ON Remembrance Day, lest we forget . . . to call out the modern enemy. And even to fight back, in peaceful ways, of course.
The intended Great Resist conference in Liverpool, due to take place today, has been cancelled. By the hotel. My editor at TCW, Kathy Gyngell, was to have been a headline speaker.
Just like in Bethlehem, there was no room at the Inn. For hate speech, allegedly. This would be people fighting back against the globalist fascism of the age being perpetrated by those who propose ‘a great reset’. Capitalism for the elite and socialism for the rest of us. Ubiquitous digital surveillance. Radical decarbonisation. More, indeed endless, pandemics.
How did this happen? Well, in the usual way. Through threats against the venue from a social media mob. In this case, by a group called Liverpool Against Hate. Sadly, they are also against the right of individuals to hold and share opinions.
Spinelessly, the Holiday Inn said that they didn’t want to be involved in politics. Well, they are involved in politics by cancelling the event. Stupid as well as spineless, then.
For a response from the Great Resist organiser, Liz Phillips, see here.
Those against global corporatism and totalitarianism are a strange target for a group projecting themselves as against ‘hate speech’.
The city of Liverpool isn’t always afraid to hold political conferences. Only in April, Liverpool FC had its own conference: ‘Liverpool FC will welcome more than 100 representatives from elite sports across the UK and USA to Anfield this week for the United Nations and Eradicate Hate Global Sports Working Group Summit. In late 2022, LFC became a member of the Eradicate Hate Global Sports Working Group, which works to deploy the powerful voices of sport to foster acceptance and mutual respect, and counter hate speech around the world.’
Ah, fostering acceptance and mutual respect. Do these values include having events cancelled? By those with whom you are not even arguing? Apparently. We all await Liverpool FC’s condemnation of the bullying on display right under their noses. I assume they include bullying in the list of things to be condemned by these sorts of love-in international groups.
The irony of cancelling a peaceful meeting on a day when radical Islamists will be spreading the lurve across Britain should be lost on no one. Suella Braverman, one of the few British Tories (maybe) worth feeding, having lambasted the Met for selective racial policing, may well be interested in this less headline-grabbing form of intolerance out in the back blocks. But I doubt it. You see, the Great Resist people don’t think much of the Tories or their protectors and allies, many of whom met in London last week at a conservative establishment event that was never going to be cancelled by the venue or anyone else. They have too many friends in too many high places. The Great Resist people have friends mostly in low places, in the alt-conservative movement that actually cherishes freedom and individual rights and, yes, there might be some on the conspiracy fringes. One wonders, in this context, whether Toby Young’s Free Speech Union will step up.
A recent interview with Liz Phillips, who is also founder of Freedom Digital Broadcasting, covered the following topics: Report of the Conf on 24 June 2023; Upcoming Conf in Peterborough, 2nd Sept; the agenda of the news media; Ofcom guidelines on climate change; Nigel’s debanking debacle; the war against small businesses; the right to a bank account.
Not a lot of hate speech there. Even YouTube, at or near the top of the Cancellation Industrial Complex, hasn’t taken this down. Phillips simply styles her organisation as ‘pushing back against tyranny’. She thinks bankers are crooks. No argument from me. She worked on the Brexit campaign. Excellent. The Great Reset? Building a prison and sticking us in it, as one of Liz’s interviewers (Richard Vobes) says. Digital currencies? Dead against them. The climate scam? Tick. And they ban political party speakers from their conferences. The one politician Liz likes is Andrew Bridgen. She regards all other politicians as bought, thick or both. She calls out and fears the coming (so-called) singularity, the AI/human augmentation nonsense led by people like Ray Kurzweil, the Google employee and AI guru who takes a hundred pills a day and wants to live for ever, like many of his Big Tech nut-job billionaire friends. The political lies about mass (often illegal) immigration? Again, called out.
Utterly benign. And necessary. For this people power, Liz Phillips, who is getting on in years, was physically attacked in Trafalgar Square during a peaceful Covid protest. By indoctrinated thug coppers. I do not recall a single Tory Cabinet Minister calling out the Met over that one.
The closest thing to hate speech among groups like the Great Resist and which can be found among some freedom groups is (often well-disguised) anti-Semitism, and Kathy Gyngell recently published a series by to leading British Jewish figures decrying this tendency. So, nothing to see there.
Allowing imbecilic fact-checker types who bully corporations into taking THEIR political side to have conferences cancelled pose a dilemma for the free speech advocate. At what stage do the gloves come off? Is it okay to use counter-cancel tactics that we would not normally contemplate? If the Met can be called to account by a senior Government Minister, can corporations? What would counter-measures look like?
All questions worth asking. When the mob gets questionable people banned, we don’t like it even though we might not think much of the cancelled party. In this case, they are banning a group that no sane person would call remotely questionable. In doing so, they have crossed a line. It should mean war.
The question is also raised – who is behind the cancellers? Why would they bother with a lowly, people-power outfit, unless they are a front group for some element of the globalist establishment? Perhaps there are hints in the letter sent by the activists to the Hotel.
Check the linked letter. It turns out that some groups (Hearts of Oak and Students Against Tyranny) linked to the Great Resist are claimed by the activists to be anti-gay, anti-refugee and anti- the climate scam. Well, blow me down. They also imply that a few among Liz’s mob think that the cultural Marxism of the Frankfurt Institute (sic) is a German Jewish conspiracy. Really. And that the LGBT brigade is trying to indoctrinate children. Well, of course they are. They have. It worked. And a bit of Holocaust denial is thrown in just to round things out. Damning a broad-based group by finding alleged thought crimes from among its disparate members is as old as the hills. But it works against spineless corporates.
Make what you will of their assertions. My only comment in response to this level and reach of offence archaeology is that, if these people take the time to do all this ‘research’ and then have the energy and the sheer persistence and will to execute, then there is little surprise that they are winning the war. How many of ‘us’ would do all this work?
They finish up: ‘We respect that both the patrons and employees of the Holiday Inn chain represent many cultures, religions, races, sexualities and gender identities and hope that you understand how hosting an event that is happy to endorse those whose views would see such diversity as a weakness would damage the reputation of the intercontinental hotel group amongst many diverse communities.’
Note both the massive inaccuracies, the weirdly convoluted prose, the exaggerations, the generalisations, the straw man assertions, and, of course, the implied threat contained herein. Liz Phillips calls them monstrous lies. It turns out that there is probably no one ‘behind’ Liverpool Against Hate. Liz Phillips says they are part of the Hope Not Hate group, whose charter is as follows: ‘At HOPE not hate, our mission is to work tirelessly to expose and oppose far-right extremism.’
They produce a ‘state of hate’ annual report. Hilariously, they bill themselves as ‘anti-fascist’. Branding these people – the conference delegates – as far right is ludicrous, of course. But with a certain kind of leftist or middle management corporate shill, such trigger words work.
The Hope Not Hate people may well have sympathisers in the UK government, which in July 2020 produced a report called Covid-19: How hateful extremists are exploiting the pandemic. Yes indeedy. The Commission for Countering Extremism. You read that right. The fascist government, they of the lockdowns, the vaccine mandates, the killing of the elderly in nursing homes, the bans on meeting in the park, the shutting of schools, the creators of the nudge unit and its mass formation, and the rest – they are commissioning reports on extremism.
The Met has denied funding Hope Not Hate. As has the UK Home Office.
I think the Liverpudlians against hate are simply common or garden neo-Marxists undertaking a woke box-ticking exercise and using the methods that have worked for them everywhere they go. Seeing ‘diversity’ as they define it as a weakness doesn’t strike me as much of a crime.
But why bother engaging these types with counter-argument and evidence? They use a big stick and don’t even bother trying to ‘win’ arguments. This is an exercise in raw power. They are probably surprised at just how easy it all was, and is. The door is so weak it is child’s play to kick it down.
But there are those who are not cowed and will fight back. I suspect Liz Phillips is one of them. There were many positive comments from viewers of her second interview with Richard Vobes. One commenter suggested a legal path: ‘Sue them for breach of contract – OR, at least make a lawful tort CLAIM of damage against the man who cancelled you and cost you money. In fact, all of your guests could join the claim and add power to it. Claims are a LOT cheaper to file than lawsuits, and while you’ll ONLY get back what you can prove you lost numerically, you CRUSH the guy who did that, and he will likely be fired. Set the example.’
This story isn’t over yet.
The ‘case’ against the resist people is wafer thin, indeed it is non-existent. Just contrast the alleged crimes of one or two groups within the broader Resist movement noted above with some of the Armistice Day headlines coming out of Britain today:
Take your pick as to where the true hatred is, in this febrile swamp, and whether there is the remotest justification, when there is blood on the streets outside, for banning a conference of chin-wagging, peaceful people who are gathering because they oppose the totalitarian state, and where none of the items on the activist mob’s thought crime list are even being discussed.
There is an imperative, in these days, to refresh our defence of free speech, dust off the arguments and bloody well do something about it. As Jonathan Sumption has said: ‘Free speech needs saving from the tyranny of woke minorities.’
He wrote: ‘John Stuart Mill anticipated many things, but he did not anticipate the internet. Social media can conjure up instant online lynch mobs. They make a powerful amplifier available to the most intolerant strands of opinion. The algorithms which determine what material is placed under people’s noses expose them only to sentiments which they already agree with, thus intensifying their opinions and eliminating not only dissent but even nuance and moderation. Mill assumed that the pressure to conform would come from self-righteous majorities. But social media has conferred immense power on self-righteous minorities, often quite small minorities . . .
‘John Stuart Mill taught that the only purpose for which power might properly be exercised against individuals against their will was to prevent harm to others. But what we are presently witnessing is a subtle redefinition of the whole concept of harm to include the harm said to be caused by having to endure contradiction. The argument is that words wound, especially when they relate to another person’s identity or status; a university or a workplace where a person is exposed to disagreement must therefore be regarded, in the standard catchphrase, as “unsafe”.
‘The difference between violence and words is obvious. Violence is coercive. Words, even if offensive, are not coercive except in those cases where they are calculated to provoke violence. Yet in North America, Britain and much of the Anglosphere, this notion of harm has captured institutions. Recent research in the United States suggests that 29% of university professors have been pressured by university authorities into avoiding controversial subjects; 16% have either been disciplined or threatened with discipline for their words, their teaching or their academic research, while another 7% say that they have been investigated. Those working on any subject involving ethnic or religious sensitivities are particularly vulnerable. More than 80% of students report that they self-censor their work for fear of stepping out of line . . .
‘All of these problems have been intensified by a powerful generational divide. A mass of anecdotal evidence suggests that venues, publishers, and other media who shun controversial views are often pushed into it by their junior staff.‘
Given that much of the spleen venting comes from the young, impressionable, ideological and clueless, it is reassuring to see that Students Against Tyranny are actually out there, pushing back, getting their hands dirty, putting a bit of stick about. So many of the rest of us don’t. If there are a few rough edges on what they do or say, well, as Pope Francis says, who am I to judge? And if a few snowflakes take offence, well, whoop-de-do.
Sumption argues that free speech is still worth fighting for. It is, as the Liverpool travesty shows. As Liz Phillips says, provided we fight back, we’ll win. Meantime, I suggest we all let the Holiday Inn people know that they will not ever be included in any of our travel plans. And why.
This article appeared on Paul’s Newsletter on November 11, 2023, and is republished by kind permission.No Room at the Holiday Inn – by Paul Collits (substack.com)