The Salisbury Review, now thirty three years old, conveys the ideas and concerns of genuine conservatism with articles on all aspects of public life, social policy and the arts often including discussions of subjects which are not generally aired in the mainstream press. The magazine began in 1982, the year of the Falklands and the post-Afghanistan ‘peace offensive’ launched by the Soviet Union.
It was an initiative taken by the Salisbury Group, which had been set up in 1976, dedicated to the political vision of the Third Marquess of Salisbury who had famously declared that good government consisted in doing as little as possible. The group under the leadership of the 6th Marquess of Salisbury, Robert Salisbury, held informal meetings and published pamphlets but needed a regular publication to articulate a tradition of social thinking which was much older than the Thatcher revival of the seventies, which it thought over emphasised the importance of economic policy. Indeed during the twentieth century Conservatives may have spent more time in office but culturally speaking they have never been in power.
Roger Scruton was the Editor for the first eighteen years. During the eighties The Review became known in underground circles in Eastern Europe and a regular column gave dissidents behind the wire the opportunity to express their ideas and comment on events; a samizdat edition appeared in Prague in 1986. In Britain the Salisbury Review might just as well have been a samizdat publication because of the fury directed against its contributors. One of these was Ray Honeyford, the Bradford headmaster who spoke the truth about the folly of multiculturalism in our schools. Attempts to defend him led to libels and the persecution of other contributors although the resulting publicity increased our subscriptions. Speaking at universities during those extraordinary years could involve you in vicious physical attacks.
The challenges facing the present editor Myles Harris and his journalists are no less exacting. The geographical and political certainties of the Cold War have given way to a confused and unpredictable ethos aggravated by a glaring lack of leadership. At home rampant political correctness prevents a proper discussion about important social issues like feminism, modernism, abortion and euthanasia. The Conservative Party has still not formulated its ideas, thereby rendering its policies incoherent and erratic. Above all it has not stressed the importance of the nation in a time when the nation state is being undermined by the European Union. Whatever happens in the future, the editors intend to provide a platform for conservatives with something to say and a stimulating read for those whose intellectual needs are not satisfied by the increasing trivia and shallow content of the mainstream press.
In recent years The Salisbury Review has been sufficiently successful to illustrate its articles with witty cartoons of prominent cartoonists such as McLachlan, Griselda, Husband and, lately, the major contribution of our in-house artist Lindsey Dearnley. We also publish regular blogs on the net from Jane Kelly who was for many years a leading Daily Mail journalist and Theodore Dalrymple who has a huge international following. Eminent past and present contributors include Conrad Black, Nikolai Tolstoy, Enoch Powell, Margaret Thatcher, Roy Kerridge, CH Sisson, Otto von Habsburg, Frederick Forsyth, Norman Tebbit, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and P D James.