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Between Free Speech and Farage: an appearance on GB news

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" is often attributed to French enlightenment philosopher Voltaire, but it was actually penned by Evelyn Beatrice Hall in her book The Friends of Voltaire as an illustration of his beliefs. Her words are often cited to illustrate the principle central to freedom of speech.

Until recently I thought it was a principle most people respected, but that was before the illiberal perma-offended few began to target anyone in their pursuit of thought control, fabricated outrage and censorship.

So, it was sadly of little surprise when the SNP’s Mike Russel impugned my defence of the case for independence on GB News as somehow unhelpful. However, in his haste to claim outrage he failed to disclose that the guest immediately prior to me was an SNP representative conveniently escaping both Mike’s attention and his haughty ire.

Thankfully my performance against Farage was welcomed by many SNP independence supporters as a necessary intervention - lest we let our opponents completely off the hook.

The central premise Mike and those of his ilk appear to be advancing is that I was somehow ‘endorsing’ Farage. This is such an ill-informed argument that fails the most basic of scrutiny given his own party’s regular participation on GB News. Does this mean the SNP endorses right-wing policy, or the views of its presenters? Of course, it doesn’t. That’s a banal, lazy, and ludicrous argument.

There have been two occasions where representative of the perma-offended have refused to share a platform with me. I am glad to say that on both occasions the organisers refused to cave to their demands, de-platforming themselves as a result. As far as I’m concerned that is the only way to deal with petted-lip politics - if you’re too precious to defend Scotland, perhaps it’s not your cause after all.

I freely admit I get offended by reckless economic and social policies, but I’m not the one refusing to argue my case. I’m particularly offended by a prioritised focus on compelled thought and speech whilst in energy-rich Scotland our people continue to face poverty, businesses struggle to keep folk in jobs, and our vast resources are handed over for the benefit and enrichment of others.

Inevitably reader views will differ, but I celebrate and defend your right to disagree with me and to be heard.

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