Liam Fox issues warning over Alex Salmond controversy
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In a major speech on Monday for the Adam Smith Institute entitled ‘the Perpetual Battle for Free Speech, Dr Fox will take on the woke cancel culture of the left which has led many academics and prominent figures no platformed while others particularly in the public sector have lost their jobs. It comes as the Sunday Express today launches a campaign for the Government to “preserve our freedoms”.
Meanwhile, in the latest outrage, more than 100 leading academics have signed a letter demanding why Glasgow University’s Adam Smith Business School cancelled a seminar by Professor Gregory Clark because vocal leftwing students objected to his thesis that “genetics determines most social outcomes” without listening to his arguments.
The academics said that the reasons given for cancelling the speech were “unlawful” because “the University of Glasgow has a legal obligation to uphold free speech.”
Speaking to the Sunday Express, ahead of his lecture on free speech, Dr Fox warned that the debate had been changed by the advent of social media.
He said: “We currently find ourselves churned in the wake of one of the greatest periods of technological revolution in human history.
“We wonder how to interpret our core beliefs in this new environment when faced with the savagery of online abuse or the intolerance of the woke culture. Free speech is one of these issues.
“It is important that we return to our first principles and to why free speech and free expression matter. To start, they are essential to the full development of each individual and the precondition to enjoying a wider set of rights from freedom of assembly to the freedom of the press.”
He said that he has no doubt about the problems of abuse and bullying caused by social media but argued alternatives need to be found before laws are passed which restrict free speech.
“This includes the concept of digital self-care – controlling online time and sites visited, limiting push notifications, and resisting the need to record every step and every meeting. There must also be a role for parents and teachers in education about bullying and, if necessary, intervention including helping young people to intervene on behalf of others being victimised online.
“When it comes to the bullying of the woke culture we must resist their intolerance and intimidation.
“Free speech is not simply a matter for government but for us all. Keeping our heads below the parapet can only result in more victims, the trampling of our values and one person fewer in the defensive line between ourselves and the mob.”
Meanwhile, campaigner Calvin Robinson is being championed by Tory MPs from the former red wall Labour seats as Boris Johnson’s new free speech tsar.
Writing for the Sunday Express, Mr Robinson said: “Instead of preventing people from causing offence under threat of prosecution, we should be protecting people’s rights to express their opinions.
“People are more afraid now than ever before when it comes to expressing their views in public.
“We must do all we can to enable people to be individuals with their own beliefs without constantly worrying about losing their jobs, their livelihoods and their relationships.”
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