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Monday 6 December 2021

Luckhurst’s Liddle Local Lament

How are the mighty fallen: nine years ago, Professor Tim Luckhurst of the University of Kent at Canterbury was riding high, in the vanguard of the opposition to the Hacked Off campaign, leading his Free Speech Network into battle against the proposals in the Leveson Report, which he didn’t know anything about, except that they must be A Very Bad Thing Indeed. He was a true democrat, opposed by evil forces.


Tim Luckhurst. Champion of free speech. Providing he approves of it

He claimed the endorsement of John Milton, John Wilkes, John Stuart Mill, George Orwell and Martha Gelhorn in his efforts to show that he was the champion of liberty, and those he opposed, er, weren’t. But, sadly, he was just another lame apologist for our free and fearless press, and so he convinced very few people. But now he’s back in the news.

Like former chief Downing Street polecat Dominic Cummings, Luckhurst has made the trip from the south east to Durham, but unlike Dom, this is a permanent move. The Great Man is now principal of South College, where the after dinner speaker for a recent formal event was Rod “a smile, a song, and a four-pack of Stella” Liddle.

I'm only having one more, Officer. Bottle, that is

Luckhurst and Liddle go back some way: when the latter was mooted as new editor of the Independent, there was significant adverse comment on the idea, but Luckhurst put up a stout defence of his pal. Sadly, he later returned to tell how poor Rod had been “done in” by the “liberal mob”. Which means the opposition was successful, and he wasn’t. 

So what happened when Liddle rocked up at South College? The Murdoch Times has taken a particular interest: “The Sunday Times and Spectator columnist was a guest speaker at South College, but some students walked out before his speech and others during it”. Why would they walk out? What was Liddle’s subject matter?

Ah well. “Liddle is understood to have started by joking that he was disappointed not to see any sex workers … He also said the left railed against the science of pure facts over sex and gender issues, that colonialism was not the main cause of Africa’s problems and that the underachievement of black pupils in education had nothing to do with institutional or structural racism”. Hold back that twitchy right arm! So what was the response? 

Durham’s Working Class Students’ Association called for the event to be investigated by the university. ‘Transphobia and racism cannot be defended under the notion of “political views” or “academic freedom” and it has no place on campus, where students are supposed to feel safe,' it said. Durham University Labour Club said: ‘Our university doesn’t owe hate a platform.’” There were other expressions of dissent entered into freely.

About a dozen students walked out before Liddle’s after-dinner speech and several left during it. Afterwards few applauded the speech, and while protocol is to rise for the high table to process out, nearly all students in the hall stayed seated”. Luckhurst shouted “At South College we value freedom of speech” and “pathetic”. 

He has asserted that no-one has a right not to be offended. But that isn’t the point: Liddle was free to speak, he did so, and many of the attendees, free to register their opposition, did so too. Luckhurst whining about FREEZE PEACH is just wallowing in victimhood.

But he got himself in the Murdoch press, so that’s all right, then.

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Anonymous said...

Dunno about "...endorsement by...John Wilkes..."

But John Wilkes Booth would have stood and applauded.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

"Professor" Luckhurst?


Just another second rate Starkey-type far right tory propaganda bullshitter. Bound for the same well-deserved obscurity too.