The Salisbury Review now over 40 years old, conveys the ideas and concerns of genuine conservatism with articles on all aspects of public life, social policy and the arts with discussions of subjects which are not generally aired on the mainstream press. The magazine began in 1982, the year of the Falklands and the post-Afghanistan ‘peace offensive’ launched by the Soviet Union. We are proud to have survived when so many small circulation magazines do not.
The Salisbury Group was set up by the 6th Marquess of Salisbury and others in 1976, dedicated to the political vision of the Third Marquess of Salisbury (one-time Prime Minister) who had famously declared that good government consisted in doing as little as possible. The group 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 some thought over emphasized the importance of economic policy. Certainly during the twentieth century Conservatives have spent more time in office than the other parties but culturally 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. In Britain the Salisbury Review might just as well have been a samizdat publication because of the fury directed at a few of its contributors. One of these was Ray Honeyford, the Bradford headmaster who spoke the truth about the folly of multiculturism 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 years could involve one in vicious, sometimes physical attacks.
Those days mirror our own in many respects: the geographical and political certainties of the Cold War have given way to a confused and unpredictable ethos aggravated by a glaring lack of good leadership in the Western world. The Conservative Party now has still not formulated its ideas rendering its policies incoherent and erratic; neither has it grasped the opportunities from Brexit while failing to face the challenge of an over powerful and politicised civil service. Rampant political correctness and woke policies prevent a proper discussion about important social issues like feminism, abortion and euthanasia.
Whatever happens in the future we intend to provide a platform in the Anglosphere for conservatives with something to say and a stimulating read for those whose intellectual needs are not satisfied by the increasing trivia and often shallow content of the mainstream press. We are very grateful to our new editor Mutaz Ahmed for taking all this on. He is young, enthusiastic and keen to face the challenges before us. He belongs to a loose grouping of young people, the Young Scrutonians – there is an article about them in the current issue.