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Don’t blame the students. They’re a product of a Britain that’s losing its love of free speech

18 January 2016

4:47 PM

18 January 2016

4:47 PM

In the past 12 months a curious thing has happened: student politics, for decades the most irrelevant, cut-off sphere of public life, has become headline news. The explosion of campus censorship – the primary means through which twentysomething politicos vent their political passions today – is followed, reported on and critiqued by greying commentators on a daily basis.

The shock-horror headlines about the rise of ‘no platforming’ and the sclerotic growth of speech-policing ‘safe spaces’ seem a little strange. Not least because the No Platform policy – introduced by the National Union of Students in 1974 – is about as old as some of the commentators currently filling column inches with their castigations of the illiberal yoof. But, while ban-happy students aren’t a new phenomenon, they have been outdoing themselves of late.

Political correctness on campus has gone categorically insane. Today, spiked – the magazine I work for – launched the 2016 findings of our Free Speech University Rankings, a nationwide analysis of campus censorship. And the results are not good. According to our data, 90pc of campuses censor speech – and students’ unions are over four times more censorious than university administrations. And not only is campus censorship proliferating – the bar for censorship is getting lower and lower.

Where once SUs reserved censorship for fascists, now radical feminists, secularists and anti-Islamists – from Germaine Greer to Maryam Namazie and Julie Bindel – are seen as beyond the pale, liable to compromise the ‘mental safety’ of students. That’s all without mentioning the sillier side of campus censorship – the sombrero bans, the hand-gesture policies and the clampdowns on pole-dancing societies.

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Now, alongside the ranks of commentators who wheel illiberal students out in the Sunday papers to give them a good kicking, even Oxford’s chancellors are finally breaking their silence on the censorious ways of their undergraduates. There’s nothing wrong with giving the Stepford Students (a term coined by Brendan O’Neill in The Spectator in 2014) a well-deserved rinsing. Their bizarre antics pose a real threat to free speech in the academy. But the current fortysomething fashion for bashing the Stepford Students runs the risk of painting campus censorship as a generational phenomenon.

The Stepford Students weren’t beamed down from space – as much as their blue hair and semi-intelligible rantings might suggest otherwise. They’re the product of the times they were brought up in – a climate in which resilience, mental fortitude and the Enlightenment ideals of freedom and truth have been systematically undermined. One needn’t look far to discover where these nutcases got their ideas from.

Take the modern school system. The rise of counselling sessions, anti-bullying campaigns and PSHE circle-time sessions have proliferated. Places once reserved for study have been transformed into wings of the wellbeing industry. Rather than helping pupils develop the intellectual grounding and moral grit needed to get on in life, ‘emotional intelligence’ is prized above all else. And pupils learn from a young age that anything that chips their self-esteem, that upsets their mental equilibrium, is cause to run sobbing to the nearest kindly administrator.

While the privilege-checking of student politics – replete with BME-only marches and the interminable refrain of ‘speaking as a [blank]’ – may stick in the craw, what more can you expect of the generation brought up on multiculturalism? We shouldn’t be surprised that young people raised on the idea that all cultures are equal, that a forthright exchange of views and values is an act of bigotry, would screech at the first sight of someone like Maryam Namazie who dares to criticise Sharia law, Islamism and the veil.

Even on the issue of freedom of speech itself, students today are only reflecting the society they live in. In Britain, hate-speech restrictions have existed for decades. Christian pastors are still thrown in front of judges for preaching that Islam is Satanic. And, over the past 10 years, successive governments have tried to quell the influence of extremists by instigating a nationwide No Platform against Islamists, with the new Prevent Duty currently leaning on universities to keep out hate-spewing Muslim clerics.

We should all have a pop at the Stepford Students – it’d be rude not to. But getting our moral rocks off shouldn’t distract us from the broader crisis that faces free speech today. Campus censorship didn’t come about because of some youthful, alien invasion; freedom in Britain – on campus and beyond – has already withered from within.

Tom Slater is deputy editor of spiked and coordinator of the Free Speech University Rankings.

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Show comments
  • Bonkim

    Spot on. A Spade is a Spade by any name.

  • Harryagain

    They are the living proof there is no link between intelligence, education and common sense.
    An incredible inability to face reality due to a sheltered upbringing.
    True products of the nanny state where certain things “don’t exist” and must therefore be ignored/hidden.
    In other words, socialists.

  • Fritz123

    But there are more enemies of free speech than the word hatespeech. The word terrorist is valid as well. All such simplifications. And is hatespeech really a marxist construct? The idea is the same as the idea behind the t-word, people in power want us not to speak certain things out. It makes ruling easier when people think less.

  • Davedeparis

    The author is correct that this nonsense is not limited to universities but the universities are the centre of gravity in the struggle for the survival of western civilization because they are the point of origin of Frankfurt school style critical theory which seeks nothing less than our cultures complete destruction.

  • locomotion

    Try a little game: have an argument with someone opposed to your view that mass immigration and
    multiculturalism might not be a terribly good idea but ban them from saying the R-word! See how they get on when their only ‘argument’ is instantly discounted.

  • sidor

    Democracy and freedom of discussions are hardly compatible. Look at the US. Welcome to democracy!

  • Cobbett

    What do you expect in a country where there’s such a crime as ”Hate Speech”?….all such ”crimes” should be abolished(including Race Relations)

  • cartimandua

    The Internet has changed the game. You thought there was no downside? Aaw bless!

  • grimm

    The obsessive focus on emotional sensitivity suggests to me that the feminisation of public life and of education in particular has become a pervasive destructive force.

  • Wolfgang Amadeus

    I don’t think England is losing its love of free speech. I think it is simply confused about what free speech means.

    The difference between criticism of islam and discrimination against Muslims is a particular source of confusion, but there are many, many others.

    I do think strident, thin-skinned, hysterical, puritanical, leftist university students are responsible for much of this climate, launcing Twatter campaigns for anything that doesn’t fit into their happy, socially-connected iPhone vision of reality.

  • mickey667

    You;ve someone from Spiked writing for you?

    Hmmm….

  • mickey667

    “In the past 12 months a curious thing has happened: student politics, for decades the most irrelevant, cut-off sphere of public life, has become headline news”

    Er, in 2010, 2011 they nearly strangled the coalition at birth over tuition fees, rioted on the streets weekly and were on the news nightly, and also ensured Nick CLegg’s political career died in a ditch after one term sniff of power. Have you amnesia?

  • Liberanos

    There must be an awful lot of no-platforming students in the main media, then, sadly including this estimable publication. Banning cogent, truthful comments for fear of offending muslims is rife.

  • Rzzr

    On the other side of the coin it’s good to see online student news sites like The Tab doing well. It’s very un PC and looking to expand to the USA. There is still hope!

  • thomasaikenhead

    “…is followed, reported on and critiqued by greying commentators on a daily basis.”

    ?Yes indeed and the reason is simple – cowardice!

    The vast majority of journalists fear addressing the real issues facing society such as immigration and child sexual abuse in the UK and so seek east options elsewhere, such as student politics.

    These ‘thought leaders’ do not want to deal with Trident replacement or illegal wars in Afghanistan or Iraq or Libya, let alone the real domestic issues that involve writing difficult issues.

    How many of them rushed to condemn FIFA, for example but are silent about Lord Coe and the IAAF and Nike and the recent scandal in tennis?

    The ‘Fourth estate’ deserve only contempt!

  • starfish

    Considering that these people glide effortlessly from their public-sector funded families via a taxpayer-subsidised education into a taxpayer-loaned university education and then on through student politics into public sector jobs, union roles or lobbying and thence onto Labour Party councillor and MP shortlists without the benefit of touching any real people or earning their own way through life it is hardly surprising

    Personally I don’t care that free speech has been shut down in universities – it is a live and well outside and a rude awakening for these closeted group thinkers

  • Chalcedon

    My anti bullying system was a right hook or right cross. Punch a bully in the neck (only an idiot punches the skull, especially of these bone heads) and that’s usually the end of it. Crying to a master about pretty much anything was looked down upon of course. I keep being asked to donate loads of money to my old university. It would appear the SU there gets a red card for banning stuff. Well, we as a body banned them inviting an IRA speaker back in the 70’s. We then got rid of the Trots and commies running the union and voted in sensible people. Looks like the usual activists with three lectures and one tutorial a week have voted the idiots back in whilst the medics and scientists still do 09.00- 17.30 and have no time to elect sensible people. They can whistle for my cash until they get real. I’m sure I would get banned as they seem to think all sensible people are fascists.

  • Cheradenine

    And what group of monotheistic Middle-Easters has been assiduously worming away at free speech for decades throughout European civilisation? Who was it that campaigned for hate speech laws throughout the early 60s until one of their number, Frank Soskice, was appointed Home Secretary and introduced the Incitement to Racial Hatred offence, ending free speech in Britain? Who is it that is currently promoting the epicly sinister “Model Law for the Promotion of Tolerance” in the EU? Here’s a clue. It’s not the Muslims.

  • Bodkinn

    I find the growing tendency to suppress free speech – even in universities – is much more worrying than the electoral outpourings of American politicians. If you want to enjoy free speech you must be prepared to suffer it or else you have it in name only. The right to free speech took centuries to achieve and was only finally obtained with a lot of painful effort; we should defend it at all costs and if laws are needed they should be enacted with alacrity. No organisation should be allowed to suppress free speech without a ruling from a judge.

  • Count Spencer

    If you are trying to replace a race and culture of people through mass migration it is fundamental that you close down their ability to discuss it, lest they put up any resistance against it.

    • red2black

      What’s more puzzling is why the Conservatives keep importing more and more Labour voters.

      • Harryagain

        Cheap labour.
        Also depresses the wages of native Brits.

        • red2black

          Native Brit employers and investors seem happy enough.
          They seem to be very quiet on the issue.

  • amicus

    By importing people we have imported censorship.

  • johnb1945

    I think there is an absolute conflict of interest between multiculturalism (at least as we understand it..) and free speech.

    How can you have true freedom of speech yet declare discussion of other peoples’ cultures and things you may or may not like about it off limits?

    Free speech has to win.

    Free speech will win.

    The internet renders suppression of free speech a practical impossibility anyway.

    • vieuxceps2

      Alas, I wish I shared your optimism.

  • Hippograd

    Tom Slater is deputy editor of spiked and coordinator of the Free Speech University Rankings.

    Spiked want completely open borders, so that an unlimited number of Muslims and blacks can “try their luck” in Europe. That’s how much Spiked understand free speech and help defend it.

    • Fritz123

      But probably without welfare. This is a completely different model.

      • Hippograd

        Where is welfare mentioned here?

        We shouldn’t pity these migrants; we should admire them, for using guile, gumption and perseverance to come here. They’re precisely the kind of people sluggish Europe needs more of, an antidote to our students who can’t even clap without having a mental breakdown and our new generation who think that being told to ‘get on your bike’ to look for a job is tantamount to abuse. Let’s relax the borders and let them in to try their luck in our countries and see how they fare. If we do that, we’ll put the traffickers out of business, end the deaths in the Mediterranean, and, more importantly, do our part to enable the aspirations of human beings who have committed no crime other than wanting to realise their potential in our towns, our cities, alongside us.

        Let Them In — Brendan O’Neill, Sp!ked-Online, 25 April 2015

        • Fritz123

          Cyprus is another topic here. They dont mention welfare, yes. Is welfare selfexplaining? It was a though experiment and that migrants have good values too, courage and family values, a burning interest in the new culture, is at least true in some or many cases. We can easily say Yes to some of their values. IMHO to have very clear values is more inportant than police.

  • gelert

    “Christian pastors are still thrown in front of judges for preaching that Islam is Satanic.”

    But how often are Muslims, imams or not, thrown in front of judges for preaching that Jews and kufffars are pigs and monkeys etc ? Or for homophobic and misogynistic speeches ?

    Why did Plod ignore posters stating “Death to the Jews” and “Hitler was right” during marches against Israel during the 2014 Israel – Gaza conflict ?

    It seems there is still free speech for Muslims; it’s PC bullying for the rest of us.

  • Chris Hobson

    The Universities are mini Airstrip ones with only newspeak permitted.

  • The_greyhound

    In a country where the BBC can edit out the events in Cologne altogether, where the Guardian never reports any news story that doesn’t fit their feminist narrative, and where a man can be prosecuted for trying to blow the whistle on abuse in Rotherham, we should not be surprised.

    Universities should be free to make their own decisions about what goes on there – and of course Ministers should be free to withhold public money when they step out of line. A straightforward job which even our second rate PM could sort out.

    • gelert

      While the BBC also omit the real cause of the steel closures.

      High energy prices, at a time of low energy prices, because of green policies and taxes, and EU rules that limit what can be done to support the industry and impose penal tariffs on Chinese steel. The US just puts a 300% tariff on the stuff. So much for our influence in the EU.

      • red2black

        Does the tariff have any effect on a Steel Market flooded with Chinese steel?
        There seem to have been a lot of redundancies among US Steelworkers in the meantime, and more are predicted.

        • gelert

          I assume it helps keep Chines steel from competing on an uneven playing field.

    • Icebow

      The sheer number of ‘university students’ these days is appalling. Restrict admissions to those with real academic aptitude, and many deserving cases could have grants instead of loans.

  • Saturn 5

    I think the best way to deal with this, is have every Student who objects, list their name on a Public forum. That way, I can easily check their names when they apply for work.

    • gelert

      Check their Facebook / Twitter accounts. Quite a few employers are already doing this because the narcissists can’t resist displaying their activities for all to see.

      • JabbaTheCat

        Lolz…been standard practice with job applicants in many businesses for years…

  • outlawState

    “We shouldn’t be surprised that young people raised on the idea that all
    cultures are equal …would screech at the first sight of someone … who dares to criticise Sharia law, Islamism and the veil.”

    It is not students but mainstream journalsts who are more guilty of suppressing free speech. Take non-extremist Islam. It deserves to be roundly criticized for promulgating “faith” is an illiterate Arabian warlord of extremely questionable morality. Yet the press upholds the integrity of non-extremist Islam as essentially non-critiquable. The students take their standards from the press as they’ve got no other reference point.In former days, Islam was regarded on a par with Roman paganism. Now Britain is being overrun with islamic temples. That is the equivalent of building temples to Jupiter, Cybele and Venus in our towns.

    • LG

      In BBC news reports, is there a city in the Middle East that isn’t the “Holy City of ………..” ?
      And any reference to Mohammed has to be prefaced “the Prophet Mohammed”.

      No, the cities aren’t any more “holy” than Aberdeen or Derby or Birmingham.
      And no, Mohammed was no more a ‘prophet’ than any other barbarous middle eastern warlord.

      Why does the BBC and all the other MSM pander to this rubbish?

      • gelert

        Won’t be long before they start using the PBUH nonsense.

      • http://www.french-news-online.com/wordpress/ FrenchNewsonlin

        … or the “Islamic State” rather then qualifiers such as “self styled, so-called” or, better still, occupied Syria.

    • vieuxceps2

      ^Yes, strange how this religion,so widespread throughout Europe is carefully kept from all criticism yet the demise of the Anglican church is observed by Lefty with quiet satisfaction. Is it ‘cos they’s brown?

      • red2black

        Leftist support for Islam seems a little odd in view of the fact that during the Spanish Civil War, General Franco used Muslim Moorish troops alongside Catholic and Royalist troops in order to defeat the Republic.

  • Nockian

    They have minds, they have chosen to act immorally by showing intolerance of the right to hold an opinion. The result is oppression of minds. This is petty tyranny.

  • Chingford Man

    I remember being on the governing body of our student union and voting to give the Freedom of the Union to Chief Buthelezi just to annoy the pro-ANC lefties. Happy days.

    • Saturn 5

      Why would that annoy them?

      • LeoSavantt

        Because he was not a communist/hard leftist.

      • Chingford Man

        The left hated Buthelezi as he had earlier broken from the ANC and was anti-communist.

  • Seatofmypants

    Ah. I only knew one only student when I was studying who was keen on students politics (this was the eighties). Most, if not all of us, didn’t give a fig. I suspect it’s still the case.

    Debates, little meetings of the Young Socialists. Yep. My friend was there. Famously hectoring me “You can’t get more working class than a student!” when I questioned why a comfortable middle class boy from Hove was such a strident socialist… but but being like most students and just wanting to get to the bar I left him to it.

    He’s now Head of XXXXX XXXXX at the BBC (I never disliked him so I won’t say what). On a very nice salary by all accounts according to my partner who works in the industry…still a left of centre I believe…No surprises there then.

    • gelert

      I remember Jack Straw as President of the NUS, after an initial defeat by Robert Fisk. He was a real shít-stírrer then and you can see what that post has spawned over the years.

      As you say, most of us just wanted to get on with our studies and ignored the antics of these clowns. More’s the shame, in retrospect.

  • polidorisghost

    “Don’t blame the students.”
    I don’t. I blame those who are scared to stand up to them. It doesn’t take a lot of courage – in fact none at all.

    • ramesesthegrumbler

      That’s true if you don’t care about losing your place on your course …

  • Davedeparis

    The Universities are the true centre of gravity and their reform (specifically the abolishment of life tenure and faculty being the only ones allowed to hire faculty) is a matter of the greatest importance.

  • Mack

    Yes, but do you vote?

  • trobrianders

    We believed our own human rights hype. That’s why we’re in this mess. Don’t get high on your own supply.

    • WFC

      We have replaced our ancient rights and liberties with “human rights”.

      The former evolved over centuries of trial and error. The latter are whatever the powers that be want them to be.

  • Sue Smith

    “Blame it on the Bossa Nova”!!

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    The heretic with a unique perspective should not just be heard, as their opinion however perverse, may contain a grain of truth. Also afforded special protection, as those that take refuge in the majority deserve to hear too, as it must have taken this person time and effort to come up with this conjecture.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    The spectator supporting free speech. Almost as ironic as the Saudi Arabian Council for Human Rights.

  • jim

    Britain losing it’s love of free speech? You make it sound like we mislaid it.We didn’t.It was driven out of the culture by PC.The powers that be knew much mass immigration could never be justified in the face of crimewelfare stats so it was necessary to demonize those who blurted out inconvenient truths.Nothing can be allowed to get in the way of the only project that seems to matter: the demographic annihilation of white people in their own countries. It’s not just free speech that’s in retreat.It’s conversation,debate,wit,statistical analysis,science….

    • Sue Smith

      Apposite!!! Couldn’t agree more.

  • MikePage

    I blame the BBC. There they are, broadcasting their “progressive” propaganda to our children, and there’s NOTHING we can do to stop them, because too many fools pay their TV License for strictly or whatever other fluff is on offer.

    • cmflynn

      Don’t worry Mike. Most of the young folk I know have given up on TV and the BBC in particular. They get their information from the internet. The BBC is only fit for Granny who watches BBC news all day long as she has dementia and she doesn’t have to pay for a licence. The BBC must be reaping an ever smaller amount from the license fee, good,good,good..

      • KingEric

        I’ll second that. My nephews and nieces say they almost never watch regular TV. It’s all Netflix and Amazon Prime. One of my nephews says he only watches sport on TV.

  • stephengreen

    I quickly transcribed this person’s initial statement, which goes as follows:

    “Students should be the ones making these decisions and as a recent graduate I don’t think I will have had half the experience I’ve had if we weren’t allowed to say what we wanted without fear of violence or hatred, I certainly wouldn’t have wanted someone a homophobe making a speech at my university, or someone completely racist or transphobic or anything. We should be listening to the minorities and what they have to say about this. People in minorities have a chance to speak for themselves instead of the same old tripe over and over again.”

    Which effectively says:

    the rule at university s/b that any (legitimate) minority can object to an (illegitimate) majority representative to protect them from hearing ‘old tripe’ and without fear or violence.

    I care less what this ISIS fodder thinks, but whittled down to this, only a minute fraction of the public would find it acceptable. Yet this is still happening becoming more normal as our outrage antennae ping too many times and it’s also leeching outside of the university setting to public conversations, a dim sense of general taboo, in workplaces etc

    A short distance ago, a psychological issue affecting 0.0005% of the population was seen as the preserve of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, now this fractional, shrieky minority are driving laws and public habits. Our civilization needs an iron broom or a cultural tornado.

  • sfin

    Perhaps it is time to raise the voting age to 25.

    Voting is a responsibility which requires the individual to absorb many sides of an argument, or arguments, have his/ her opinions changed or confirmed by those arguments and vote accordingly.

    Today’s students are clearly not up to the task.

    Their blind adherence to Frankfurt school, cultural marxism is incompatible with any democratic process.

    • Sue Smith

      The Frankfurt School has always intrigued me. I mean, we are talking about Germany!!

      • red2black

        There’s an Austrian School and a Chicago School as well. It’s all academic.

    • rtj1211

      ‘Today’s students’: what a convenient expression to cover a small percentage of very loud, strident, immature windbags.

      The vast majority of ‘today’s students’ don’t engage in student politics and are more than capable of voting responsibly.

      You, on the other hand, wish to make drastic changes to constitutional arrangements based on a few whipped up stories in a corrupt media.

      • Mr B J Mann

        Make what drastic changes to which constitutional arrangements?

        Scrapping the Law Lords?

        And Habeas Corpus?

        Reducing Jury Trial?

        Replacing Common Law with Civil Law and the Bill of Rights with Human Rights Law?

        Or just replacing the sovereignty of Parliament with the EU?!

  • MikeF

    If you want to support free speech then a good starting point is not to validate the concept of ‘hate speech’ – a cultural Marxist construct that deliberately obscures the distinction between expression of opinion and incitement to violence.

    • jim

      Exactly.Britain did not “lose it’s love of free speech” .That makes it sound like we mislaid it. We didn’t. It was driven out of the culture by PC. The powers that be knew much mass immigration could never be justified in the face of crimewelfare stats so it was necessary to demonize those who blurted out inconvenient truths.Nothing can be allowed to get in the way of the only project that seems to matter: the demographic annihilation of white people in their own countries. It’s not just free speech that’s in retreat.It’s conversation,debate,wit,statistical analysis,science….everything.

      • vieuxceps2

        Yes, Jim, well said. We should all try to avoid PC speech,even such terms as chair and spokesperson etc.It’s all a form of brainwashing,very subtle, very insidious and very,very powerful. Resist it. Where is the Orwell of our day?

      • Chalcedon

        Out here in rural Huntingdonshire we are horribly white and do talk about all sorts of stuff including science and why our country has gone to the dogs. What you describe is city stuff not country stuff.

      • rationality

        And still all we do is just complain about it on the internet. We’re going to end up like Germany soon.

        • Fritz123

          Thanks that you dont forget us.

        • mumble

          And Sweden, where they have had Cologne-style attacks for a lot longer, and where it is impermissible to discuss such things.

          Where are the feminists? Does fear of being called racist, as with the Rotherham police, really trump rape activism?

          • rationality

            Its not supposed to make sense or be just. Morality is inversed by the psychopaths that rule us. Basically this is demoralisation and ideological subversion dictated by the state and its masters.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Didn’t you realise all women love a Daesh of Cologne!

      • Sue Smith

        Absolutely spot on!! Well done, sir.

      • Johnny Foreigner

        Perfect environment for Islam to take rout.

        • Fritz123

          Perfect for Sunnis, Shiites discuss everything.

  • stephengreen

    Not impressed with this young man’s arguments against the gay activist socialist commissar. Tired old liberal junk about ‘confronting bigots’ etc. A lot could and no doubt will be said, but one thing seems never to be said. That is the stranglehold of student union societies on social activities within a university campus. It’s clearly now time to remove them from this, to coin a phrase, privileged position, and to pass the mantle back to universities to manage or to outsource to others.

    • Icebow

      One should always try to recognize the difference between extreme bigotry and moderate bigotry.

      • stephengreen

        Ach, bigotry like its other lexical political cousins, has become a word so overused and abused, I think it best to lay it to rest.

  • ohforheavensake

    I thought that the students who were campaigning were also exercising their right to free speech?

    • lindzen4pm

      Yes, but exclusively. That won’t work, and the children must be told.

      • WFC

        Who is going to tell the children?

        Teachers who are fully immersed in the neo-nazi fashionable opinion?

        Parents who want to be their children’s friends, rather than their parents?

        • vieuxceps2

          “teachers who are fully immersed in the neo-nazi fashionable opinions”- Where do those teachers work, then? Not in schools, there they are usually lefties to a woman.

          • WFC

            Believe in an all-powerful state? Check
            Anti capitalist? Check
            Obsessed with race? Check
            Obsessed with cultural identity? Check
            Believe that a religion is the same thing as a race? Check.
            Believe that cultural identity is innate and immutable? Check.
            Believe that people must be viewed as members of “communities”, and judged accordingly? Check
            Dislike free speech, freedom of association, individual rights to kba? Check.
            Wanting to ensure that children are indoctrinated rather than educated? Check.

            Still looking for a difference, here!

    • MikeF

      Free speech is not a one-way street.

    • WFC

      “No-platform” is not an exercise of free speech.

      Banning “hate speech” is not an exercise of free speech.

      Redefining free speech to refer only to “inoffensive” speech is not an exercise of free speech.

      There isn’t a regime in history, however tyrannical, which has ever prohibited “inoffensive” speech.

    • polidorisghost

      “I thought that the students who were campaigning were also exercising their right to free speech?”

      You really are thick aren’t you?
      We should tolerate everything but intolerance itself – OK?

    • The_greyhound

      Fine.

      But why should the public subsidise the thick arrogant prigs?

    • vieuxceps2

      Of course they are. So why prevent others from doing the same? Free speech for just a few is not freedom of speech, is it?

  • Mr Grumpy

    At this moment Parliament is debating whether to no-platform someone who really, really doesn’t like Islam. Worth a mention, no?

    • lindzen4pm

      Actually, he doesn’t want to import terrorism, and wishes for a moratorium on muslim immigration until someone ‘can figure out what the hell’s going on’, remarks made after the San Bernadino atrocity.
      To those unencumbered by loyalty to the religion, it is an entirely reasonable position, given current circs.

      • Mr Grumpy

        Certainly more reasonable than some others which can be freely articulated. But the point we must not lose sight of is that he’s entitled to dislike Islam – or Methodism or Scientology – reasonably or unreasonably, and to say so on a public platform in the UK.

        • lindzen4pm

          I agree entirely. However, like other aspects of life that have been altered to accommodate Moslems, that now includes free speech, where any public disapproval or criticism of said religion, may be interpreted as a ‘hate crime’, under the legislation covering religion or even the Malicious Communications Act, as demonstrated by the court case recently involving the pastor from Northern Ireland.

      • ramesesthegrumbler

        The day after there was a chap on the BBC asking what he was supposed to tell his kids when their visit to Disneyland gets cancelled because of the ‘no Muslims rule’. Naturally no one at the BBC thought to ask how many American lives are worth a trip to Disneyland.

    • Sue Smith

      “No platform”? Was ist das? Ein cyber hauptbahnhof ohne bahnsteig?

      • vieuxceps2

        Nein, Den Linken nach heisst “no platform” ein Zug mit einzigem vorbestimmtem Endstation, Freiheitsbegrenzung genannt.

  • Richard

    None of this is in the least surprising. The Runnymede Trust years ago said they wanted Britain to be a “community of communities” which, thanks to Labour’s policy of importing voters from outside the UK, they have achieved. What the rest of us now have to live with is an identity-less state, with no agreed central tenets, other than maybe leaving people alone to do what they want to do and think what they want to think. Any attempt to instil commonality into an ethnically diverse population in a country like England, which delights in contrariness simply for the sake of contrariness, is inevitably fascist and in breach of freedoms.

    In the longer term, we have simply replaced a coherent national story and debate with a free-for-all, which in its time will be replaced with a new coherent national story, the new version being set by immigrants, and likely to be Islamic. These immature and cosseted students are simply an early manifestation of the above.

    • stephengreen

      Yes Jim Rose and Anthony Lester’s little agit-prop organization has a lot to answer for.

      • Richard

        The loony Lefties’ loony Lefties.

        • stephengreen

          Ethnic activists.

          • Sue Smith

            No, I actually think “agitprop” covers the mindset perfectly!! I use that word a lot myself to describe anything the left espouses by way of ‘social equality’ etc. etc.

    • Texas Sunday Morning

      We never had a “coherent national story”. We had a set of lies agreed upon by the Victorians with a specific political goal. The collapse of that (various dates are given, but essentially the Second World War) meant, as Kennan put it, “Britain has lost an Empire and has yet to find its place in the world”.

      • vieuxceps2

        If you feel the need for marxist revisionist history, or brainwashing (“re-education”as you call it), try to be less imbecilically naive about it. Your comrades are usually much more subtle than you and so go unnoticed.
        Are there other countries on the planet whose history you debunk so frantically,or is it only England? An interesting hobby, I suppose.

        • Texas Sunday Morning

          You’re the one desperately clinging to the fairy stories told to you by your German overlords. England’s history is rather more complicated than the propaganda of the scions of Saxe-Coburg.

          • vieuxceps2

            Try a better grade of tinfoil in your hat. That sometimes works.

      • The Banana

        You what? The 19th century empire was a blip, nothing more. We’ve had a coherent “national story” since Alfred the Great.

        • Texas Sunday Morning

          And what would that be?

          • The Banana

            Did you know that slavery was abolished with reference to rules laid down by William the Conqueror 700 years prior? English notions of liberty and good governance have a very long tradition and continuance.

            • Texas Sunday Morning

              Slavery was never legal in England.

              • The Banana

                Not so, 10% of the population were slaves at the time of the Domesday Book.

                Common law ended it though. Using reference to centuries earlier legal precedents, all part of that ancient culture stuff…

        • mdj

          Who’s your We, cariad?

          • vieuxceps2

            Not you,Taffy,thank goodness.

            • mdj

              Always amuses me that ‘We’ doesn’t include the indigenous population in many minds.

              • mumble

                “amuses”?

      • Sue Smith

        “Britain has lost an Empire and has yet to find its place in the world”.

        Byrd, Tallis, Wren, Purcell, Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, Elizabeth 1, Turner, Gainsborough, Newton, Darwin, Stevenson, Elgar, Britten, Hitchens, Rushdie…….. Shall I go on?

    • Hippograd

      And guess who set up and still fund the Runnymede Trust?

      The Runnymede Trust is a left-wing think tank founded in 1968 by Jim Rose and Anthony Lester, with aim of acting as an independent race equality think tank by generating intelligence for a multi-ethnic Britain through research, network building, leading debate, and policy engagement.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runnymede_Trust

      Jim Rose and Anthony Lester are of course Anglicans. Sorry, I mean Presbyterians.

      • Sue Smith

        Weren’t the Presbyterians amalgamated into the Uniting Church?

        • Hippograd

          No, that’s the Wee Frees. Jim Rose was originally one of those, but moved away.

    • phiIIa12

      “NONE OF THIS IS IN THE LEAST SURPRISING. THE RUNNYMEDE TRUST YEARS AGO SAID THEY WANTED BRITAIN TO BE A “COMMUNITY OF COMMUNITIES”…”

      The Runnymede Trust is a race equality think tank founded by Jewish LibDem peer Lord Lester and Jewish former British intelligence officer, Eliot Joseph Benn (“Jim”) Rose.
      http://www.runnymedetrust.org/about.html

      The Independent, 04 June 1999

      Rose was director and co-ordinator of a massive six-year [1963-1969] survey of race relations in Britain.

      Rose was born in 1909 into the Anglo-Jewish elite of Edwardian England…

      The man who had the idea he [“Jim” Rose] was looking for was Anthony (now Lord) Lester, who had been musing to friends of the need for a British institute combining the best of the Anti-Defamation League and the Potomac Institute in the United States…he took very nearly as much pride in the success of the Runnymede Trust as in the completion of Colour and Citizenship [a monumental 800-page survey of race relations]…
      http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/obituary-jim-rose-1097912.html

      Jewish Chronicle, 10 July 2008

      Aye! To 150 years of Jewish MPs

      • LibDem peer Lord Lester, whose two Private Members’ Bills became the models for the HUMAN RIGHTS ACT 1998…
      http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-special-reports/aye-to-150-years-jewish-mps

      “…WHICH, THANKS TO LABOUR’S POLICY OF IMPORTING VOTERS FROM OUTSIDE THE UK AND EUROPE, THEY HAVE ACHIEVED.

      Daily Mail, 25 October 2009

      Andrew Neather, who worked for [part-Jewish] Home Secretary [Jack Straw], and as a speech writer for Mr Blair, claimed a secret Government report in 2000 called for mass immigration to change Britain’s cultural make-up forever.

      The report, entitled Research, Development And Statistics Occasional Paper No67 – Migration: An Economic And Social Analysis, was published in January 2001 by the Home Office, then run by [part-Jewish Home Secretary] Mr Straw.

      [Jewish] Home Office Minister Barbara Roche…PIONEERED THE OPEN-DOOR POLICY…
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1222769/Dishonest-Blair-Straw-accused-secret-plan-multicultural-UK.html#ixzz3LnvnQVJi

      • mumble

        From where we are, race equality would be a step forward.

    • Sue Smith

      How right you are, Richard!! And the lefty students believe that everything they think (word used advisedly), say and do is of cosmic significance. All brats who’ve been taught by their parents that the world is interested in their every utterance.

      Bring back “children should be seen and not heard”!!!!! These ‘students’ are a living example of what happens when you destroy a time-honoured cultural belief. Voila! Narcissism on steroids.

      • mumble

        I understand that the term is “Special Snowflake”.

        • Mr B J Mann

          That would be snowflakes that melt quicker then usual if put under any pressure or are asked to stand any heat?!

    • mumble

      Belgium will have a Muslim majority by 2030, and there is already fierce activism to institute Sharia law.

  • James Strong

    Maybe we should take the universality out of the idea of a university’s view of research and teaching.
    Does anyone think a degree in PPE is a valuable as a degree in Physics?
    Or Sociology as valuable as Chemistry?
    In the film The Theory Of Everything I learned that Hawking broke new ground about our understanding of the universe in his PhD, and his wife got a PhD in medieval poetry of the Iberian penisnsula.
    Are they equivalent?
    So, how about we finance STEM subjects in suitable centres of research and learning, and let the others have their debates somewhere else, ignored by the sensible part of the world?

    • aristophanes

      I think that it is the difficulty and rigour of the degree that is significant. Many an Oxbridge Classicist did sterling work at Bletchley during WW2.
      Trevor Roper – historian – disappeared into Intelligence. Many other examples could be cited.

      By using ‘difficulty and rigour of degree course’ [rather than simple subject] I would exclude a vast number of sociologists and some chemists.

      A postgraduate degree in medieval poetry of the Iberian peninsula might easily require a knowledge of Arabic, Hebrew, Latin, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan; French and German would be useful for reading secondary studies. That is just the intellectual foundation for such a study.

      On a utilitarian criterion I think that a farmer who improves breeds and invents new farm machinery might be deemed ‘better’ than a Physics PhD. Incidentally, I am surprised by the number of science postgraduates who have no understanding of the problems of inductive logic and have not heard of Popper’s work – Popper, a philosopher.

      • Malcolm Knott

        The calibre of universities and their admission criteria vary enormously. A philosophy degree from Oxford is not to be equated with a degree in David Beckham studies from the University of the North Circular (formerly Sofas R Us).

        • aristophanes

          Precisely. Thank you for your post.

        • justejudexultionis

          That’s all very well but Oxford and Cambridge are as much in thrall to the general culture of anti-Christianism and authoritarian multiculturalist orthodoxy as any university in the country. In fact, they do proportionately more damage than the ‘lesser’ universities because they have much greater influence.

        • Newgrubstreet

          Philosophy is a useless subject 🙂

          • Icebow

            Much of Western philosophy is so.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Discuss!

        • Icebow

          If it ends in ‘Studies’, it’s probably crap.

      • ramesesthegrumbler

        You are being a little unfair to Sociology students. It takes a special sort of person to study ‘the Pseudoscience of Socialism’. One needs to be able to hold multiple contrary positions at once and learn to communicate each one with a straight face. Then there is the ability to learn ‘facts’ and theories which bare little or no relationship to reality – at least with Physics one can see that a drop object falls. One must also be able to cope with constantly changing paradigms so that one does not believe the wrong thing at the wrong time; this is the worst crime a Sociology student can commit and will raise an immediate question of their fitness to study the subject.
        It must all be very hard work.

  • cartimandua

    Its just that the young understand three things better than old people.
    Firstly old people have forgotten the rules of debate. The question must be open not make a priori assumptions as the anti abortion “debate” did.
    Secondly it must be possible for the other side of an argument to be presented.
    Thirdly there is a difference between attacking ideas and attacking people.

    • Nuahs87

      Out of interest, do you think your comment attacked ideas or people?

    • rhodaklapp8

      Your third sentence makes an ironic mockery of your first and second.

    • Richard

      What are “a priori assumptions” and how are they different to “assumptions”?

      • vieuxceps2

        Yes, he’s a famous tautologist is ole Cartie.

    • MikePage

      Cute. Got any evidence?

    • vieuxceps2

      I used to cross swords in debate with some lefty social workers in the pub and their main argument was to shout you down or call you names. In fact.debate was pointless, they didn’t want to believe other than as taught to them. In fact,I had a distinct impression tht they had all been on lefty debating courses,designed to prevent any possibility of cinversion I magine the NUS ihas a full quota of such minds, with the addition of dark-skinned victimhood.

    • Little Black Censored

      @Cartimandua. Would you mind rephrasing your comment? I have read it several times and still do not know what it means.

    • Mr B J Mann

      Coul you please demonstrate, using your example, how the pro-choice “debate”question would be open and not make a priori assumptions as the anti abortion “debate” question supposedly did?

      Thanks.

  • DavidL

    I suspect that – as in my student days – most students don’t give a flying fig for what the student politicos say.

    • Atlas

      My student days were much the same, 0.001% of students spent an inordinate amount of time and hot air on the Students Union debating a range of subjects about which they had no understanding, no influence and which had no effect on them or the wider student body. Invariably the minutes of Student Council minutes would be littered with uninformed tirades against Israel, Tories and every-variety of ism, all to no effect whatsoever.

      Most amusing of all was how such peoples views changed if they didn’t manage to subsequently secure position somewhere within the archipelago of publicly funded leftist outfits such as charities, the BBC/Guardian, and the Labour party. If forced into the private sector and thus made a victim of this country’s punitive taxation of producers they rapidly morphed into conservatives.

      • HJ777

        “Invariably the minutes of Student Council minutes would be littered with uninformed tirades against Israel, Tories and every-variety of ism, …”

        Not every variety of -ism. They were pretty keen on Socialism (and its various flavours of -isms), I seem to remember.

        Fortunately, where I was a student, it was the college JCRs that mattered and we normally elected very un-PC people. Nobody cared about the Student Union.

      • Sue Smith

        It’s your use of the phrase “most amusing of all” which is the most disturbing to me!!!

        • John birch

          Explain why. ???

          • Sue Smith

            Well, it seems a flippant response to something which is actually quite disturbing. But, sometimes all we can do is respond with irony and amusement when something is so improbable and/or absurd.

      • rtj1211

        Quite a few actually chose to enter the private sector during the milk round. I knew Molesworth demonstrators who suddenly accepted a contract with Arthur Andersen! And ‘hard left’ Brummies who signed up to management traineeships with brewers.

      • mdj

        The trouble is, that 0.001% go on to make up 60% of our public figures, because sensible people find more interesting things to do, or their aggressive narcissism shoulders the more sensible aside.
        It’s the university system that acts as a meet-up club to bring them together into self-serving networks, greatly magnifying the harm they could do if uniformly spread among the population.

    • SimonToo

      Most people do not give a fig for what nay politicos say. The trouble is, it is the politicos who make the rules.

    • WFC

      Trouble is that they (said politicos) are become so deranged that they are poisoning the well for the normal students.

      More than one US employer has recently said that any cvs from the University of Missouri are going straight into the bin.

      • DavidL

        Good point. I’ve said in a previous thread that if I were hiring today (as I used to), I would look very carefully at any applicant who was studying a humanities subject. If employers start to articulate that view, the non-political (or non-lefty) students are going to have to assert themselves in some way, either by electing other student union leaders, or by flagrantly, joyously and noisily ignoring the strictures imposed on them by the lefties

        • mumble

          It is nowadays standard practice to Google the applicants’ names and see what turns up.

    • vieuxceps2

      Exactly, This apathy is what enables activists to win, same with Trade Unions and Councils. Until we all play our part, the extremists win by default.

    • mumble

      Nevertheless, one statue of Cecil Rhodes has been removed, another vandalised, and only being in a listed building will save the one at Oriel.

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