Hundreds if not thousands of people have been fired, dismissed, cancelled in the last few years in the US and the UK for refusing to kowtow to the demands of those who would curtail our right to free expression by offending against woke principles.
One of the most controversial cases and one which has generated great public interest is that of Will Knowland.
Knowland was dismissed in the fallout from a contrarian lecture in which he questioned the dogma of toxic masculinity. The 35-year-old father of five was suspended in September and lost his job on appeal early in Dec. The affair has triggered a crisis at Eton and a war of words about wokery.
It’s also seen the teacher labelled a misogynist.
A member of the Free Speech Union Knowland has written a piece for the Spectator about being sacked for refusing to take down a YouTube video called “The Patriarchy Paradox”. He reveals that Head Master Simon Henderson threatened to refer Knowland to the Teaching Regulation Agency to have him banned from teaching for life, while boys at Eton have set up private debating groups to discuss issues forbidden by what Knowland called Eton’s “stifling monoculture”. Knowland has raised over £60,000 so far to cover the costs of challenging his dismissal in an Employment Tribunal.
Campaign to Defend Free Speech
Following the publication of their Free Speech Union Manifesto in April, FSU were delighted to see Home Secretary Priti Patel ask the College of Policing to drop its guidance telling officers to record ‘non-crime hate incidents’ on people’s police records. The Times welcomed the Home Secretary’s move with an editorial arguing that “officers should not be tasked with policing the boundaries of public debate”.
A welcome statement from the Provost of UCL (University College London) set out his position on the importance of universities remaining neutral arenas for public debate.
Andrew Doyle, the pro-free speech campaigner and comic genius behind the Twitter character Titania McGrath, has been hired by GB News to be the channel’s wokeness correspondent, monitoring the excesses of woke culture.
The University of Cambridge took down a website on May 31 that would have enabled members of the University to make anonymous complaints about students and staff for “micro-aggressions” and other non-crimes. The published list of offences included giving someone a “backhanded compliment” and referring to a woman as a “girl”. The Free Speech Union wrote to the Canadian Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope, threatening legal action. We reproduce, below, an article in the Telegraph about the climbdown.
The Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill in the Commons will strengthen protections for free speech and academic freedom in English universities by imposing more robust legal duties on Higher Education Providers and Student Unions.
The Free Speech Union has said the new Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill is critical to the fightback against cancel culture and campus censors. They have been campaigning for stronger free speech protections in universities, so this Bill is very welcome.
Launch of GB News
Finally a piece of refreshing news on the media front: The new media channel GB News fronted by Andrew Neil is set to launch on the evening of June 13. The new platform has an impressive array of journalists including Andrew Doyle the creator of the comic persona Titania McGrath and Darren McCaffrey who worked with Euronews.
Andrew Neil will present a nightly news programme and will feature a Wokewatch section to challenge the worst items from that quarter.
Alastair Stewart is joining GB News to host a weekend news and current affairs programme. He had been with ITV news for 45 years.
It will be available in HD on Sky channel number 515 and Virgin Media 626.