I would rather listen to extreme groups than have a No-Platform policy at Nottingham

People want to ban everything, as usual


Does Nottingham have a free speech problem?

On Tuesday night the Union Council successfully rejected the “No-Platform Policy” motion proposed to the jury with three votes for and 14 votes against. A Jewish Society rep. put the motion forward after the neo-Nazis National Action staged a protest on our campus the week before.

Neo-Nazi posters on campus

Neo-Nazi posters on campus

The motion proposed to ban a long list of “extremist groups” from our campus, but the wording worryingly stated at the end that: “this list may be added to”.

Basically “we will add whoever we want to ban in the future”

The president of UoN Feminists was also there. With burning desire, she was quick to shoot up from her seat to not only agree with the motion, but also proposed that Milo Yiannopoulos was also added to the list of extremists to be banned. The proposer of the motion was quick to accept her suggestion and began typing away to add Milo to the list.

They genuinely wanted to add a journalist to the list of Nazis and terrorists, just because they disagree with his views on feminism.

This caused outrage and luckily many members of the audience urged the panel to reject the motion. Sam Peake, our Community Officer, even stood to deliver a statement on behalf of all SU officers to reject the motion and explain that they are against all “No-Platform” policies due to the dangers they pose to freedom of speech.

Ultimately, the motion was rejected and most of us cheered the victory.

With this event happening a few weeks after the Vice Chancellor said in a statement that “politically correct students are killing free speech”, it’s clear the Nottingham is on the road to winning at free speech.

This is incredibly important for the students of Nottingham because it paves the way for freedom of expression and a road to opposing censorship. Hopefully it means that future generations will follow suit and we’ll see more and more freedom, while other Unis across the country are putting up walls.

I think we all condemn National Action. And we do because we’ve seen their actions in plain sight and formed our own opinions. If the decision of what we find offensive gets made for us, that basically means we’re not grown up enough to think for ourselves.

Sure, National Action were offensive to many ethnic groups. They hurt a lot of feelings, and that’s not nice. But that doesn’t mean we should ban everyone that hurts our feelings.

Is there any need to “No-Platform” them? If they act violently towards students, they will be prosecuted by the police. We can shout “No-Platform” at them all we like, they will still appear on our campus and do what they want. What we need is mass condemnation of their actions, and the only way for that to happen is if their views are heard and people make their minds up about their disgusting actions.

Like when BNP’s Nick Griffin finally was allowed to speak on Question Time. Everybody finally saw what a racist bigot he was after just a few minutes of hearing him speak. The best way to put down extremists is to let them be heard, because the public is the best judge and they will get what they deserve.

So let them come. I invite these extremist groups to stage their protests on our campus. What we should do is set up counter-protests and shout them down. Not ban them.

Any sort of banning or prohibition is an incredibly dangerous thing at University.

The modern mentality of prohibiting anything “offensive” has lead to students feeling scared of attending debating sessions or speaker events for the fear of being silenced or told to leave if they dare express an opinion that doesn’t conform to the general consensus of the room.

Offensive doesn’t mean hateful. It means challenging. The right to challenge and the right to be challenged is what our society is built on.

The openly burning desire of UoN Feminists to prohibit Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking at our campus is disgustingly hypocritical. Feminism was founded due to free speech and the right to be offensive and challenge the system. Women would never have gained the right to vote nor the freedoms enjoyed today had there been no right to protest. These groups are going against their own founding principles.

milo debates

Milo just wants to speak

Having a massive strop and calling people names such as “rape apologist” without evidence is an attempt to shut down the debate to not let the other side be heard so that you can “win”. It’s pathetic.

Calling someone racist or homophobic or “inhumane” when they dare express an opinion that challenges the consensus is childish and stupid. Let’s have the debate. Let’s hear each other speak. If your opinions are correct, then they will stand up to the scrutiny. If you’re wrong, then be mature about it instead of staging a tantrum and threatening to ban the other side from speaking ever again. It’s sad.

It’s not acceptable to reserve the right to speak for only those that agree with you.