The intolerant student Left has even turned on me – a lifelong civil rights campaigner
By Peter Tatchell
5:34PM GMT 15 Feb 2016
Free speech and enlightenment values are under attack in our universities. In the worthy name of defending the weak and marginalised, many student activists are now adopting the unworthy tactic of seeking to close down open debate. They want to censor people they disagree with. I am their latest victim.
Fran is the LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) Officer of the National Union of Students (NUS). She refused to speak at an LGBT event at Canterbury Christ Church University tonight unless I was dropped from the line-up. This is a variation of the NUS “no-platform” policy; instead of blocking me from speaking, Fran is refusing to share a platform with me.
Let us deal with the specifics of my case first. Fran Cowling claimed in an email to the university that she was speaking for the NUS and its policies, suggesting that she was acting on behalf of the NUS “membership”, who “believe” me to be racist and transphobic.
I challenged the NUS over when and where this decision was taken by the membership and why I was not allowed to defend myself before the vote. They conceded that the membership had never decided against me.
The race to be more Left-wing and politically correct than anyone else is resulting in an intimidating, excluding atmosphere on campuses. Universal human rights and enlightenment values – including John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty – are often shamefully rubbished as the ideas of Western imperialist white privilege.
This character helped create the current liberal ethic of toe the party line or be ostracized. So now that it’s biting him, I have zero sympathy. He’s receiving what he’d gladly do to me in slightly different circumstances. He birthed and nurtured it, he needs to “own it”!