March 17th, 2014


My statement to Sarah Ditum about No Platforming and Censorship

You would, I trust, accept that such places as universities are supposed to be safe spaces that have a duty of care to their students. Hate speech is, almost by definition, something which cannot be allowed in a safe space. Many other places wish to define themselves as safe spaces for various groups - the Royal Vauxhall Tavern has generally aimed at being a safe space for all LGBT people. Denying people particular platforms is not censoring them, because they are free to find other places from which they can speak, unless their speech has been declared illegal.

There is thus no contradiction whatever between support for no-platforming people and opposition to censorship, especially when the person no-platformed has endless other platforms from which to express their views. Most hate speech aims to silence either directly or by denying access - hate speech censors.

I have no reason to hold you personally responsible for anything that has happened in the past, but protest against no-plaforming by groups that have regularly done their best actually to silence other groups when they have had the power to do so are hypocritical at best.