Guess what! You couldn’t make it up – except you could. The student panel which will advise the new university watchdog on free speech has appointed the delightful Mr Ben Hunt to join it.

If you don’t know who I am talking about, this is the free-minded chap from the King’s College London’s students’ union who campaigned to have former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey’s picture erased from his alma mater’s wall of fame. Otherwise known as the Strand Gallery, here enlarged photos of the university’s most famous and revered alumni adorn the building’s Strand flank.

We reported on this not-so-enlightened young man on TCW just over a year ago. He was already notorious for his taste for censorship. At the height of the gay marriage debate in 2010, with his fellow LGBT student campaigners he had demanded the removal of Lord Carey for opposing this policy.

Ben Hunt condemned Carey’s views as ‘outdated, hurtful and offensive’, never minding that the university at which he had chosen to study was founded as a Christian institution, that Carey had graduated there in 1962 as a Bachelor of Divinity, and that it was acting on his Christian beliefs that he had tabled an amendment to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill in the House of Lords.

The university stood firm and by its enlightened free speech principles: ‘Lord Carey’s views are his own and offered as part of an open debate,’ a spokesman explained.

But Ben Hunt’s campaign to remove Lord Carey’s image did not stop.

By 2013, a new and more accommodating KCL principal, Ed Byrne, invited the students’ union to submit an alternative list of alumni to refresh the Strand Gallery. How thoughtful of him. Ben Hunt, still studying we must surmise, declared dictatorially that ‘the scheme will mean the removal of Lord Carey, and the inclusion of minorities in the discussions for new alumni’. Byrne agreed, at least indirectly, to students’ demands.

But two years later the allegedly homophobic ex-Archbishop was still there, traumatising students. LGBT activists were getting impatient and Ben Hunt was back knocking on Byrne’s door. Carey’s image was repeatedly defaced by graffiti.

This was 2016. A King’s spokesman stated that while there were no current plans to remove any figure, including Lord Carey, ‘our proposed redevelopment of The Strand campus is likely to require a review of the display of our alumni’. How convenient. And in due course the defaced Lord Carey disappeared. Nothing to do with the campaigners, of course.

‘Archbishop removed from wall five years after success of LGBT campaign,’ crowed Roar, the King’s students’ union newspaper. Professional student Ben Hunt, by now president of the union (a satisfactory sinecure for a bolshie student campaigner, wouldn’t you say?) said how proud he felt that the university had finally acted.

So now the not-so-young but permanent student (it seems) has been appointed to the Office for Students (will he get paid for that too?) the new and unnecessary quango set up by the naive Jo Johnson to crack down on universities that fail to safeguard free speech.

Oh, how you should be careful what you wish for. More likely it will be cracking down on those institutions that have the temerity to defend free speech.


  1. I always find it curious how individuals who demand nothing more than 100% approval of their actions are always offended by ‘outdated and hurtful’ ideas and individuals.

        • If your first comment had made any kind of sense, I’d have been happy to reply to it. In reality, it is no more than modish gibberish.

          • Modern gibberish, eh? Well if you were so keen to reply to my argument, why didn’t you do it in the first place instead of offering snark?

            Why don’t you try READING my comment again? Or would you like me to explain the basics of the alphabet to you?

  2. The value of a university’s reputation is remarkably fragile. In the eighteenth century, Scottish universities were far more highly regarded than English ones. It was in an attempt to recover lost pre-eminence that England finally recognised the need for more and better universities. King’s College, London, was one of the first examples. For most of the twentieth century, Britain’s finest universities were as highly regarded as any in the world. Scotland’s threw away their reputation first, but England’s are trying very hard to match Scotland’s, in the race to the basement.

    Does anyone seriously imagine that the PC warfare over the Strand portraits enhances the reputation of King’s, or that the Oriel College argy-bargy over the Rhodes statue brought the slightest credit to Oxford? English-language universities across the globe have surrendered their pre-eminence, while over-paid bureaucrats abdicate their responsibility to protect the value of the education they are supposed to offer, in favour of getting puff-pieces in the Guardian.

    • The vice chancellors and other administrators of the Russell Group of British universities probably think they have nothing to worry about when similar lunacy is entrenched in elite American, Canadian and Australian universities.

  3. Praise be !! We have a new Witchfinder General .
    The similarities to the Puritan fanatics of our past are growing daily . Who’s head shall be cut off ? will it be freedom of speech , freedom of thought , conscience , all of them and democracy itself ? We should be afraid , very afraid , and then we should fight back and put these new fascists back under the stone from which they have slithered out !

  4. Another nail in the coffin. The relentless march to remove our traditions, to remove our history and to remove our identity as Brits. That way we can be easily controlled by globalists.

  5. With all the real issues that offend me daily( sexual harassment of girls in school, the need for food banks, drunken violence, disgusting litter, over consumption of just about everything, murder and assault of Gay men in so many countries, armed police on our streets) this little over-privileged oaf complains about a picture. Everyone goes into meltdown and he gets his career advanced. Can’t he find a real issue to campaign about.

    • the ‘need’ for food banks is highly debatable, other than as a tool for the left to beat the Tories with. The Trussell Trust is strongly linked with the Labour party and everyone I’ve met collecting for them is a Labour activist.
      I’ve rarely seen an ethnic face using these food banks, and never a Muslim. I always ask the collectors and officials whether they have a Halal section, only to get blank faces because they hadn’t even considered it. Muslims never appear to need food banks.

      This raises an important question, either the whole foodbank lobby is being exploited by white people who want a free lunch (and there’s some evidence to support this) or the state in its anti white racism is only causing hardship to white people, and there is evidence to support this too.

      After all if a country is prepared to protect the gang rape of hundreds of thousands of children because the perpetrators come from a certain ethnic and religious background, then what else are they prepared to do ?

      • Absolutely, and the events mentioned in your last paragraph, are a bench mark.

        Whilst there are genuine cases of those in need of food banks, I can confirm that there are many who have been offered the use of, when they are not in need.
        How do I know they are not in need? because they have told me so. In fact one or two have felt nothing but anger, that they have been given access to it. Who set the ball rolling for them? A Labour busy body.
        I’ve seen the letters confirming their eligibility, so I know it’s not just sensationalism.
        So how many times has this happened, or are these few incidents isolated ones?
        I doubt it.

        • Oddly enough before food banks were invented, instead of mass starvation people went to things called ‘shops’.
          Was this an idea before it’s time?

        • Look West to Canada. I hear food banks are doing a pretty brisk business – all this under a supposedly “progressive” Liberal government.
          With the proliferation of cheap shops/pound shops here, I find it difficult to believe that people can’t afford even basic necessaries.

      • Food banks wasn’t really my point. I just listed a few of the many issues this fool could campaign about. I did not expect disagreement about the list.

        • @ancientpopeye

          I shall attempt to answer your questions simply and succinctly, regardless of whether your posting is a Poe or not.

          The transgenders you read about are men and women who, for a whole raft of different and complex reasons, choose to live their lives as if they were members of the opposite biological sex to the one they actually are.

          Gender-reassignment is a term derived from cultural-Marxist theory and as such is a totally meaningless piece of jargon unless one happens to subscribe to that particular ideology.

          You are not going gaga, though much of Western society seems to be going round the bend at the moment.

  6. OH Dear ! Yet again the column writers fail to read between the lines about what is going on, and also many fail to even read the comments posted here about what they have written !

    I have posted a few times here that the Jo Johnson university policy is NOT about free speech, but the opposite. It is a policy for the legitimisation of censorship, and the end of free speech in Universities.

    The four get out clauses are in come cases without any definition at all, and as Anita Sarkeesian tells us “Everything is racist, everything is sexist, everything is homophobic” and on that basis everything is ‘hate’ and therefore everything can legitimately be censored.

    Back in the old Soviet Union people learned to read between the lines. Freedom of speech will find a way, but only for the few enlightened enough to understand what is being said to them. Alas Kathy must not have been reading these comments!

    It really is constant disappointment to see posters here so easily distracted, by what might be termed rank prejudice & bigotry, chasing the red cape being waved in front of them, failing to see the matador controlling it.
    If you want to beat this then the only way is to start attacking the ones in control, and not the straw men they throw up to disguise themselves.

    • I see your point, but you seem to confer little or no agency on LGBT activists. As though you think they are being used as a master plot. I see structure and agency in this. We are using our agency in contesting censorship. The traditional structure of civil liberty and intellectual freedom has been eroded, and I don’t think the likes of BH should be excused from responsibility for their actions.

      • LGBT is just a tool in a toolbox being used to forge a post-democratic era by professional politicians engaged in charade, unelected “leaders” engaged in subversion and a whole host of useful idiots. It all started in 1969 and we are now being governed by beatniks, the damaged children of beatniks and the even more damaged grandchildren of beatniks.

    • How I long for The Times of yore, destroyed by Jingoism in the collateral damage of the Falklands War, when understanding of any one of its important articles or editorials absolutely required the ability to read between its lines …

    • “OH Dear ! Yet again the column writers fail to read between the lines about what is going on, and also many fail to even read the comments posted here about what they have written !”

      Yes indeed. Of course, one of the major campaigns of the Machiavellian Left over the last 50 years has been the endless drip-drip message that the only Machiavellians in the world are to be found amongst the Left’s critics, while the Left itself is composed entirely of people bound to truthfulness, good faith, humility and fair representation. This is the Big Lie of recent times, and like all Big Lies it seems to have become programmed as an unquestionable truth into the minds of the masses.

      The reality, of course, is that nothing the progressive Left says or does is quite as it seems, and that the sensible thing to do with anything emanating from the Left is to regard it as something intended to manipulate people into accepting the Leftist viewpoint as being based in reason rather than just the representation of childhood prejudices that it actually is.

  7. I’m afraid it’s nothing new. At two universities I knew, many, many decades ago, there was in each a ‘charismatic’ student leader (apparently a perpetual student) whose main occupation, it seemed, was trying to ban from the campus any speaker with whose views he disagreed

    • “apparently a perpetual student”… and a perpetual drain on the public purse (if they ever gave up “studying” then very likely they could look forward to a lifetime of quango-type sinecures)?

  8. “a new … principal, Ed Byrne, invited the students’ union to submit an alternative list of alumni to refresh the Strand Gallery”

    Always a mistake.

  9. Well this is one person. I would have liked TCW to take a long hard look at the whole quango and investigate the backgrounds of all its members, analyse its remit and powers, the basis on which it has been created and at whose instigation. The fuss over Toby Young has not been matched by any fuss over this guy. There does not seem to have been much fuss made over the creation of this quango by all the usual suspects of the left – which is suspicious in itself.

    For example, Nicola Dandridge is the CEO of this new quango which amalgamates HEFCE and the Office for Fair Access, the latter’s role was to increase the proportion of learners from under-represented and disadvantaged groups and to make faster progress in improving access to the most selective higher education institutions by students from under-represented and disadvantaged groups. Dandridge is a lawyer with a background in equality law who in 2015 was appointed chair of the taskforce to examine violence against women, harassment and hate crime affecting university students, with a focus on the issue of violence against women and sexual harassment. The taskforce was instigated by Jo Johnson to tackle violence against women on campus. In that capacity Dandridge supported optional gender segregation in universities.

    Is this woman, who seems to be cast in the mould of so many other radical and revolutionary new “leaders”, from the RSPCA to the Girl Guides, likely to champion free speech on campus or de-construct the notion of safe spaces? That seems doubtful.

    Michael Barber, who has a strong Labour, NUT and left-wing background, was appointed “Chair” of the new quango. By whom? How? Why? Presumably not without the approval of the “Conservative” minister responsible? And that is Jo Johnson, whose wife is Amelia Gentleman, described as the Guardian’s “trenchantly left-wing social affairs correspondent”. If that has no influence over him then I’m a Dutchman.

    The whole thing is another example of how a supposedly “Conservative”, centre-right government appears to be perpetuating and reinforcing New Labour-type left of centre policies by sponsoring and hiring their unelected has-beens.

  10. Here’s an article proving (if any proof were needed) of the wrong thinking behind so called ‘hate’ crime.

    Even its legal definition is not a definition at all:

    “any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice”

    For a start then it doesn’t even have to be the victim which regards this as ‘hate’, it can be anyone, and there doesn’t need to be any evidence either – just a perception is sufficient to record a ‘hate crime’.

    Motivated by hostility? Many crimes are motivated by hostility, doesn’t mean someone has some kind of extreme political beliefs though.

    If we are to start criminalising white people (and it is always white people on the receiving end) on the basis of a third parties perception of events.

    In Rotherham thousands of incidents of ‘hate crime’ should have been generated, but the Police simply refuse to record incidents of so called ‘hate’ crime against white people because white lives simply don’t matter.

    The point of this and if you do read the ridiculous article you will understand that absolutely anything can be regarded as ‘hate’ for anyone for no apparent reason and without any evidence to support it. This is why the University quango is an instrument for the destruction of free speech.

  11. Pretty pathetic of King’s to advertise themselves with those pictures anyway. It was as though they were saying, “You probably thought we were not much good, but look at some of the famous people who studied here”.

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