BY SAM WHITE
On Thursday, Joshua Silver, a professor at Oxford University, was comprehensively taken apart by Andrew Neil and Michael Howard on the BBC’s Daily Politics.
As a recap, scruffy Europhile Silver had freaked out and reported home secretary Amber Rudd to the police, for a speech and briefing at the Conservative party conference last October, in which it was suggested that companies list their foreign-born employees, ensuring that vacancies can be filled by British workers. It’s an idea which came to nothing.
The absurdity doesn’t end with Silver contacting the police though, as it turns out that his time-wasting appeals weren’t dismissed. Although the police didn’t investigate the deluded academic’s complaint, they actually recorded Rudd’s speech as a hate incident.
Due to the nonsensical nature of the affair, Professor Silver was unable to defend his antics, and was instead made to look like a shambling chancer during his BBC appearance. However, I feel that we should also extend some gratitude to the slovenly campus lurker, as his willingness to make an arse of himself on national television dragged some important issues into the light.
First, it debunked one of the elitist fallacies that has been thrown around since the Brexit vote last June: that the higher a voter’s education level was, the more likely they were to have voted Remain, and so therefore Remain must have been the more intelligent choice. While it’s true that a majority of university graduates backed Remain, Professor Silver, who is a physicist, is living, just-breathing proof that having the skills necessary to thrive in a university setting certainly does not equate with having good judgment, common sense, or the ability to understand simple political back-and-forth.
The professor’s behaviour also serves as a reminder of just how politically sealed off university campuses can be. There’s a substantial left wing bias throughout the education industry, reinforced to the point of distortion by the looping echo of the university bubble. Considering stories of universities instructing staff to vote Remain, and offering counselling services to feeble-minded academics traumatised by the referendum result, it’s fair to say that universities are unlikely to have engaged in a balanced exploration of the issues around EU membership. In this kind of environment, a sizeable majority in favour of Remain is indicative of the pressure to conform, and of a lack of viewpoint diversity.
Further to this, look at Professor Silver’s words (after admitting that he didn’t even watch the speech) when he says: “I’ve read the speech carefully and I’ve looked at all the feedback.” He also refers to how Amber Rudd’s speech was “interpreted”.
I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that he didn’t travel far to gather that “feedback” on how the speech was “interpreted”. When the only opinions you hear come from your fellow Oxford doctrinaires and the Guardian comments section, you’re not going to develop a particularly rounded view of the world.
So on matters of policy which affect a nation, I’m inclined to think that whatever the majority view in universities might be, it’s likely to be based on wrong decisions. If safe spaces, no-platforming and newspaper bans continue to proliferate on campus, this will only become more true. University should be where students learn to value objective truth, but at the moment academia appears biased to the point of dysfunction, ideologically warped, and horribly infantilised.
The second point highlighted by Silver’s petulant appeal to the police, is that the reported rise in hate incidents following the Brexit vote can now be firmly dismissed as unreliable. The so-called spike in hate crime has been a rhetorical cudgel used against Brexiteers, but no more. If Amber Rudd’s speech is a ‘hate incident’, then we can consider the term ‘hate incident’, along with ‘hate crime’, to have been rendered meaningless.
It’s evident that there’s a critical flaw in the police’s handling and recording of these ‘hate incident’ complaints.
Police reporting rules state that all such complaints, whether from the victim or someone else, must be recorded “irrespective of whether or not there is any evidence to identify the hate crime incident”. And so Silver’s complaint has been logged, in the words of West Midlands police, as a “non-crime hate incident”.
Or to put it another way, even if it isn’t a hate incident, it will be recorded as a hate incident. Welcome to your head-spinning, words-have-no-meaning, post-modern dystopia.
This kind of creepy fixation on unfalsifiable alleged biases was once limited to mentally unstable social justice warriors, but it seems that their corruptive lunacy has now leaked out into wider society.
Here’s hoping that Amber Rudd’s own inclusion in the meaningless hate incidents statistics might give her cause to look into how such incidents are defined, or if such a category is even necessary at all.
Sam White is a writer for Country Squire Magazine and has written for The Spectator & Metropolis. Other Sam White articles can be found by using the search box below (just type in Sam White) and also by looking here.