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« 28 gate still running | Main | Howling at the moonbat »

More soft totalitarianism

A couple of other interesting snippets relating to illegitimate attempts by left-wingers to stifle supporters of UKIP.

Firstly, as the news of the Rotherham fostering scandal broke, came this tweet by a UKIP candidate:

Barnardo's would not allow me to be a volunteer befriender of young people leaving care when I told them I was standing for UKIP.

Of course, private organisations should be able to associate with anyone they like, but the problem is that Barnardo's are heavily funded by the government. If I recall correctly the vast majority of their funding comes directly from the state. This being the case, I think someone in the Education Department needs to have a word in Dr Barnardo's ear.

Then there is the decision of the University of Derby students union to ban all UKIP candidates. I'm less clear about the position of a university union vis-a-vis state funding, but it's still a shocking state of affairs.


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Reader Comments (36)

If a university is not prepared to defend freedom of speech then it should not get any state funding.

Nov 25, 2012 at 5:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Somebody in authority, such as the local MP, or perhaps MIchael Gove, should approach the principal of the University of Derby for his comment.

If universities permit and tolerate the suppression of free speech by their students, our future, let alone the present, is indeed looking increasingly black.

Nov 25, 2012 at 5:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger


I agree with your basic premise but it is the Student body through its union that is against free speech, not the University. Of course the University might feel the same way.

Nov 25, 2012 at 6:52 PM | Registered Commenterretireddave

The would be Commissars are earning their spurs for their life ahead in the New World Order. It reminds me of the excellent film "The Lives of Others" about how life was in East Germany.

Nov 25, 2012 at 6:57 PM | Unregistered Commenteroldtimer

I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to you say it my right not to let you say it.
Voltaire must be turning in his grave.
This also from him:
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

Nov 25, 2012 at 7:10 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Sorry but I'm not happy with this attack thread on UKIP. Because It is nothing to do with climate or environment . I don't like UKIP but I do believe you usually defend environment usually and fairly. Cannot follow you if you go petty political.

Nov 25, 2012 at 7:23 PM | Unregistered Commenterscepticthinker

@ retireddave

I agree with your basic premise but it is the Student body through its union that is against free speech, not the University. Of course the University might feel the same way.

I realise that the Students' Union cannot speak for the university as a whole and it may not even reflect the views of the majority of students, just the activists. However you cannot have a university without students and therefore if the body that is supposed to represent students advocates the suppression of free speech then the staff of the university cannot pretend that it has nothing to do with them.

The Principal (or Vice Chancellor or whatever the most senior official in Derby University is called) should make it clear to the students' union that acceptance of free speech is a fundamental academic value as well as being a fundamental democratic value. Any students who campaign against that should be suspended or dismissed from their courses.

Nov 25, 2012 at 7:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Look at the blog header, "A dissentient afflicted with the malady of thought" nothing about exclusive climate and environment topics. See Neil Craig's posting on a previous soft totalitarian thread to see why this is important to anyone afflicted by the malady of thought. Even if you detest everything UKIP stands for it is important these things are in the open and reasonable people resist censorship and worse.

Nov 25, 2012 at 7:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Interesting that this thread now includes talk about Students' Unions. I suspect if you analyse the CVs of Rotherham Council you will find more than one of them was very active in the SU whilst at uni. Also, they probably went from there to Rotherham Council via no occupation of any use whatsoever and certainly nowhere near the private sector.

Nov 25, 2012 at 7:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

@scepticthinker, this blog was a political libertarian blog long before it evolved primarily a climate blog. I'm not sure what you mean by "attack thread on UKIP". I also have libertarian background but actually have few views in common with UKIP on immigration (I am strongly pro immigration within the EU, including the newest members).

The issue at hand is the damage this could do to the democratic process. What next, left leaning party members banned from holding high positions in corporations because of the anti-corporation policies? Or how about banning members of the right wing parties from being judges because of their support of capital punishment?

Banning people from certain activities because of membership of a mainstream political party would have a chilling effect on democracy, and it is an important story, particularly for those of us that value human rights in terms of freedom of thought, speech and political expression. I am glad Andrew is covering it. It is MUCH wider than a UKIP issue, which is why even the Labour party have expressed concern about it.

Nov 25, 2012 at 8:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpence_UK

I'm guessing they view UKIP in the same way the people used to view Militant Tendency in the 1980's.

Nov 25, 2012 at 8:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobinson

Outbreaks of alleged censure concerning UKIP in this country is an entirely valid topic regardless of personal party empathy, and even the BBC, infamous for its bias notwithstanding, did not bury or spin it, but handled the Rotherham story amply and fairly, as they should. However, there is very pertinent recent history on the danger of jumping to conclusions based on tweets and facebook comments without full and measured investigative confirmation.

Barnardos is off the radar of my personal suspect list for dodgy charities. I had a quick look at a download of their accounts. Its hard to tell at a glance how much state funding is there. There is certainly a generous dogs breakfast of council-related etc public money, but the general impression I got was that a considerable slug of income comes from corporate, private and legacy donations and Barnados own subsidiary income and investments.

Nov 25, 2012 at 8:31 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Before we go overboard here I would bet that the only part of the university that the SU can ban UKIP from is the Union Bar ^.^
BTW the reason for this sudden smear campaign in Rotherham is that UKIP have a realistic chance of winning the by-election


You are in a rich vein of humour; that is the second straight post of yours that caused me to laugh out loud.

Nov 25, 2012 at 8:32 PM | Registered CommenterDung

@ scepticthinker - Bishop Hill may be known as a climate science blog but the blog's roots are in libertarianism. Hence fwiw I feel the disgraceful removal of the children from the Rotheram foster couple for political reasons is absolutely apposite and worthy of discussion here. I am quite sure most commenters and lurkers here would have been equally appalled if the couple had been members of any political party, and not just UKIP. The concern is that public sector officials are making 'political' judgements about citizens which they have no right or justifiable reason to do, and likely based on little more than a few common purpose seminars and a good dose of arrogance and ignorance. This is all part of a wider and insidious trend in the UK, which I think Rowan Atkinson summed up very well last month in his address to the Reform Section 5 parliamentary reception.

Nov 25, 2012 at 8:50 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

"What next, left leaning party members banned from holding high positions in corporations because of the anti-corporation policies? Or how about banning members of the right wing parties from being judges because of their support of capital punishment?"

They are completeley different cases. The corporation/you/ should have any right to ban anyone deemed for whatever reason. You ban anyone you want from your home. That is why you don't read Libertarian texts in a Communist newspaper.
Now the Public, The State are completely different matters. The State force people - any people - to pay taxes then they have to treat everyone the same.

Nov 25, 2012 at 9:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterLL


If you feel so strongly then you have 2 options:

1) Don't read the small number of threads that you dislike.

2) Don't read any of the blog.

To my mind, 2) would be throwing out the baby with the bathwater! But that is a personal view from a longtime reader (I look at it every day although don't often comment).

If you want an idea of the roots of the blog, try looking at:

My memory may be playing me false but the earliest posts I remember reading were about the education system in Scotland. AGW came later.

Nov 25, 2012 at 9:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Bates

Best try to control yourself. I wouldn't wish to be responsible for a hernia!

To follow on from Spence_UK's post.
It was because this was a libertarian blog before it was a climate blog that I felt comfortable posting as I did at 11.17am today (25/11) on the original 'soft totalitarian' thread.
I'll quote part of what I said here, if I may.
In reference to Booker's piece today in his continuing campaign for justice in the courts, I said

Justice and the rule of law are both being undermined by the very people charged with upholding them.
Personally I am more worried by that and the situation which has arisen in Rotherham than I am about climate change (if only because that is a problem and climate change isn't) which is why I also added the rider that if Andrew (or anyone) wants to start a campaign to highlight the abuses in the system they can count me in.
Perhaps we could make a difference, I don't know. I suspect we could probably make more of a difference, given time, than we are likely to make on the eco-alarmists, important as keeping the pressure on them is.

Nov 25, 2012 at 9:22 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

The segue from soft totalitarians to hard-line greenies is not difficult to spot - including the large section where they are actually the same people.

Nov 25, 2012 at 9:33 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

LL, no my point holds, you have simply misunderstood it.

My point was that it would be equivalent to someone be banned from holding a position in a corporation by a government authority, not via an autonomous decision by the corporation itself. I think that was fairly clear from what I wrote.

You are aware that the government can ban individuals from holding directorships, aren't you? At present none of those reasons involve membership of a political party, of course.

Nov 25, 2012 at 11:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpence_UK

I have only three things to say, two are quotes (and I will use the Wikipedia references in case you think am biased)...

"First they came for UKIP..."

The second is just a fundamental principle that we British have fought for, for at least 400 years...

Unfortunately, I think we have lost our way, we need a "Martin Luther King" to non-violently reclaim our rights.

Nov 25, 2012 at 11:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterAdrian

According to their most recently available published accounts (FY end March 2011) 64% of Banardo's income came from fees and grants for providing services, so their main business is acting as contractors to government.

Nov 26, 2012 at 12:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterJust Saying

POI, as far as I can see UKIP just want a sensible immigration policy not unlike that of Denmark, which lurched rightwards a few years ago & now has the most stringent immigration policy in th PDRU/UESR! It is classical left-wing operations to play the race card at the earliest opportuniy to discredit one's opponents. It is alo extremely disturbing that the Students' Union seems to be swayed by the fewest of numbers, so as to make UKIP a whipping boy, liable to be blown out of all proportion as is their want & desire. The only decent thing to come out of the Student Union per se was the Students/Young persons Railcard, but that was nearly 40 years ago now, so no hot-bed of great practical ideas springing forth then!

Nov 26, 2012 at 11:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Finding UKIP banned from hustings is a regular circumstance.

I was with our Glasgow candidate for Holyrood when we turned up at the Glasgow Anglican Cathedral hustings and were not allowed to speak - though for imbalance the church introduced their own representative, who wasn't standing, but who proposed policies indistinguishable from those the Green candidate did. The Church of Scotland regularly do the same which accounts for the majority of hustings.

The C of S in Scotland and C of E in England are established churches but I don't think they receive much state money (University unions by comparison are heavily subsidised) so this may be a grey area.

Nov 26, 2012 at 11:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterNeil Craig

University and Derby in the same sentence, what are the odds? Given that any intelligent young person would choose any other university before Derby with the exception of certain faux universities in London and Bedfordshire's Luton campus, we're clearly not dealing with the top 99% of students here.

Nov 26, 2012 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterDocBud

Tories should consider UKIP pact, Michael Fabricant urges is the latest from our beloved state broadcaster. In it Nigel Farage states that he would be much more willing to do business with Michael Gove than David Cameron. The moment I saw Gove interviewed on the weekend about the Rochdale incident - bearing in mind that Michael himself was adopted - and he kept on using the phrase of the foster parents "belonging to a mainstream political party" I felt it only a matter of time. How strangely things move, but move indeed they do.

Nov 26, 2012 at 2:52 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

In today's Telegraph Nigel Farage stated that Cameron was the big problem, not the Tory party. Apparently Cameron has just refused to withdraw his earlier faux pas of calling all UKIP members loonies and closet racists. Farage has withdrawn the normal strategy of not running against eurosceptic Tories in elections, he says that now they will compete against all Tories. He invites Tory MPs to sack Cameron or join UKIP. Cameron will have a job explaining this to his party even after he manages to extract his foot from his mouth.

Nov 26, 2012 at 3:41 PM | Registered CommenterDung

As Fabricant pointed out to Jo Coburn on the Daily Politics, Dung, these are decisions for 24 months time, both for the Tories and for UKIP. I don't think Farage has the power to sack Cameron, not yet, but he is making progress on a radical rethink of our relationship with Europe, which is great. Fabricant's discussion document also sounds a good step - and who could have arranged the timing of that with Rochdale?

What would a pact mean for climate policy? That's worth some thought. I'm sure folks like Christopher Monckton and Ben Pile are on the case. Interesting times.

Nov 26, 2012 at 4:06 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

By withdrawing the gentleman's agreement not to run against eurosceptic Tories, Farage has put Cameron between a rock and a hard place TODAY not in 24 months time. All parties are thinking today about how to get elected at the next election and Cameron just made the job a lot harder for the Tories.

Nov 26, 2012 at 4:36 PM | Registered CommenterDung

One of the contributors to a R5 phone in suggested the couple be banned from fostering because UKIP didn't accept climate change. The presenter wasn't interested.

Nov 26, 2012 at 4:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Bagley

Dung: I think you may be overstating the influence of Farage at this stage, who has no members of Parliament, compared to Tory MPs, in and out of cabinet, who like Michael Gove are ready to walk out on Europe. But essentially we agree. And Cameron's latest press conference on the budget row is now on the Downing Street site. The top man is being mightily helped by the weakness and new-found humility of the euro-hugging element in the BBC I think. How far he's willing to push things, with Angela Merkel's help (and this morning's Start the Week I found very helpful on what exactly makes that very underrated German politician tick), we are all about to find out.

Nov 26, 2012 at 5:03 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Jonathan Bagley: wow, thanks for that. The presenter wasn't interested for the best of reasons, I hope.

Nov 26, 2012 at 5:09 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

As a former fosterer and now an adoptive parent, I'm always interested in the level and focus of the public outrage connected with issues concerning fostering and adoption.

It's quite understandable in some respects that people can be bothered to be upset about this story. On the other hand, I can't help noticing that fostering / adoption is not an issue about which very many members of the great British public care a great deal. If it were, perhaps a few more people might be motivated to do something on behalf of the many children in our society who need to be looked after. If it were, perhaps there would be fewer children than there are in dire straits.

I suspect it remains to be seen what the truth of this particular story is. We need all the fosterers we can get, and there are not enough. If there was malfeasance here, it is of a particularly detestable sort, and the consequences have already been disastrous for the children involved. But it needs to be remembered that a great many fostering situations and adoptions fail, because the adults concerned are not able to handle the situations in which they find themselves, or bring too much of their own emotional or ideological baggage into the picture which they put before the interests of the children for whom they care. Social services have to bend over backwards to get things right, and in general they do as well as they possibly can with the numbers of people who are prepared to make themselves available. Sometimes, as we all know, things go wrong. But we need to remember that the issues are far more complex than most people are ready to understand: especially when we allow ourselves to get caught up in a pleasing wave of righteous indignation.

I find it strange that such quantities of moral outrage are expended on a story like this, concerning the rights of adults, when the real scandal still concerns the unheeded plight of a great number of kids who desperately need fosterers and adoptive parents. Save a little self-righteousness for that end of the story, and we'd be getting somewhere. In the meantime, I hope that if it becomes absolutely clear that this particular couple would make good fosterers, the right heads roll.

Nov 26, 2012 at 9:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Grove

Well, the most striking example of how racist attitudes have remained but been called by different names was in a Mail article. A social worker is quoted as saying:

‘One panel member said to me “I have noticed you are blonde and blue-eyed. Do you realise that a child from Guatemala will be dark-skinned and dark-eyed? Would you not mind that?”’

Why should they mind? Then again we find, later in the article

‘We thought that because this time we were a mixed race family, our ethnicity wouldn’t be a problem,’ says Alex.

‘But again we were turned away. We were told we definitely wouldn’t be suitable for a white child because we had a child of different ethnicity, nor would we be suitable for any other child unless they were Guatemalan.

Do you see what has happened? Prejudice is so deeply embedded in the minds of the social workers that they are projecting it onto the rest of the world without even realizing they are doing it. And what they are revealing is an ignorant and unexamined and totally absurd concept of 'race' which is reinventing the institutions of the Old South or Apartheid.

They have actually re-invented the concept of the quadroon or octaroon of the Old South, or the Coloured category of South Africa. The problem is you start out with a view that race is the most or only important thing about the people you are dealing with. You start out thinking, OK, this is black and white. You then notice that there are people who don't seem to fall into either category very clearly. You do not abandon the idea that maybe your concept of race is not useful.

No, you decide there are more than two races. And so we get to the crazed situation where a family has adopted a child that is from Guatemala, so is probably the product of a very mixed ancestry indeed. But they must be members of a race of some sort, so clearly we have to segregate them into people of their own kind, which means they can only adopt another Guatemalan baby.

Yes, they have reinvented the endless absurd racist distinctions and discriminations of the most racist regimes of the past, and are attempting to impose them on a population which has moved well beyond all that, under the guise of respecting the wholly imaginary cultural needs which the 'race' of the child requires.

As Orwell wrote, the animals looked in through the farmhouse window, and saw that the pigs had become men. That is what has happened. And apparently only the Daily Mail, of all papers, sees it for what it is.

Nov 27, 2012 at 8:37 AM | Unregistered Commentermichel

Jonathan Grove: Thank you saying all that.

Nov 27, 2012 at 9:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

From the Sun today:

UKIP last night soared to its highest poll rating in the wake of the fostering scandal.

An exclusive YouGov poll for The Sun put the party on 11 per cent — up from eight per cent just two weeks ago.

So a shrewd political move by Farage to break the news nationally, a week or more after the children had been taken away - especially if UKIP ratings stay that high over the next two years.

Was it best for the children? All I know is that Jonathan Grove is right to ask. Alison Phillips, these days one of the three most powerful people at the Daily Mirror, is sure that she can see into the hearts of those involved:

But let’s not kid ourselves for one moment that UKIP members care two hoots about these children’s plight.

This whole row has been kept running by a political party with the sole intention of winning votes in an up-coming by-election.

But the latest report in the Mail about the children being split up makes me wonder if this isn't a political football for a reason. As the ex-foster father, who used to be a Labour voter, like his wife, says:

These [senior social workers] are people on incredible salaries who are paid to make responsible decisions but they can’t do it.

A trip through the tabloids the day before Lord Leveson reports that, for me, shows again the vital importance of a free press - and of our own responsibility as readers to filter the message on behalf of those who really matter.

Nov 28, 2012 at 6:35 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Anyone notice how this story died, completely and utterly?

I wonder why.

Mar 30, 2013 at 9:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Grove

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