According to the Education Secretary, the UK government will begin fining universities that engage in anti-free speech attitudes such as cancel culture.
Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, will be announcing the Free Speech Champion, a position with powers to defend free speech and academic freedom on campuses. The Champion will be empowered to fine universities that attempt to discriminate against people based on their political views.
The Telegraph reports that universities or student bodies that attempt to cancel, dismiss or demote people for their views will be sanctioned in a major government escalation in the “war on woke.”
Meanwhile, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has summoned twenty-five of the UK’s leading heritage bodies and charities to a summit next week where they will be told “to defend our culture and history from the noisy minority of activists who are constantly trying to defeat Britain,” as reported by the Telegraph.
“Organizations that have strayed from their purpose [forget] that our heritage seeks to make people proud, not make them feel guilty about being British,” Secretary Dowden said.
Dowden said in the letter sent to The Sunday Telegraph, “Proud and confident nations face their past squarely; they do not seek to run away from or tinker with the history on which they are based.”
“History is fraught with moral complexity and the interpretation of Britain’s past should not be an excuse for telling an over-simplistic version of our national story,” he added.
Sir John Hayes, chairman of the Common Sense Group (a group of fifty-nine members of Parliament), welcomed the government’s moves to address the so-called “cancel culture.”
Hayes said, according to the Telegraph, that it is “absolutely right for the Government to intervene to defend free speech. Without the ability to speak freely soon, we will not be able to think freely.”
Sir Hayes added that “while universities should be places where ideas should be a foothold to create and experiment, to be places of imagination”, debate has been closed to new ideas thanks to the “thought police”.
One source told The Telegraph that, “Freedom of speech underpins our democratic society and our universities have a long and proud history of being places where students and academics can express themselves freely, challenge views and cultivate an open and inquisitive mind.”
“Unacceptable silencing and censorship on campuses is having a chilling effect,” the source noted, “and that is why we must strengthen freedom of expression in higher education, reinforcing existing legal duties and ensuring that firm and robust action is taken if these are breached.”
A hostile environment?
At El American, we reported that several British universities are aligned with the progressive agenda of erasing the history of nations. Included in this crusade against the historical record and free speech have been everything from schools and universities to private landlords, pubs, churches, charities, and councils.
The University of Edinburgh, for example, has changed the name of the David Hume Tower because of the philosopher’s alleged racism.
In this regard, let us recall that other institutions decided to change their name such as the University of Liverpool, which changed the name of its Gladstone Hall due to the former Prime Minister’s links with slavery; the Imperial University of London, which has stopped using its Latin motto (whose translation would be “scientific knowledge, the crowning glory and the safeguard of the empire”), have joined in the elimination of their own history.
The University of Leicester, for its part, announced that it would eliminate its medieval English studies in order to “decolonize” its curriculum. Instead of teaching The Canterbury Tales or the Anglo-Saxon classic Beowolf, the university said it would focus on texts related to sexuality, diversity, race and ethnicity.