By Andrew Allison.
How can we conquer cancel culture? Those words have been going through my mind for the last few years.
At first, I thought it may be a passing fancy. Surely free speech means enough to us to accept that we are free to agree to disagree?
I spend every day of my life defending free speech. I have defended people with whom I disagree; people whom I profoundly dislike, but I have never wanted them cancelled. It is fundamentally un-British. It used to be called shunning. It is not the way that we do things in the UK. But sadly, cancel culture has become a real problem, not only in our country, but across the Western world.
“I spend every day of my life defending free speech. I have defended people with whom I disagree; people whom I profoundly dislike, but I have never wanted them cancelled.”
On 24th October in Westminster, The Freedom Association, which exists to defend individual freedom and personal and family responsibility, and is especially focused on free speech and free expression, is holding a major all day conference – the first of its kind in the UK – which will address threats to free speech and answer that important question: “How can we conquer cancel culture?”
We have a programme full of brilliant speakers, many of whom have been ‘cancelled’ – or at least who have some people attempt to ‘cancel’ them.
Take Nick Buckley. Nick’s career with Manchester City Council started as a youth intervention officer. In 2011, he founded a charity, Mancunian Way, which has worked to reduce antisocial behaviour. For his work, Nick was awarded an MBE, but in 2020, after he criticised the Marxist Black Lives Matter organisation, the trustees of the charity he founded, fired him, all because a handful of people (a baying mob) complained.
But Nick fought back, and with the help of the excellent Free Speech Union, won. All the trustees resigned and he was reappointed. Nick and Dr Bryn Harris, the Chief Legal Counsel of the Free Speech Union are speaking at our conference.
One of the most egregious forms of cancel culture is debunking. This issue came to the fore when Coutts debanked Nigel Farage. Nigel, of course, fought back brilliantly and the debanking scandal has received national attention across the whole of the media, and Conservative Government support. I am pleased to say that our keynote speaker will be Nigel Farage, who is a long-standing supporter of the TFA.
Consistent with The Freedom Association’s apolitical nature – for we welcome those defending freedom from all democratic parties – the conference will be opened by Lembit Öpik, the entertaining former Lib Dem MP, hears from Baroness (Claire) Fox, Director of the Academy of Ideas and former member of the Revolutionary Communist Party (defending freedom should not just be right wing!).
We are delighted to have the renowned historian and outspoken critic of cancel culture, Dr David Starkey, to close the Conference too.
Other speakers are:
David Campbell Bannerman, Chairman of The Freedom Association (and CDO Chairman)
Mark Francois MP, Conservative MP and Chairman of the European Research Group
Matt Goodwin, Professor of Politics in the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Kent
Mark Littlewood, Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs
Charlie Bentley-Astor, University of Cambridge graduate and free speech advocate
Eric Kaufman, Professor of Politics at Birkbeck College, University of London
Andrew Allison, Chief Executive of The Freedom Association
Rafe Heydel-Mankoo, Senior Fellow of the New Culture Forum
Tim Scott, Treasurer of The Freedom Association
Tom Slater, Editor of Spiked Online.
How to attend the ‘How Do We Cancel Culture?’ Conference
Please join us for a stimulating day, of debate and discussion, to help provide solutions to one of the biggest threats to free speech and freedom of expression we face today.
Just see: www.tfa.net for details.
The direct link is: https://www.universe.com/events/how-can-we-conquer-cancel-culture-tickets-1DT4PC.
Andrew Allison is the Chief Executive of the Freedom Association.