Media

“Secular atheist” train conductor who celebrated pubs reopening by declaring he didn’t want to live in an “alcohol-free caliphate” wins unfair dismissal claim

General Secretary of the Free Speech Union Toby Young said last night: “Jeremy should never have been sacked for saying he didn’t want to live in an alcohol free caliphate. I’m glad the Free Speech Union was able to help him take West Midlands Trains to court. Employers have got to learn that a worker expressing a robust but lawful point of view is not a sackable offence, even if some of their colleagues find that opinion disagreeable or even offensive. That goes double if the view is expressed on a personal Facebook account outside office hours. What’s next? Will people be sacked for having said something inappropriate in the pub 20 years ago? A line has to be drawn and it takes people with courage and determination like Jeremy to draw that line. Anyone concerned about finding themselves in the same situation should join the Free Speech Union.”

Mario Ledwith and Neil Sears, Daily Mail, 26th November 2021

Toby Young’s free speech campaign takes on university for silencing gender-critical scholars

Free speech campaigners led by Toby Young are bringing a legal challenge against a university that has “no-platformed” two gender-critical academics. The Free Speech Union has sent a pre-action letter to the University of Essex, claiming that its policies are in breach of free speech law.

Camilla Turner, The Telegraph, 26th November 2021

Downfall of Britain’s WOKEST head: She makes £400k a year at a school loved by the rich but is leaving after a revolt by parents who said pupils are indoctrinated about “white privilege” – as we reveal how a staff meeting sparked claims of anti-Semitism

The apparent politicisation of education is also the subject of a dossier sent to Mr Zahawi last month by the Free Speech Union [FSU], which campaigns against “cancel culture”. It contained a collection of teaching materials obtained from the parents of children at 15 English schools where, the FSU alleges, teachers have “failed to comply with their duties to forbid the promotion of partisan political views”.

Guy Adams. Daily Mail, 26th November 2021

Photographer accused of sexism after asking male Cambridge students to “help the ladies”

Toby Young, the general secretary of the Free Speech Union, said: “How does offering to help someone climb down from a platform make them feel ‘unsafe’? This is a perfect illustration of how the language of safety and harm has been hijacked by woke activists to enforce their agenda. If you don’t comply with every jot and tittle of their rigid ideological agenda, you’re supposedly endangering their lives. It’s utter nonsense.”

Ewan Somerville, The Telegraph, 20th November 2021

Teaching of “white privilege” rife in schools despite warnings it is unlawful

Toby Young, general secretary of the Free Speech Union, said: “I don’t think people realise how widespread the problem of politically biased teaching in schools is. Teachers and schools have decided that when it comes to issues like systemic racism and white privilege, it’s more important to teach children what to think than how to think. Teaching children about contentious issues in a politically partisan way is actually against the law. They should be exposing children to a wide diversity of views and encouraging them to debate them and make up their own minds, not promoting a narrow ideological orthodoxy. The Government needs to tackle this problem before it gets completely out of control.”

Camilla Turner, The Telegraph, 30th October 2021

MPs are warned against “knee-jerk” online anonymity ban in wake of David Amess murder amid claims Prevent is “paralysed by political correctness” in tackling Islamist extremism threat

And Toby Young, general secretary of the Free Speech Union, told MailOnline today: “The Free Speech Union has come across a number of examples of Prevent being abused to shut down perfectly reasonable points of view. For instance, a mother of a student at a school in the West Midlands contacted us after she learned the school’s Prevent training cautioned teachers against allowing certain points of view to be discussed in the classroom, including the view that ‘governments are using the pandemic as a cover for restricting individual freedoms, (e.g. masks, gatherings)’. Labelling such a point of view as ‘extremist’ is patently absurd. We have shared our concerns about this with the Prevent review team and we hope it will be addressed in their soon-to-be published report.”

Mark Duell, MailOnline, 21st October 2021

Hung out to dry. The University College Union’s treatment of Kathleen Stock is shameful.

The Free Speech Union (FSU) has responded by urging academics to ditch traditional unions and join them instead. Director Toby Young said: “One of the original purposes of trade unions in the 19th century was to defend the speech rights of workers so they could criticise their bosses without being fired. Unfortunately, the vast majority of unions have lost sight of that in the past 25 years, with the UCU being the most egregious example. I would urge any academic concerned about their intellectual freedom to join the Free Speech Union instead. It’s much cheaper and we will actually stand up for the speech rights of our members.”

Josephine Bartosch, The Critic, 12th October 2021

Thought Police: UK University Tells Students Not to Use “Sexist” Terms Like “Manmade” and “Forefathers”

In a letter to the school, the general secretary of the Free Speech Union, Toby Young, argued that the guidance contravenes Aston University’s own freedom of speech policy, which states: “The freedom to challenge conventional wisdom is an essential part of being a University, even if that process is uncomfortable for those who are being challenged.” Young said that the university should withdraw the guidance and remind the students of their right to challenge the status quo, writing: “It is difficult to see how students would feel empowered to challenge conventional wisdom when the Guide takes such an unapologetically doctrinal tone.” The Free Speech Union also asserted that the guidance is in violation of Section 43 of the 1986 Education Act, which requires universities to uphold and protect freedom of speech.

Kurt Zindulka, Breitbart, 10th October 2021

The Ongoing Witness of UK University Chaplains

In the ensuing dispute between the university and the local Catholic diocese, the United Kingdom’s Free Speech Union (FSU) wrote to the university authorities in support of Father Palmer. The FSU pointed out that the university had had a Catholic chaplain for 90 years without any difficulty and that the views Father Palmer had expressed were those of the Catholic Church. The FSU went on to point out that, in withholding recognition of Father Palmer, the university could be contravening the 2010 Equality Act, which prohibits discrimination on religious grounds, as well as “creating a hostile environment” for Catholic students and staff at Nottingham University. After further negotiations, the university relented so that now, for the new academic year, Father Palmer has been allowed to minister to Catholic students. 

K.V. Turley, National Catholic Register, 9th October 2021

Islamic Charity “Inflamed Tensions” by Doxxing Mohammed Cartoon Teacher, Watchdog Rules

The general secretary of the Free Speech Union, Toby Young — who launched the initial complaint against Purpose for Life — welcomed the ruling from the watchdog. Mr Young said: “I welcome the action the Charity Commission has taken: naming the teacher at Batley Grammar School on Twitter was an irresponsible thing to do, given that a French teacher embroiled in a similar row had been beheaded by an Islamist terrorist the year before. Teachers should be free to discuss controversial topics without having to worry that they will be doxxed by activists who take a particular aide [sic] in those controversies and their lives put in danger.”

Kurt Zindulka, Breitbart, 3rd October 2021