Chris Ashford ( @lawandsexuality ) ‘s Fickle Approach To Freedom of Speech

Posted: August 28, 2012 in Blogging, Freedom of Speech, Uncategorized

There is an interesting post by Paul Bernal, directed to the Labour Party, but with general relevance to our approach to freedom of speech in the digital age:

Paul writes:

‘In the current climate, there are regular calls to deal with such things as pornography and ‘trolling’ on the internet – but most of what is actually suggested amounts to little more than censorship. We need to be very careful about this indeed – the risks of censorship are highly significant.’

Chris Ashford ( @Lawandsexuality ) has endorsed all the points Paul makes:

However I do not know how sincerely or deeply Chris has engaged with the post. I have pointed out before how he has deliberately curtailed my ‘freedom of speech’ in the past:

My comment under Paul’s post is ‘awaiting moderation’. It says:


Good post.

I am passionate about free speech. but I find that many ‘liberals’ from whatever party allegiance tend to pay lip service to free speech whilst actively limiting it when it suits.

Chris ashford for example, who said he agreed with your post blocks me on twitter and only publishes some of my comments on his blog. He also calls me a ‘troll’ which serves to undermine trust in me as someone with anything worthwhile to say.

But then I always did think ‘hypocrisy’ was on every major party’s manifesto.


Apart from blocking me on twitter, calling me a ‘troll’, not publishing some of my comments on his blog, and telling his academic colleagues to ‘ignore’ me online, I now have discovered that Ashford has also ‘badmouthed’ me to individual academics he knows personally. I found out because we have friends and colleagues in common.

As I said on twitter before, some academics treat me as if I am completely separate from their ‘world’. All they need to do is to flick their wrists and I will be gone. No. I am part of their world, for better or for worse. I was BORN into it. My academic ‘credentials’ and lineage is stronger than most.  It is going to be difficult to get rid of me.

And that should be thought of as a good thing by Chris Ashford. He believes in freedom of speech, right? Even for trolls like me!

  1. Dean Esmay says:

    Refusing to listen to someone isn’t blocking their free speech, but having their views suppressed because you don’t like what they have to say certainly is.

  2. Travis says:

    Blocking free speech is one way to stop free thought. If you are not using the truth than you need to prevent both.

    Humans for the most part think with words, so to stop words is to stop thinking. We as humans have evolved to the point of creative problem solving thought processes. So stopping critical thinking and the expression of that truly is criminal.

    And bags the question what is someone hiding when they block free speech?

  3. QRG says:

    Thanks both for your comments. ‘what is someone hiding when they block free speech?’ is a good question. I have started to think the thing they are hiding is… nothing. If they lack ideas, critical thinking, then one way to cover that lack up is to block/ban/delete those that do have those things!!

  4. Jonathan says:

    Not really on topic, QRG, but I thought it might amuse you…

    Noticing your tweets today, I tried to follow @_MarkMcCormack, only to get this message:

    “You have been blocked from following this account at the request of the user.”

    Wtf?! How does he know I even exist to block me?

    But trawling through my old tweets I found this one on March 27th:

    @mattlodder @_MarkMcCormack Or ignore it if you don’t want to engage with her. Getting a serious critical review taken down is just naff.

    Clearly that got me an instant block. 😆

    • QRG says:

      classic! Yes I know someone else who got blocked by Mccormack during that hoo ha over him taking down my review. It is a perfect illustration of my point about freedom of speech and ‘liberals’!

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