Stefan Buczacki’s Diary: Remembering George Brown and the real problem with Countryfile
They threw away the mould when they made Labour’s former Foreign Secretary George Brown.
I recently came across a faded natural history book in my library with a publication date of 1908. Beneath his name on the title page, the author had indicated his qualifications: MA (Oxon), FLS, Member of the National Trust. Ah, those were the days, when National Trust membership equated to an Oxford degree and fellowship of the Linnean Society. Now, five million folk share the privilege and there is no argument that if we did not have a National Trust to care for so much of our historic heritage, we would have to invent one.
But why does the National Trust of today often feel the need to treat me like a viewer of Blue Peter, its properties masquerading as theme parks with volunteers dressed in faux costumes and talking in strange contrived accents? Far too often the trust confuses education with entertainment; and I do not think its purpose is to entertain.
Stop labelling me
Above all the other irritations that are probably unavoidable with an organisation that has now become so big and bureaucratic, why has it felt necessary for the trust to join the toe-curling vogue for anthropomorphism? Several of the properties I visit regularly have little notices on the antique chairs – “Please do not sit on me; I am very old”. It is like waiting at a bus stop only for the next one along to have its indicator board reading: “Sorry, I am not in service” (I have even seen: “Sorry, I am taking a holiday”). Come on National Trust, you are better than a bus company, so do treat us like adults.
The MP who called me brother
It is said rather frequently that modern politics is bereft of characters. A few …read more
Source:: New Statesman