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Saturday, June 23, 2012


i remember the culture change i faced when i moved from the polytechnic of north london (pnl) to study at the london school of economics (lse). back at pnl if you happened to be slightly right of centre you were looked on as a traitor, if you happened to be a tory you would have been egged. at the lse i saw edwina currie greeted with smiles and laughter as she came to give a talk to one of the student groups. i was a little shocked to say the least.
in hindsight the lse way is probably the best way - and not just because i think edwina was a hottie (she was in my top tory totty list).

recently cambridge university has been criticised for the way it has handled the case of owen holland. mr. holland decided that he wasn't too keen on david willets, the conservative minister for universities and science, coming along to cambridge university and giving a speech. mr. holland decided he would protest, and how can blame him.
mr. holland's protest took the form of him reading out a poem as mr. willets tried to give his speech on the 'idea of a univeristy'. mr. willets had to abandon his speech because of mr. holland speaking/shouting/reading over him.

cambridge university initially punished mr. holland by suspending him for seven terms, this has now been amended to just a one term suspension. they say mr. holland had recklessly endangered freedom of speech. a campaign on behalf of mr. holland say that it is the university that has repressed freedom of expression.
dr priya gopal, lecturer in english, said: ... it is a great shame that the university did not choose to uphold the right to protest that ought to be a fundamental to its ethos."

potato potahto, does freedom of expression trump freedom of speech?
how can you try to defend freedom of speech when the person you are defending has been shouting down the speech of someone else?
freedom of speech and expression is vital - but it can only ever be a freedom if everyone has it - just because you don't like what someone has to say you can't claim it is your right via freedom of expression to shout them down. all that leads to is those with the loudest voices have the most say.

mr; holland could have arranged all manner of protests, he could have arranged to give an answering speech to mr. willets, he could have arranged to give a speech before mr. willets spoke outlining his criticisms of the education policies of the con/dems. instead he violated someone's freedom of speech - while claiming his freedom of expression should be inviolate.

a delicious paradox there.

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