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Can censorship of free speech ever be right?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by FrankWolley, Mar 14, 2016.

  1. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Is Tomlinson right to ban the phrase 'Trojan Horse' in Birmingham? Or is this just a cover up?


    The phrase ‘Trojan Horse scandal’ has been banned in Birmingham because it is ‘unhelpful’ to the city and its schools, its education commissioner has revealed.

    Sir Mike Tomlinson said he introduced the ban following negative publicity over how hardliners infiltrated state schools in the city and tried to impose an Islamic agenda.

    He said the phrase, which he refused to even say himself, was damaging morale among teachers and even hurting recruitment to schools.
  2. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

  3. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    The trouble with a metaphor like 'Trojan Horse' is that when it becomes bandied about by different groups with different agendas is that it loses some of its meaning. In that way it is unhelpful and plain speaking would be more useful.
  4. bonkers 704

    bonkers 704 Lead commenter

    Freedom of speech isn't freedom of speech unless the freedom to distress and offend isn't protected. Atheists must be free to ridicule religious beliefs and face ridicule in return. Bernard Manning must be free to tell offensive jokes. In the USA the Supreme Court has upheld rulings to protect the right to burn the American flag in public (Texas vs Johnson 1989) and for Fred Phelps' repellent Westboro Baptist Church to picket dead soldiers' funerals (Snyder vs Phelps 2011). Where free speech ends, the laws of libel, slander, intimidation and harassment start. Where it is exactly should be left for courts to decide in each individual instance, rather than be legislated on endlessly.
    Nanook_rubs_it, wanet and Betty_Davis like this.
  5. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    The phrase 'Trojan Horse' isn't rude or abusive, but is, in this case, rather accurate. Trying to ban it does nothing to deal with the actual problem.
  6. Didactylos4

    Didactylos4 Star commenter

    Well that's going to work isn't it? :rolleyes:

    In answer to the question in the tread title itself
    Yes of course it can be.
  7. Lascarina

    Lascarina Star commenter

    That depends on how you interpret the original mythical tale.
  8. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Even the phrase 'freedom of speech' is distinctly unhelpful. It's an illusion. You say some things in some places? You'd get lynched. Maybe by a mob. Maybe you'd be legally detained and executed. There are some things you simply cannot say without the direst consequences.

    If the pen is mightier than the sword then it's no wonder free speech is so feared. Speech is a powerful weapon. How many of us can wield a sword in society? Well, nobody in the UK. How often has someone tried to demolish you with their words? How often have you tried to hurt someone by what you say? I suggest the answers to those last two questions will range from rarely to often. But 'never'? I don't think that's likely.

    Freedom of speech? No such thing.


    Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and by many state constitutions and state and federal laws. The freedom of speech is not absolute; the Supreme Court of the United States has recognized several categories of speech that are excluded from the freedom, and it has recognized that governments may enact reasonable time, place, or manner restrictions on speech.
  9. Geoff Thomas

    Geoff Thomas Star commenter

    I recall being told in Poland back in the early nineteen-eighties that "just like Britain, we have freedom of speech in Poland. The difference is that in Britain, you have freedom after speech."
    ValentinoRossi, wanet and bonkers 704 like this.
  10. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    It is never right as neither you nor I can decide on behalf of everyone or other groups what is offensive. Censorship means someone is taking their views and trying to make them more equal than others. Not only doomed to failure but 100% wrong and must be challenged at every opportunity.
  11. jacob

    jacob Lead commenter

    The "Trojan Horse" term makes it sound less serious than it was. They should have used the term brainwashing.

    Can they ban the use of "gate" after any stupid scandal no matter how small? And the use of ridiculous contractions like "grexit" and "brexit", and use proper flaming English that we understand?
  12. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    The problem is when is free speech right....is it right to slander folks because you want to express a view or 'free speech' .In war time is free speech right if it undermines what a nation is trying to do.or curbs the rights of protection for some individuals.What are the series of checks and balances which define what we call free and controlled speech.
    The phrase was about destructive soldiers hiding in a 'gift horse' and the failure of the recipients to check it carefully for problems. Surely all speech has the ability to do damage if those using it have expressed freely ideas which in themselves might be dangerous or in this case have views which seem contrary to those held by authority. Others must have the right to reply an counter that which they see as not right.
  13. Didactylos4

    Didactylos4 Star commenter

    Not many
    I beg to differ

    Other than that you are right and free speech doesn't exist anywhere. You can say what you like in public, you can post what you like online(dependent on filters) but there will often be (and should be) consequences for so doing.
    wanet likes this.
  14. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    It's a perfectly fair move. The whole thing was overblown. It's the academy chains and CPD firms, imperialistic and financed up to the teeth, which are ruining schools.
  15. Didactylos4

    Didactylos4 Star commenter

    You're right I can't make such decisions on here.
    I can complain should I feel it is justified and the moderators will decide the issue according to their interpretation of the site rules.

    But I can make such decisions elsewhere and frequently do
  16. Didactylos4

    Didactylos4 Star commenter

    Depends on how much you trust the reports into the issue.
    I don't necessarily disagree with you. There undoubtedly was a lot more smoke than fire....
  17. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    This is just like a BBC or newspaper style guide which determines the terminology used to describe events. It's a bit of a non-story and has little to do with free speech.
    grumpydogwoman and lanokia like this.
  18. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    My rule of thumb is that any narrative promoted by Nikki Morgan is not to be trusted.

    Much of that smoke is now thankfully being dispelled.
    bonkers 704 likes this.
  19. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Producing a name does not produce a problem.
  20. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    True, and neither will change the fact you achieve nothing by doing so, no matter how much you kid yourself otherwise.

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