Media

Engage with views you do not agree with, university students told amid Durham free speech row

The row escalated on Saturday as the Free Speech Union, which is representing Prof Luckhurst, wrote to Durham University’s acting vice-chancellor to remind him of his legal duty to uphold free speech on campus. Toby Young, the general secretary of the FSU, said: “Durham says it believes in upholding academic free speech, but if so why has it placed Professor Luckhurst under investigation for describing the decision of students to walk out of the speech as ‘pathetic’? In expressing that perfectly lawful view, Professor Luckhurst was exercising his right to free speech and penalising him for doing so could well be a breach of the law that requires universities to uphold free speech on campus.”

Camilla Turner, The Telegraph, 11th December 2021

Nicola Sturgeon named as Britain’s greatest foe to freedom of speech

SCOTTISH First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been named as one of the greatest foes of freedom of expression by members of the Free Speech Union (FSU). The SNP leader was voted the top “free speech zero” at the organisation’s Christmas review with her government’s backing of a fiercely controversial hate crime law coming under the spotlight.

David Williamson, Sunday Express, 11th December 2021

“A*se, a*se, a*se”: Durham student union demands professor RESIGNS over Rod Liddle talk – as video shows the educator’s wife confronting woke students as they walked out

The Free Speech Union said: “The vilification and abuse of Professor Luckhurst for inviting Rod Liddle to give an after-dinner speech is an absolute disgrace. If students cannot cope with hearing opinions they find disagreeable they shouldn’t be at university. Professor Luckhurst is a member of the Free Speech Union and we are supporting him in full.”

James Gant, MailOnline, 8th December 2021

Cambridge students’ union in “witch hunt” over racism classes leak

Toby Young, general secretary of the Free Speech Union, said: “The college authorities should be embarrassed. They’ve relinquished their leadership role and the result is that a student mob is now in charge.” He added: “Why would anyone want to go to Wolfson if the college is now run by a group of Maoist thugs in short trousers?”

Ewan Somerville, The Telegraph, 4th December 2021

“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