2017 was the year that groupthink silenced free speech at the Assembly

Neil McEvoy

Neil McEvoy, AM for South Wales Central

The National Assembly went into recess this week, ending an explosive year for me personally and the Assembly as an institution.

One suspension as a Councillor and two suspensions from the Plaid Cymru group later and I’m an independent Plaid AM.

My crimes were to be overheard by a council eviction officer saying “I can’t wait to restructure the Council in 2017”.

That was enough to be off the Council for a month and out of the Assembly group for several weeks. They didn’t need to suspend me, but groupthink prevailed.

Groupthink is defined as occurring when a group values harmony and coherence over accurate analysis and critical evaluation.

It leads to dysfunctional decision-making and discourages any disagreement with the consensus.

Just asking what’s wrong with selling council houses so long as the money is used to build new ones was enough to suspend me, for a second time, from the Plaid Assembly group.

This suspension will last at least six months, depending on whether my appeal in March is successful.

People who defied the UK Government’s whip on the Brexit vote this week don’t get such punishment.

But In the groupthink of Labour and Plaid, the sale of council houses to working class people has to be ended, regardless of anything that could be put in place to help people buy their home and then build new ones.

I went against this groupthink and now I have to take the consequences.

Tragedy

Many politicians have been suspended this year, but none for so long and for something as trivial as questioning a housing policy, while still voting with the party line.

A lot of the other suspensions were related to claims of sexual harassment. The atmosphere became almost mob-like.

So much so that, at that time, a politician offering for a journalist to stay at his flat while they were out drinking suddenly became news.

And within that atmosphere, three complaints by women against a Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary – which were not investigated, proven, deemed serious enough to go to the police or even written down – were enough to sack him.

Four days later Carl Sargeant took his own life.

Offensive

Despite that horrible tragedy, the groupthink shows no sign of ending.

This week Gareth Bennett was banned by Elin Jones, the Presiding Officer, from speaking in the Assembly chamber until he apologises for an intervention he made on human rights.

I could barely hear what he was saying at the time because of all the jeering coming from the Labour/Plaid benches.

What I did hear was strange, and at times quite offensive towards ethnic minorities and transgender people.

But I think it’s important that he has the right to speak; and that’s coming from someone who is of mixed race.

In part of his speech he said:

‘There is only so much deviation from the norm that any society can take before that society completely implodes.’

But it was his deviation from the norm and the groupthink of the Assembly that has led to his ban on speaking.

Sacrifice

That’s ironic but it’s also dangerous. Those same people in the Assembly who virtue signal about diversity cannot tolerate any real diversity of thinking.

Virtue signalling has a bad connotation on the left now, and has become bound up with the far right. But the description of it, by James Bartholomew who coined the phrase, says:

‘I described the way in which many people say or write things to indicate that they are virtuous…

‘One of the crucial aspects of virtue signalling is that it does not require actually doing anything virtuous.

‘It does not involve delivering lunches to elderly neighbours or staying together with a spouse for the sake of the children. It takes no effort or sacrifice at all.’

In effect, virtue signalling means showing how right on you are, without actually having to do anything that really helps anyone.

Virtue signalling creates a sort of smug satisfaction and, make no mistake, the Assembly is a very smug place.

Silencing Gareth Bennett gave an opportunity for politicians to fire off tweets and hashtags about all the things they’re against.

They’re anti-fascist, anti-hate, anti-transphobic. And political parties with Assembly groups that are exclusively white/exclusively non-Muslim get to show how anti-racist/anti-Islamophobia they are.

There’s no need to walk the walk when you can just talk the talk instead.

Free Wales

We’re getting to the point where we need to have a serious discussion in Wales about the right to free speech and what we actually stand for.

It used to be that students would be in the vanguard here but many now prefer to campaign to no-platform people with opinions they don’t like.

Those that do want to defend free speech seem to have few options on the left.

Things have got to change. The quote wrongly ascribed to Voltaire really sums it up: ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it’.

I don’t like what Gareth Bennett says but I will defend his right to say it.

I see Plaid Cymru and the Assembly as a vehicle to a free Wales, where free speech, free expression and free association are fundamental rights, all guaranteed through a Welsh constitution.

Looking at the current direction of our Assembly it seems we’re going to a much darker place.

One where groupthink, virtue signalling and deviation from the norm can lead to natural justice, duty of care and due process being completely abandoned.

We have to get off this path and that’s what I’ll be working towards in 2018.

Articles via Email

Get instant updates to your inbox

We do not moderate comments before they appear. The views expressed in the comments are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of Nation. Cymru. Please read our community standards and participation guidelines before contributing.

newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Eos Pengwern
Guest
Eos Pengwern

Very well said. I was was truly disturbed by what happened to Gareth Bennett, since it signals a dark authoritarian streak within the Assembly which I hadn’t suspected. If elected members aren’t allowed to express opinions held by their electorate in the main elected chamber, then something is very, very wrong.

kim erswell
Guest
kim erswell

I agree with you totally, Eos. Who gets to decide what is free acceptable speech – the Establishment? Orwellian times ahead I think as the “accusers” aren’t going to stop.

Cofi Dre
Guest
Cofi Dre

I share some of the sentiments here, notably about the shocking treatment of Carl Sargeant, but Gareth Bennet has said repulsive and inflammatory things and Neil M shouldn’t hitch his wagon to this man. He should keep doing what he does properly, which is fight Labour and stick up for ordinary people. Writing an article defending the likes of Bennett when there are so many better causes to take up that would make Welsh politics better is a bit bonkers. Sorry Neil – this is from someone who wrote to Plaid in your defence telling them to reinstate you asap… Read more »

iantoddu
Guest

He’s not hitching his wagon to Gareth Bennett. He’s hitching his wagon to free speech. Gareth Bennett has been responsible for saying a lot of bike things- his saying that immigrants were responsible for more rubbish on the streets led to even another UKIP member standing down as a candidate, and you have to go some to offend someone like that. But that is immaterial- you should not ban someone from seeking in the assembly because of what they have said, or because you do not like them. Only for what they say in an assembly, which should have to… Read more »

ygwladgarwr
Guest

He hasn’t been banned from speaking. He has been banned from speaking until he apologises and then he will be free to speak again. I believe that Elin Jones is right in making that call because if Y Senedd doesn’t exist to protect the rights of all citizens of Wales, then what is it good for?

Brocaw
Guest
Brocaw

Why should people apologise for saying what they think. Why are there so many undemocratic people like you around. The beauty of politics is that if you don’t like what someone says you don’t vote for them.

neiljmcevoyNeil McEvoy
Guest

I am not defending his dreadful views in any way. I state that. I spoke against him in the debate. I couldn’t deal with all he said at the time, as I couldn’t hear it. His views exist. Expose them for what they are. Banning him has made him a martyr and has breathed life into a dying political entity.

sibrydionmawr
Guest

it’s perhaps interesting to note that it has been suggested that one of the reasons for the rapid ascent of the extreme right in the former GDR was that the kind of hateful politics extreme right espouse was completely suppressed by the authorities, (along with much other opinion that deviated from the official SED line) and so festering below the surface for 40 odd years before exploding the way it did in the 90s. It wasn’t the only cause of the social strife in the east of that country, (whose economy was completely destroyed overnight when parity of exchange between… Read more »

Dafis
Guest
Dafis

Sibrydionmawr – you wonder about groups within groups well a variation on that theme is the proliferation of spinners, lobbyists, PR quacks and other hot air merchants flouncing about and around Y Cynulliad . Welsh media have maintained a relative silence since Carl Sargeant’s premature death, respectful or fearful ? No probing of issues at all, very accepting of the sub judice treatment demanded by Y Cynulliad, where the problem’s roots are found ! Even more pertinent perhaps is the relative low volumes from the twitterati who in the days prior to his death was near meltdown with all sorts… Read more »

Kathryn Pritchard Gibson
Guest
Kathryn Pritchard Gibson

I wholeheartedly agree with what you say Neil. Your messages can however, as you know, sometimes be taken out of context, exaggerated, and used as a stick with which to beat you. Shake your head and stay focused. Your voice is needed. Karl Sergeant was a good man- a politician who understood and cared about the people. His death was unnecessary and could have been prevented if he had been treated fairly. Politics is a nasty game- but it needn’t be so.

Cofi Dre
Guest
Cofi Dre

I know you’re not defending his views, my point is that there are better free speech causes to get behind than Gareth Bennett, who is, as well as a man of repulsive views, a useless, clueless politician. I don;t think it has breathed new life into UKIP. And those views need to be challenged, yes they do, and I suggest banning people who spread hate from a Senedd debate is actually quite a good way of challenging them. Anyone – like you – who has worked at grass roots politics level knows that one of the reasons these shitty views… Read more »

ERNEST
Guest
ERNEST

The best way to defeat the ideas of groups such as the BNP is to invite them to BBC’s question time program. Then people could hear and see how repulsive the views of that party really are.

Well played Nick Clegg for asking the BBC to do this.

Neil McEvoy
Guest
Neil McEvoy

Hardly Anyone knew he made those views known until he was banned. Classic error when dealing with UKIP. They gave them oxygen. Frustrating to be frank. Democracy also serves as a pressure valve. Fascistic views exist. Demolish them with reason, not an iron heel. I understand your view Cofi, I just disagree.

Nic
Guest
Nic

I agree with almost everything too. The only thing I have my doubts about is whether free speech should be 100% free, no taboos, nothing off-limits, no holds barred? That’s what it has to mean, doesn’t it? If not, if there are lines that cannot be crossed? Where are these lines? Who decides where the lines are? Who holds the lines? Who decides when a line has been crossed? What constitutes hate speech and when does free speech become hate speech? Can free speech be used as an excuse for hate speech or hateful speech? What if an AM (or… Read more »

Eos Pengwern
Guest
Eos Pengwern

The Americans have been grappling with these problems since 1791; it is generally agreed that free speech doesn’t extend to shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theatre (unless there is a fire, obviously), but apart from that the remedy to people freely speaking what you don’t like is to engage and argue using rational logic. People who are confident about what they believe and capable of defending it generally don’t have a problem with this. Those who try to shut down other people’s views using their legal power, as Elin Jones has done, are revealing either that they know, deep down,… Read more »

sibrydionmawr
Guest

I remember seeing a TV movie some years ago that was about this very same issue, about how far does free speech extend. I wish I remembered the name of that movie, (I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it actually was, as ‘TV movie’ usually conjurs up ideas of degrees of direness). Basically the story is about a right wing politician who always sails close to the wind, but avoids crossing the line, and the movie explores ideas about that is free speech, and what is incitement, and how there is a very fine line, but that… Read more »

Eos Pengwern
Guest
Eos Pengwern

It’s probably not the film you’re thinking about, but one that made a deep impression on me was Danny Kaye’s last film, ‘Skokie’ (made in 1981) which concerned a plan by a group of American Neo-Nazis to march through a Chicago suburb of that name where the population was largely Jewish. The Jewish community itself was split between those (led by Danny Kaye’s character) who felt that the march should be stopped at all costs and those who felt that maintaining free speech, even that of the marchers, was the best way to safeguard their own freedom and safety. As… Read more »

sibrydionmawr
Guest

Thanks for that, I’m now searching online for Skokie to see if I can find it somewhere. Another film that illustrates how fascism takes hold is ‘It Happened Here’ which was released in the early 70s, but made over a very extended period by a group of people, largely amateur, which is alternate history where Britain is invaded and subjected to niazification. The film was very contraversial at the time, as some of the people acting in the film were real fascists, and they were unscripted, i.e. expressing their true beliefs. At the time, many, probably predominantly on the left… Read more »

Nic
Guest
Nic

Thanks. How does one differentiate between free speech and, say, racism or homophobia in the form of verbal exchanges? All this would seem to suggest that the law should not protect people from others’ entitlement to say whatever they want to whomever they choose? So someone walking down the street must endure being called foul names because it is what someone else believes and they are entitled to express their feelings? Most people, even those that believe in free speech, would not think this is OK. So where is the line? Is there a line? Who decides where the line… Read more »

Eos Pengwern
Guest
Eos Pengwern

The problem, of course, is that we don’t live in an ideal world and ‘hard cases make bad laws’. If there was a way of outlawing cruel verbal abuse without also outlawing the articulation of ideas, I’d be all for it – but no country that I know of has found a way of doing that. I expect that those who framed our current ‘hate speech’ laws (mostly the Conservative government of the 1980s and 90s who put in place the Public Order Act 1896 and the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act in 1994) were honestly trying to protect… Read more »

Eos Pengwern
Guest
Eos Pengwern

That should be 1986 of course, not 1896; blast! This site really needs and edit facility for comments!

Nic
Guest
Nic

That of course is the nub of the matter: those that agree with Bennett will see it as freedom of speech, those that don’t will see it as hate speech. Personally, I don’t see how, in this instance, “privileges being extended to one small section of society are placing a much larger section of society at risk” and as far as I know no evidence was given to support this assertion. Maybe that is the test of whether something is legitimate and therefore protected by the right to free speech i.e. can it be proven? If not, one has to… Read more »

Eos Pengwern
Guest
Eos Pengwern

I shall quote henacynflin below: “Nobody objects to free speech when people say things with which you agree. The time to defend free speech is when people say things with which you disagree. It is often difficult to do this but in a free and open society it is of the utmost importance and it is good to see someone like Mr McEvoy recognising this and speaking up. Well done.” It would have been much better if perhaps Elin Jones had asked Gareth Bennett to porvide some evidence for what he was saying, and the Senedd could have had a… Read more »

Nic
Guest
Nic

That’s my point. There has to be a line. And maybe one way of ascertaining whether a line has been crossed could be asking “is there proof”. If people know they have to provide evidence for their assertion maybe it will help everyone understand what is free speech and what is opinion, prejudice or hate speech? After all, what virtue is there in free speech if it can be used to rob people of other rights and freedoms? I don’t think it was a particularly dark day because I don’t think the Llywydd’s response (although heavy-handed) was any more outrageous… Read more »

Cofi Dre
Guest
Cofi Dre

I know Neil, we’ll have to disagree, but my essential point is that Plaid needs you and I’d be loath to see you spending your time on peopel like Bennett and falling foul of the party for people like him when there’s so much else to do. Also, it seems clear to me that UKIP and its views and the huge damage it’s done to public life, and our actual European-ness are a direct consequence of them being treated by media and politicians as if their views were the same as anyone else’s and needed to be put ‘out there’… Read more »

credyd
Guest

I got halfway through Neil’s article and was actually thinking to myself, ‘bravo Neil, you are making a good argument without pulling the race/victim/virtue card as I have noticed you are prone to do’. Then I read: “But I think it’s important that he has the right to speak; and that’s coming from someone who is of mixed race.” Couldn’t resist could you! Do you really think that race should affect one’s tolerance of free speech? But by and large I agree with the Neil’s concern regarding the propensity of the Left to indulge in group-think and censorship. A society… Read more »

Dafis
Guest
Dafis

credyd I was reading on and finding myself agreeing broadly with you until I came to …….”But by and large I agree with the Neil’s concern regarding the propensity of the Left to indulge in group-think and censorship.” Groupthink is not just a “Left” issue at Y Cynulliad. The whole institution is dripping with groupthink. There are people within Plaid and Labour who, at best, can only manage a pale imitation of socialism, pseudos at best but they can all manage to get under a fairly small groupthink blanket when it comes to flavour of the month ishoos ! I… Read more »

D Davies
Guest
D Davies

I am perplexed You mention 3 Complaints were made against Karl Sargeant yet none were investigated by the police before he was sacked Were these complaints made at the same time- if so who orchestrated this? He was named but not his complaints Surely it would have been better not to name Karl until investigated thoroughly

Neil McEvoy
Guest
Neil McEvoy

Diolch Cofi. I offered to mediate with Leanne and the Group at the start of November. I am still waiting for a full reply. I am just cracking on building Cardiff Plaid with colleagues. and trying to do that job in the wider region. It is unfortunate that us making Plaid popular in our Capital, through a team approach has led to suspicion amongst some leading lights. What we have done should make Cardiff a model to follow. For example, without quotas or positive discrimination, we have organically grown a diverse, positive, forward looking Party, to which our opponents find… Read more »

Neil McEvoy
Guest
Neil McEvoy

I take your point Credyd, but people like me live with the results of hate. People who have never spoken to me, or never met me, judge me and dislike me, because of how I look. That is just the way it is. Hence, the inclusion.I actually find overt racism much easier to deal with to be frank. It’s the clever, colonial prejudice which is more difficult to counter.

Puw
Guest
Puw

I was surprised that the Assembly has now descended to a politburo or North Korean style parliament where any dissenting voice from the group or establishment view is to be silenced or banned. I bet some of those who opposed his views would have liked to see him carted off to the gulag rather than debate them.. Now he is seen as a martyr and a known face or name. Before the ban to be honest I had never heard of him, probably some of his constituents as well didn’t know he existed. Now I and they know there is… Read more »

Hannah
Guest
Hannah

This has been discussed within the Transgender community in Cardiff and I’ve argued that the ban is over the top, it gives him publicity and prevents his views from being demolished. I would rather he gets to say them and then watch all the other AMs line up to destroy them in reply. I have also suggested that the community reaches out to him, that he be invited to a monthly support meeting to find out about the transgender experience in Cardiff and why support is essential – I doubt he will come (apparently David Davies MP was also invited… Read more »

Not Another Neil NcEvoy Fake Account
Guest
Not Another Neil NcEvoy Fake Account

Neil McEvoy defends Gareth Bennett for his blatant and despicable attack on a persecuted minority. Not so much a shock, after all, Mr McEvoy’s attacks on women are similar, e.g. his complaints about ‘fake’ accusations of domestic violence, when we all know the main problem is not enough women speak out agaibst their abusers.

I hope Plaid Cymru throw him out. He’ll probably join UKIP or the Tories then. He’s becoming more Thatcherite, if not even more right wing, every day.

Oh dear
Guest
Oh dear

Recent times have witnessed a frightening rise in political violence and intimidation manifesting itself in increasing authoritarianism from all parties. Look how shabbily Neil McEvoy has been treated by his own party and Carl Sargeant by his ‘comrades’. There is a developing new understanding of fascism, not as the sole preserve of a tiny minority of extremists, but as an increasingly broad church. Observing with discomfort as the new breed of leftists repeatedly cast their net wider and wider, hauling in every dawdling Brexiteer and errant journalist not looking where they were going: denouncing, assassinating, twisting words into knots. Fascists,… Read more »

Gwilym ab Ioan
Guest
Gwilym ab Ioan

Well articulated in a balanced and sensible way Neil. It’s a shame that there aren’t more like you down in Y Bae, with a backbone and a sense of fairness with principles – who actually believe in telling the truth, rather than insincerely tickling ears for perceived short term gain. But isn’t this the nature of the beast? Playing political games of point scoring, bullying through ‘group-think’ and an inherent fear of being exposed as not treading that invisible line of correctness. It bears all the hallmarks of the political ‘old brigade’, espoused by the politics of yesteryear. ALL parties… Read more »

Jonathan Edwards Sir Benfro
Guest
Jonathan Edwards Sir Benfro

Are there such things as a political pendulum? Lets look at some of what is happening. McEvoy and housing Old-fashioned bullying by the clique which runs Plaid (fits “female pattern” definition, by the way) McEvoy and bullying Labour scored against McEvoy with classic complaints-culture goal. (Supported by Plaid qv) Gwilym ab Ioan and “oddballs, social misfits and society drop-outs from England’s inner cities” A lot of Welsh individuals build careers and quasi-businesses in the Welsh Third Sector in this field – see Jac of the North again and again. This is overwhelming evidence, but it makes a certain sort of… Read more »

Oh dear
Guest
Oh dear

Notice my comment not being put up which rives the point.

Muddy Valley
Guest
Muddy Valley

Group think edited you?

henacynflin
Guest

Nobody objects to free speech when people say things with which you agree. The time to defend free speech is when people say things with which you disagree/. It is often difficult to do this but in a free and open society it is of the utmost importance and it is good to see someone like Mr McEvoy recognising this and speaking up. Well done.

leigh richards
Guest

Bennett made comments a member of a neo fascist group like Britain First would have been proud of – his comments were hate speech pure and simple and he would have been rebuked for such comments in any democratically elected chamber. He has banned himself with his nauseating attacks on trans people and minorities. It has been made clear to him that If he withdraws his comments will be called to speak in debates – so the ball is in bennett’s court on this matter. But very sad to read that neil seems to confuse free speech with hate speech.… Read more »

leigh richards
Guest

Bennett made comments a member of a neo fascist group like Britain First would have been proud of – his comments were hate speech pure and simple and he would have been rebuked for such comments in any democratically elected chamber. He has banned himself with his nauseating attacks on trans people and minorities. It has been made clear to him that If he withdraws his comments he will be called to speak in debates – so the ball is in bennett’s court on this matter. But very sad to read that neil seems to confuse free speech with hate… Read more »

Abertaweman
Guest

Spot on Neil! I speak as someone who is on the Left on economic matters but There has always been a regressive authoritarian streak with Labour. I remember when Blair was arresting anyone who protested outside the Houses of Parliament and when Walter Wolfgang a survivor from Hitler’s death camps shouted “Nonsense” at Jack Straw during a conference speech – he was roughed up by some bouncers. Plaid are hypnotised by Labour groupthink and they must snap out of it. We MUST remove Labour from power in the Senedd before they turn the entire nation into automatons. I am fed… Read more »

M
Guest
M

Am I to assume, that some people will say/believe, that in time (years/generation), it will be a “hate” crime to condemn peadophiles for their actions!!

Petroc
Guest
Petroc

Feathers are flying on this one. Gareth Bennet was once a SWP member and then a Labour Party activist. Where will all these UKIP Senedd members go when UKIP winds up in March 2019? And what are they doing in a Senedd which has zero say in the politics of Brexit anyway. Perhaps it is the lack of Individuation and argument in the Senedd that leads voters to chose rebels against conformist drabs. The Senedd needs to act like a parliament, with backbench rebelsin every party, make another 40 ASes (no pun intended) and set up proper committees such as… Read more »

Neil McEvoy
Guest
Neil McEvoy

A reply to 1 of my trolls: I’m a Welsh Republican who rejects the Brit left top down “we know better than you what’s good for you.” Such people can usually afford their superior politics as a result of their Labour Party card. I’m against that corruption and for bottom up, community led solutions. I oppose élitism and want people to be given a fair chance in life to succeed. I want a sovereign Welsh parliament, because I want Wales to be given a chance. I believe in equality of treatment and strive to oppose racism, sexism and all unfair… Read more »

Trailorboy
Guest
Trailorboy

Spot on summary. I was always opposed to selling council houses, right up to the point that you raised the question. It has made me question my views and isn’t that thr role of good politicians. We should always be questioning our beliefs. I work with someone who lives in a council house in Powys. Somewhere he could never afford to buy a house, because private property prices have soatred out of reach. He has thought about buying it, but can’t afford to and now won’t be able to, but would like to have security in some sense for himself… Read more »

Cymru Rydd
Guest
Cymru Rydd

A really good article from Neil. As he says, it’s been a bad year for democracy at Y Senedd. His own spurious suspension from the Plaid group was engineered no doubt by the Sisterhood which has such a pernicious influence within the upper echelons of the party. Then we’ve had the bullying and whispering campaign against an AM, ( apparently led by lobbying groups who disliked his stance against lobbying) who subsequently took his his own life, after his own party sacrificed him on the altar of political correctness. And then this sorry episode. I am no fan of Lord… Read more »

kim erswell
Guest
kim erswell

Political correctness will confine free speech to the dustbin of history; room 101…

sibrydionmawr
Guest

Let’s be quite clear, there is nothing in essence wrong with political correctness. It’s when it’s misused to silence, to close down debate that it becomes an opressive thing. All political groups have their own versions of political correctness, with the Tories it’s something called ‘ideological soundness’ which can be equally oppressive. Indeed, any consideration of what political correctness really is would have to include free speech at the top of the list, for without this, there can be no democracy, which is kind of self-defeating. Unfortunately political correctness in it’s many forms has been hijacked by a few who… Read more »

Max Wallis
Guest

Right on “oh dear” for recalling that the Gareth Bennett storm stemmed from his raising the issue of “self declaring” one’s gender. His words actually referred to the “nuttiest” among transgender people as gaining sway. While I don’t like the term (does it not offend mental patients?), there are extremists who fail to address the evident problems of eg. men self-declaring so they can participate and win women’s sporting events. Or more seriously, men in prison self-declaring to get a move to a women’s prison and opportunities for sexual activity. Many would say self-declaring is inadequate – a settled view… Read more »

Trailorboy
Guest
Trailorboy

I strongly dislike the fact that you are pushing the argument that somehow there are imposters flouting the transgender issue, which in itself then creates unnecessary suspicions about people affected by this. I do however welcome the fact that you have the right to express them and we shouldn’t hide from the fact that you are not the only person who holds those unusual views and ideas. This issue needs to be discussed and we need to show that some who have concerns like you do, can have a voice – so that society can effectively move on with this… Read more »

PUN
Guest
PUN

I find it ironic that Mr McEvoy, who has been found guilty of bullying behaviour, and his lawyer, who has been found guilty of sexual harassment, are complaining about bullying and sexual harassment in the comments section of an article about free speech – when McEvoy and said lawyer have been particularly litigious in regard to alleged libels committed against Mr McEvoy. So free speech it is – unless you want to criticise Neil McEvoy. Mr McEvoy is also “washing his dirty linen in public” when he openly discusses his feud with Leanne Wood. Is this really advisable and are… Read more »

Gwilym ab Ioan
Guest
Gwilym ab Ioan

Bullying is bullying, regardless of who does the bullying. It has to be put in context. Accusation is one thing, providing evidence of bullying is altogether a different matter – as we’ve witnessed in the Carl Sergeant affair. If accusations of bullying or harassment are used as a weapon – without tangible evidence – then it is simply the word of one person against the word of another person. Not valid. However, in the case of Mr. McEvoy and his party, it is evidently apparent that he is the victim. Bringing up mere accusations about his own past is irrelevant.… Read more »

Truthpaste
Guest
Truthpaste

But Neil McEvoy was found to have used bullying behaviour and his barrister was found guilty of sexual harrassment. Neither man appealed against these findings. A common trait of bullies and harassers is to claim that they themselves are the victims. If Mr McEvoy was determined to clear his name then, given his antipathy to keeping a low profile, don’t you think he’d have tried to do this? He must know that he has no chance of reversing the verdict hence his, and his barrister’s, insistence that it is Mr McEvoy who is being bullied. They are trying to flip… Read more »

kim erswell
Guest
kim erswell

J’accuse! Time to bring back, Monsieur Guillotine…

Neil McEvoy
Guest
Neil McEvoy

3 white middle class women decided I had bullied, because I defended a poor family from eviction. The eviction was unfair and I said I wanted to restructure the Council. That was it.

I have not bullied anyone, but get used to gutter play ground tactics from people who don’t ha s the courage to identify themselves: organised trolls essentially. I’ll just carry on with the politics.

PUN
Guest
PUN

Why emphasise that the women who found that you were a bully were white and middle class? You seem a bit prejudiced.

It is shameful that you are playing the race card, and claiming that you are black, when you are one-eighth Arab. Hardly much of a minority – except in your head.

kim erswell
Guest
kim erswell

I think, Neil, might be talking about prople like you…. Your post seemed to me, Pun, to have an element of racism too..no pun intended

PUN
Guest
PUN

“People like you”! Neil McEvoy has far more in common with the women on the bullying panel than he does with me! And I have far more in common with you than you do with Neil McEvoy. Trust me.

kim erswell
Guest
kim erswell

“Trust me..” From lifes bitter experience – I trust no one.

Dafis
Guest
Dafis

“Trust me ” – well now that’s a funny line. Intentional ?

Jonathan Edwards Sir Benfro
Guest
Jonathan Edwards Sir Benfro

Dear Pun Here is the other side of what you have to say. Which was “I find it ironic that Mr McEvoy, who has been found guilty of bullying behaviour, and his lawyer, who has been found guilty of sexual harassment, are complaining about bullying and sexual harassment in the comments section of an article about free speech – when McEvoy and said lawyer have been particularly litigious in regard to alleged libels committed against Mr McEvoy.” You “find it ironic” “Ironic” = “using words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning”. Or loosely –… Read more »

Fi
Guest
Fi

As Noam Chomsky said: “Goebbels was in favor of free speech for views he liked, so was Stalin. If you’re really in favor of free speech, then you’re in favor of freedom of speech for precisely the views you despise–otherwise, you’re not in favour of free speech.”

PUN
Guest
PUN

So you and McEvoy are innocent. I am sure that you have come across many men going through the courts who are innocent too. Prison is full of them. Rammed full of men who claim they are innocent. Your allusion to Trump is interesting. I was glad he won as he ended the rule of the warmongering Bush/Clinton crime gang. Unfortunately, it seems now that he is just another neoliberal Zionist stooge. But comparing Trump to McEvoy is ridiculous. Trump was not tainted to the extent that McEvoy is. When you have been shunned by the two largest political parties… Read more »

JD
Guest
JD

Neil you are spot on once again. As a member of the LGBT community, it alarms me that such a tiny minority gets so much press and attention. Gender is not the same as sexuality. People are born male, female, or intersex. So that’s XY, XX, and XXY. Intersex is actually a condition and not a gender or sexual identity. A man who transitions to be a woman will never be a woman. She will be a transgender woman. A woman who transitions to be a man will never be a man. She will be a transgender man. I will… Read more »

kim erswell
Guest
kim erswell

Well put J D.