‘The freedom of speech is a fundamental right’
The Guild has just announced it is refusing to host the Liverpool Mayoral Elections Debate next week because it ‘will not allow three fascists into the building’.
I entirely disagree with this. I believe we shouldn’t accept any compromise with regards to freedom of expression, even (and perhaps especially) when it concerns voices most of us vehemently disagree with. Why? Because, as a friend of mine put it ‘we have the right to be offended’ – and should want to be offended.
The argument is of course that ‘we should not give them a stage’ – but what this essentially entails is a censorship of views. One representative even claims that our SU should be a political ‘safe space’. Once again, I disagree – political debate, as any other, should be free and open, and not a process of ‘selective listening’. If such a philosophy of choosing the range of voices ‘allowed’ in public debate is advocated, then might we not find ourselves never hearing anything we disagree with anymore? I can’t think of anything worse. To be challenged, to disagree, to be *offended* is the most direct and effective way of fuelling our thought forwards, and advancing our personal and social beliefs.
We should be holding the mayoral elections, we should let them speak, and allow it to feed and further the discussion on such discriminatory, racist politics, rather than let our SROs decide to bury our heads a little further in the sand.