Tuesday Apr 30, 2024

Cultural Tribalism

We whizz through a couple of this week’s free speech headlines today before providing listeners with an update on Linzi Smith’s case against Newcastle United and the Premier League, a story which has now been picked up by the BBC. Linzi is crowdfunding to assist with her next legal stage under the relevant pre-action protocol. This is a David and Goliath situation as both organisations are well-funded and will have strong legal representation. Any listeners interested in contributing can find all the detail here. An interview of Billy Bragg in The Guardian caught our eye this week, particularly a couple of his comments towards the end of the piece, “My problem with people like Rowling, like Julie Bindel, is really who they are lined up with” and “[..] that’s what I see with Rowling and the others: they are on the wrong side of the table". We discuss how and why people in the culture war seem so keen to identify with their ‘tribe’ rather than the merits of the issue in hand – especially when that issue relates to free expression. We end with an update on the case of Finnish politician Päivi Räsänen. She has already been tried and acquitted by two courts for publicly expressing her Christian beliefs but has now had her acquittal appealed to the country’s Supreme Court, with the prosecution continuing to call for a punitive fine. Executive Director of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Paul Coleman said: “This is a watershed case in the story of Europe’s creeping censorship. The state’s insistence on continuing this prosecution after almost five long years, despite such clear and unanimous rulings from the lower courts is alarming. The process is the punishment in such instances, resulting in a chill on free speech for all citizens observing.”

‘That's Debatable!’ is edited by Jason Clift.

Copyright 2023 All rights reserved.

Version: 20240320