Please note: this event has passed
- Louise Haig MP, MP for Sheffield Heeley and Shadow Secretary of State for Transport
- Polly Toynbee, Guardian columnist and former BBC social affairs editor
- Sunder Katwala, Director of British Future
- Bobby Duffy, Director of the Policy Institute, King’s College London (Chair)
The UK has a free speech problem. Vital debate is being shut down, with “woke” warriors policing public discourse, ordinary people afraid to speak their minds, and our history being airbrushed. That, at least, is the story that’s increasingly being told in our politics and media. For example, “cancel culture” first appeared in UK newspapers in 2018, when only six articles featured the phrase. By 2021 there were 3,670 pieces that referenced the term.
Or is the reverse true? Should we be more worried about protecting certain groups from threatening, abusive and offensive speech?
One thing is clear at least: the debate on freedom of expression has certainly become more prominent in recent years – but does the level of attention reflect the reality of public opinion? Where do most people stand on the real-world tensions between freedom of speech and freedom from harm? And are we a nation divided on these issues or is there more common ground?
Join the Policy Institute at King’s College London, Ipsos and British Future to discuss these questions and more, drawing on findings from a major programme of research.