Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Making a bad situation worse.

From the BBC:

Universities must protect free speech and "open minds, not close them", Universities Minister Jo Johnson will say in a speech in Birmingham later. 

He will say "no-platforming", the policy of banning controversial speakers, is stifling debate. From next April, a new regulator - the Office for Students - will have the power to fine universities that fail to uphold free speech. Universities UK has said it will not allow legitimate debate to be stifled...

"No-platforming" is the practice of banning certain groups from taking part in a debate if their views are considered to be offensive or unacceptable. "Safe space" policies are intended to protect students from views and language they find offensive, including discrimination.

In 2016, nearly two-thirds of university students believed the National Union of Students was right to have a "no-platform" policy. That approach means people or groups on a banned list for holding racist or fascist views are not given a platform to speak on student union premises.

The NUS official no-platform list contains six groups including the BNP and Al-Muhajiroun, but individual unions and student groups can decide their own. At Canterbury Christ Church University, an NUS representative refused to share a platform with LGBT activist Peter Tatchell, whom she regarded as having been racist and "transphobic".

Bloody hell, it's bad enough with the PC brigade stifling free speech/not allowing idiots to make idiots of themselves in public/be heckled by opponents* but allowing the central government to define what is and what isn't a public event, and then put pressure on universities to allow X, Y or Z to speak, whether their contributions are relevant or welcome or not is even worse IMHO.

* Delete according to taste. The Peter Tatchell incident is at the one extreme where the NUS representative made an idiot of himself/herself by refusing to 'share a platform'; people like David Irving are at the other extreme where people make idiots of themselves by turning up and opening their mouths.


Lola said...

Another bloody 'regulator' oh the irony.

Ralph Musgrave said...

Those tiny little student brains which have been programmed to think only PC thoughts are a hoot. They want to ban the BNP (presumably because they think the BNP is “racist”), while the Labour and Tory Parties are apparently acceptable. Just one teensy problem there: the Labour and Tory Parties took part in the slaughter of a million Muslims in Iraq for no good reason, while the BNP (and UKIP) opposed that war from day one – which according to my calculations means that the Labour and Tory parties are very roughly a million times more racist than the BNP.

Mark Wadsworth said...

L, exactly. I'm all in favour of people being polite and considerate (aka 'safe space') but suffering abuse in the canteen on a personal level is quite different to sitting in the audience listening to somebody you don't agree with (rightly or wrongly).

RM. the BNP is racist (and UKIP up to a point) but good point nonetheless.