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DAILY MAIL COMMENT: No debate: Wokery is ruining universities

DAILY MAIL COMMENT: No debate: Wokery is ruining universities

Debating societies are meant to be the very essence of our universities.

They are the crucibles in which freedom of thought can flourish, where students learn to challenge prejudice via their own critical faculties and can test ideas in the pursuit of knowledge.

How troubling, then, that today almost half of universities no longer actively host these forums. Rather than encouraging robust exchanges of views, self-appointed gatekeepers – often students themselves – increasingly try to silence speakers whose opinions violate the woke groupthink.

From producing great and original thinkers, universities have become factories of conformist indoctrination

Yet instead of taking on these modern-day witchfinders, universities slavishly prostrate themselves in timorous appeasement.

The truth is, too many of our higher education institutions have lost sight of why they are there. They are meant to be places of learning – not ideological cocoons, where students’ ‘emotional safety’ is prioritised.

From producing great and original thinkers, universities have become factories of conformist indoctrination.

Only by encouraging every diverse idea to be presented and questioned can they remain among the best in the world.

Global turmoil

Listening to the shrieks of the Left and the BBC, one might think the Government’s mishandled mini-Budget had single-handedly crashed the economy.

Yes, it caused a temporary slump in the pound. Yes, interest rates are back to historically typical levels. And yes, we face pain from high energy prices and inflation.

As Liz Truss warns, the economic outlook is gloomier than at any time since the financial crash. But while the immediate future is bleak, the UK is not alone in this turmoil. The entire world is suffering a hangover from lockdown and Russia’s war.

As Liz Truss warns, the economic outlook is gloomier than at any time since the financial crash

Indeed, the International Monetary Fund predicts Britain will be the fastest growing major advanced economy this year.

Of course, that organisation has been badly off target before, but it’s at least a positive sign. Also, it’s likely that tax-cutting measures in the mini-Budget will have reduced the risk of the country tumbling into recession, rather than increased it.

Meanwhile, official figures show unemployment has hit a 50-year low.

But with more vacancies than people to fill them, and nine million working age people without employment, shouldn’t ministers go further on making sure work is better rewarded than welfare?

A war we must win

It didn’t take a military genius to foresee Vladimir Putin taking savage and indiscriminate revenge for the humiliating destruction of his bridge to Crimea.

The missile attacks against Ukrainian homes and hospitals, and the slaughter of innocent civilians, add new war crimes to the dictator’s lengthening charge sheet.

With Putin plotting to blow up Europe’s gas pipes and issuing blood-curdling nuclear threats, we must not flinch

But as his invasion flops, and President Volodymyr Zelensky’s forces rout Russia’s war machine, he is beginning to panic. At this critical moment, the West must supply Ukraine with all the weapons it needs.

So it was reassuring the G7 – with Britain leading – has promised to ramp up military, economic and humanitarian support.

With Putin plotting to blow up Europe’s gas pipes and issuing blood-curdling nuclear threats, we must not flinch. Ukraine’s fight is our fight. Their security is our security.

  • A major prize of Brexit was that the European Court of Justice would no longer meddle in British laws. So it is deeply unsatisfactory that it remains the final referee of the flawed Northern Ireland Protocol. This cannot continue. As Lord Frost says, it undermines the integrity of the UK, which fuels sectarian unrest. Trade disputes should be resolved by independent arbitration – not partisan EU judges.

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