The Jeremy Vine show – Safe Space Debate with Kate Smurthwaite and Eve Livingston

Last week I appeared on Jeremy Vine’s radio 2 show debating with Kate Smurthwaite (who was no-platformed by Goldmsiths Student Union) about safe space and whether it’s a threat to free speech. (If you’re in any doubt I was obviously defending safe spaces and the rights of unions to protect their members and use their resources as they choose). Listen again below if you fancy: … Read More

My speech from ‘down with campus censorship’ debate

Last night I took part in the Edinburgh leg of Spiked’s ‘down with campus censorship’ tour. Although I was informed that Tom Slater, Assistant Editor of Spiked, would be participating, I wasn’t informed that the debate was part of this tour. I therefore took part in the debate and you can find my speech below, followed by the statement that I posted on the event page the following day. You can see coverage of the debate on the twitter hashtag #EdDebates. … Read More

The lines on free speech are becoming blurred – Times Higher Education Debate

From Times Higher Education, here is an article in which I debate with academics and contributors to Spiked’s ‘Free Speech University Rankings’ about whether UK student unions pose a threat to free speech.

Robin Thicke, Nietzsche and Page 3 do not, at first glance, appear to have a great deal to do with terrorism.

But there is a thread that links all three, suggests a new ranking – freedom of speech. Thicke’s song Blurred Lines (accused by some campaigners of glorifying rape), a society dedicated to the German philosopher, and The Sun have all been banned from UK universities.

At a time when higher education leaders are battling against the government’s proposed counter-terrorism bill, those behind the Free Speech University Rankings, produced by the online magazine Spiked, claim their findings mean that institutions should get their own houses in order before taking the fight to the home secretaryContinue reading on Times Higher Education

Freedom of speech: not what you think it is

As many readers of this blog will know, in 2014-15 I worked full-time as the elected Vice President of Edinburgh University Students’ Association. This blog therefore comes very much from that perspective although it was written it in a personal capacity.

Cast a cursory eye over the Google results for ‘student unions’ and you’d be forgiven for thinking we were the second coming of the fascist state, with coverage condemning everything from decisions not to host Dapper Laughs or stock The Sun Newspaper to the banning of Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines and Oxford Debates’ Union’s cancelling of an abortion ‘debate’ consisting of an entirely male panel. … Read More