Media

Tory MP backs Scotland’s footballers for deciding NOT to take a knee at Euro 2020 – unlike Gareth Southgate’s England

General Secretary of the Free Speech Union Toby Young added: “This is a smart move by the Scottish FA, which has recognised that taking the knee has become a divisive, politically charged gesture. When your national team competes in the Euros it’s an opportunity for people to put their differences aside and come together, which is why politics should be kept out of football. For the last five years, the gesture has been a clear expression of support for Black Lives Matter, a political movement imported from the US that wants to dismantle the nuclear family, defund the police and end capitalism.”

James Gant MailOnline 10th June 2021

American Oxford student, 25, who attended elite Sidwell school with Malia Obama, sparks fury in UK by removing “unwelcoming” portrait of the Queen from common room because she represents “recent colonial history”

Toby Young, general secretary of the Free Speech Union and himself an Oxford graduate, said: “The students are perfectly within their rights to remove this painting from their common room, but it is baffling that they associate the Queen with colonialism. I don’t think these students realize how loved the Queen is by the people of the Commonwealth. It is only woke British students who feel offended by it.”

Jennifer Smith and Rory Tingle MailOnline 9th June 2021

“Cancel culture is insidious!” Andrew Neil erupts ahead of GB News launch this weekend

Emma Webb, from the Free Speech Union, told Express.co.uk how losing free speech makes “society less resilient. She said: “There are some who believe that it is acceptable to limit the speech of those with whom they disagree. As the road to hell is paved with good intentions, they justify hounding someone out of their livelihood for something they said on the grounds that it will lead to a better society if that view is suppressed. They are so puritanically certain, alternative positions are something to be silenced rather than engaged with, and they cast the words of their opponents as harmful, something that society needs to be protected from. In reality, the opposite is true. Losing free speech makes society less resilient – it is not a society any of us should wish to live in.”

Steven Brown Express.co.uk 9th June 2021

Lisa Keogh, student investigated for saying women have vaginas, is cleared

Keogh is a member of the Free Speech Union. Toby Young, the writer and commentator who is the union’s general secretary, was pleased that the complaints had been dismissed but said the university should not have taken two months to reach its conclusion. “It should have been obvious that the complaints against her were due to her gender-critical views, not the manner in which she expressed them,” Young said. “In a seminar on gender, feminism and the law there should be room for a range of views, from militant trans activism to traditional feminism.”

Mike Wade The Times 9th June 2021

Abertay University student Lisa Keogh cleared after being investigated for saying women have vaginas

Ms Keogh said: “I want to say a special thank you to the Free Speech Union for helping me through this stressful time, in particular Fraser Hudghton, the Case Management Director, who has been on hand at all hours to answer my calls and navigate me through this. I also want to say a massive thank you to the SNP MP Joanna Cherry who is someone who I look up to. The fact that she had my back throughout gave me the strength to carry on.”

Tom Gordon The Herald Scotland 9th June 2021

Mother-of-two law student, 29, is cleared of misconduct by university after saying “women have vaginas” during seminar on transgender issues

Toby Young, General Secretary of the Free Speech Union, a campaign group which supported Ms Keogh throughout the process, said:  “I’m delighted that the complaints against Lisa have been dismissed, but the University should not have taken two months to reach this conclusion. It should have been obvious that the complaints against her were due to her gender critical views, not the manner in which she expressed them. In a seminar on gender, feminism and the law there should be room for a range of views, from militant trans activism to traditional feminism. Lisa deserves a huge amount of credit for standing up for herself. The path of least resistance would have been to apologise and renounce her heretical belief, but instead she fought her corner. Thanks to her courage, there is now space for a broader range of views at Abertay – it is no longer taboo to defend sex-based women’s rights.”

James Robinson MailOnline 9th June 2021

We are NOT racist, say England fans: Supporters blasted over booing of footballers for taking the knee say “original message” of anti-racism gesture has been lost

The Free Speech Union told MailOnline: ‘If the FA is going to defend the right of the players to take the knee, it ought to defend the right of the fans to respond as they see fit, whether by booing or applauding. It cannot be free speech for the players but not for the fans. For the FA to say that the gesture has no connection with BLM and is simply an expression of support for the moral cause of anti-racism is naive. For the last five years, the gesture has been an expression of solidarity for Black Lives Matter, a neo-Marxist political movement that wants to dismantle the nuclear family, defund the police and end capitalism. If the England players want to take a stand against racism, all power to them, but why not do so with a less inflammatory gesture, such as standing in a circle and linking arms? If they did that, I doubt a single fan would boo.”

James Gant MailOnline 8th June 2021

Leading universities are accused of stifling free speech by using computer software that allows students to make anonymous “microaggression” reports against tutors – such as telling someone to “cheer up”

Toby Young, general secretary of the Free Speech Union, wrote to Cambridge University chiefs, claiming the website “proposed a system of policing speech and everyday interaction”. Slamming the list of “micro-aggressions”, Mr Young of FSU said the slights make no “allowance for the fact that, in many cases, taking offence as such behaviour would be unreasonable”. He continued: “These are all situations which may arise wholly innocently, through misunderstanding, a breakdown in communication, or a simple error.”

Jemma Carr MailOnline 5th June 2021

Victory for free speech as University of Edinburgh throws out complaints against professor branded “racist and problematic” by woke students after he criticised move to rename tower honouring philosopher David Hume over his links to slavery

Toby Young, of the Free Speech Union, previously said: “For the university to publicly shame Dr Thin because he dared to speak out against the excesses of a powerful hard-Left cabal is reminiscent of the ‘struggle sessions’ that distinguished scholars were subjected to during China’s Cultural Revolution.”

Graham Grant The Scottish Daily Mail 3rd June 2021

Fighting back against the censors

Most significantly, a new organisation, the Free Speech Union (FSU), formed in February 2020 to give advice and legal support to “anyone who feels their speech rights are under threat.” One of the FSU’s most dramatic victories concerned its member Nick Buckley, the founder of the charity Mancunian Way, which works with vulnerable young people in Manchester. When Buckley wrote a blogpost raising concerns about the “neo-Marxist” influences on Black Lives Matter, his long record of service (which has earned him an MBE) counted for nothing: 465 people signed a petition demanding his removal, and the charity’s trustees removed him from his position. In response, the FSU started a counter-petition which gained 17,500 signatures, and found Buckley a lawyer specialising in charity law. Within weeks Buckley was reinstated and the trustees had all resigned.”

Dan Hitchens The Critic June 2021