A visiting Australian MP may say something I don’t like

This sort of attack in advance, based on guesses (at best) of what someone may say in the future, is becoming common:

Don’t fucking use “Free Speech” when you mean “racist bile”

At least be fucking accurate about what she is going to be doing.

I would be concerned if news media tried to be ‘accurate’ about what someone may say in the future.

Whether she speaks or not does not change the fact she is not speaking about free speech. She is a dog-whistling anti-Islam bigot. That is what she will be speaking about.

I presume Scott Milne is simply guessing, there is no way he can know in advance.

That’s just nonsense.

I have never liked Pauline Hanson as a politician, nor what she stands for.

But I have serious concerns about trying to shut down a visit to New Zealand of an Australian Member of Parliament, based on guesses of what she could say if she came here.

Unfortunately with the abiklity to speak freely on the Internet i think we will see more of these uninformed (they can’t see into the future) attacks on potential visitors to New Zealand.

Q+A – Bridges would punish universities who ‘interfere with free speech’

Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges was interviewed on Q + A last night. He said “Universities could face funding cuts in extreme cases if they interfere with free speech”.

One thing worse than Universities deciding what could be freely spoken on campus could be politicians making financial threats over what could be freely spoken on campus.

haven’t had time to listen to the interview, but the headline from it is not flash.

Hypocrisy on free speech

Cameron Slater would have been chuffed to be included as a ‘prominent Kiwi’ in a Dominion Post article on free speech: Speech: What it costs to be free

As part of that process, and in the quest for a little clarity, we approached a number of prominent Kiwis with some experience of free speech issues. They represent different sides of the debate.

We asked them for their thoughts on these key questions:

  • Is free speech the right to say anything you like?
  • Is there any point at which something is too offensive to be said in public?
  • Is there such a thing as “hate speech” and how should it be defined?
  • Is free speech under threat in this country? If so, where is the threat coming from?

Here are their responses. Massey University Vice-Chancellor Jan Thomas declined to be involved.

There’s some interesting responses. From Slater:

Hurt feelings are not grounds for harm. Mostly they need a good cup of concrete to help them harden up.

Perhaps he should listen to his own advice. he is more inclined to throw lumps of verbal concrete than he is swallow them.

Free speech is under threat in this country. The threat comes from a lack of action standing up to those who would threaten it. For too long there have been cases of bullying people out of jobs, threatening their income, boycotting advertisers and deplatforming of speakers.

I largely agree with that. But it is a tad hypocritical given thaat four days ago Slater posted Some good ideas from David Farrar that included this specified as a Slater favourite:

5. Target Massey’s funding. Identify major donors to Massey and request meetings with them to make the case for why they should donate to one of the other universities that doesn’t ban speakers on the personal whim of the VC.

Slater from the article:

Almost exclusively these actions come from within the angry Left-wing. We have in recent years witnessed the demonisation of John Tamihere and Willie Jackson for daring to ask hard questions on radio, the hounding of Paul Henry out of television, the attacks on me by Nicky Hager, the media and the Left-wing for daring to be effective and challenging, the cancellation of speakers such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern, not to mention the recent attack against Don Brash.

It is laughable though for Slater to claim that “Almost exclusively these actions come from within the angry Left-wing.”

Slater admitted trying to procure a hack of The Standard in an attempt to discredit their speech.

Slater was a prosecution witness in a private prosecution (dismissed at trial) of Lynn Prentice (associated with The Standard) and APN News (NZ Herald) in what appears to be what Slater refers to as lawfare when others do it – see NOTTINGHAM v APN NEWS & MEDIA LTD [2018] NZHC 596 [29 March 2018]. He was also an informant.

Slater was an informant and was named as an ‘expert witness’ in a private prosecution versus myself (and Your NZ) and Allied Press (ODT) – charges were eventually withdrawn.

Slater supported his “good friends” in getting a court order against me and Your NZ trying to shut us up and shut us down. That was a farce that was quickly thrown out by the court, but it was an attempt to imprison me because they (including Slater) didn’t like being held to account.

Perhaps Slater has been slurping cement since then, or has gone a bit cold on court proceedings as he still waits for a judgment on Craig v Slater and prepares for Blomfield v Slater, both defamation proceedings.

The media by and large have forgotten their responsibilities to be truth-tellers and have in many cases joined in the witch-hunting.

A bit ironic, but Sslater is more of a heavily slanted activist than truth-teller.

Whale Oil is easy to ignore most of the time these days, but claiming that “Almost exclusively these actions come from within the angry Left-wing” warrants a bit of a serve.

Perhaps Slater has hardened up not get angry about his hypocrisy being highlighted this time.

This is bad for free speech

There have been overreactions to perceived threats or possible unsavoury speech, particularly from Massey University, but there have also been some concerning reactions.

Free Speech Coalition raising funds for legal action against Massey VC

The Free Speech Coalition has resolved that, contingent on raising sufficient funds, it will be issuing legal proceedings against the Vice-Chancellor of Massey University.

Free Speech Coalition member Melissa Derby says, “Massey University’s action in barring Don Brash raises very similar legal and ethical issues as Auckland Council’s ban on Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux from Council-owned venues. In both bases, an authority has used threats of disruptive protest as an excuse to shut down contentious speech. This is the thug’s veto in action.”

“Vice-Chancellor Jan Thomas’ ‘security concerns’ appear to be a ruse to obscure her real motivation – her personal distaste for Don Brash’s opposition to Maori wards on councils, a view she describes as ‘dangerously close to hate speech’, in addition to his support of the speech rights of the recent Canadian visitors.”

“This is a disgraceful breach of the University’s own charter and mission to “promote free and rational inquiry”, and sets a dangerously low bar for ‘hate speech’.”

There has been plenty of speech condemning Massey’s action. Surely that is sufficient in addressing a free speech issue.

Legal proceedings would be an extreme reaction, and I don’t see how it will enhance free speech. It could easily do the opposite, with councils and universities limiting opportunities to speak to avoid legal actions and expenses – it would be easier to just not allow events that could create controversy.

Don Brash and political lobbyists and activists are involved in the Free Speech Coalition, which has raised suspicions about their motivation.

The idea isn’t new. From December 2007:  Democracy Attacks Back

The Free Speech Coalition has launched a billboard campaign today against the parties which voted for the Electoral Finance Act.

“The Electoral Finance Act was correctly labeled by the New Zealand Herald as an “Attack on Democracy” so we think it is fitting that Democracy should attack back.” Said spokesperson David Farrar

Three billboards are initially going up. One in Auckland targeting Helen Clark, one in Tauranga for Winston Peters and one in Wellington for Peter Dunne. They are a clear statement that we regard their legislation as anti-democratic and unconstitutional. MPs are there to serve the public, not to silence the public.

Labelled David Farrar’s billboard disaster:

David Farrar’s campaign is supported by dozens of donors, including some heave hitters like former national leader Don Brash…

Farrar was not initially involved this time, but he is now on board:  Free Speech Coalition here to stay

I was busy enough as it was. I have a 20 month old boy to co-parent. I have a polling company to run. A (taxpayers) union to govern. A blog which needs five to ten articles a day plus I am already involved in three campaigns on topical issues. More than enough.

So when the  Coalition was formed around Phil Goff’s stupidity, I didn’t join. Hell, I didn’t even donate. I blogged a couple of articles in support, but was really happy to leave this fight to others.

But having the Massey Vice-Chancellor ban a former leader of the National Party (and one of my former employers) from speaking on campus has shown this issue is too important to leave to others. So I have joined the , and urge others to do the same.

I support the legal action as it should result in a good precedent. But I think we need more than this. I plan to propose to the Free Speech Coalition (they may agree or disagree) that the FSC launches a Boycott Massey Campaign.

This includes some suggestions that concern me.

3. Target secondary school students by urging them not to study at Massey…

4. Target their donors. The Massey University Foundation has members such as Tony Ryall and John Luxton. See if they will suspend involvement until the ban is lifted as surely they can’t in good conscience fundraise for a university that bans one of their former leaders. Contact the major donors listed…and ask them to refuse to give further until the ban is lifted.

5. Target the rating agencies. Write to QS World Uni Rankings, Top Universities and the Times Higher Education Rankings and inform them of what Massey has done.

This is going much further than a contest of speech. Farrar is suggesting that Massey be attacked financially and educationally.

I have serious concerns about enrolment and financial threats. This is going much further than a debate in free speech. This sort of approach, including threats against businesses, has been tried before, and I think it’s a slippery slope.

It’s a bit ironic when a ‘free speech’ coalition becomes focussed on financial costs.

Whale Oil:  FSC vs Massey

Considering the Coalition raised $50,000 in just 24 hours for its action against Phil Goff, members of the University Council ought to be nervous. Perhaps they could cut a deal – sack the VC in exchange for avoiding legal action.

Pressure to have people sacked is another insidious slippery slope. Demands that politicians be sacked are common and usually unjustified overreactions. Demands and pressure to ask university employees or any employees involved in speech debates is abhorrent to me.

Escalating debates over free speech to legal and livelihood threats is worse than threats to opportunities to speak, which are just words.

 

The Streisand-Brash debate – free speech and protest allowed

There was a debate on free speech in Auckland last night, and of course most of the attention was on Don Brash and a few people protesting against him.

I didn’t watch the debate, I had more important things to do, but it was covered by some in comments here: Brash up-platformed in university debate tonight

RNZ:  Protesters confront Don Brash during debate

Former National Party leader Don Brash was last night front and centre of the free speech debate that’s been been making headlines in New Zealand and around the world.

Dr Brash was nearly booed off stage at the University of Auckland debate, before counter-protesters persuaded him back by chanting his name.

Dr Brash was joined by the New Conservative Party’s deputy leader Elliot Ikiley in arguing that PC culture gone has too far, to the point where it is limiting freedom of speech.

However, Dr Brash only got a few seconds to argue the point before he was drowned out by protesters.

At one stage a scuffle broke out and it looked like he was not going to continue speaking, before a section of the crowd beckoned him back.

Eventually he did get a chance to address the crowd of more than 500, arguing that the protests were a demonstration that the culture in New Zealand is inhibiting free speech.

“Anything which is a bit beyond the pale you really can’t talk about frankly,” he told the lecture theatre. “Issues relating to religion, sexual orientation, family structure, the rights of people of different races, climate change – you name it – you’ve got to tiptoe through those issues in New Zealand today.”

In the end, debate chairman Chris Ryan left it to the audience to decide who won, with both teams getting loud applause and cheers from the crowd – as well as a fair few boos.

Brash and the protesters dominated the report, with no indication given about the merits of the arguments of all the debaters.

But possibly most significantly, the right to free speech was a winner, as was the right to conduct protests.

The Massey event that was cancelled and this debate have proven the Streisand Effect – “a phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely” – has given Brash and the events far more publicity than they would have had if there were no bans or protests.

Brash up-platformed in university debate tonight

Massey University received almost universal criticism and derision after they cancelled a political society meeting that Don Brash was scheduled to speak at. It was widely seen as an attack on free speech, with some saying it was proof of a slippery slope for free speech.

Brash got far more publicity than he would received at Massey, and he gets a chance to be in the spotlight at Auckland University tonight. He was booked to participate in a debate long before the Molynuex & Southern and Massey furores arose.

Coincidentally and ironically, tonight’s debate is on “Has PC culture gone too far to the point of limiting freedom of speech?”

Freedom of Speech Public Debate

Image may contain: text

 

Freedom of speech is a value which is fundamental to New Zealand society. But at what point should we prevent speech which is offensive, bigoted, hurtful or that we disagree with? Has PC culture gone too far to the point where it is limiting freedom of speech?

The University of Auckland Debating Society is proud to present the inaugural Think Big Debate – a debate series which will explore the big issues in New Zealand Society. The inaugural Think Big Debate is going to examine whether PC culture has gone too far and is limiting freedom of speech.

Don Brash (of the Free Speech coalition) and Elliot Ikilei (Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party) will affirm the motion and Fran O’Sullivan (Head of Business at the New Zealand Herald) and Simon Wilson (Senior Writer at the New Zealand Herald) will negate the motion.

They will each be joined by two of the university’s top debaters. With Freedom of Speech in the headlines both in New Zealand and overseas you won’t want to miss this event.

Absolutely everyone is welcome at this public debate. Check out the Facebook event for more information.

 

‘De-platformed’ is a new word for me. In this case it has backfired and turned into upping Brash’s platform.

Stuff: Don Brash free speech debate in Auckland booms on back of Massey’s ban

Massey University’s ban on Don Brash making a speech on its Palmerston North campus has proved a boon for rival Auckland University.

Double the number of people expected to attend Brash’s Auckland appearance have now registered since Massey axed Brash and ignited another free speech debate.

The controversy has been a marketing gift for the otherwise low key Auckland function organised by the university’s debate society.

There is planned protest: Students and Staff to protest Don Brash speaking at University of Auckland

A New University has organised a public protest opposing the inclusion of Don Brash in a University of Auckland Debating Society event to be held on campus on Thursday 9th August at 6.00pm in the Owen G Glenn building.

“Brash’s haste to come to the defense of far-right ideologues Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux shows his commitment to the right to spread hate speech with no consideration of the consequences for those targeted by racial abuse and discrimination.

“Universities are legislatively bound to act as the ‘critic and conscience of society’. Condemning any platform for hate speech is a rare opportunity for the University community to fulfil this crucial role.

“The University of Auckland equity policy acknowledges the distinct status of Māori as tangata whenua and is committed to partnerships that acknowledge the principles of the Treaty. Hosting Brash directly contravenes equity principles and the protection of students and staff from discrimination.

“A New University calls on University of Auckland management to follow through on its equity policy and strategic plan emphasis on promoting Māori presence and participation in all aspects of University life.

“A New University joins the struggle of those at Massey University in refusing to accommodate hatred, bigotry and racism in their institutions. Universities must uphold the principles of Te Tiriti and ensure the safety of students and staff on campus.

There does not seem to be an obvious Maori participant in the debate, but that may be addressed froom four of “the university’s top debaters” who are as yet unnamed.

UPDATE:

Up-platformed and live.

Lizzie Marvelly supports Brash ban

Lizzie Marvelly has a bigger platform to speak than most – she is a regular columnist at NZ Herald, and she has her own blog Villainesse.

She also attracts attention on Twitter, as she did yesterday when she one of a small minority who support the banning of Don Brash from speaking at Massey University.

No, Brash hasn’t been silenced, he has been given a megaphone after being banned. That’s what attacks on free speech can do – generate far more speech than they try to suppress.

Marvelly engaged after some responses:

@MatthewHootonNZ: The young students who invited him may have. They were perhaps as young as 3 when he became leader of the opposition.

@LizzieMarvelly: As members of a university politics society it’s very likely they’ve heard him rabbiting on and on about the same tired old stuff, if not in real time (and that’s possible – bafflingly, he has continued to rabbit on outside of politics, and to be given airtime) then in old clips.

@JarrodGilbertNZ: But they invited him.

@LizzieMarvelly: Ah. That’s unfortunate. Can’t anyone find a new mouthpiece for anti-te reo, anti-Māori rhetoric?

It looks like Marvelly jumped into this issue without knowing anything about what Brash was invited to talk about, which was nothing to do with te reo or Maori specific issues.

@LizzieMarvelly:  Many more shocking calls are made every day to exclude or under-represent women and Māori speakers. Forgive me for not feeling outraged at Brash being deprived of one of the many platforms he enjoys.

For all Marvelly knows their may have also been women and/or Māori speakers scheduled to speak at the same students’ political society event, who will also been excluded from speaking after the event was cancelled.

Regardless, it seems obvious that free speech is not an important principle for Marvelly.

And she isn’t alone in her attitude. It is common to see people say that some groups of people should be given more speaking rights, and that the views of others don’t matter.

Massey vice chancellor Jan Thomas tries to explain Brash ban

After controversially barred Don Brash yesterday from speaking by cancelling a student political society event at Massey University, vice Chancellor Jan Thomas tried to explain this in an interview on Newstalk ZB.

Massey University defends barring Don Brash

Larry Williams: What were the reasons for cancelling?

Jan Thomas: The reason we cancelled was because the students who had booked the venue and had agreed to terms of use had come to us and identified their concerns around their ability to maintain security at the event, and so on the basis of that we took another look at things and based on some things we were observing on social media I became concerned that there was a genuine threat to the safety of our staff and students and members of the public.

And so unfortunately it’s a really tough decision and I don’t like making these decisions but based on the safety of our community I chose to cancel the event.

Larry Williams: Was this more about your personal views though, you don’t like Dr Brash?

Jan Thomas: Ah, I made the decision on the basis of the safety of our staff. In fact the venue had been booked um for some time and the students association, the politics society, had done a terrific job of setting up a programme of speakers who were going to be discussing their particular perspectives on politics. That of course is the mandate of the student association and I supported that and that had all gone through the normal processes.

So he would have spoken along with other current and future leaders of ah the National Party in a sequence of talks past current and future, ah and ah I think that was, these are precisely the sorts of things that should and do happen on university campuses, and it wasn’t until we became aware of ah concerns around security ah that I made a really difficult decision to cancel the event.

Larry Williams: Yes but you’ve also referenced Dr Brash as a hate speaker, with respect.

Jan Thomas: Ah, I don’t think um that I have referenced that as bluntly as that. What I have said was that ah there was an event held in ah the Manawatu here on our campus, ah from ah Hobson’s Pledge ah which ah was particularly offensive for ah particularly our Maori staff, and ah that is not the sort of thing that I would like to see at a university campus. Um that wasn’t ah Dr Brash speaking, um it was around ah Hobson’s Pledge that particular time.

So those sorts of events are events ah where the discussion um moves from being one ah of talking about ah the issues and evidence based ah good rational debate where people are able to speak about um their perspectives on a whole range of different things.

Larry Williams: yes but you’re shutting that down aren’t you? Ah you know being against race based seats on a council is not akin to hate speech.

Jan Thomas: Ah no um and that is indeed a personal political perspective that I have no question, no problem with…

Larry Williams: It’s called democracy.

Jan Thomas: What I do object to is where um speech that demeans or humiliates or silences groups of people based on a common trait. Ah in other words playing the man and not the ball, ah is ah is something that we don’t accept on a university campus, that everyone should feel that they can express their views in a way that is not um going to be subject to being demeaned or humiliated.

Larry Williams: Well everybody except Don Brash.

Jan Thomas: Um ah well as I said we cancelled this event on the basis of security, ah security concerns um and ah it wouldn’t matter who was speaking. If I have concerns over the safety of our community I would consider ah cancelling events as well because I cannot put at risk ah my staff, students and ah members of the community.

Larry Williams: So who were the threats coming from, where were the threats, what were the threats?

Jan Thomas: Ah well the threats were um coming from um you know a discussion that was happening in social media channels, um and I I do want to say that um I think for universities ah we do have to be particularly careful about these things. There have been some really horrible events happening on university campuses around the world violent things, ah and I we never see that in New Zealand, ah however um I and so I’m very watchful for anything that might ah put at risk our ah safety on campus…

Larry Williams: If it’s threats and it’s violence you’re concerned about, you you you have cowered to the threats, haven’t you. What about the police? Did you call the police in?

Jan Thomas: Um well our um staff are in contact with the police. That’s true. And I guess that was part of the difficult decision, do you completely um ah ah a-a-ah you know ramp up ah significant ah security or do you not. And these are some of the things that we thought about  and talked about and I made the decision that I would cancel the event.

Larry Williams: Yes but it’s hard to come to the conclusion that you cancelled this on security grounds, I mean you also referenced Brash’s support for the Canadians Southern and Molyneux, ah all his support was that he supports free speech along with a raft of other academics both right and left. He didn’t support their views, he supports free speech.

Jan Thomas: Sure.

Larry Williams: But you referenced that as well.

Jan Thomas: Um[or ‘and’]

Larry Williams: You referenced the Canadians as well.

Jan Thomas: Mhm.

Larry Williams: Meaning that the possibility here is the real reason for cancelling this is because you don’t like Dr Brash and what he stands for, what he says.

Jan Thomas: Well we cancelled the event on the basis of our concerns for security. I guess um ah ah um we also have a view that ah hate speech is not acceptable on campus, and I think what you’re doing here is linking those two things quite quite clearly, and um ah you know I do stand by my ah perspectives that hate speech is not welcome on campus, um, and neither is ah ah when there are concerns about security of our community. I will um act in the best interests of our broader community.

Larry Williams: Well again who said Dr Brash was going to be involved in hate speech, where I mean where are the examples of the hate speech?

Jan Thomas: Ah well I I am quite sure that Dr Brash would have done what he was invited to speak on and that was his experience as his leader of the National Party, um and…

Larry Williams: Exactly.

Jan Thomas: Yeh.

Larry Williams: You see this is the university’s politics society. Brash is a former opposi…this is what you do. political views. You debate them.

Jan Thomas: I agree. And as I said, this is the mandate of the students’ politics society, entirely appropriate. And the students’ society has acted in exactly the right way, doing doing having these sorts of events ah to raise awareness of different political spectrum…

Larry Williams: Yeah I mean universities are meant to be the bastion of free speech, vice chancellor.

Jan Thomas: And we support free speech, ah but when it um it leans into hate speech where people are being ah damaged as a result of am…

Larry Williams: What do you mean damaged? I mean previously you’ve said at that um free speech is being a tool of colonialism and must be restricted. Where is the hate coming in all of this?

Jan Thomas:  …uuuum, so I I I feel we’re blurring the issues here, that there is ah we cancelled this event because of security concerns. I also am quite happy to stand behind my comments that hate speech is not welcome on campus, and the way I would consider hate speech is ah when hate speech might demean or humiliate or silence groups of people based on a common trait, whether it be sexuality or religion or race or whatever, um because ah that is essentially ah the same as bullying of a larger group of people, and we don’t tolerate  bullying in the playground do we…

Larry Williams: Yeah well ok there’s no evidence that Dr Brash was bullying anybody. I mean even the Prime Minister is saying this is an overreaction. What’s your take on that?

Jan Thomas: Ah yes and I’ve heard her say that and um that is her view but as the um vice chancellor of this university I made a decision, ah on the basis of the safety for my ah the community that ah come onto this campus, and I take that responsibility very very seriously.

 

Massey’s Brash ban may help free speech

There were very mixed views over Molynuex and Southern coming to New Zealand trying to claim that free speech meant they should be given speaking platforms. Molyneux in particular promotes some fairly objectional views, and it looks like they provoke criticism and attract attention to make money.

But today when the Vice Chancellor of Massey University banned Don Brash from talking there there has been as near to universal concern and condemnation – and for good reason.

It seems a bit vague about exactly by his was deemed that objectionable that he should be kept away – he had been invited to talk about his experience as Leader of the Opposition (he wasn’t far away from becoming Prime Minister).

It is an alarming attempt to restrict speech – but this may turn out to be a good thing. It may be the overstep that is needed to encourage a decent debate about who should determine what sort of speech should be effectively censored.

Universities were supposed to be bastions of free speech in the past, but overseas they have increasingly tried to restrict what students could listen to on campus. Some claim that universities should be ‘safe places’ for minorities – but selective censorship means that it can become unsafe to speak openly in case it is deemed ‘unsafe’ for someone else.

As well as there being a problem with university vice chancellors or whoever has the power to censor, a major problem that arose over the Molyneux/Southern visit has become a major concern, where one or a few nutters can simply threaten or imply a risk of violence to get authorities to shut down speech they don’t want for any reason.

The Brash ban is so ridiculous that if the precedent becomes an established norm it could be that no politician or ex-politician would be exempt from exclusion. Just about every politician is ‘hated’ or opposed by someone.

Hopefully the Massey overstep will prompt some serious discussion and some sensible solutions, or at lest far better guidelines, about what sort of speech should be ruled out,.

Molyneux also talks up war

Stefan Molyneux has left New Zealand, grizzling on the way out.

Did he think he should be given VIP treatment and be able to bypass security? Not a very classy whine from Molyneux.

While he was still here he said some outlandish things. Like the business of war talk.

Newshub: Stefan Molyneux warns ‘war is coming’, asks for likes, shares and money

Mr Molyneux has now taken to YouTube, uploading a 12-minute video which oscillates between decrying the “demonic mob” that got their show cancelled, and asking for supporters to “like, subscribe and share” – and give him money.

“We lost a venue. Hundreds and hundreds of people who had come a long way and were very passionate to hear this conversation, to engage in what Lauren and I were going to discuss, we lost the venue and that’s costly. It’s very expensive, and I need your help”.

“I would really, really appreciate it.”

Both an attention seeker and a money seeker.

He said the funding is necessary for him to keep speaking out against the “encroaching mob and horde of mindless violence the left seems to want to unleash on the failing remnants of civilisation”.

He was relatively restrained in media interviews while in New Zealand. He tried to provoke reactions here, which successfully attracted opposition and media attention, but via Youtube he shows how dangerous he could be if he got more than fringe support.

Without more money, Mr Molyneux fears “self-contempt, self-hatred and possibly incarceration or death itself”, because “that’s what happens when the left gains power”.

He then took a shot at Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who at the weekend said Kiwis were “hostile” to Mr Molyneux’s views.

“The Prime Minister was the head of a youth socialist organisation not a decade ago, so that’s what you get.”

That’s a bit pathetic.

Mr Molyneux says unless “free speech” is kept alive, “we are going to end up with bayonets pointed at each other’s hearts”.

“I am trying with all of my might and all of my rhetoric and all of my energy and efforts to stop the war that is coming. This feral escalation of abuse and violence and threats and deplatforming is going to escalate into war. History is very clear on this point.

“I don’t know if the left knows how much it’s going to escalate, I don’t know if they want it, I don’t know what the hell is going on, but I’m telling you, it’s coming.”

He seems to be trying hard to make a left-right war come.

While general populations seem to be less and less aligned to left or right politics people on the fringes are having to go to extremes to get attention.

There is a risk, because if a few on the fringes turn to violence it could get very nasty.

It’s ironic that Molyneux is trying to talk up the sort of problems he claims he is warning against.

If a Muslim radical came to New Zealand (or spoke to New Zealand via Youtube) with language anything like what Molyneux is using the sort of person supporting Molyneux would be up in arms, metaphorically at least.

Molyneux’s visit has raised some important issues about free speech.

Through his speech, especially his orchestrated self edited speech via Youtube, he has shown how dangerous he could be if he managed to raise a rabble. Fortunately his Kiwi experience didn’t rise to much. I doubt he will be back. Good riddance to him.