Who would have believed that an advanced society in Great Britain, once the bastion of free speech and tolerance, would behave so erratically to bow to feminist pressures and sack Sir Tim Hunt, the scientist, who got involved in a sexism row after his comments on ‘the trouble with girls’ in laboratories.
It’s a shameful act from academics who should know better than to be seen to back people of low-grade who want to turn this country into an undemocratic institution, where free speech is censored and condemned in order to stifle any comments that do not meet with their misguided policy of political correctness.
That concept, which caused dissension when it was first introduced, is still a potent force that refuses to go away. Gone are the days when freedom of expression was the byword and society enjoyed the merriment of an unadulterated humour that is almost extinct today due to the restrictions attached to some words which the lynch mob consider offensive.
Is it therefore surprising when eight Nobel Prize-winners have come to the defence of Sir Tim Hunt, a Nobel Prize-winner himself, for being treated so shabbily? The distinguished group has warned of a chilly effect on leading academics’ freedom to speak their mind after Sir Tim was forced to resign his honorary professorship at University College, London, in the face of widespread pressure from social media users.
Sir Andre Geim, of the University of Manchester, who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010, said that Sir Tim had been ‘crucified’ by ideological fanatics and castigated UCL for ‘ousting’ him from his post. Sir Andre said: ‘The saddest part is probably the reaction by UCL’s top brass who forced him to resign; so much for the freedom of expression by the very people who should be the guardians of academic freedom.’
He warned that it would ‘take years for the reputation of Sir Tim and UCL to recover’.
Other notable Nobel Prize-winners rallied to defend Sir Tim and express their deep shock at his despicable maltreatment.
My own concern is that hypocrisy by the very few is casting a dark shadow on every vestige of our society and, if left unbridled, will damage our own reputation in the world and make a mockery of our so-called democracy. Free speech is an essential part of democracy and the lack of it is a threat that will eventually demolish every tenet of our society’s structure and institutions.
Above all, let us fight to remain free and damn political correctness for its narrow and unpalatable horizons.