Poland bestows honor on philosopher fired by British govt
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s president bestowed a prestigious state honor Tuesday on an English philosopher for his contributions to Poland’s anti-communist struggle in the 1980s.
President Andrzej Duda presented Sir Roger Scruton with the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland, the highest award that can be given to a non-Pole.
In bestowing the award, Duda spoke of the influence Scruton’s book “The Meaning of Conservatism” had on his own political vision. He said Scruton’s support for the anti-communist struggle “contributed to the growth of social courage.”
The ceremony came as Poland was celebrating the 30th anniversary of the first partly free elections in 1989, a key moment in the unraveling of communism throughout the Eastern Bloc.
It also comes two months after the British government fired Scruton as head of a public housing body after he was quoted in a British magazine making statements that were deemed to be anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and homophobic.
At the time of his dismissal, a British government spokeswoman called Scruton’s comments “deeply offensive and completely unacceptable” and said they were distracting from his work as a government adviser.
However, Scruton has said that his words were twisted and has denied being anti-Semitic or Islamophobic.
A London PR firm that represents Scruton told The Associated Press that the quotes were falsified in the interview by former deputy editor of the New Statesman magazine, George Eaton.
Eaton has since been demoted at the magazine.