In response to overwhelming demand from its Scottish members, the Free Speech Union has opened an office in Edinburgh and is holding a launch event in the city this evening. One of the members of the newly-formed Scottish Advisory Council – Director of Communications for the Catholic Church in Scotland – has written a terrific Thunderer for the Times Scotland to mark the occasion. Here’s an extract:
Most public goods are visible, easily identifiable and defensible. If our schools and courts were to close and police officers began disappearing from our streets, we’d notice and react. When free speech is threatened and curtailed, it is often harder to see. Yet for a growing number of people in Scotland the threat is becoming increasingly obvious.
Having witnessed friends being “no platformed” and watched the boundaries of public debate shrink alarmingly in recent years, I believe the time has come to publicly stand up for free speech in Scotland.
That is why I agreed to join the Scottish Advisory Council of the Free Speech Union, which today launches a campaign to protect freedom of speech in Scotland. The chilling Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act will shut down discussion of vital public importance, such as the conflict between sex-based women’s rights and trans rights.
The act sits at the pinnacle of an iceberg of intolerance which threatens to sink the culture of civic public discourse and leave us floundering in a sea of illiberal and tyrannical orthodoxies.
Widespread concern that the right to express ourselves freely is being eroded has motivated Scots from across the political spectrum, academia, the media, arts and culture, faith groups and the voluntary sector to come together under the Free Speech Union banner to defend what was once a basic freedom.
Worth reading in full.
If you want to see who the other members of the Scottish Advisory Council are, click here and scroll down.