If we can’t remove the ‘cancerous presence’ of Neil Oliver from the National Trust we can still stop subscribing to this elitist and wasteful organisation in protest, not just at him though

neil-oliver  Stately_Home_inside_005

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It seems we cannot campaign online to have Neil Oliver removed from his new post as president of the National Trust. The campaigning website 38 Degrees, whose petitions I have often signed, said:

‘We removed the petition from the 38 Degrees website as it calls for an individual to lose their job. Neil Oliver was appointed by members of the National Trust, not members of the public. Therefore, the petition breaks our Terms and Conditions.’

The National correctly described this as a ‘fudge’ because the petition to remove the Queen is still up there and it has allowed several other petitions calling for public figures to be removed from positions, including BBC’s Scots political editor Laura Kuenssberg and the former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson.

You’ll remember Oliver once described IndyRef2 as a ‘cancerous presence’ and is a vociferous opponent of Scottish independence. Kinder voices have described him as ‘divisive’ but he has compared Scotland’s pre-eminent historian, Professor Tom Devine, to a character in the muppets merely because he justifiably questioned Oliver’s academic credentials to present a history series.

I don’t really care I if he is president of the National Trust. I’ve got no time for the organisation in the first place. It largely preserves symbols of Britain’s disgustingly brutal and unequal past and in so doing helps to glamorise and thus justify greed, inequality, opulence and bad taste in the present.

I don’t visit stately homes. I don’t visit castles. I’d knock them down or at least let them crumble naturally and build children’s play-parks or memorial gardens where they stood. In maintaining them and facilitating working people to visit them we’re helping to celebrate historical suffering, brutal poverty and state violence. The stately homes were built often with money from the slave trade and by workers who lived in hovels, whose children died more often in infancy than they lived on to adulthood and who survived on near-starvation diets at times of the year. Often villages of the poor were cleared to avoid spoiling the views from these nauseating symbols of greed. As for the castles, they were, like Fort Apache, placed to keep down the natives. In this case, our Scots, Irish and Welsh ancestors. These were places of lifelong confinement without trial and of horrific torture. The Norman castles in Wales are brutal ugly monsters on the landscape. Fort Augustus and Fort George and the others are reminders of our subjugation and of ethnic cleansing. Nobody thinks its a good idea to preserve and celebrate the buildings associated with Nazism so why preserve these?

If you’ve got a National Trust subscription, cancel it and tell them why.

Me, divisive?


18 thoughts on “If we can’t remove the ‘cancerous presence’ of Neil Oliver from the National Trust we can still stop subscribing to this elitist and wasteful organisation in protest, not just at him though

  1. J barr October 4, 2017 / 10:21 am

    Agree entirely.


  2. broadbield October 4, 2017 / 10:51 am

    John, stop sitting on the fence!! I agree entirely the NTS is an elitist organisation that shoe-horns in placemen (and I use the word “men” advisedly). I resigned my membership a few years ago when they parachuted in Lord Lindsay – (don’t know why I joined in the first place.)


  3. macgilleleabhar October 4, 2017 / 10:51 am

    Totally agree with your post. I see the National Trust as the UK Establishment equivalent of Shelter keeping a roof over failed aristocrat’s heads.
    I am sure his BBC attitude will fit in well there. As an example when did you ever see anyone remotely working class on Country File?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dunphail October 4, 2017 / 2:47 pm

    I telephoned yesterday and cancelled my membership of 10+ years. I was asked if I would like to listen to a statement regarding the appointment before I cancelled. I listened and Jackie Baillie would have been proud of it. I said now listen to me “you are obviously aware of my surname and have you heard of Croick Church and the Clearances well there is no circumstances whatsoever in which I would fund an organisation headed by a person who believes that these people were part of a benevolent migration, your statement on political neutrality means nothing his revisionist views on the history of my people were not even considered when you appointed such a self promoting loathsome divisive character, membership cards will be in the post”


  5. Ludo Thierry October 4, 2017 / 7:44 pm

    Hi all – Brilliant comments all round.

    John had an encouraging article recently explaining how the BritNat aristocrat bandits and other large estate land-owners will soon notice a tax demand landing on the doormat re. their huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’ interests. (Sadly a smallish bill for now – but a start nonethless). I was, therefore, pleased to see that further steps are being taken with other (similar?) gangs of organised criminals to force them to ‘pay-u’p as well. In the new Scotland all organised crime gangs need to be pursued – aristocratic ones and the rest (see below):

    New powers to seize criminal gains are increasingly disruptive to serious organised crime, the Lord Advocate has said.

    Recent changes to the law, and new powers coming into effect in January, are making it easier to seize money, assets and property from serious criminals, according to Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC, who told the Serious Organised Crime Taskforce this week that £3,650,000 has already been seized by the Crown’s Proceeds of Crime and Civil Recovery teams this year, nearly £1 million more than at the same time last year.

    Law enforcement agencies will continue to pursue criminal assets, including assets which were not identified during the initial investigation. In the last three years over £400,000 has been seized from people who thought their case was over.

    Recent changes to the law mean that restrictions – such as passport seizure, monthly repayment of criminal gains and a requirement to notify when a property is put up for sale – can now be imposed on criminals to ensure that assets are recovered.

    From January new powers will mean money and assets that cannot be legitimately accounted for by individuals reasonably suspected of involvement in serious crime can be seized. If such an individual fails to explain where their wealth came from it will be assumed it came from proceeds of crime and the burden falls on them to prove otherwise.

    Mr Wolffe said: “The powers we have to target criminal assets are important weapons in tackling criminality, including serious organised crime. Using these powers, we can disrupt the ability of criminal enterprises to generate profit, and so continue to function.”

    NOTE: The monies raised by this scheme are directed to a basket of local community initiatives – principally to give Scottish young people better opportunities in life.

    Notice that it is an SNP Scottish Govt energetically pushing forward this scheme to try and capture as much of these monies as possible for ALL Scotland.

    Curiously I heard this story mentioned (briefly) on radio Jockland a couple of days ago (credit where it’s due). I tried to track down details and had to work pretty hard to find them. Come on SNP Scottish Govt and SNP Party – There are a plenty of good, solid ‘Scottish success’ stories out there – let’s find better ways of getting the info out to our alternative media (like John’s blog) given that the MSM are taking every opportunity to ignore them.

    Rant over, Ludo

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Prof. Nigel Mace October 5, 2017 / 4:28 pm

    Of course, Neil Oliver’s appointment is a disgrace wrapped up in a farce and 38 Degrees ignorant submissiveness matches their persistent past inability to ‘get’ the issues of Scottish politics and especially the SNP’s largely worthwhile tenure in office. I lost patience with 38 Degrees apparently invincible ignorance long ago – and, yes, I am cancelling my NT for S membership.

    However, your contempt for the physical remnants of our country’s past is as ignorant as Oliver’s demeaning views on our history. Destroying the evidence of past social relations, disparaging the craftsmanship – however once paid for – of its artisans and artists is something no historian should have any time for – and I don’t. Of course, the NT for Scotland, like its English counterpart, often has a somewhat slanted and myopic stance and seems at times to serve as little more than a preserver of privilege – but those are reasons for changing how our heritage is curated and the purposes to which it put. Never a reason for its destruction or wholesale denigration.

    Let’s build a country where the stately homes etc really serve not only as properly explained books to illumine our past, but also as places with socially useful functions – peoples’ conference centres, holiday venues for families, exhibtion spaces for community endeavours etc. – their potential in socially responsible and educationally imaginative hands is huge.

    To call for their neglect, let alone knocking them down is the worst sort of knocking copy. Please desist.


    • johnrobertson834 October 5, 2017 / 6:18 pm

      Dear Prof
      Thanks for your views. I respect them almost all but I can’t forgive the brutality that made these places possible. You’ll see other readers are with me but I know many out there would think me deranged. The homes of common murderers are usually knocked down and the space made into a garden. The owners of these stately homes and castles were worse.

      Now, remember I said I respect your views so don’t tell me to desist. I’ll write what I believe. If you can’t tolerate it, you desist.



      • johnrobertson834 October 5, 2017 / 6:25 pm

        And, who says ‘desist’ these days? How old are you? 140?


      • Prof. Nigel Mace October 5, 2017 / 9:47 pm

        Dear John – which I presume you’d prefer to ex-prof.,

        I am one your supporters and an admirer of your academic work on bias in the media.

        You’ll never get a historian to echo calls for – at the very least – the willful destruction of evidence. Where would your puritanical purge end? Such behaviour would besmirch (there’s another antique usage to mock, should you choose) the very nation we would wish to liberate and recreate. Just for the sake of textual accuracy, let me point out that I didn’t “tell” you to desist; I asked it – “please”, and I did so because I believe that such iconoclastic zeal would be a stain on our country and a betrayal of its past and the past of its peoples – things which we should learn to understand, critically, and strive to better.
        And for the sake of clarity – I’m a little over half the age you speculate.

        Let’s agree on dumping Oliver and extracting the michael out of the numpties that appointed him.

        With best wishes,



    • Orlando Quarmby October 5, 2017 / 9:05 pm

      Well said, Professor Mace. John Robertson’s anger over the loathsome Oliver and the elite Anglo-dominated entity that is known as NTS, is entirely justified. However John’s call to iconoclasm is not. Some of these buildings – castles, stately homes – reflect the hard-won skills and labour of our artisan and working-class ancestors. That the aristocratic wealth which paid for their labours was often ill-gotten is something to reflect as part of the interpretive and educational material which should be available at these sites to set them in a fully rounded context. But to demolish and level them? No, no, no – leave that kind of thing to nihilistic iconoclasts like Isis who wantonly destroy the landmarks and art of mankind’s warts and all collective history.


      • johnrobertson834 October 7, 2017 / 1:57 pm

        Do you really think Prince Charles and others like him would allow ‘interpretive and educational material’ exposing their ancestors’ horrific crimes?


      • Prof. Nigel Mace October 7, 2017 / 3:06 pm

        John is quite right, however, about Big Ears and his like – but then that’s another excellent reason for getting rid of any monarchy from an independent Scotland and along with them the whole clamjamfrey of titles and spurious ‘nobility’. Nae House of Lords nor any suchlike chamber of the entitled to ‘oversee’ (and probably strangle or impede) the actions of a truly proportional Holyrood – and the present chamber’s arrangements have turned out to be surprisingly good. Perhaps not a President – but an elected Guardian of the Realm, Wallace’s old title, but with a role more akin to that of Ireland’s President. It is going to be such fun to rip up that old so-called ‘unwritten’ constituion and put something enormously better in its place.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. johnrobertson834 October 6, 2017 / 12:29 pm

    Dear Nigel

    When would my puritanical purge end? Just the castles and the stately homes. The churches can stay.

    Iconoclastic zeal? I’ll take that gladly and retire from the debate.

    You probably have the vast majority of the population on your side.

    I’m a bit autistic I think sometimes (un-diagnosed) with maybe a too sharp a sense of injustice and how it should dealt with.


    Dr John the Night-tripper


  8. johnrobertson834 October 7, 2017 / 7:50 pm

    Nigel – with you all the way on those suggestions. Bringing back Guardian of the Realm – inspired!


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