"Anti-woke" group defeated in National Trust members' vote
This year’s AGM took place on Saturday 11 November in Swindon and alongside members’ votes were talks from historian Alice Loxton, who spoke about the importance of engaging young people with history, and Catherine Johnstone, CEO of the Royal Voluntary Service, who discussed the challenges and opportunities facing the UK voluntary sector.
All candidates recommended by the Council’s Nominations Committee were backed by members, and the five were appointed to the National Trust Council.
Candidates put forward by the group Restore Trust - which opposes the introduction of what it calls “ephemeral trends” and “political activism” to the National Trust’s work, particularly how the trust presents colonialism and slavery - were heavily defeated in the ballot of Trust members.
The group, which describes itself as opposing a “woke” agenda, also put forward two motions to the AGM. Its resolution to remove the “quick vote” system, where members’ ballot papers have recommendations from the National Trust’s Nominations Committee highlighted on them, was defeated with 60,327 in favour and 69,715 against.
Meanwhile, members voted against a resolution in favour of restoring Clandon House - an eighteenth century Grade I listed Surrey mansion that was gutted by fire in 2015 - by a margin of 74,298 to 49,065.
Hilary McGrady, Director-General of the National Trust, said: “I’m very proud of our democratic traditions at the National Trust. The AGM is not the only way that members can express their views – this week, we concluded the largest ever consultation on our work and direction as part of our ongoing strategy review. But the AGM is the biggest, regular forum we have for conversation with our members on our charitable purpose.
“As another AGM draws to a close, it’s important for us to reflect on the questions, observations and experiences that members have shared with us today. These opportunities to listen, debate and inspire are part of what makes the National Trust special and I encourage all our members to make their voice heard by taking part in next year’s AGM.”