No-one is trying to ban free speech at universities

THERE’S always one, at Christmas time: a relative or family friend who, after a sherry too many on Boxing Day, commences a setting-the-world-to-rights speech. “The problem these days … ” he or she will bray, before comparing the status quo unfavourably to some rose-tinted notion of the past.

Eventually, the rant will reveal the speaker’s prejudices and make everyone acutely uncomfortable. By the end, those who had at first responded with nods and interested noises will have drifted into the kitchen in search of dishes to wash, or become oddly engrossed in the Christmas Radio Times.

Unfortunately for England, this year’s speech was delivered by Jo Johnson, the UK Government’s Universities Minister…

Read the rest of this column at

First published in The National on December 29 2017.

Published by Shona Craven

Writer, editor, talking head

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