This post has been cross-posted at Harry's Place
Yesterday there was a rally outside NUS headquarters in central London for Freedom of Speech and against the NUS attitude towards the likes of Maryam Namazie and Peter Tatchell who have recently been treated as if they were "problematic" speakers in the NUS's now infamous "safe spaces".
The crime of these respected campaigners is to speak out about Islamism and Islamist speakers and expose their vile views (which many of their defenders like to characterise as "socially conservative" as if they were middle class church elders). About 150 people attended the demo and it was good to see support from the likes of Nick Cohen. Also present was the feminist Julie Bindel who has recently been "no-platformed" for falling foul of some other feminists and trans activists.
Many of the speakers were students who are trying to restore the principles of free speech to universities including the Right2Debate group. You can see what they are up against by reading some of their case histories here.
One issue I would have with the campaign is that they want to reform the no-platform policy rather than abolish it. This muddies the waters a bit I think. Peter Tatchell said that this was because speakers promoting violence or spreading slander should not be allowed. But there are laws against that kind of thing anyway. Groups or individuals should not be banned just because the current leadership of the NUS doesn't like them.