This week, Julia Hartley-Brewer joined the list of right-of-centre commentators to have found themselves ‘no-platformed‘ after a Twitterstorm. The Talk Radio host had been invited to join a Question Time-style panel discussion for the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) on the ‘hot healthcare topics of the day’ – they said she was there as she had written about health issues for 25 years as is the daughter of a GP. And if you disagree with her opinions, they said, then by all means challenge her because it’s committed to free speech.
But how committed? The Scruton-style Twitterstorm escalated so much (with the inevitable petition) that her invitation was rescinded: her detractors had tried the old trick of taking and misrepresenting a three year-old response to a tweet where she said was “not defending” Enoch Powell. Her words were arranged to make it look as if she was defending him. Cue outrage.
But doctors aren’t university teenagers. They hold a variety of views, and not all of them understood why they’d need shielded from opinions they’d experience if they switched on BBC Question Time (where Hartley-Brewer is a regular). To stand up to the mob is something no professional would relish: you’d be cast as an “enabler” or somsuch. But Pulse magazine has a fascinating system where anonymous comments can be left, but only by GMC-registered doctors.
In one article, Dr Tehseen Khan writes that he will leave the RCGP if Hartley-Brewer speaks at the conference. The doctors commentating are appalled by this campus mindset seeping into the world of medicine. Here’s what some of them had to say:
So much for solidarity…