Look Uncle Arthur, I'm in the news again!
Alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and his gang of variously clueless sycophants have signed up to a Brexit deal which is having a seriously deleterious effect on parts of the economy. While mainland supermarkets are managing to offer a range of products broadly similar to before the end of last year, and thus ensuring the proletariat does not see significant disruption, elsewhere things are deteriorating fast.
The collapse in exports of many kinds of seafood is already known. Loss of share trading primacy, with Amsterdam supplanting the City of London, is also beginning to register with pundits. And now has come the creative sector, for which read musicians, actors, fashion models and those involved in putting on shows and concerts.
Now, they need to spend hundreds of pounds for visa waivers - per performance - and wait weeks for paperwork, when previously none of that was required - because of free movement. This industry is worth around £112 billion annually. You read that right. Government ineptitude and intransigence means that sector is well and truly screwed.
Even with its inbuilt pro-Tory bias, our free and fearless press might just give Bozo and his fellow clowns a seriously hard time over their failures - and so a suitable distraction is required. And that is where the FREEZE PEACH debate comes in. This performs two functions: One, it distracts from Tory failure, and Two, it demonises the Rotten Lefties™.
But the Government’s proposed initiative is built on sand. This from Nafeez Ahmed at Byline Times should set alarm bells ringing: “The Education Secretary’s proposal to regulate free speech at universities by appointing a national ‘free speech champion’ at the Office for Students (OfS) came from an academic defender of white identity politics who has argued that ethnic diversity in itself increases ‘white threat perceptions’”.
Ahmed goes on to detail the involvement of the Koch Foundation, the Spiked network, and a worrying trend to excuse the far right while shutting down debate over sexism and racism. And as to that “academic defender of white identity politics”, Eric Kaufmann, Jonathan Portes of Kings College London has harsh words for Kaufmann’s research.
The new Free Speech Champion is revealed
The headline of Portes’ Guardian Comment Is Free article should also cause alarm: “The rightwing defence of 'academic freedom' masks a McCarthyite agenda”. Why that should be requires no more than a perusal of Kaufmann’s latest Tweet on the subject.
“In my latest piece, I argue that most academics back free speech, but activists can neutralise them by invoking social taboos & progressive identity. This is why academic governance on free speech cannot work, and only government action can break the spell”. He goes on to talk of “Woke sorcerers”. His PX pal Zareer Masani talks of “Wokeism”.
Meanwhile, Richard Wyn Jones has pointed out that one incident on which the FREEZE PEACH advocates lean heavily - the de-platforming of Germaine Greer at Cardiff University - never happened. Publications making the claim have had to print corrections. But, like Kaufmann’s shonky research, it has been allowed to enter the collective consciousness. And all the while, no-one mentions the Koch and Spiked connections.
The Orwellian use of law continues apace. Ignorance is strength! Racism does not really exist! Societal injustice is sub judice! Free speech has to be firmly policed! Regulation for Universities but not for the press! Woke has been redefined by Government diktat!
But there is little to laugh at in this cynical distraction. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
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