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Anorak | Free speech: Milo Yiannopoulos hones his karate, Julie Bindel is banned and Manchester University is wrapped in cottonwool

Free speech: Milo Yiannopoulos hones his karate, Julie Bindel is banned and Manchester University is wrapped in cottonwool

by | 6th, October 2015

To Manchester University, where “Transphobe” Julie Bindel is banned! She’d been asked by University of Manchester Free Speech & Secular Society to speak at a debate called – irony of ironies – “From liberation to censorship: Does modern feminism have a problem with free speech?”

The ban was decreed by the Students’ Union Executive Team (SUET). Bindel’s presence, say these wise heads, is “potentially in breach of [the] safe space policy”. Adding with hubris:

“The Students’ Union has decided to deny this request based on Bindel’s views and comments towards trans people, which we believe could incite hatred towards and exclusion of our trans students.”

Women’s Officer Jess Lishak opines:

“The proposed society event requested to invite two highly controversial and offensive speakers; radical feminist and famous transphobe Julie Bindel, and journalist and ‘men’s rights activist’ Milo Yiannopoulos.

“We unanimously decided to not allow Julie Bindel to be invited to speak at an official SU event. We also approved the request for Milo Yiannopoulos on the provisos that, should the event go ahead, there will be extra security put in place for everyone’s safety.”

They have doubtless heard that Milo knows karate.

Lishak adds:

“Julie Bindel is a journalist and activist who’s been on a crusade against the trans community, and trans women in particular, for many years. She abhorrently argues that trans women should be excluded from women-only spaces, whether that be through feminist organising or women’s sexual and domestic violence services.”

So much for free speech. So much for debate. The laughable, censorious, dictatorial Lishak “refuse[s] to allow our campus to be poisoned by this woman’s tireless campaign to deny trans people their basic human rights and… to subject our students to a campus that puts Bindel’s wish to spread and incite hatred above the safety and inclusion of our trans members.”

One word from Bindel and students will be all catching transphobia. The University must be kept safe from words.

“This is not about shutting down conversations or denying free speech; this is about keeping our students safe,” says Lishak. “If this were about silencing people we happen to disagree with or avoiding uncomfortable conversations, we would be denying the application for Milo Yiannopoulos to speak.”

But it is about denying free speech. That’s exactly what it is. Lishak speaks with the authority of someone who has read one book and found it spot on.

“The difference in these two cases is inciting harm to a group of our students. Yiannopoulos is very careful to criticise feminist thoughts, theories and methods of research or statistics rather than calling for active discrimination against women like Bindel does to trans women,” she continues.

His free speech is within the boundaries of Lishak’s realm of acceptable free speech. Of course, free speech either is free or else it is not free. It can’t be a bit free.

The Mancunion website adds: “She [Bindel] is included on the NUS’s no platform list, alongside George Galloway, Julian Assange, and any member of the BNP.”

Wear your bans as badges of honour. Manchester Uni students are so thick and suggestible, one word from the banned and they’ll be goose-stepping to Bradford. Thank god Lishak’s there to protect these empty heads from ideas and challenging their own beliefs.

The Free Speech and Secular Society have released this statement:

“We were very sad, though in no way surprised, to be notified today that our Students’ Union is seeking to censor our upcoming of event [sic]. We were expecting a good turnout from pre-existing and new students alike, and as such are sad and frustrated to delay the event for the time being. [The Students’ Union] have banned Julie Bindel from speaking outright, and deemed Milo Yiannopoulos sufficiently dangerous to warrant a closed event, where admissions will be limited.

“The reasoning… centres around the safe space policy and her falling foul of it. We have always argued that this flimsy bit of legislature is nothing more than an insidious piece of weaponry used by our SU leadership to fashion the university in their own image, and this current act of censorship proves it.

“Speakers far more controversial and ‘offensive’ than Julie have been permitted and even suggested by the SU on previous occasions. Yet they have decided to apply the principles of the safe space policy now and on us. We feel that the manner in which it has been done is at best sloppy on their part, and at worst inconsistent to the point that it suggests an abuse of power.

“Free speech is not just an abstract concept debated upon in academic circles. It is a discernable and essential good, as well as an inalienable right for one and all. We plan on fighting for it tooth and nail on our campus. We are a nonpartisan organisation that does not promote one ideology over another. We simply argue that the freedom to express a controversial or challenging opinion is held equally and by all.”

Hurrah!

Yiannapoulos added:

“I’m astonished that I wasn’t outright banned as well. I’ll have to up my game!”

Stick a copy of the Sun to your nose and just sing Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines. You’ll get your badge soon enough, Milo.



Posted: 6th, October 2015 | In: News Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink