Friday, November 27, 2020
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Reader’s comment: Whatever happened to freedom of thought?

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In response to Jane Kelly: Rise of the new fundamentalism – in deepest Oxford, Suthringa wrote:

I realised only after the Referendum just how non-diverse in opinions the current has become at Oxford University. I was at an ‘alumni’ invitation-only lecture followed by dinner of my old College about a week after the poll in a Pall Mall clubhouse. Most attendees had either a neutral perplexed view of the result, but I did not detect warmth towards EU on my table. However, at the cash bar that followed I was standing next to two others who I was a contemporary of; one like me had been in business and commerce and a chance remark was that like myself was a UKIPper. The other had been a Don at various colleges – he was apoplectic. ‘But, what? what!! I have never met anybody from UKIP before! I have not met anybody [in Oxford Uni] who even voted Leave!’ Well, then I said: ‘You obviously don’t get out much!’

What has gone wrong? I remember the diversity of opinions there running from the likes of Terry Eagleton, an avowed Marxist, to Jasper Griffin, an avowed reactionary, happily cohabiting and arguing. My own college had elected a Master who had been a Communist by the Fellowship who never shared his views, but respected his academic work and lifelong contribution to the college, knew him as a student there then Fellow.

I understand that of the 100-member fellowship of All Souls only three voted Leave.

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