May 18, 2018

UK: Is the government fixing free speech on campus?

Jack BuckbyRebel Contributor

If anybody knows about the far-left bias on university campuses across this country, it’s me. 

Back in 2012, I was expelled from the University of Liverpool. The university took notice of me when I publicly disagreed with comments made by a lecturer called Dr Leon Moosavi.

In an article entitle "Uncomfortable Lessons from Woolwich Attack," published on the University website, he argued that the murder of Lee Rigby could be justified, and was not the fault of Islam.

It was this public disagreement, combined with the fact that national press were contacting the university for comment about the fact that I was studying there, which caused them to kick me out. I was a young member of the radical right – a member of a radical party that I now publicly condemn – but no more radical than the average English, working class Brexit voter. What made me different was the simple fact that I was young, smart, and willing to stand up to far-left bullies on campus.

And that was all the way back in 2012! Things have gotten a lot worse since then. I remember Tories having a fairly easy ride at the University back then. Not an easy ride, actually, but an easier ride than terrible Islamophobes like me.

But it’s 2018 now, and even Tories are being targeted as "racists" and "extremists." Univerisities Minister Sam Gyimah has spoken out about the ‘unacceptable way to deal with people for expressing quite valid views’ on campus. During a speech at King’s College London, Gyimah expressed his serious concern about the state of free speech in British universities.

He told us:

“We have a danger of developing a mono-clture, where some vews are in and some views are out”.

Well, he’s right, but he’s also wrong. We already have that mono-culture. Some views are in and some views are already out. In my time at university, I needed a bodyguard on occasion to walk through campus. These days, even Jacob Rees Mogg is being attacked. The Daily Mail reported the story of one young Tory who had "Tory bitch" written on her bedroom door after she spoke about her political opinions in class.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, though. At least, I hope. Gyimah announced earlier this month that universities which ‘no-platform’ controversial speakers will face government intervention. This would be the first time the government got involved with matters like this at universities for 30 years.

Gyimah warned universities that they must start tackling the "institutional hostility" they have for views they don’t like.

I’ll be intrigued to see just how far Gyimah and the government are willing to go. This is great news, but I have one question – will this policy take on the National Union of Students "no platform policy"? Or will the NUS policy be considered be reasonable enough by the government?

Give the no platform policy typically extends to people like me and not to people like Jacob Rees Mogg, I suspect the government may well turn a blind eye to it. But I’m hoping to be proven wrong.

Comments
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commented 2018-05-26 23:06:04 -0400
Given the recent developments in the UK with Tommy Robinson, it’s painfully apparent this ativist political monoculture permeates government and justice institutions as well. It’s far past the point of fixing with political change.
commented 2018-05-19 18:47:54 -0400
Jack, in Canada freedom of speech is fast becoming a thing of the past.
You can’t always say what you want…………You can’t always say what you want.