Talk:Roger Scruton

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A news item involving this article was featured on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "In the news" column on January 12, 2020.

'Other views' sectionEdit

"In 2014, Scruton stated that he supported English independence because he believed that it would uphold friendship between England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and because the English would have a say in all matters."

The trouble here is that the source cited is an article about Scottish independence, in which the final paragraph - which is what the citation relies upon - unaccountably uses the phrase "English independence":

"Suppose then we English were finally allowed a say in the matter, which way would I vote? I have no doubt about it. I would vote for English independence, as a step towards strengthening the friendship between our countries" - "the matter" being Scottish independence.

I regard the BBC article as an unreliable source that has probably been mistranscribed, producing a contradiction in its text. Harfarhs (talk) 19:11, 12 January 2020 (UTC)

He seems to have intended "English". Earlier in the article, he says:

In response to Alex Salmond's bid for independence the people of Scotland have been granted another referendum. But again the people of England have been deprived of a say. Why is this? ... What way should we English vote, given that the present arrangement gives two votes to the Scots for every vote given to the English? Should we not vote for our independence, given that we risk being governed from a country that already regulates its own affairs, and has no clear commitment to ours?

SarahSV (talk) 19:27, 12 January 2020 (UTC)

Third party refsEdit

Primary refs, i.e. material written by Scruton, don't establish notability. We need 3rd party refs to establish the notability of obscure material mentioned in the article. ♫ RichardWeiss talk contribs 12:45, 13 January 2020 (UTC)

I assume you just mean "the more obscure items need secondary sources". Martinevans123 (talk) 13:27, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
We don't need to establish "notability" for uncontentious bits of his bio that he himself has offered. Richard, please stop removing details and in particular changing the quotation. SarahSV (talk) 16:52, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
Is there any agreed criterion for what is "obscure material mentioned in the article"? Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 17:01, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
The same details have been removed again. Espresso Addict, can you explain why it's a problem to say that he lived with his parents, two sisters and the dog? SarahSV (talk) 19:19, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
The whole article reads in a rather odd, overdetailed and chatty style, but this stuck out as particularly unencyclopedic. The sisters are previously mentioned, and it would be assumed that he lived with his parents as a minor. Is the dog relevant to his adult views? Espresso Addict (talk) 19:25, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
I must admit I found your removal quite surprising. The edit summary was "Pruning"? For that matter, were his sisters "relevant to his adult views"? Martinevans123 (talk) 19:29, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
Why would the dog have to be relevant to his adult views? He called "Growing up with Sam" (Sam the dog, then Sam the horse, then Sam his son), a chapter in Gentle Regrets, one of the best things he'd ever written. SarahSV (talk) 19:49, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
We always mention siblings, when do we mention dogs? Unless of course dogs play an important in the life of the individual. ♫ RichardWeiss talk contribs 13:20, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
Sarah SV For uncontested info of course primary sources are fine, as they are for inherently notable information such as where he went to school. But re the dog two editors have contested the notability of this, therefore in this case we do need 3rd aprty refs. The same applies with anything I removed, by removing I am contesting and on the grounds of notability not veracity. Third aprty refs are great for conforming something which an editor contests is notable. ♫ RichardWeiss talk contribs 13:23, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
Richard, two questions. Have you read "Growing up with Sam"? And can you point me to the policy you're relying on? SarahSV (talk) 17:23, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
Here's the original passage about Sam from Scruton's book. Oh look, and here's Paddy with the later Sam. Martinevans123 (talk) 17:26, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
Sarah SV, Wikipedia:Notability says "If a topic has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject". Also this this good article review which says "An encyclopedia article needs to be written overwhelmingly from third-party sources: otherwise all someone has to do to get a glowing WP article is persuade a publisher to publish their autobiography." I haven't read what you refer to but nor do I understand why that might be relevant, given it is a primary source. If we can find a third-party source about the dog I'd happily see it included, same as with the type of house he lived in. I'm okay keeping the half-naked lady piece as this has a third-party source and so notability has been established. ♫ RichardWeiss talk contribs 18:08, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
We even have a template for this. IMO the article suffers from this issue but I'd rather fix it than tag it.
RichardWeiss talk contribs 18:25, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
While here Wikipedia:No_original_research#Primary,_secondary_and_tertiary_sources it states "Secondary or tertiary sources are needed to establish the topic's notability and to avoid novel interpretations of primary sources" so it seems pretty clear to me that secondary or third-party sources establish notability, primary sources don't. Something I've incorporated into my editing for many years. ♫ RichardWeiss talk contribs 18:29, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
Mention of his childhood's family dog, a whole four words "and Sam the dog"? You don't think you're making a mountain over a molehill, here? I really don't see how that is a "novel interpretation of primary sources." Martinevans123 (talk) 18:32, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
RichardWeiss, Wikipedia:Notability is a guideline describing how to judge whether a topic is notable enough for an article. It says explicitly: "The criteria applied to the creation or retention of an article are not the same as those applied to the content inside it."
Wikipedia:No original research#Primary, secondary and tertiary sources also doesn't support what you're doing here. The point is that Scruton wrote in detail about Sam the dog. Sam the dog mattered to him. So we mentioned Sam briefly. End of story. SarahSV (talk) 18:35, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
Yes, I've linked the relevant chapter from his book above. Editors can read it and judge for themselves. Interesting that his son is also called Sam. Martinevans123 (talk) 18:43, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
Don't forget Sam the horse: "A randy mongrel, a horse of preternatural cunning, a precious baby son. All of them share a name, and all transformed Roger Scruton's world" (The Times, publishing an extract from Gentle Regrets). SarahSV (talk) 22:25, 14 January 2020 (UTC)

Marriage to Danielle LaffitteEdit

In the box at the right, the year is shown as 1973 — but under Birkbeck, first marriage the year is given as 1972. Which is correct? Prisoner of Zenda (talk) 10:52, 14 January 2020 (UTC)

The Daily Telegraph says 1973: [1]. The current source in the text, which is The Guardian, also gives 1973, so I've corrected it. Martinevans123 (talk) 11:01, 14 January 2020 (UTC)


"Scruton's BA was incepted as an MA in 1967." This usage, currently in footnote [a], doesn't seem to match the definitions in Wiktionary, which emphasise the beginning of something: "To begin a Master of Arts degree at a university". Please clarify. Davidships (talk) 12:00, 14 January 2020 (UTC)

This claim seems to be currently unsourced. So I have added a tag. Martinevans123 (talk) 12:38, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
I think this may be the old University of Cambridge practice of converting Cambridge BAs to MAs. It used to cost £10 back in the day. Kerching![1] -- The Anome (talk) 13:55, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
I think you are probably right. And that BBC source uses the word "upgrade", which might be a lot clearer for everyone? e.g. "Scruton's BA was upgraded to an MA in 1967." Martinevans123 (talk) 14:13, 15 January 2020 (UTC)
Thanks - that seems to make more sense. Davidships (talk) 01:48, 16 January 2020 (UTC)


  1. ^ "MP criticises £10 masters degrees". 2011-10-21. Retrieved 2020-01-14.
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