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Robbie Travers vs Esme Allman - free speech dies another quite insane death at Edinburgh University

Tom Winnifrith
Wednesday 6 September 2017

I have noted many times before how free speech no longer exists on campuses across the West. If you pursue a politically correct strict liberal orthodoxy you can say what you want. Anything goes. All men are animals and wannabe rapists, white folks must be ashamed of all their crimes and so are innately evil racists. Heterosexuals should be under-represented in Parliament. Trans is the new normal. Its okay to say you want to assassinate President Trump. The Jewish state acts like Nazis and has no right to exist. All those statements are, to me, obscene and/or untrue but on campuses across Britain and the US they are repeated and accepted as fine every day.

Those who dare to disagree whether they be evil conservatives such as Ann Coulter or uber-liberals like Germaine Greer or the great Peter Tatchell ho just slipped up (usually on Trans issues) then you get no platformed. Try saying something really controversial like the British Empire did a lot of good (which it did), Britain did more to abolish slavery than any African state has ever done (again true) or that climate change is pure fiction (which it is) and as an academic, your career is toast even if the remarks are made in private.

The latest lunacy comes from Edinburgh where a spiky law student Robbie Travers responded to news that the Americans just dropped a vast bomb on ISIS fighters with a facebook post: "Excellent news that the US administration and Trump ordered an accurate strike on an IS network of tunnels in Afghanistan. “I’m glad we could bring these barbarians a step closer to collecting their 72 virgins.”

You and I might say "spot on" - I find it hard to disagree with the view that the only good ISIS fighter is a dead ISIS fighter. The acts committed by ISIS over the past few years are the acts of barbarians. Think of the beheadings, think of burning folks alive in cages or immersing a cage full of prisoners into a swimming pool and filming the poor men as they drown. Think about the mass rape and enslavement of thousands of captured women. Think of the poor homosexuals chucked off the top of buildings. ISIS are barbarians and they do believe that the reward for their barbarity is to go to heaven to shag 72 virgins. So any rational person would agree that Mr Travers is bang on the money. At the very least he has a right to such an opinion.

Oh no. Step forward Esme Allman a second-year history student and the former black and ethnic minority convenor of the university’s students’ association, who filed a complaint to the university, saying: “Not only do I believe this behaviour to be in breach of the student code of conduct, but his decision to target the BME Liberation Group at the University of Edinburgh, and how he has chosen to do so, puts minority students at risk and in a state of panic and fear while attending the University of Edinburgh.”

The University said that it would investigate poor Mr Travers for a hate crime. He then inflamed the situation by posting a note saying "black men are trash". Got him. Fair cop. The guy is a bigot. Send him down. Oh hang on. In fact it was Ms Allman who posted on her facebook site "To conclude, black men are trash. All men are trash." Mr Travers merely pointed out that she has posted this rubbish. This got him reported again by Ms Allman who said "Travers published a decontextualised quote by Allman from a privileged conversation generated by minority students in a safe space he is neither subscribed to nor a member of, without her consent."

Aha so it is okay to make a bigoted comment in a private group (not sure your facebook page counts as such) as that is not a problem. Really? One assumes that Ms Allman would be fine with the Klu Klux Klan organising at Edinburgh as long as all their comments were made in a "safe space" private forum? Of course she would not. She has been exposed as a serial spouter of shite.

But in taking this appalling young woman seriously and in investigating Travers for his original remark celebrating the demise of the ISIS barbarians Edinburgh shows how again how the liberal left world of academia has completely abandoned all ideas of supporting free speech or indeed of common sense.

And it is in this brave new world in which our kids are apparently being taught how to think for themselves. Once again I despair.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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