The campus fightback starts now!

We’ve all heard the stories about the ‘Stepford Students’ at universities across the UK. We need an on-campus response to push back against these snowflakes, says Rory Broomfield. 

It has been two and a half years since Brendan O’Neill and Tim Stanley were prevented from speaking at Christ Church, Oxford, on the issue of abortion. This led to Brendan to coin the phrase Stepford Studentspeople that look like students, dress like students, smell like students but whose “brains have been replaced by brains bereft of critical faculties and programmed to conform”.

This phrase, along with many others, helps to describe the increased level of “delicateness” that has now become pervasive within the UK university system.  

The lack of independence of thought on campus needs to be addressed. As seen through recent research published by the Adam Smith Institute, less than 12% of academics support right-wing or conservative parties – way out of step with the rest of the country – and suggests that group-think is the norm across UK research institutes.

This may have helped the increase in another pernicious trend has now developed across universities. Now, seemingly not a week goes by without another instance of no-platforming, safe-spacing or the introduction of a new student code of conduct that stifles debate at one of the many universities across the UK.

The increase in this activity has been valiantly chronicled and analysed by Spiked Free Speech University Rankings – and the results are disturbing. Despite this excellent work, it is continuing.

Just this week, for example, the University of Lincoln’s Students Union withdrew social media privileges from the Conservative Society on campus for questioning the SU’s competence.

However, as it stands there is no real infrastructure to challenge anti free speech moves from Students Unions and the National Union of Students (NUS). This has allowed this safe-spacing, no-platforming trend to continue unchecked. This must end.

The Freedom Association has a few Freedom Societies across the UK at universities such as in Exeter and Bristol, however, we need to resource not just these but many more in order to help promote freedom at UK universities.

With only seven of 115 universities rated as “green” in Spiked’s survey – and 73 out of that 115 marked “red” – then there is a lot of work to do.

We need to help students who want to be challenged and want experience intellectual rigour to be heard. If we don’t, imagine what sorts of people will be entering the workforce in the next few years.

If you are interested in funding our mission of bringing back free expression and critical academic debate back to university campuses, please donate through our website at, come to the Freedom Festival in Bournemouth in a couple of weeks time – where you will meet some of our student representatives – and / or email me on

The fightback for freedom on campus should start now. Please join us in our fight.

4.58 avg. rating (91% score) - 12 votes
Rory Broomfield
Rory Broomfield

Rory Broomfield is Director of The Freedom Association and the Better Off Out campaign. He is an authority on the EU and has written a number of books including his latest, co-authored with Iain Murray, Cutting the Gordian Knot: A Roadmap for British Exit from the European Union. He has previously worked in the City of London and in Westminster for a number of Members of Parliament, including the current Prime Minister, Theresa May; the current Chairman of the 1922 Committee, Graham Brady; and Sir Richard Shepherd.

  • SiberianRhod

    Obviously this clown is a paid up member of the 1% of the people who are Liberals in Russia. He talks everything down and is a member of various Western funded NGO’s the usual suspects involved in so called ‘Colour Revolutions’ which are actually USA funded coups. Most of his article panders to the Western viewpoint and is not accurate.

  • What do Al-beeb care anyway? The Tories foolishly renewed their ability to hold anyone that wants to watch television to ransom for another 10 years.

    Personally, I’m glad I don’t want to watch television and therefore don’t pay that ransom.

  • Thomas Katz

    Ban the BeeB,
    It’s the only sensible solution

  • TJB

    You’re correct, it’s the political will that’s lacking to shut this down.

  • TJB

    If you watch the video on that, just prior to doing this pained shriek she actually looked about to see if there was a camera on her.

  • Puzrish Dagan

    It’s already illegal:
    Education (No. 2) Act 1986

  • Puzrish Dagan

    Surely the necessary protections are in place in the Education (No. 2) Act 1986 where s43 says:

    (1)Every individual and body of persons concerned in the government of any establishment to which this section applies shall take such steps as are reasonably practicable to ensure that freedom of speech within the law is secured for members, students and employees of the establishment and for visiting speakers.

    (2) The duty imposed by subsection (1) above includes (in particular) the duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the use of any premises of the establishment is not denied to any individual or body of persons on any ground connected with—

    (a)the beliefs or views of that individual or of any member of that body; or

    (b)the policy or objectives of that body.

  • CheshireRed

    The education secretary Justine Greening could shut this nonsense down in 30 seconds flat. (Why hasn’t she intervened already – this issue is long-past overdue?) No platform any (legal) speaker and your university can expect to see their annual government grant get trimmed by 10% next year. No appeal allowed. Watch and marvel at how quickly a new speaking date gets scheduled.

  • Enoch Powell

    They defined us as Nazis while using violence to suppress us. If we were to use violence, this would only justify our ‘evil’ to them. And we end up in civil war where they categorise us as ‘the bad guys’ and they have the media on their side.

    We need to recapture the institutions. One by one, piece by piece. Either that, or accept the demonisation and fight back, hard.

  • channel.fog

    Completely agree, and I’m on the left. And let’s ensure critics of Israeli government policy aren’t silenced by accusations of anti-Semitism, another Stepford kneejerk reaction in some quarters.

  • Alan Llandrindod Wells

    Just turn all the ones that Blair sanctioned into Polytechnics.

  • Colonel Mustard

    You are in denial if you think left wing academics have not been busy indoctrinating their students.

  • Iskender Haci
  • ale bro

    snowflakes are created by their parents not by their chemistry professors

  • Odo Saunders

    Unfortunately, many students have lost the facility of critical analysis, because they have come to equate undertaking a degree programme with the buying of a product in a supermarket. Paying their fees for three years entitles them to a degree, preferably a 2/1. This means that they are content with simply regurgitating their lecture notes during the examinations, without the necessity of engaging in any additional reading or thought about their chosen subject. The result is that many so-called graduates leave university with the same closed minds as when they began their undergraduate life.

  • John Smith

    the left/feminazis lost the economic/social arguement so infiltrated the schools

    and set about conditioning the children

  • Colonel Mustard

    The “Conservative” government seems to tacitly approve of this state of affairs, in as much as they don’t just do nothing about it, but appear to ignore the implications for the long term future of their party. Presumably they think, like Cameron, that they can “capture” the left. Some of their MPs and cabinet ministers seem to effortlessly channel New Labour. As Home Secretary Mrs May seemed very keen on barring “extremist” right wing speakers from entering the country but not very balanced when it came to discouraging the extremists of the left and – er – other ideologies.

  • Colonel Mustard

    How do you think the snowflake generation came about? It wasn’t because left wing academics were focussing on chemistry.

  • ale bro

    What’s wrong with academics not supporting right wing parties? How does this affect the teaching of Chemistry?

    Everything outside the lecture theatre is just entertainment, not really worthy of any serious investigation.

  • Doctor Crackles

    This started with Christian Unions years ago. If you really want to join the insurgency against this social revolution then bible-believing Christians are the ultimate counter-revolutionaries.

  • fergusrobinson

    We were fighting these sorts of battles 30 years ago. Seems like students condemn themselves to learn hard lessons in real life time and time again. From memory, it took the threat of the University defunding the Students’ Union to force it to repeal its “no platform” policy. The University only did so after intense pressure and threats of possible legal action.
    Nothing has changed, at least not for the better, it seems.

  • TJB

    I agree that there is a huge problem with illiberal drones demanding that their education and places of education do nothing to challenge their thinking and prejudices and that a fightback is needed. The fightback needs to begin from the top though and that means loud condemnation from conservative voices at the highest levels from Members of Parliament down. Only when those voices are standing up to the faculties at these places will students feel that there is someone on their side should they choose to speak out. Conservative student union bodies who are subject to censorship, censure and in some cases violent intimidation need to know that they are not alone, much as I hate to say it it’s time to fight fire with fire.

    I’m not suggesting adopting the tactics of bullying, no-platforming and mindless shrieking to disrupt meetings but I am saying that the right need to stop being so supine and simply accepting it. The Lincoln University Conservative Student Union is a case in point. The NUS asked them to suspend their Twitter account for linking to the spiked article about censorship on campuses while they decide on how or if they should be punished for linking to a news article. WHY ON EARTH did the Conservative student union agree to that? They should simply have told them to shove it and do what those on the left do and shout out loud to the press about what is going on. The right leaning press also need to report these sort of events in a more high profile manner when these things occur. Stop hiding the stories away in sub-sections on their websites and inside the folds of their printed version, but put it up front, in bold type to highlight it.

We’re committed to providing a free platform to host insightful commentary from across the political spectrum. To help us expand our readership, and to show your support, please like our Facebook page: