Royal Society Literature – queasy about free speech ++ National Trust and EPL

The Royal Society of Literature is the latest to fall prey to the modern phenomenon of ‘progressives’ versus the old guard. The new president, Booker-winner Bernardine Evaristo has insisted the society cannot take sides in controversies and must remain impartial when she was criticised for not supporting Salman Rushdie when he was nearly killed in 2022 at a literary festival. This prompted Rushdie to ask her on X/Twitter: “Just wondering if the Royal Society of Literature is ‘impartial’ about attempted murder? (Asking for a friend.)”

 The “wokification” of organisations and hyper-sensitivity about causing offence to a few while in reality offending the great silent majority seems to be widespread. Forced diversity and inclusiveness appears to lead to an end result which supercedes the essential purpose of the society. The National Trust in recent years has got tangled up in controversies totally unrelated to historic buildings and land; The English Premier League banned a female football fan from matches over social media posts that were deemed transphobic. The Civil Service, Universities etc etc – all seem to be infected or invaded by activists punting their own particular obsession and grievance.

  The Royal Society of Literature was founded 30 November 1820 in London with a stellium in knowledgeable, communicative Sagittarius which makes sense. The Sun and Mars Mercury are square Jupiter in Pisces; and Uranus Neptune in Sagittarius are square Pluto in Pisces and Saturn in Aries.

   Their highly strung Uranus Neptune has been assaulted in recent times by the Solar Arc Sun in opposition and tr Neptune in square and conjunct the Pluto – all of which runs on for another year or two. 

  Trying to spot a trend I wonder whether it is the Uranus Neptune signature in general which is problematic. Bernardine Evaristo herself, 28 May 1959, a Sun Gemini square Pluto has a Uranus square Neptune. The younger thirty year old generation born in the 1990s has a Uranus Neptune conjunction. It can make for a wilful, nervy, opinionated temperament holding rigid attitudes and in certain cases can be confused, tending to cause turmoil.

   The Royal Soc Lit is a niche organisation but its present problems are symptomatic of a bizarre social phenomenon which is becoming widespread of activists infiltrating organisations in an attempt to impose their world view on others. Almost fascist in certain cases – think as I do, speak as I do or I will silence you.

  I never liked Rushdie but he should be robustly defended  against fatwas and actual assassination attempts especially by writers.    

Add On: The National Trust founded on 12 January 1895 has not surprisingly a traditional, conservative Capricorn Sun with the signature Neptune Pluto in Gemini of that time; and a harsh Saturn in Scorpio opposition Mars in Taurus square Venus in Aquarius opposition a Leo Moon which will put a veneer of charm over a less pleasant underside. Being a Fixed Grand Cross it will be endowed with endurance and the ability to last over time but won’t find change easy. The years from 2024 through till late this decade will be ones of massive and stressful change as tr Pluto wends its way round those Fixed planets.

The EPL, 27 May 1992, is a Gemini Sun Venus Mercury square Jupiter with a highly strung Mars in Aries square Uranus Neptune in Capricorn.  It certainly has the wilful/confused, stubbornly opinionated Uranus Neptune traits of the above. It will be undergoing considerable changes as tr Pluto trines the Gemini planets and then tr Uranus is conjunct in the years after 2025.  Plus the SA Uranus Neptune will be colliding with its unyielding Saturn square Pluto at the same time. Which will be pressures not connected to the above issue – but there will be huge organizational challenges and changes across a few august bodies.

20 thoughts on “Royal Society Literature – queasy about free speech ++ National Trust and EPL

  1. This “progressive” approach is rife in Canada as well.

    In the last week, two churches have burned. There were four more in the weeks before Christmas. That’s on top of the 96 others since 2021.

    The only word we hear from the federal government is that it’s “understandable”.

    We hear precious little about these incidents in the traditional media.

    Imagine the furore if just one: gurdwara, mosque or temple were to succumb.

  2. I should point out that many of the complaints about the ‘wokeness’ of the National Trust are being pushed by people and groups with, shall we say, less than decent ideals. It is not proven but is quite plausible(legal disclaimer) that certain groups connected to organisations such as developers have been trying to use the ‘too politically correct’ angle to gain a foothold in the NT, thereby increasing the opportunity to undermine the protections from development/exploitation that the NT’s ownership brings to a lot of wild land/historic sites.

    • Well said SD This has been evident at Trust AGMs for some years.The Trust’s top policies are strengthening nature protections, green workforce to aid net zero by 2050, and create and improve urban green spaces. Not the wish list of some developers. I don’t know whether you have done a reading for the National Trust in the past Marjorie??

    • I wholeheartedly agree, SD. The right-wing press doesn’t help either. Have a family member who has worked at the NT for years and the stories in the Daily Mail about how the Trust has been infiltrated by ‘woke’ are particularly egregious. For example, because the NT is open about the slavery connections of our stately homes and their owners, it is deemed ‘woke’ whereas it is historical fact. The Mail published an article that claimed hundreds of NT members had resigned their membership in protest of ‘wokeness’ in the organisation. In reality there were just 2 resignations.

  3. Everyone should be defended against wrong doing. I am concerned where this is taking us. Anti semitism is now rife. Something I thought I would not see in my lifetime.

    • @Delia
      Criticism of the Netanyahu or the Israeli government is not antisemitism.

      What Netanyahu is doing to the Gazans is pretty much what the Nazis did to Jews except no one is trying to find a place for the Palestinians to live outside of Gaza.

      • @Roderick. Please don’t conflate anti semitism (which has spiked) with the actions of the Israeli government. Two different things. Delia is correct. It has spiked.

        • With wealthy Jews in America recently using their wealth ans influence to stiffle free speech and punish people who question America’s one-sided support for Israel.

      • ‘Last time I checked’ That’s interesting T Sergerson. I wonder if you could cite the statistics you sourced. In the UK at least the statistical evidence points to resources being decimated and society becoming more unequal.since 2010. Thank you

        • Trish, “There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.” The worst are government statistics.

          I don’t need them to prove my point. You are using a desktop, laptop, or mobile (cellphone) computer which allows you or anyone else in the world to educate themselves. You can contact almost anyone in the world. Crying “lack of resources” in this day and age indicates a lack of effort.

          You need to consider the fact that ALL societies, in whatever form, have a hierarchical structure. You want to change something, whether an institution or corporation, then be willing to pay the price.

          Greed has driven those who have much to want EVERYTHING in sight. I don’t care which part of the political spectrum they belong to, this is a power struggle in which neither side is willing to compromise. It’s sad but greed and corruption worldwide has pushed us to the brink of destruction.

          In Australia the natives have a saying, “The land does not belong to us. We belong to the land.”

          The land will be here long after all of us are gone.

          A lawyer once told me, “I can get you all the justice you can afford.”

          What are you willing to pay?

  4. Eveyone would love to have equity in life. Unfortunately, there will always be competition, whether for jobs, food, or mates. Compromise has become a lost art. Too many want to rule so chaos ensues.

    • No one has a problem with competition. The question has everyone been given the same resources to succeed and the answer is no and some people are ok with having a head start that began generations ago.

      • Last time I checked most people have access to many of the resources that can help them succeed, IF they are willing to work.

        The people who have “…a head start that began generations ago.” will be with you always, in any society or tribe, no matter the geographical location.

        You gotta fight for your rights, because nobody is going to hand them to you on a silver platter.

      • Sadly life isn’t fair and not everyone is dealt the same cards in this life. I believe we’re all at different stages in life’s journey. Otherwise how do you rationally explain gross inequality.

  5. I think most of these things stem from a failure to deal with inequaliity – so you have a backlash against social inequality which is what many term “woke” and associate with the far left; and economic inequality which is associated with the right wing and brexit and Trump.

    These end up playing played against each other instead of being dealt with i.e. – we have reached ridiculous levels of economic inequality, but a white person relying on a food bank may still be told that they have “privilege”. Meanwhile, a woman frozen out of career opportunities or a black person fearing for their life when they get pulled over by the police are accused of “playing the X card”. Each side seems to suspect the other of not working hard enough or deserving, which I think is very pluto in Capricorn – “meritocracy” and who deserves/who has earned. So while the astro signature seems simple, as usual with Pluto, it’s a complex situation at the broad, mass level.

    • Excellent summary Tara.

      I suspect one of the factors driving discontent in western is that some of those those expressing concern about social inequality are often perceived as people who are not suffering the effects of economic inequality or seen as being particularly concerned at about addressing it. The poor wherever they come from quite rightly are angry when they receive high minded lectures about social and cultural matters from those not at the sharp end of economic hardship.

      • Tara and Hugh – your comments on social and economic inequalities prompted me to wonder about the 19th Century, when both were pretty extreme. Of astro interest is the fiery/airy line-up of 1845 with Pluto in Aries, Neptune in Aquarius, Uranus in Aries, Saturn in Aquarius, Jupiter in Aries and the Nodes shifting from Sagittarius into Scorpio. An airy and fiery time approaches us again quite soon.

        Anyway, that year saw the publication of Engels’ The Condition of the Working Class in England. By 1849 there were Henry Mayhew’s articles and interviews, London and the London Poor, coming out as bound volumes in 1851. You can see the diversity of London’s inhabitants, with migrants from a number of countries featuring in these volumes. Uranus and Pluto are conjunct in Aries in 1850. In 1903 we have The People of the Abyss by Jack London – Uranus opposing Pluto in Gemini.

        General judgement of ‘the poor’ back then included sweeping generalisations, much disapproval of their perceived laziness, drunken pleasures, sexual freedoms and so on. At the same time, others fought to improve housing, pay and conditions. There was no shortage of ‘high minded lectures’ from the better off either, plus a degree of unhealthy fascination with poverty that included after-dinner tours of the East End by coach for the curious better-off members of society. There were various moral panics about foreigners, notably the tiny population of Chinese, too. The theme of ‘othering’ people is an ancient one, predating the 19th century of course. In some ways, we have not come very far as a species have we?!

        • Interesting Jane. Our trend for so-called ‘poverty porn’ is nothing new either. Slum tourism was de rigueur in Victorian London, distasteful as it seems to us now, only in the last decade, there was a raft of TV programmes such as ‘Benefit Street’ for which Channel 4 was severely criticised. One outcome of slum tourism however were reforms and improvements for those living in abject poverty – some of the well-to-do who visited the slums were genuinely shocked and campaigned for improvements for impoverished families.

          • In fact one of those Victorian reformers was the daughter of a corn merchant from Wisbech, Cambridgeshire was the founder of the National Trust itself – Octavia Hill born 3/12/1838, Wisbech. She was one of 10 children. She founded a number of organisations aaimed at social reform. She wanted open spaces and a sense of freedom for the poor, indeed she is a Sun in Sagittarius and has 3 other planets in Sagittarius, as well as a possible Yod on her Moon in Cancer, with a reformer’s Neptune in Aquarius sextile Saturn in Sag. An interesting and unique woman.

          • Thanks VF! I’d forgotten Octavia Hill. I’d been thinking about those reforming women since Marjorie’s post on Annie Besant, the Match Girls’ Strike of 1888, and so on. Also musing on the wealthy philanthropists of the era – George Peabody founding his housing association in 1862 for instance. I think the ‘slum tourism’ trend can be compared to the ‘tours’ of mental institutions such as ‘Bedlam’ in the 18th century. The impulse has indeed found an outlet in much reality TV. Be pleasing if some of today’s ultra-wealthy types decided to build some housing! Peabody (18 February 1795) had Saturn in money-minded Taurus square Pluto in ‘humanitarian’ Aquarius, with Uranus in Virgo opposing his Sun in either anaretic Aquarius or Pisces – victims and saviours?

            There’ll be a number of astro threads and themes I suspect, some of which may find echoes in family patterns. So many of us are descended from those once dubbed ‘people of the abyss’, and the often romanticised rural poor, in many countries of the world. It’s something made very clear by all the Who Do You Think You Are? type programmes.

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