Roger Scruton, one of the right wing’s favourite philosophers asked for £5,500 a month from a tobacco company. He said he would use his contacts to get pro-smoking articles in the world’s press.
Last week’s revelations are very embarrassing for a man who prides himself on defending ‘traditional morality’ and truth telling. A leaked email showed that Scruton asked Japan Tobacco International, the world’s third biggest cigarette manufacturer, for the money.
In return, he said, ‘We should aim to place an article every two months in one or other of the Wall Street Journal, the Times, the Telegraph, the Spectator, the Financial Times, the Economist, the Independent or the New Statesman.’ Scruton used to be a regular on Radio 4’s Moral Maze programme. He:
Has written articles denouncing single mothers, gays, socialists and feminists.
Is pro-hunting and used to chase foxes wearing Enoch Powell’s old hunting clothes.
Won notoriety as an academic in the 1980s by defending education cuts.
As editor of the conservative journal the Salisbury Review published an article called ‘Education and Race’ by Ray Honeyford, a Bradford headmaster. It was a huge assault on multicultural education.
Says that May 1968 in France was the defining moment in his life: ‘I suddenly realised that I was on the other side. I saw an unruly mob of self indulgent middle class hooligans. I was disgusted by it, and thought there must be a way back to the defence of Western civilisation against these things. That’s when I became a conservative.’
Wrote a major article called ‘Bring Back Stigma’ in which he argued for the use of ‘disapproval, shame and reproach’ against those who failed to observe ‘the small-scale mores on which social order depends’. These include, presumably, not being a grimy hack for the fags industry.
A FEW days ago BP was fined £1 million after admitting safety failings at its Grangemouth refinery. Immediately the government has put another of its bosses in a key post. The government has appointed Byron Grote, head of BP Chemicals, to head up the Chemical Innovation and Growth Taskforce. Grote is already vice-chair of the Public Services Productivity Panel. The links between the government and BP are already strong.
Tony Blair’s former chief of staff, Anji Hunter, has been appointed BP’s new communications director. BP’s former chairman, Lord Simon, is now the minister for European trade.
GEORGE W Bush is now bidding to spend an extra $48 billion (£33.6 billion) on the US armed forces. This will include a $10 billion ‘war reserve’ fund that will allow for attacking other countries.
The US already takes up 36 percent of the world’s arms spending. This will bring US military spending up to a massive $380 billion. Most of the increase is to build more hi-tech weapons and ‘Son of Star Wars’.
THE UKRAINIAN holiday company New Men Travel is launching an ‘extreme tour’ of Chernobyl, the site of the worst ever nuclear disaster in 1986. The company promises those who take up its offer protective clothing, radiation monitors and a visit to the wrecked reactor.
You can also see the abandoned vehicles contaminated during the clean up, the desolate company town of Pripyat and all the nuclear processing plants. If you take a private car and an English speaking guide the tour will cost £330. If you join a minibus tour the cost will be £220.
‘Radiation levels are such that one short visit should not do any harm to a tourist,’ says a spokesperson for the company.
NEARLY 1,000 organisations now have the power to spy legally on ordinary people. They include councils, hospitals and even the Post Office. Their methods were revealed in a government report produced last week. It shows that these organisations bugged, burgled or used undercover agents to get information on people almost 3,000 times during 2000-2001.
The report also shows that the police entered at least 234 private homes, 44 offices and 77 hotel rooms. Sir Andrew Leggatt, whose job it is to ensure that these powers are not abused, warned that he could not keep an eye on the majority of cases. The report does not cover telephone tapping or the activities of MI5 and MI6.
THERE HAVE been a lot of articles in the newspapers recently about the revival of the trade unions. One newspaper boss who seems to have taken it all to heart is Richard Desmond, owner of the Daily Express, the Daily Star and various pornographic magazines. Desmond has recently applied to join the journalists’ NUJ union. In reply to the question on the application form about the size of his salary he wrote, ‘See Sunday Express Rich List.’
The NUJ has rules of conduct and ethics which he may find it hard to adhere to, especially after the Express’s witch-hunt against asylum seekers.
ALMOST 2,000 government computers have vanished in the last five years, more than half from the Ministry of Defence.
‘PARTY FOR the Queen? Yeah, right. Bag of shite.’
SALFORD MAN’s response to the Golden Jubilee plans. He lives on Coronation Street
‘FROM WHAT I can gather these people are being kept in appalling conditions. Maybe it’s time to ease up a little.’
US COLONEL JAMES HUGHES, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, on the Guantanamo Bay captives
‘THE Bush administration is the most merciless exponent of world capitalism, with the determination to have a McDonald’s and a Starbucks in every country on earth. It is the force of Big Money.’
A N WILSON, right wing Evening Standard columnist
‘LORD Wakeham has a lot of questions to answer. He was one of a number of key directors who bear responsibility for the Enron collapse.’
DAMON SILVERS, legal adviser for the AFL-CIO union which represents the Enron workforce
‘A real Australian is, by my definition anyway, an immigrant.’
PETER CAREY, Australia’s leading novelist, speaking at Australia Day celebrations
‘I’d like them to treat food in this country as food rather than an industry. Everything always comes down to how much profit they can make.’
DERRICK HARGREAVES, father of Christopher Hargreaves, the 105th victim to die of CJD
‘THE Americans are on your side. Who gave you the planes? The Americans! Who gave you the tanks? The Americans! Who gives you money?’
YASSER ARAFAT, speaking on Israeli TV
‘WE WILL no longer fight-occupying, deporting, destroying, starving and humiliating an entire people.’
PETITION signed by over 60 Israeli veterans and army reservists
The US defence department announced last week that a satellite positioning device had been found in an Afghan cave. They said the equipment was lost in Somalia in 1993. The discovery, they proclaimed, was concrete evidence at last that Bin Laden's Al Qaida network was behind the deaths of 18 US soldiers in the disastrous raid on Mogadishu.