School ban ‘good’ and ‘bad’ to describe pupil behaviour sparking free speech fears

Free speech: ‘Society heading in a totalitarian direction’ says Young

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Free Speech campaigner Toby Young has warned TalkRadio listeners that “our society is heading in a totalitarian direction.” The dire warning came as Mr Young discussed the attempt by a school to ban the words ‘good’ and ‘bad’ when disciplining pupils. Mr young slammed the move as proof of leftwing ideologues “attempting to control every aspect of speech” in education, something he likened to China under Mao and in the Soviet Union. 

Mr Young told TalkRADIO: “It is where thought control begins.

“That is what is at the root of this.

“It is political activist groups, ideologues, trying to control the way people think by dictating the language we can use,

“We have seen it, it was a facet of the Soviet Union, it was a facet of Mao’s China.”

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He continued: “It was identified in Orwell’s 1984 as one of the tell tale signs of a totalitarian society.

“I think the attempt to control every aspect of speech…

“I am not talking about clearly hateful words, I am talking about trying to ban words like good and bad.

“Our society is heading in a totalitarian direction.”

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The comments come after teachers at Loughborough Amherst School in Leicestershire school were asked to describe behaviors in terms of “skillful” and “unskillful.”

Headteacher Dr Julian Murphy told the i Newspapers the move would “take the emotional heat out of language” by avoiding “emotional words.”

She said: “While I don’t want teachers to be soft, I also don’t want them to be shouty and make pupils feel guilty.

“I think it’s human psychology, even when you’re an adult – if people make you feel guilty, then you get angry and then actually that’s when you’re likely to play the blame game and not to work that well. That’s when things get into a bit of a vicious circle.”


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The Free Speech Union launched in February last year, with Mr Young as Director, and already has accumulated over 2,700 members.

The group aims to act as a counterweight to what it sees as attacks on free speech, offering political and if necessary legal support to its members who believe their rights have been infringed.

Speaking to after the launch Mr Young said: “I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much interest there’s been. We launched in late February and already have 2,700 plus members, lots of really good people have joined our legal advisory council – for instance a retired High Court judge.

“It feels almost as though there was an army out there just waiting for the trumpet call, ready to spring up and defend free speech, and I hope now we’re going to make some gains.”

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