Student censors favourite target- Pro-Life groups

A common pattern emerging on University campuses in Britain is that pro-life groups are routinely suppressed, hounded, abused and denied free speech, association and assembly by thick modern leftists. You either believe in those rights for your political opponents or you do not believe in them at all. It is quite that simple. Dan Hitchens writes: “If you want some first-hand experience of the contemporary free-speech debate, I recommend joining a student pro-life society. Last month, Oxford Students for Life, of which I am president, discovered the following clause was being put forward at the Oxford University students’ union: ‘Never to [provide a] platform [to] any group or organisation which provides directional advice around abortion or explicitly stands against women’s right to choose.’

To cut a long story short, the clause, which threatened to ban our group from students’ union events like the freshers’ fair, was defeated by 27 votes to 24. Most of those who supported us were not pro-life; as one of them told me afterwards: ‘I’m not on your side. I just believe in having the argument.’ A lot of students share these democratic instincts, as recent events at Durham University and the London School of Economics have shown.

Nonetheless, free speech on campus is constantly threatened, and pro-life societies are a favourite target. For example, there was the farcical attempt to‘no platform’ pro-lifers at University College London in 2012 – which turned out to be, in the words of the students’ union trustees, ‘completely illegal’ – or the ongoing attempts to outlaw pro-life demonstrations at Cardiff University. It’s not necessarily humourless Stalinists who are behind these motions; believe it or not, many students are genuinely confused about what free speech is and why it matters.

For instance, the NUS Wales women’s officer, Rhiannon Hedge, recently offered a strange defence of censoring pro-lifers. ‘I’ve heard a lot about the principle of free speech’, Hedge writes, before making various accusations against pro-life groups. Some of these accusations are worth considering, some of them less so, but none of them has anything to do with the principle of free speech. The whole point about free speech – as George Orwell and Rosa Luxemburg and many others have repeatedly pointed out – is that if you take it seriously, you have to defend the free speech of precisely the people who drive you up the wall.

That simple point – indeed, the whole case for free speech – has to be made again before it is forgotten. And it might be worth saying that free speech needn’t mean a relativist free-for-all. You can hope for an informed, conscientious public debate, while recognising that such a debate won’t exist if some people feel they have the right to silence others. Which is why, when the right to free speech is endangered, so are all our other rights. Some of us think that is also true of the right to life, but we can discuss that another time. At least, I hope we can.” (

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Brutal Darling

FINALLY. We have been asking for this from day one but the pussy Salmond creature has constantly refused, instead begging for a debate against Cameron attempting to spin a false childish ‘it’s Scots vs The Tories!’ narrative on the issue. But now he has been caught without his clothes on yet again and has to finally step up. I hear an ambulance is already being arranged for the intellectual murder that is to take place by Darling. Going to be brutal. (

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Britain’s first secret trial.

The coalition would remove a right to fair and transparent jury trial that is more important than the one to vote. Petrifying moves. Owen Jones writes: “The Daily Mail and the left don’t often find themselves on the same side, but when they do it is worth paying attention. The Daily Mail is absolutely right (not a sentence you will catch me typing on a regular basis) to splash on “Britain’s first secret trial“. It’s an affront to basic principles of justice, and a frightening precedent to boot. At risk of sounding like a Mail columnist myself: where will it end?

Two men, known only as AB and CD, have been charged with terrorism; journalists were forbidden from disclosing even this simple fact until newspapers overturned a gagging order. But for the first time in centuries – and in a direct challenge to the Magna Carta of 1215 – the entire trial will be held in secrecy.

A basic principle that democrats of all hues should surely champion is that justice is done, and is seen to be done. As Liberty’s Shami Chakrabarti has put it: “Transparency isn’t an optional luxury in the justice system – it’s key to ensuring fairness and protecting the rule of law.” But it is the precedent that should disturb us. It isn’t one of the authoritarian anti-terror laws passed by New Labour or the coalition responsible for this assault on justice, it is being justified with provisions under common law. Yet once this precedent is established and a centuries-old tradition of justice broken, it will be much easier to hold trials in total secrecy in future.

Indeed, this government’s Justice and Security Act, passed last year, allows for the extension of secret courts, or “closed material procedures” to use the proper legal jargon. Instead of judges, ministers will be given powers over evidence in court, risking the principle of a fair trial. Liberty has suggested it could be used to keep “dirty state secrets” away from victims and the public, and 700 legal experts signed a letter condemning it as “dangerous and unnecessary“. Sadly, to no avail.

When the state asks for more power, it invariably justifies it as being for our own good, to protect our security. We are fed seductive lines about such powers only being used when strictly necessary, with cast-iron promises that they will not be abused.

When Margaret Thatcher introduced the Public Order Act in 1986, it was not explained that criminalising words or behaviour causing “harassment, alarm or distress” would be used against groups ranging from gay rights activists to Christian street preachers. When the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 was passed, it was not clear it would be used against activists protesting outside US intelligence bases or Oxfordshire villagers protesting about turning a lake into a dump for fly ash. Neither did proponents of the Terrorism Act suggest that the sorts of people on the receiving end would include an octogenerian refugee called Walter Wolfgang who had fled the Nazis who had the temerity to heckle a minister.

Many of the freedoms and liberties we have today were won at huge cost and sacrifice by our ancestors. If we allow them to be discarded without a fight, then what is to stop the powerful coming for other rights? This is how freedom is eroded, when we accept the comforting rationale of a state that will quite happily amass power at the expense of individual liberties until it is prevented from doing so.

Yes, let’s have a debate about preserving our security. If the state wishes to provide terrorists with ready-made propaganda, then flaunting its attacks on civil liberties is one way of going about it. Our governments have served as highly effective recruiting officers for terrorism in other ways, too – whether it be backing the Afghan Mujahideen in the 1980s, backing various hellish regimes such as the witch-beheading gangsters running Saudi Arabia, or the invasion of Iraq which handed vast swathes of the country to al-Qaida. These are actions that imperil our security. But if we want to ensure our safety, cracking down on civil liberties is as counter-productive as it is wrong-headed.” (

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Love thy neighbour? Then respect his religious liberty

Ferida Carr gives us this nice reminder, (well for those who need it anyway): “ow many angry voices does it take to censor an ‘offensive’ sign? Apparently, the answer is ‘one’.

When Robert Gladwin walked past the Attenborough Baptist church in Norfolk, UK, he became so upset by one of the church posters he was compelled to call the police, who investigated the sign as a hate crime. The ‘offending’ image depicted a wall of fire with the caption: ‘If you think there is no God, you better be right!!’ Gladwin felt the sign was offensive to non-Christians, and went against ‘Christian traditions’. After talking with police, Pastor John Rose removed the message of damnation.

It seems the church’s only ‘crime’ here was using double exclamation marks, but Gladwin had stronger convictions. ‘It is my basic understanding that Christianity is inclusive and loving in nature’, he said, ‘the message being displayed outside of the church could not be further from the often uttered phrase “love thy neighbour”.’

Gladwin’s understanding of Christianity may indeed be basic. After all, Jesus is also credited with saying ‘I came not to send peace, but a sword’. By many, if not most, interpretations of Christianity, the sign legitimately represents Christian views. But whether the A2-sized piece of paper in question represents scripture or not isn’t really the core issue.

How is it that a lone man passing a Baptist church can involve the police because he doesn’t agree with that church’s religious interpretation? For example, the Mormon belief that native Americans are a lost tribe of Israel might strike many as odd. But unless we intend to ban the right of any religions to proselytise completely, there is no reason why one man or a hundred men can ask the police to muzzle the beliefs of another, even if he believes you’ll burn in a lake of fire.” (

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Midwives To Perform Abortions

A brilliant summary from David Lindsay here. The desperate people in the comments section made me chuckle. I especially liked Lindsay’s retort, “The Chairman and the Secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group are both Labour MPs (the former is also a signatory to the One Nation Society), and its Clerk is a Labour Councillor. Well, of course. What else were they going to be?” and “In general, go back to America.” So true. In 1988 for instance Thatcher refused to allow abortion to be brought up for a vote when there was a majority to lower the limit to twelve weeks. She was a liberal through and through. On the subject of Midwives performing abortions David Lindsay writes:

“That’s Conservative Governments for you. Margaret Thatcher legalised abortion up to birth.

Although this proposal has been doing the rounds, so to speak, for decades, the last Labour Government never did it.

Just as it never introduced same-sex marriage, which Gordon Brown, uniquely among Party Leaders, specifically ruled out in the run-up to the last General Election. (He also used to publish entire newspaper articles very cogently setting out the case against assisted suicide.)

But then, John Major made divorce legally easier than release from a car hire contract. That’s Conservative Governments for you.

No wonder that hardly any practising Catholics would ever vote for either of the Coalition parties.

Proportionately probably even fewer of the attendees at the fast-growing black-majority churches, thanks to whom London has a much higher rate of churchgoing than the rest of the country, would ever do so.

Nor would most of the Anglican clergy give them the time of day anymore. The Anglican laity will take a bit more work. The pity is that, on things like this, the Conservatives can blame the Lib Dems.

Anna Soubry may be a former SDP member, but she has never been a Lib Dem. She it was who peremptorily ended all consultation on the abortion laws, on the grounds that the Government simply did not care what the public thought.

That did not happen under Labour, either.” (

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Labour was never liberal on migration

The great John Denham MP writes: “Let’s get Labour’s immigration debate back on track.  Is it really true that a liberal approach to immigration is a core founding value of our party? That anyone with a different view is a ‘milk and water Farage‘? Much that has recently been written owes nothing  to Labour history, policy or values, and could cost us more than one election. So let’s get a few facts straight:

1. Labour actually does believe in controlling who comes here and why, and we did so in government. Previous Labour governments acted – despite protests from liberals – to minimise the number of former Empire citizens who could come here.  Even though the Blair government was accused of an ‘open door policy, that’s not what we did. We reduced the number of unjustified asylum seekers by making the system tighter. We began the requirements on spouses to learn English that the current government has implemented. We didn’t plan for a million Poles to come here – that was a mistake, and if we had known we would have stopped it.  Above all, we blocked low skilled migration from outside the EU, and introduced much tougher tests for other potential migrants. We did this to restrict access to our labour market and reduce costs to public spending. There is nothing in Labour history, values or traditions that require us to be in favour, in principle, of unlimited immigration.

2. Many of the EU citizens who are entitled to come here are people we would reject if they came from anywhere else. That is the logic of our own points based migration system. Free movement has advantages and disadvantages. Labour’s view is that the advantages, including for our own people, outweigh the disadvantages. UKIP says the opposite. That’s an honourable difference for us to argue. It does not mean we have to pretend we’d actually like them all to come here, or that this is a point of absolute principle we have to defend. Nor does it mean we can’t campaign for radical changes to the current free movement system.

3. If voters ask good questions, ignoring them is not a wise political strategy. With migrants needing homes, it is reasonable to ask what this means for housing supply.  A sharp increase in local population does put more pressure on public services. It’s reasonable to ask whether resources would go further without these pressures. A flexible mobile workforce encourages employers to switch to agency work offering worse working conditions. Isn’t it reasonable to ask if this is in voters’ interest? Let’s acknowledge these issues and say how we will deal with them. Labour is the party that believes that the state should plan for the future. Let’s rise to the challenge.

4. For the foreseeable future, it would be better if fewer EU migrants came here. That way we can create a more balanced labour market and reduce future pressures on services and housing. So we should work actively to reduce the number of EU migrants coming to the UK, and move closer to the relationship we have with the rest of the world.  Of course, that is exactly what current policies – clamping down on dodgy agencies, enforcing minimum wage, requiring apprenticeships, tackling unregulated housing – are designed to do. But we are so politically correct we cannot admit that’s the aim, even though that’s exactly what most of our voters want to hear.

5.There are lots of non-racist reasons to worry about migration. Some UKIP voters are racist. Accept that. Worry about all the other ones. Particularly the ones with Labour values. People who always believed that, if there was housing shortage, we should all pay in so that the government or council could provide affordable homes. People who believe that health services are best provided if we all pay in so its there when we need it. But these same people are not so sure about paying when they are paying to give newcomers services they have not yet substantially paid for, which our voters would not receive if they went abroad . That’s about fairness and Labour’s nearly forgotten contributory principle, not racism.

It is only human to feel concern about the pace of change in communities. Many middle class ‘progressives’ once lionised working class mining communities for their solidarity, strength and identity. Many other working class communities – and an increasing number of aspirational and middle class communities -also feel their economies and communities have changed much faster, and in much more bewildering ways, than they can easily be asked to cope with. People have voted Labour because the labour movement tried to make their lives and communities better in the face of more powerful forces that they could not control alone. We couldn’t always do it. But they knew whose side we were on. And this isn’t just about white working class communities. Established minority communities often feel pretty much the same about the impact of more recent migration. They want Labour on their side too.

6. While Labour was never liberal on migration, we were committed to making a multi-racial, multi-cultural society work. From the establishment of the Joint Committee for the Welfare of Immigrants, to the Race Relations Act, to support for the cultural and religious rights of the growing minority communities, to the introduction of ethnic monitoring, to scrapping iniquities like the primary purpose rule, Labour was consistent in its commitment to build a tolerant, fair and diverse society. We didn’t get it all right, but under Labour’s leadership, Britain handled these challenges better than many EU countries. Ironically, as the biggest ever post-war migration took place, Labour diminished its efforts and creative thinking in this area. The arguments against multi-culturalism were conceded too easily with nothing, save a few initiatives like Connecting Communities, to put in its place.

Where do these six points take Labour’s strategy?

First we should defend our own history of a hard headed pragmatic approach to migration, coupled to a commitment to make our diverse society cohesive, tolerant and fair.

Second, let’s not be shy of taking measures which advantage local workers and local access to services, and discourage future migration. There’s much more that could be done, from using national monitoring in employment to granting protected access to affordable housing.

Third, let’s lead the debate in the EU about changing the rules. This won’t be a swift argument to win, but we will get more credit for trying than for avoiding the issue. Merkel won’t let Germany pay for Southern Europe. Why should we cope with the migration consequences of Euro zone failure?

Fourth, give no ground on the case for being in the EU. Nigel Farage fully understands the consequences of leaving the EU. That’s why UKIP is so deeply committed to scrapping labour market protection, making the UK the home of the most unstable and unreliable investment, and letting the rich get richer. We will win more votes on this argument than trying to defend the current free movement rules.

Fifth, refresh Labours commitment to making our diverse society work. Make nation building – the idea that everyone here has a responsibility to create a country that works – the core of our identity.” (

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Warning: ITV are mugs Cannot recommend this enough. Sir Bruce Forsyth is on fine form here telling the story of the sublime Sammy David Jr. It is sad however, that without a hint of irony ITV feel the need to ‘warn’ potential viewers of ‘mild racial humour.’ Because a black man and a white man on stage together having banter and in solidarity satirising the genuinely dangerous and violent bigotry of the day, (the KKK were still at large) is apparently just too much to handle for ‘diversity’ Britain in 2014. Well done for entirely missing the point ITV you fucking berks.


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