Ep#96 – Ella Whelan – Free Speech & Trolling


It’s a great pleasure to welcome Ella Whelan (@Ella_M_Whelan) to The #GSPodcast. Ella is the Assistant Editor at Spiked. We talk about fake news, the future of Twitter, internet trolling, UK hate speech laws, Brexit, the UK left, the Labour party, campus speech codes, cultural appropriation and much, much more!

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  • Ooooooooh dear. Did not expect to hear anti-intellectualism promoted on this podcast, but that’s exactly what we’ve got with Ella’s comments in regards to the EU referendum. Yes, we were all told by experts that Brexit would be bad, and it’s come to pass. The pound is in the toilet, thousands of jobs are in jeopardy, we face an uncertain future and we haven’t even triggered Article 50 yet. It’s like this:
    “Hey, make sure you look both ways before crossing the road.”
    “Don’t you tell me what to do!”

    Also surprised to hear so so much fawning over the guest, I lost count of the amount of times I heard “I agree”.

    • ‘Fawning’ Thomas? Because I said ‘I agree’ when I heard something I agreed with? And I hope you didn’t lose count, because it was probably a total of 4 times in an hour of conversation.

      Thanks for sharing *your* views on Brexit. It’s now clear what you think, great.

      Now could you state ‘exactly’ which of Ella’s views on the topic you found to be ‘anti-intellectualism’ please?

      Because from where I was sitting, it seemed she was saying the result represents an ‘opportunity’ to change the way we do politics (obvious). She also said politicians are out of touch and that there is a vein of anti-working class sneering running through Westminster & the media in light of the referendum result (also obvious).

      Hardly controversial views. What did you hear though, exactly?

  • I listened back to the show to make sure I hadn’t missed anything, and I haven’t. The section I’m talking about starts at 23 minutes, when Ella says people “stuck two fingers up to Westminster”. People who know how the EU works tried to explain the benefits of memberships and the risks of leaving, but were ignored. Michael Gove summed it up when he said that people had “had enough of experts”. Ignoring expert opinion in favour of your own proud ignorance is anti-intellectualism. It would be like going to the doctors, hearing “You’ve got a minor infection, antibiotics will clean it up” and replying “Two fingers to you doc, I’m going to a homeopath!”.

    All that’s offered as a positive by leave voters is subjective fluff. What does “an opportunity to change the way we do politics” mean, exactly? And why is it better than remaining a member of the EU?

  • Without wanting to sound like an absolute bastard, it was good to hear the humanist case for hate.

    Natural emotions should not be criminalised.

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