local area for anyone prepared to say Ketton-Cremer’s sexuality was an ‘open secret’. He pored over his poems and books about acquaintances to try to find code words and possible euphemisms. But he failed to find anyone to say his subject engaged in any same-sex activity with anyone.

The Trust then hired the King of Crass, Stephen Fry, to voice a video. In the frankly tedious film, Fry states Ketton-Cremer ‘defied the conventions of his day’. Actually, he didn’t. He lived exactly as a bachelor of those days would do.

National Trust ‘hurtful’

The film appalled Ketton-Cramer’s nephew and niece. Ted Coryton and Katie Spencer are demanding to know what proof the Trust has that their uncle and godfather, known to them as ‘Bun’, was homosexual. Moreover, even if he was, what right did the National Trust have to ‘out’ someone who chose to keep his sexuality secret?  The squire died two years after sodomy in private was decriminalised in 1967.

Robert Wyndham Ketton-Cremer outside Felbrigg Hall, which he bequeathed to the National Trust.

Robert Wyndham Ketton-Cremer outside Felbrigg Hall, which he bequeathed to the National Trust.

‘It is simply so hurtful,’ Mrs Spencer, 78, told the Daily Telegraph: ‘It is outrageous and totally unnecessary. The National Trust has done this to get publicity to get people to visit the hall and make money. I personally didn’t think there was any suggestion he was gay. The first I heard was when I was shown the article in the Telegraph about the Trust’s film. I would like to know what proof they actually have. I think Bun would have felt betrayed by the National Trust. He was a fascinating man, a brilliant historian and biographer.  That was how he would want to be remembered. His sexuality was a private matter and should remain so.’

The siblings, from Cornwall, share the late Ketton-Cremer with another godson, Tristram Powell, from London.  All believe the move represents a betrayal.  Moreover, they argue it could have serious implications for future legacies to the Trust.  They have a point.  Who is going to leave property to the National Trust knowing its officials are prepared to seek and publicise salacious gossip about you years later?

Virtue signalling

Clare Balding recording a podcast promoting homosexuality for the National Trust

Clare Balding recording a podcast promoting homosexuality for the National Trust

The Trust’s pro-sodomy campaign does not end here. The National Trust has also signed up the BBC’s token sports lesbian, Clare Balding.

Miss Balding will do a series of podcasts on homosexually-themed National Trust properties. There turn out to be very few, by the way. And of course, this is not a serious attempt at increasing its membership among the 1% of the population who are sadly homosexual. If they like old houses, they will join the Trust’s four million other members anyway. No, the Trust is instead engaging in a perverted form of ‘virtue-signalling’ while blundering into the minefield of social engineering.

Indeed, Mr Fry said: ‘Some have asked why Prejudice and Pride is necessary – why the lives of people who challenged conventional ideas of gender and sexuality should be made public and celebrated in this way. The answer is quite simple – to do anything less is to suggest that same-sex love and gender diversity is somehow wrong, and keeping these stories hidden only lets prejudice – past and present – go unchallenged.’

Once again, Lord Ketton-Cremer did not ‘challenge conventional ideas of gender and sexuality’.  Moreover, some 40& of the population still believe gay sex is wrong, after all the years of pro-sodomy propaganda. And we can venture the figure will be higher among National Trust members.

Professor Sandell added: ‘We have equality in many areas of the law but there is a need to build greater public understanding.’ I was right. It’s virtue-signalling and propaganda rolled into one.


Dame Helen Ghosh - the 'condescending' director general of the National Trust is to be replaced next March.

Dame Helen Ghosh – the ‘condescending’ director general of the National Trust is to be replaced next March.

This is not the first controversy at the National Trust under Dame Helen’s tenure, says the Guardian. During her leadership, the Trust found itself drawn into debates about fracking and windfarms.  The Trust quite likes the former, but is snooty about the latter. And earlier this year our members will recall it replaced the word ‘Easter’ by ‘Cadbury’ in publicity for its egg hunt.

Rachel Cooke, also in the Guardian, writes: ‘There is a growing sense in some quarters that the Trust is distracted from its main purpose – conservation – and that in its determination to be inclusive, it is, for want of a better description, dumbing down.’

Miss Cooke also has some acerbic observations on the Trust’s acquisition of land and on Dame Helen Ghosh, with whom she secured an interview. Dame Helen is a retired civil servant. The National Trust pays her £183,960 as its director general.

But Miss Cooke says: ‘Her manner is – how to put this? – edged with condescension. Five minutes into our conversation, she tells me about her first-class history degree from Oxford, as if this alone should settle my mind in her favour. … She talks loudly of the importance of listening to other views without ever really giving the impression that she is doing so.’

Dame Helen Ghosh to leave

And now Dame Helen is returning to her alma mater.  She gained a first in history, you know.  She will leave her job at the National Trust in March 2018 to become the first woman master of Balliol College, Oxford.  She is taking an obvious career step.

National Trust members and volunteers will be eager to attend its Annual General Meeting in Swindon on 21st October 2017.   Will this topic come up?  What will Dame Helen condescend to say to the backward member masses?  Will her replacement will be as eager to force gayness down everyone’s throats?  Is the National Trust going to continue alienating the public with repellent virtue-signalling?  Will it return to its core business of protecting the nation’s heritage and open spaces for everyone to enjoy – not just the intellectual elite?  When are the next elections to the National Trust’s Council?

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  1. Rox

    Looking at the special National Trust web-page on these things, it isn’t unreasonable to point out that all these grand stately homes were not always in the hands of conventional families by any means (in fact many people who had such resources were eccentric in various ways). It isn’t unreasonable to highlight that Knole is closely associated with Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf, not least with the latter’s very original novel “Orlando” (which is well worth reading at least as far as the end of the Tudor period, if not beyond). They give less well-known examples, which would certainly interest enthusiasts visiting the properties. This (one hopes !) is history, this is life.

    What is NOT reasonable is that picture at the end, of 19 “volunteers” dressed as homosexuals . They are apparently being marked out as such, and if that is not their real way of life, and if they are not really volunteering, it is outrageous.

  2. Sandy C

    This is not to do with being homophobic, it is to do with the National Trust trying to impose its support of Prejudice and Pride onstaff and volunteers.
    It is not up to them to suggest Robert Ketton-Cremer was gay. He had a good reputation, was a respected bachelor, lived a private life, and was well respected by locals and his work force.
    Felbrigg, like most National Trust properties has dozens of experienced volunteers. Many have worked at ‘their’ NT house for donkey’s years. I know of one who retired after 30 years. Other than the wealth of knowledge they have, the work they do is part of the weekly structure of their lives. Removing it is really distressing. They give their time and energy freely, and cannot easily be replaced. Be careful National Trust that you do not lose the main staff of your business as well as the trust of many of your members.

    1. Rox

      I agree.

      It’s all too easy to look for somebody else who suggests that Robert Ketton-Cremer was gay, and to find it stated in Wikipedia as a fact :
      “He was a homosexual, at a time when homosexual acts were still criminalised.”
      But that statement depends on a reference to a recent article in the Daily Telegraph called “The National Trust ‘outs’ Norfolk squire as gay 48 years after his death” ! Hmmm.

      The fact is, few people seem to have been enormously interested in him or the extent of his gaiety until the National Trust found it convenient to bring it up in a manner which suited them. This piece of publicity/propaganda has backfired badly.

      1. Stephen

        ‘Stated in Wikipedia as a fact’. Discuss.

        1. Rox

          Well, that was my point. It is all too easy to accept everything in Wikipedia as a factual, and although copious references are given, one does not often bother to consider their reliability. But Wikipedia does a good job on the whole.

          Sometimes it overdoes the requirement for references. At one time, they had an elaborate article about the customs observed on Twelfth Night in England, and I edited it with a correction stating “However much these picturesque customs may have happened in the past, they are no longer at all common. For most people in England for very many years, Christmas decorations are taken down, but little else happens. ”

          They wouldn’t accept that without a reference to prove that it was true ! I protested that I had lived in England for very many years myself, and knew it to be true from my own experience. That wasn’t good enough.

          But presumably if I had written a letter to the Times observing how there were none of the Twelfth Night customs in England that you still get in certain other countries such as France, some American could have edited the Wikipedia entry using my letter to the Times as a perfectly acceptable reference ! It’s a strange old world.

          (It is possible to add to Wikipedia entries, probably partly depending on who wrote them in the first place and how important they are deemed to be. I have done so successively, for example in the case of Langport).

          1. Stephen

            All I know is, my own entry is, for want of a better word, bizarre. But what can you do?

  3. Andrew C

    I see this as a very positive story. Well done to those volunteers in the National Trust for standing your ground. I mean seriously – well done, as you set an example to the whole country here.

    If we are going to win this war against fascists who want to run our country like the Soviet Union and brainwash the masses, then we do need positive stories like this, where people have organised resistance amongst themselves. Reading about such a rebellion gives me more hope than what any politician might say. You National Trust supporters have thoroughly embarrassed the ones who thought they had it all sewn up by now Great stuff.

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