The Conservatives have appointed a new housing tsar who is a friend of far-right leader Viktor Orbán and claimed Hungarian Jews form part of a “Soros Empire”.
Tory minister James Brokenshire announced yesterday that philosopher Roger Scruton would chair a new commission on “beauty in the built environment”.
Scruton has built a reputation as staunch defender of conservatism, suffering a brief setback when he was caught offering to write pro-smoking articles for cash, but has often strayed into what some view as outright prejudice.
But The Red Roar can reveal that Scruton is a friend of Hungary’s far-right prime minister Viktor Orbán and has claimed Hungarian Jews form part of a “Soros Empire”.
Viktor Orbán has been accused of antisemitism over his party’s poster campaigns branding Jewish businessman George Soros an “enemy of the state” and a sinister puppet-master. Earlier this year he was personally accused of deploying antisemitic tropes in a speech that railed against “an enemy that is different from us … does not have its own homeland but feels it owns the whole world”.
That criticism did not prevent Roger Scruton from heaping praise on Orbán, who he has “known for years, ever since he was 19 or 20”, as “ a very intelligent and striking character” and “not the kind of demagogic tyrant that the liberal establishment in Europe want to make him out to be”.
But Scruton has also aped Orbán’s insinuations of Jewish conspiracy, telling a Hungarian audience that “many of the Budapest intelligentsia are Jewish, and form part of the extensive networks around the Soros Empire”. In a 2013 interview Scruton appears to subscribe to the description of “a Soros network, which is the cause of Hungary’s poor international judgement”.
The Conservatives are likely to face immediate pressure to drop Scruton as an official advisor, having already faced fierce criticism for backing Viktor Orbán’s government in the European Parliament.