Retired environmentalist who was named by an ‘anti-revival’ insurgent group as a candidate he supported for upcoming National Trust elections says he has never been consulted by activists and disagrees with them.
Michael Goodhart, 67, told The Guardian he was shocked to see his name at the top of a list of six candidates supported by Restore Trust because he did not support his goals before what is expected to be an eventful AGM in the National Trust.
“It just goes to show how superficial they are that they come up with recommendations of this nature without contacting the people involved,” he said.
The National Trust this week warned of the damage it faces because of what it calls an ideological campaign waged against it by self-proclaimed “anti-awakened” insurgents that the charity has accused of seeking to stir up divisions.
Unlike the “rebels” of the Restore Trust, Goodhart has said he strongly supports the National Trust following a report released last year by the charity showing links between 93 of its historic places and colonialism. and slavery.
Since then, NT has held “colonial campaign” themed exhibits at some properties and changed the labeling of the collections.
Goodhart said The Twisted Threads of Polly Freeman, the latest children’s book by his wife, Pippa Goodhart, was about a child struggling to find her identity and freedom as she moved from the studio to the Quarry. Bank Cotton Mill near Manchester in 1838.
“I’m convinced that we shouldn’t hide stories like this and if that’s what it means to be ‘awake’ then I totally support this idea.”
Goodhart’s candidacy for one of the six vacant NT board positions was motivated more by his firm belief that the charity had sufficient funds and a flow of donations to mitigate or ensure that he did not engage in cuts that affected volunteers and other work. .
The Trust was asked to speak earlier this week as members worried about a series of “extreme” positions taken by people involved in Restore Trust.
The group, which has no connection with The Restore Trust, a Bristol-based nonprofit, has spoken of building up a tens of thousands of pounds ‘fight fund’ and now also use paid advertisements on the networks. social organizations to try to influence the elections.
The trust – one of Britain’s largest landowners – also fears its carbon-neutral policies in the face of the challenge from the Restore Trust (RT), which it says is waging a cultural war on multiple fronts.
RT’s directors include a financier who has supported one climate-skeptical lobby group and is currently chairing another.
Members of the association also expressed concern over RT’s endorsement of Stephen Green, the leader of a fundamentalist Christian lobby group who accuses the NT leadership of being “obsessed with LGBT issues”.
Like Goodhart, Green said he had no connection with Restore Trust, but instead said he was grateful for the group’s support.
The so-called “crop war” issues that Restore Trust has become involved in are expected to come to a head at the NT AGM in Harrogate later this month. The vote has already taken place online.
The association’s communications director, Celia Richardson, said in a blog post this week on her website that the trust’s history has been rich in internal debate.
“They often reflected the social issues of the day. In the past, there have been disagreements about everything from nukes to nudist beaches, badger culling, wind farms and even our recipe for flapjack, ”she added.
“For many decades this simple, unifying goal brought multitudes together and often allowed them to overcome great ideological differences. “
A spokesperson for Restore Trust said he was advised not to contact Goodhart, “because he signed an agreement with the NT not to promote himself, so we didn’t want to put him in danger of disqualification.” .
“Like Mr. Goodhart, we don’t want aspects of the story to be hidden, but want it to be explained in a balanced, precise and scholarly manner,” he added. “That said, RT believes Mr. Goodhart and the other candidates have what it takes to hold the trustees to account.”