By Andrew Allison, Head of Campaigns
It's almost as if we are living through the Last Night of the Proms debacle from last year. I am sure that you remember the BBC's decision not to include the traditional patriotic songs during the last night, although the corporation performed a U-turn after receiving pretty much universal condemnation.
Now we find out that a 19-year-old student, Elizabeth Heverin, was banned from the Students' Union for two weeks because she wrote 'Rule Britannia' during a debate about the British Army’s presence on campuses. As we are all too well aware, it doesn't take much to deprive someone of their freedom in many universities. Another student accused her of using "discriminatory or racist language". Aberdeen University is a "demilitarised campus", and members of the armed forces are barred from recruiting students. They can't even visit the campus or attend events.
Miss Heverin told the Telegraph that "it feels like I’ve been prosecuted for the crime of being patriotic. It’s scary to think where freedom of speech at the university will go from here." Quite.
This is yet another example of cancel culture, the restriction of free speech, and a general intolerance of differing views and opinions. Where will this end? If we don't take action, we will all find ourselves at the bottom of a slippery slope where life resembles Gorge Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. Please remember that Orwell was issuing a warning, not providing a blueprint.
Photo Credit: Bill Harrison. Licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.