Media

TOBY YOUNG: Free speech is the most vital battle yet against the hard Left trolls who want to kill democracy

Fifteen months ago, when I launched the Free Speech Union in the pages of this newspaper, I said that our right to speak openly and freely was in greater peril than at any time since the Second World War. In its brief life, the organisation has fought many important battles. We came to the defence of Conservative politician Amber Rudd after she was no-platformed by students at Oxford University. We helped Nick Buckley, the founder of a homelessness charity in Manchester, get his job back after he was sacked for criticising the Black Lives Matter organisation. And we helped Lisa Keogh, a law student who was placed under investigation by Abertay University for challenging woke dogma in a class on feminism, gender and the law. We made sure she wasn’t punished. But no battle has been more important than the one we’re currently fighting – against a censorious, anti-democratic organisation called Stop Funding Hate (SFH).

Toby Young, The Mail on Sunday, 20th June 2021

GB News boycott “attacks our free media”: Culture Secretary warns big brands not to “succumb to pressure groups” by pulling adverts from new TV station

Toby Young, of the Free Speech Union, said: “I’m concerned that Stop Funding Hate is trying to demonise GB News as a purveyor of ‘hate’ because it disapproves of the channel’s non-woke editorial policy – and some naive companies are taking those smears at face value.”

Paul Revoir and Inderdeep Bains, Daily Mail, 16th June 2021

Why Scottish politicians should be able to say unspeakable truths – Brian Monteith

Fortunately the voluble backing of Keogh’s academic freedom of expression by campaign group Free Speech Union ensured the university was itself before the court of public opinion and therefore liable to endure the embarrassing condemnation that Keogh’s critics had hoped for her. Sanity thankfully prevailed.

Brian Monteith, The Scotsman, 14th June 2021

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