Censorship is becoming ‘the new normal’, warns journalist and feminist activist Julie Bindel

The problem must be addressed before it gets 'worse and worse'

Aftab Ali
Student Editor
Friday 12 February 2016 16:20
Banning Donald Trump, pictured, from the UK 'won't stop Americans voting for him'
Banning Donald Trump, pictured, from the UK 'won't stop Americans voting for him'

Censorship is quickly becoming “the new normal,” not only on university campuses, but in society as a whole, according to a leading British journalist and feminist activist.

Voicing her opinions in a short video clip, recorded by The Guardian, Julie Bindel has spoken out after more than half a million people signed a petition last month to ban US presidential hopeful Donald Trump from entering the UK.

In the video, which has gone viral since its publication on Wednesday, Bindel also makes reference to the “pick-up artist” known as Roosh V - who called for rape to become legalised in certain circumstances - whom protesters have been calling to be banned from Britain after he announced a series of “meet-up” events for his followers across the country.

Telling viewers, “Sorry, we can’t ban everything that offends you,” Bindel adds: “Banning Donald Trump from the UK won’t stop Americans voting for him, banning Roosh V from entering the country does nothing to change the fact that, in the UK, an estimated 85,000 women are raped - and 400,000 are sexually assaulted - every single year.”

She further urges those who support such calls for banning figures to “let us hear the arguments put forward by those with whom we disagree, so we can expand our language and show rational resistance” before the problem gets “worse and worse.”

Reflecting on her own experience of being no-platformed by students’ unions around the country, Bindel makes reference to being banned from speaking at an event at the University of Manchester in October 2015 on whether modern feminism has a problem with free speech.

According to The Mancunion, Bindel had been criticised in the past for making negative comments about the trans community. According to the paper, women’s officer Jess Lishack justified the union’s decision not to let her speak at the event by saying: “Julie Bindel is a journalist and activist who’s been on a crusade against the trans community, and trans women in particular, for many years.

“She abhorrently argues that trans women should be excluded from women-only spaces, whether that be through feminist organising or women’s sexual and domestic violence services.”

However, in the online video clip, Bindel says: “Turns out not a single one of them [the students] had read any of my work.”

Bindel’s comments have come just weeks after online magazine spiked released its annual Free Speech University Rankings which showed how the stifling of free speech at the UK’s universities is now “an epidemic” amid the revelation students’ unions were four times more likely to put bans in place on campus than the actual universities themselves.

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