If you think our Guild is bad! (Part II)

Thats right, after the shocking antics from Nottingham’s elected President that Jimmy mentioned in a previous post, it seems the President of the Edinburgh University Students Union is attempting to ban the Daily Mail from its campus. Frankly this is just another clear example of the left wing’s true feelings toward ‘freedom of speech’. They believe in freedom of speech alright as long as it’s their speech. If they don’t agree with you they are positively venomous and do all they can to discredit and silence you. If I were Guild President here at Birmingham, I would never dream of imposing a ban on papers I reagrd as left wing trash such as the Guardian or the Independent, even though I find their views utterly ridiculous. So the fact that this self righteous President at Edinburgh and his cronies have taken it upon himself to ban a perfectly legitimate, and indeed nationally popular, publication is beyond reproach.

You may not agree with everything that is written in it, indeed you wouldn’t be alone, but the students of Edinburgh University have a democratic right to buy whatever paper they wish. It is not the right of jumped up students to tell them what they can and can’t read. That my friend is nothing other than blatant censorship worth of Stalin’s Russia. As far as I am concerned people have a democratic right under the terms of free press and freedom of speech to make their own mind up. They can decide what paper they buy. They can decide what paper they don’t buy. It is not for any one individual to make that decision for them. Tory bear, who Im told resides in Edinburgh, has himself commented on this issue.

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81 thoughts on “If you think our Guild is bad! (Part II)

  1. In a way I have no problem with them banning rags like the Mail, so long as they have a range of broadsheets.

  2. No no Daniel. If you ban one publication then it sets a dangerous precedent for banning others. If a right wing guild gets elected do you think it is ok for them to ban say the Guardian? If not why not. The Guardian is read by less people in the UK than the Daily Mail. Never let personal predjudice get in the way of doing what is politically and indeed morally right.

  3. The Guardian is a fine newspaper that should be widely available on university campuses to vibrate and multiply the brain cells of our students.

    The Daily Mail is a piece of garbage.

  4. I think both are trash tbh. But thats the point: its not for me to decide what others read. Or you. I thought you were a libertarian? lol Press censorship is hardly libertarian!

  5. No, the Guardian is several major notches above the trashy, alarmist output of the Mail and other tabloid rags.

    If I were a headteacher I’d have copies of the day’s broadsheets in the school library. If I were a Vice-Chancellor of a University I’d do the same. If people want to read trash they can walk out of the campus and go and buy it from a newspaper shop.

  6. This is blatantly ridiculous, why would anyone head of a Guild want to ban a newspaper? Surely they have far more important things to be doing such as protesting against Capitalism and the G20 or mourning the ‘Queen of Essex’ Jade Goody?

    If they’re going to start banning Right-wing newspapers then surely within two years they’ll be banning The Sun – the newspaper with the highest readership in the country?

  7. I think they should refuse to sell the Sun as well. Like the Mail, it’s gutter journalism. If thick students want to read the the hysterical rants of the Mail then they can leave the campus and go and buy it. That’s up to them.

  8. Further, as far as I’m aware, the Edinburgh student Guild own the four shop outlets in question. They are perfectly within their right to decide not to sell any product.

    Of course the Daily Mail has a right to exist. However, that doesn’t mean that shop owners are required to sell it.

  9. “No, the Guardian is several major notches above the trashy, alarmist output of the Mail and other tabloid rags.”

    Again – THAT IS NOT FOR YOU OR ME TO DECIDE. The point is we need to get away from this nanny state mentality. I also happen to believe that sweets such as ‘Haribo’ are ‘several notches below’ Galaxy… should we ban Haribo’s? Yes that is a rather flippant example but the principle is the same.

    People have a democratic right to buy and read which ever paper they wish the university surely has more pressing matters to contend with. This is all pathetic and sets a dangerous precedent.

    This situation is just another example of a left wing grouping going out of their way to censor and obliterate opposition. They have a vandetta against the Daily Mail, which is stereotypically viewed as being racist, and are using their elected position to further that vandetta which as far as I am concerned is an abuse of power. They were not elected to rid the campus of the Daily Mail.

  10. “People have a democratic right to buy and read which ever paper they wish”

    I agree entirely with this remark Dan.

    However, could you answer my previous point. I said that the four shop outlets in question are owned by the Student Guild. They have a right to decide which products they sell, whether it be The Daily Mail or Galaxy chocolate.

    Of course the Daily Mail have a right to exist and to print their news, BUT tell me where it says that a private enterprise are thus required to sell it?

    I am perfectly aware that it is “not for me to decide” what papers the Guild should sell. But neither is it for you to decide. It is for the owners of those shops to decide.

  11. No there should be regulations. Organisations such as a students union are supposed to represent ALL students. If you accept their banning of one publication on the grounds they do not agree with it then you are actively condoning discrimination against those that do. Why should a fee paying student of the University of Edinburgh have to walk off campus to another store, which could be a long way off for all we know, to pick up the paper of their choice while some other student who reads a paper that they and many others may believe to be utter rubbish can conveniently pop in to their campus store. Discrimination is discrimination Dan. And I dont condone it in any form. Voltaire said it best:

    “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”

    You can’t be selective about where you say it/sell it.

  12. “No there should be regulations.”

    There aren’t regulations. This is because private enterprises have the right to decide what products and services they sell.

    “Why should a fee paying student of the University of Edinburgh have to walk off campus to another store.”

    Because the elected authorities at the Guild have decided not to sell the Mail in the shops that they have legal control over. I’m afraid power resides with the elected authorities, and if the electors disagree then they have a chance to vote them out.

    “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”

    Voltaire’s dictum is not being challenged by the student guild. The Edinburgh student guild are not saying that the Mail should not be printed, they are not attempted to stop the Mail from existing. The Mail can continue to say what it likes.

    However, the student guild does have the right to decide not to sell it. I’m afraid there is no legal recourse. They are legally able to sell whatever products they like.

  13. Dan the principle remains the same. They have shown a clear contempt for freedom of the press, typical of left wingers. I am told it has provoked negative response from many students, from all parties, at Edinburgh which shows this is a wrong decision. You say “power resides with the elected authorities” which implys we have a moral obligation to follow what they say…. so I suppose we should all have paid the Poll Tax should we? We should all accept the Iraq War? We should all accept 42 days? Because these were all democratically elected authorities making political decisions against the public will. Sometimes Dan a political decision made by a democratically elected body is clearly wrong. This decision is wrong. Would you offer the same support I wonder if it were say all the broadsheets that were banned and only the tabloids sold? If this motion succeeds I reiterate it sets a dangerous precedent and further legitimates restriction of freedoms.

  14. “Would you offer the same support I wonder if it were say all the broadsheets that were banned and only the tabloids sold?”

    Personally? I think this would be a bad decision. Legally? I wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.

    “I am told it has provoked negative response from many students, from all parties, at Edinburgh which shows this is a wrong decision.”

    Firstly, this is a pathetic attempt to analysis student opinion at Edinburgh. However, if they do feel strongly opposed to the decision, they can support a candidate at the next election to reverse it.

    “You say “power resides with the elected authorities” which implys we have a moral obligation to follow what they say.”

    It doesn’t imply this at all. I stated that power DOES reside with the elected authorities. If students, however, believe this to be bad, then they can elect a new authority and have it reversed.

    “This decision is wrong.”

    Thanks for your opinion Dan. Now, can you tell me why you have the right to tell a private enterprise what products it sells?

  15. Dan Im not arguing against its legal right not to stock it. Im saying its politically and morally wrong to discriminate in this way whether it is ‘legal’ or not is neither here nor there. What this post is doing is asking for peoples opinions on whether they AGREE with the deicision and if so why… not whether it’s legal or not.

    If you agree with this decision on its ‘legal right’ to sell whatever they chose then that also means that a store has a legal right to ban broadsheet papers full stop and stock only tabloids. This would not be desirable by anyones standards but as you rightly say is legal.

    If you accept the restriction of one paper today, which by the way I would say could fall foul of the anti discrimination legislation anyway, then you set a dangerous precedent for the future. It could be the Daily Mail today, then all right wing papers tomorrow. Whereas if you consign this motion to the trash where it belongs then you might discourage other potential censors in the future.

    There is no justification whatsoever, whether it is legal or not, to accept this kind of action. Its censorship and flies in the face of evrything all those who genuinely believe in freedom of speech and expression should stand for. The students of Edinburgh university have a right to read the paper of their choice they should not be told they have to go off campus to do so.

  16. No one hates the Daily Hate/Mail more than me. And Stephen Fry. And the fact that most Guilds or Unions don’t stock tabloids or red tops says something, but that’s more to do with their audience than anything else, not the ‘cencorship’ within their Union.
    If a University is actively making a move to remove a paper on the basis of protest at their opinion then I do believe that that is wrong, if it’s just because of a severe lack of ciculation within the University campus and therefore economically unviable you can’t prohibit it’s ciculation more than you can anything else that won’t sell within a University. To disguise one as the other is wrong, obviously, but I would also like to see it’s circulation figures.

    I despise the Daily Mail. I have a friendly relationship with the Guardian and Indie (yes Dan, that’s right, you heard) but I do despise the Daily Mail and Express, and refuse to aknowledge the red tops as forms of informative media, but this surely goes further than just ‘we don’t like it, make it go away’. No one thinks like that, surely there’s more to it.

  17. “This situation is just another example of a left wing grouping going out of their way to censor and obliterate opposition. They have a vandetta against the Daily Mail, which is stereotypically viewed as being racist, and are using their elected position to further that vandetta which as far as I am concerned is an abuse of power.”

    *facepalm*
    Oh Dan. Not everything is about the left.

  18. I wanted you to accept that the Edinburgh Student Guild has the right to decide not to sell the Daily Mail. You seem to have accepted this?

    Now let’s turn to their motives…

    Their case is that the Daily Mail has political views that they find unacceptable. They are therefore refusing to sell it in their shops.

    I personally do not have an issue with this.

    Firstly, as I have said, they are legally entitled to do so. And, the decision does not represent an affront to freedom of speech.

    They are NOT saying that the Daily Mail cannot exist. They are not saying that its students cannot read its content. What they ARE saying, to be precise, is that they will not sell it in their outlets.

    This is NOT therefore a threat to our free press (in the very slightest).

    If the students disagree that much with the decision, then they can mount a candidate to overturn it.

    Now. My own point of view is that the Daily Mail is a right-wing rag, and I think this makes its content unacceptable, and I do not have an issue with the Guild removing it from the shelves. I would be angry, however, if The Times were removed. BUT, this is my personal choice and I do not run Edinburgh Student Guild, nor am I one of its electors.

  19. Can I also suggest that in your quest for the liberty of the individual to buy the Daily Mail in every shop in the land regardless of what their owners think, you are overriding the rights of private property.

  20. I never disputed its legality. My argument is that the decision taken is discriminatary. If the Mail, despite accusations to the contrary, actually contained racist, homophobic and other extremist views then yes I would be more inclined to agree it should be banned. But I am curious as to why they have singled out the Mail. There are equally ‘extreme’ views in papers like the Sun and the Mirror but you dont see them being banned! Its all a politically motivated attack. The Guild in question is abusing its position and serving its own interest. There was no call from the mainstream student body to have this publication banned. Indeed it has provoked much criticism regarding the issues I have raised. Its likely that this motion will not succeed because, whether they have a legal right to ban it or not is neither here nor there, the fact remains it is a blatantly wrong decision that is discriminatoary and motivated by personal predjudice rather in response to student demand which after all is what they were elected to serve.

  21. Well, firstly Dan, I must emphasis again that they are legally entitled to take the Mail off their shelves.

    I think the legal position is not unimportant in terms of us staking out our views. Before we do we must respect this institution’s right to sell whatever products it likes.

    Furthermore it is not discriminatory against people, it is discriminatory against a newspaper. The first is in fact illegal, the second isn’t.

    And in terms of my personal view, I would like to see the Mail banished from the shelves along with other tabloids. I do however realise that this isn’t going to happen while the Mail remains commercial. Getting to that position where the Mail becomes uncommercial may take a few pioneers to take an uncommercial decision based on personal prejudice. And if I owned a shop I’d be a pioneer.

  22. It is discrimination against the people who wish to be able to purchase the Mail on their campus. They are a part of the electorate at the university and they are being discriminated against by their unions decision to take their right to buy their paper in their campus shops away. The union is their to represent the students. That is where their ‘legal’ and elected rights come from. They were not elected to rid the campus of the Daily Mail, and as such they have decieved their electorate almost making their elected rights null and void. They were not elected to do it and it is a deeply unpopular decision. They are discriminating against the Mail and its readers and they have abused their position.

  23. No. This is not right.

    Once an authority is elected it is empowered to act. Governments and elected authorities legislate on lots of issues that were not even touched on in their manifestos. The electorate of course, have the right to kick them out at the next election.

    Further. Imagine you own a newspaper shop. You decide you don’t like the Daily Mail, so you destock it. This is a decision you are legally entitled to make. And I happen to think that this legal position is also a moral one. It is YOUR shop and YOUR product range. You can discriminate against products as much as you like for whatever reason.

    This is different from discrimination law, which tries to stop discrimination against people for their personal attibutes such as sex, race and sexual preference. This does not include protection for Daily Mail readers. And, in any case, there are many other shops that sell the Daily Mail. Indeed they can read it on the internet.

    I would like to re-state my personal view again. I think the Daily Mail is trash and would prefer that it wasn’t on sale. However, this would involve it becoming UNcommercial. The only way this will happen is if enough private institutions and private citizens take it upon themselves to exercise their right not to sell or buy it. If I owned a shop I would be one of them.

  24. Dan that sets a dangerous precedent. Its “YOUR shop and YOUR product. You can discriminate against products”? …Good get out clause by throwing ‘products’ in but as much as you try to ‘dodge the bullet’ the fact remains the same. You are discriminating against the people who buy the product in favour of another grouping. I know of NO newspaper outlet that refuses to stock the Mail. However much they may disagree with it. This action is almost unprecedented and is blatant discrimination of the people who buy the product. They should have as much right to buy their paper as a Guardian or Telegraph reader. To be told they cant and ban them is to put them on a par with fascists, racists and homophobes which is outrageous. The Mail is nowhere near as bad as you make out or else frankly it wouldnt be in publication and as popular with the public as it is.

  25. Standards and popularity are not very complimentary. The Sun is read by 3 million people a day, but its reporting is several notches below The Times which has a readership of about half a million.

    Furthermore, as I said, it would be UNcommerical for a shop to stop selling the Mail. But it depends how strongly you feels about its content. AND, the shop owner is entitled to have strong views and act upon them.

    And on the issue of discriminating against the Mail readership, then yes, I suppose you would be. But I don’t think this is a problem. There is a balance to be struck between the rights of Mail readers and the rights of shop owners. I favor the latter, principally because this case doesn’t pose a fundamental threat to freedom of the press, and reading the Mail is not a characteristic such as sex and race that requires universal protection.

  26. You hit on an interesting point Laura so I enquired about the circulation figures and apparently even if they were bad, which we can’t prove either way as we dont have access to the figures, it wouldnt matter because they have plenty of other items which are being sold which DEFINATELY have a lower readship e.g the Racing Post. Furthermore it wouldnt explain why the union’s press releases have been dripping with venom about the Mail and its readership rather than justifying it on the grounds of circulation figures. Therefore this is nothing more than a personal hate campaign and an abuse of elected power.

    It is highly unlikely that this motion will pass anyway because everyone with a brain at Edinburgh can see it is frankly outrageous and an abuse of power… whatever their opinions on the Mail as a reputable paper. The President elect and Vice President elect, neither of which are Tory, have both come out against it as have previous Presidents, editors and other elected officals of all party colours. This was one president and a few cronies individual vandetta against a popular, if controversial, paper who sought to use their power to further their own vandetta. Whether they can do it legally or not is irrelevant it is an abhorrent decision that has met with popular disapproval.

    Torybear who has been outraged by this situation spoke all those involved in EUSA and all agreed it was a stupid idea which would fail to be passed:
    http://www.torybear.com/2009/04/twittering-classes-speak-out.html

  27. I’m also aware of it’s unpopularity and the fact that the motion is likely to fail.

    And the law, Dan, is not irrelevant. As far as the law is concerned it is your view that is irrelevant.

    You are over-riding the rights of shop owners to decide their own product range in the pursuit of the Daily Mail being available in every newspaper shop in the country it seems. This is not legally or morally correct.

  28. Let me put this another way. I’m not sure I’m making myself clear.

    Everyone has the right to express their political views and act upon them. The Daily Mail have the right to be politically bias, and shop owners also have the right to de-shelve the Mail for political reasons if they so wish.

    It is not an affront to freedom of speech or freedom of the press if a shop owner decides not to sell a newspaper for political motives. This is their own freedom of speech excercised through their rights of property.

    There is no legal or moral condemnation that can be made against any authority that decides for political reasons to remove a publication.

  29. Dan this is not a simple case of an individual shop owner. The real shop ‘owners’ are the students of Edinburgh University who’s power is exercised by their elected representatives on their behalf for a limited period of time.

    If said power is used for personal gain or a radical decision such as this is taken without student consultation then it is an abuse of power. Although I would disagree if an individual shop keeper decided to ban a publication fron his store, you are right it is his legal right to do so. But the Edinburgh Union is no ordinary shop keeper.

    The difference is the individual shop keepers power over his shop is his own. He owns his shop it is his decision to sell what he likes and as I say whilst I might disagree with his decision to ban a publication it is his legal right to do so. The Union however is not ‘owned’ by any one individual or group of individuals.

    They exercise power for a term limited period of time and cannot take such radical decisions without popular mandate. Thus their ‘legal right’ is not as straight forward as you would suggest. It is a petty and personally motivated decision that has backfired spectacularly for the reasons I and many others have expressed. It is morally wrong for an elected student body, whom is supposed to represent all of its students, to discriminate in this way. End of.

  30. The four shops in question are owned by the Student Guild of Edinburgh. Whoever is in power is therefore in legal control of those outlets. The electorate handover this control when they elect representatives. If they don’t like a decision they can vote them out at the next election.

    “It is a petty and personally motivated decision.”

    Whoever put forward this motion evidently disagrees profoundly with the Mail’s own political bias. I’m afraid he is legally AND morally entitled to have this view and act upon it by presenting a motion to the the elected authorities of the student guild.

  31. No. He does not. If Gordon Brown decided to enact a policy that could lock us all up without charge… oh wait hes already done that lol… he has the legal right to do so but it would be massively unpopular with the public and completely morally wrong. By your logic we’d have to sit back and accept it because he has the elected power to do so? We’d have to wait however many years for a chance to kick him out? No Dan.

    There are some instances where a decision taken, whether technically legal or not, is morally and politically wrong. Technicallly Hitler had a political and legal mandate to discriminate gainst the Jews… does that make it right?

    This decision is wrong. Why do you think all sides of the political divide at Edinburgh have come together in opposition to this motion? Why do you think the President slipped it in around Easter when he thought it would slip under the radar? Because he knows his position is untenable and almost everyone can see what an affront to freedom of the press on campus this is.

  32. Where did I say that people cannot protest against the decision? Of course they can, don’t be ridiculous. They can also vote their representatives out at the next election.

    Now, you’re argument is seriously flawed on three levels:

    1) You seem to be suggesting that it is ‘morally and politically’ wrong for a shop owner to express his/her/their political views and act upon them? On the contrary, if a shop owner decides for political reasons to take the Mail of HIS shelves then that is HIS legal and moral choice.

    2) You should not equate this to some sort of total ban against the Daily Mail. No one is suggesting that the Mail can’t exist or print its newspaper. This is one shop proprietor saying that it may not stock it. This is not an affront to freedom of speech or freedom of the press.

    3) You seem also to suggest that discrimination should not exist in society at all? In the case of the Mail, I didn’t think that being able to purchase it from a very particular shop in Edinburgh was included in any anti-discrimination law or even part of a broad moral agreement?

  33. Point 1) is absolute tosh. All I am asking you to do is recognise that the union is not a typical ‘shop owner’ as you keep on suggesting and the Union have an obligation to their electorate not to discriminate. An individual shop owner on the other does not have that same obligation.

    Thus I am in agreement with you it is the individual shop keepers legal right to stock whatever he wants. HOWEVER the Union is an organisation and NOT an individual. Thus its legal rights are more complex and interdependant than you acknowledge.

    Legally they can technically stock whatever they want by the powers afforded to them by the electorate of the university, however such a decision would, and has, backfired spectacularly. It is completely unacceptable for an elected authority to take such a radical decision without popular mandate. That is an abuse of power as it would not be sanctioned by the student body (as they will soon find out)whether it is legal or not is not the issue.

    Point 2) It is an affront to freedom of the press on campus. The campus would basically be a censored and regulated environment. That is not healthy and is a direct contradiction of what university is meant to be about: free thinking.

    Point 3) is flippant and I have no idea what you are getting at with it. What I am saying is that by refusing to stock it on campus you are accepting that censorship is ok. Whether the Mail is in circulation elsewhere is irrelevant.

    The fee paying students and electorate of Edinburgh University have as much of a right to read the paper of their choice in THEIR shops on THEIR campus(because we have established it is THEIR power invested in THEIR Union who exercise it on THEIR behalf). They should not have to leave their campus to buy their paper of choice. Its unjustifiable.

    This is getting farcical. You are hiding behind the legal rights of it, which I am not disputing, all I am saying is that this decision is morally wrong because it is discrimination against the Daily Mail and its readership, is blatantly censorial and is an abuse of their elected position as it is not a view that has been desired or sanctioned by the student body it is a small group of individuals using their elected power for personal gain.

  34. Let me tackle this piece of muddled thinking point by point, and as brief as I can.

    1) Does the union (or does it not) own a shop? And, if it does who has responsibility to decide what products it sells? Is it the student body generally or is it their elected representative in the Guild chamber? I think you will find that the answers are Yes, and the elected representatives.

    2) Freedom of press regards freedom to print, NOT a requirement for every newspaper shop in the country to sell the Daily Mail. Furthermore, just because these particular shops might decide not to stock the Mail doesn’t not mean people can’t read it on campus.

    3) I agree that the Guild would be indirectly discriminating against Mail readers. However, humans are naturally discriminative and discriminate against other preferences all the time.

    And in answer to your final point. I am indeed making a legal argument. BUT, I also think that this is moral too. It is the legally and morally right for shop owners to buy and sell the products of their choosing. You may hold a different view, but they are not necessarily ‘wrong.’

  35. Semantics. All we are doing is saying the same things in different ways. You won’t budge. I won’t budge. I think discrimination of this kind is wrong. So does the right thinking majority of Edinburgh Uni it seems. Are we all wrong? The law is the law. The Union is the representative of the students yet it is clear, as you have acknowledged, that by banning the Mail they would be discriminating against Mail readers. This is unacceptable.

    Me thinks your support of the motion is down to your own personal distaste for the Mail rather than any conviction position. Im sure if they banned the Guardian you would be as outraged as I am now. The difference is I am not generally a Mail reader and I disagree profundly with some of its content. I am looking at the situation impartially. If they banned the Guardian, which I detest, I would be equally as appalled at what I regard as an abuse of power, encouragement of censorship and blatant discrimination which sets a dangerous precedent. Ive said all I am going to say on it because we are going round and round in circles.

  36. “by banning the Mail they would be discriminating against Mail readers. This is unacceptable.”

    “Me thinks your support of the motion is down to your own personal distaste for the Mail rather than any conviction position.”

    Please do me the courtesy of taking me for my word.

    I have told you that it is the right, legal and moral, for any owner to buy or sell whatever products he choses, and to base this choice on moral and political reasoning if they so wish. And for your information, if they had banned the Guardian, the same statement would apply.

    Also, it is not my impression that we are going round in circles.

    You are arguing that it is absolutely wrong for a shop owner to decide what products he sells on the grounds of his own choosing. This is not the case. He is legally and morally entitled to make this decision. You may have a different view, but he is not ‘wrong’ in absolute terms.

    You also seem to place this form of discrimination on a par with the Nazi’s discrimination of the Jews. This is a crude and extreme comparison. As I said, discrimination is natural to humans, we do it all the time against the preferences of others. One shop owner deciding not to sell the Mail is a form of discrimination that is perfectly acceptable within our free society. It is light-years away from the universal and systematic discrimination of the Jewish community, and your comparison is intellectually and morally bankrupt.

  37. No Dan. I am not ‘arguing that it is absolutely wrong for a shop owner to decide what product he sells on the grounds of his own chosing’. I am asking you to acknowledge the distinction between an individual shopowner ‘he’ and the Edinburgh Students union which is more than one individual.

    In reference to my remarks regarding the Nazis and the Jews you may say it is extreme but the principle remains the same. Your logic was the unions elected position meant power was solely in his hands and he should be able to legilsate in any way he wished and our only choice was to wait until the next election to kick him out. I was trying to show that in some circumstances that is not acceptable.

    This action is being rightly recieved both in and beyond Edinburgh with contempt. It is a completely unacceptable position to take. Their is no justification whatsoever to ban the Mail. It is a perfectly legitimate publication one read by a sizeable portion of the country. This President has let his personal distaste for it influence his legislative agenda and he has attempted to use his elected powers to further his own personal vandetta.

    That is abuse of power. Power might ‘legally’ reside in his hands. He might have the right to ban it. But what I am saying to you is that it is an unacceptable action, whether legal or not, because it is an infringement on the rights of Daily Mail readers and fee payers on campus and they should not be subject to unfair discrimination because their so called President has an issue with the Mail.

    Look beyond the clincial legality of it all Daniel and look at the reality, the discrimination, the reaction to it and the reasons as to why this motion will surely fail.

  38. This debate will come to a close if we get statistics on the general view of students on the decision. That is, of course, if you do believe that democratic rule is ultimate in this case.

    The debate waters down to whether you think this is censorship or the natural workings of the free market.

  39. “In reference to my remarks regarding the Nazis and the Jews you may say it is extreme but the principle remains the same.”

    I suppose you could take the very simple view that discrimination is discrimination is discrimination. But this would be simple and crude. A shop owner may discriminate by not buying the Mail, he may also discriminate by not buying cherbert lemons. But this is nowhere near the brutal, systematic, universal discrimination mounted against an entire race on the continent. Furthermore this shop owner is acting in a free society where the Mail is allowed to be printed AND rejected by individual shop owners.

    “I am not ‘arguing that it is absolutely wrong for a shop owner to decide what product he sells on the grounds of his own chosing’.”

    You also say, in a preceding paragraph that “It is a completely unacceptable position to take.”

    We have established, I think, that their decision, if they were to take it, is not completely unacceptable. You may find it undesirable yourself, but it is far from completely unacceptable. I refer to my argument about the rights of shop owners.

    “Power might ‘legally’ reside in his hands. He might have the right to ban it.”

    So you agree then that this elected authority do have the authority to ban the mail in the shops that they have legal jurisdiction over? I too accept, as I have hitherto, that the students have the right to protests and vote them out at the next election.

    “Look beyond the clincial legality of it all Daniel and look at the reality.”

    Well I don’t what reality you’re living in, but I’m living under the rule of law. Also, I have already said that I see the legal position as a moral one too.

  40. Sahar,

    I think the issue should be the rule of law.

    Under your rights of property you have the right to buy and sell the products of your choosing on the grounds of your choice. The people who own the Daily Mail have a similar right under freedom of the press to take a particular editorial line.

    The shop owner has the right to refuse to serve the Mail on political and moral grounds. This is not, as Dan continues to maintain, “completely unacceptable”.

    Neither is the shop owner participating in censorship. Censorship would be to stop the Mail from printing or replacing its content. This is not the case. The Mail is freely available under the rights of free press. However, this does not mean that shop owners have to stock it.

    This is a vital distinction between the rights of the Daily Mail, the rights of its readership AND the rights of the shop owners. And, I happen to think that the careful legal balance between all three is morally righteous too. It requires staunch defense.

  41. Instead of us giving long winded responses that take ages to read and at the end of which you think “eeehh?” lol… Im going to ask you to answer me one of two things:

    1) Why do you believe there been such hoistile reception to this proposed action?
    2) What do you see as the justification for the proposed action?

  42. Firstly, have you seen the length of some of your comments?

    1) I would suspect that they don’t like the idea of the Guild banning the Daily Mail on political grounds.

    2) The President disagrees with the editorial line of the Mail.

  43. 1) Yes you are correct… but why?
    2) So the President says ‘lets ban the Mail because I say so’ thats ok? When there are other publications such as the Sun, The Mirror etc who publish equally trashy and controversial views as the Mail.

    What this amounts to is selective discrimination. The President has singled out the Mail and used his powers to further his own ambitions. He is there to serve the students. Not himself. Therefore as the students are clearly against it do you not think that the President should withdraw this motion? If so why is he still pushing for it?

    And yes we are both giving long repsonses lol

  44. okay… short response.

    1) I don’t know. You’d have to ask them.

    2) He’s not saying so, he’s forwarding a motion (which he is entitled to do).

    3) Maybe because he profoundly disagrees with the Mail’s output?

  45. 1) Theyre against it because it is outrageous
    2) He has no choice now
    3) No hes a typical dilluded leftie and abuse of power comes naturally I suppose

  46. 1) In your opinion.
    2) He is entitled to present a motion.
    3) Again, in your opinion. Though as I have consistently argued, it is not an abuse of his power because it is firmly within his power to present a motion. It is then firmly within the power of the Guild to remove the Mail from its shops. It is firmly within the power of any private enterprise to buy and sell whatever products it likes.

  47. As ive said repeatedly what it has a right to do and what it should do are two completely different things. I don’t believe in discrimination in any form. This as you have said is discrimination whether you sugar coat it with ‘indirect’ or not. An organisation such as a students union should never legislate in such a way as to exclude a portion of its electorate. Whilst you are right the law is on their side (I don’t deny this) I believe it would be remiss of any organisation that is supposed to represent a ‘broad church’ to do anything to discriminate against a certain grouping without legitimate reason. There is no legitimate reason whatsoever for this action. If the Mail was as bad as this president would lead us to believe it wouldnt be in mainstream circulation. This is one President using his position to impose his will and his opinion on the rest of the student body. Whether he is ‘allowed’ to do it or not is not what is in question its whether he SHOULD do it. And of course its my opinion… everything I write is my opinion… just as everything you write is yours.

  48. “There is no legitimate reason whatsoever for this action.”

    Disagreeing with the editorial line of a newspaper and refusing to stock it IS legally and morally valid. It is a perfectly credible position to take.

    “This as you have said is discrimination whether you sugar coat it with ‘indirect’ or not.”

    Again, you impose the accusation of discrimination without any regard for perspective. Yes, I concede, the Guild would be discriminating against the Mail (indirectly against mail readers), however it must be noted that the same shop will discriminate over all the products they choose not to sell. Discrimination is a fact of life and not bad per se.

    “This is one President using his position to impose his will.”

    Well, let’s be strict with the facts. He has forwarded a motion to the Guild council, which he is perfectly entitled to do if he feels so strongly.

  49. Dan

    “Disagreeing with the editorial line and refusing to stock it IS legally and morally valid”

    AGAIN I say I do not take issue with its legality. We know its legal. Weve established that about 20 comments ago. However ‘morally’ is open to question and interpretation as I have already said.

    Hitler had the legal authority to ‘rid’ Germany of the Jews, indeed he was elected to do so. Was it morally right? Of course it wasn’t. You say it is an extreme view, which it is, but the fundamental principle is the same.

    You say that its legal legitimacy makes it morally right. Hitler was legal and legitimate thus by that logic he was morally right. For me morality is about what you percieve to be right. The law does not always reflect what is ‘right’.

    Do you view the law that is about to come in to force in Afghanistan requiring women not to leave their home without their husbands permission (amongst other such restrictions) as morally right? One would hope not.

    But that is what I am asking you to acknowledge; being legally right and being morally right are not one in the same. Sometimes they can be e.g anti discrimination legislation I would say is legally and morally right…

    But banning a publication (that is read by a large degree of your electorate) from your campus outlets, in the face of widespread opposition, for no reason whatsoever other than a political vandetta is (whilst legal and within his authority) a morally unjustified and repugnant decision on the part of the President. That is what I take issue with. Its not whether he can do it or how he’s doing it. Its why hes doing it and its implications.

  50. “However ‘morally’ is open to question and interpretation as I have already said.”

    I think this is where we disagree. I think that the legal position is also a moral one. As far as I am concerned the President is morally justified to put forward this motion. If the Guild agreed and the Mail was taken off the shelves I also think this is moral.

    “But that is what I am asking you to acknowledge; being legally right and being morally right are not one in the same.”

    I have not stated otherwise. In this case, however, I think the legal position is moral. They would be legally and morally justified to do it, if they voted to.

    And again, I wish you’d stop extending this to Adolf Hitler. I do not think his legal decisions were morally correct.

  51. I do not think this decision would be morally correct. Just as I dont think Hitler was morally correct. Discrimination is discrimination regardless of the scale. I think we shall agree to disagree on this one. We’ve both put forward credible arguments. Im sure the readership can make up their own minds based on the arguments we’ve put forward.

  52. I have to hand it to you chaps, this has been pretty incredible. But it shows how the right are prepared to debate. We do not stifle debate.

  53. haha I must admit I did enjoy it. Everyone knows that there has always been active debate within BUCF. To be a conservative is not to subscribe to any one way or ideology. Conservatism is a loose set of beliefs rather than a coherant ideology. I have found that 9 times out of 10 we agree on our basic principles but the ‘devil is in the detail’. There are so many diverse views on how best to serve those principles which makes debates such as these lively and interesting.

  54. Just to add another thought; I know that students’ unions are becoming seen as just ‘student soical clubs’ but it has to be acknowledged that they are political presure groups. If a student union tries to ‘ban’ a newspaper from an entire campus then of course that is completly wrong. But if a union as a pressure group decides not to sell a newspaper that is antithetical to its own principles, then surely that is more than fair. I mean would there be much controversy over the refusal of The League Against Cruel Sports to sell ‘Horse and Hound’? That comparison is not as ridiculous as it sounds. Student Unions are supposed to be political and are supposed to adopt a position on various issues.

    And before anyone says that they should represent ‘all students’, we must remember that some students support top-up fees but that shouldn’t prevent the union taking a stand on that issue.

  55. I have to agree with Jack. If I were in that Guild Chamber, I’d find it very difficult to come up with a legal or moral objection to the motion.

  56. You always agree with Jack Dan. lol. HOWEVER that would be all very well and good if the Guild had any such platform. Their is no ‘Anti-Daily Mail’ platform or codified statement of Guild principle or values that disagrees with the Mail. Furthermore you are neglecting to mention that such a stance would apply to other papers who are strikingly similar to the Daily Mail such as the Sun and Mirror.

    You cant ban one and not the others. That shows us what this situation is really about. They know that the Sun is the most read paper in Britain and to ban it would be suicide. So in other words they put profit before principle whilst at the same time use ‘principle’ as a guise when they discriminate against the Mail which is a paper they hold in personal contempt. There is no justification.

    If this were some kind of principled stand as you make out, if they were to ban all papers that stood up against the Guilds ‘principles’ then I might not agree as Id see it as censorship but I’d be less inclined to criticise it as it wouldn’t be ‘selective principle’. This is selective and thus unprincipled.

  57. I do agree with that point Dan. I think it is very selective of them. If were a member of the Guild I’d be pushing for an amendment to ban the Daily Mirror as well.

  58. Refusing to sell a particular paper is not censorship just as refusing to sell porn is not sexual oppression.

    While there are many papaers that may disagree with the values of a student union, the Mail goes a step further than the rest.

  59. Ah yes the same (capitalised) Jack Matthew who always says ‘thats your opinion’ ‘where are your facts’… Pot. Kettle. Black. Jack.

  60. Oh I see. You think that an organistaion deciding not to stock a particular newspaper is censorship? I suppose that means that every bookshiop in the world has to stock ‘Das Kapital’ and that every TUC stall should sell the BNP monthly newsletter. Well that’s your opinion Dan and I’m happy with mine.

  61. Rubbish Jack. This is completely different. This is a paper that is sold nationally and contains very similar material to much of the other papers on display, particularly the sun and mirror. This is one self righteous Guild taking it upon itself to censor maninstream opinion. DAS KAPITAL and BNP literature one would hope are not mainstream!

  62. Just because a paper has a circulation of two million in a country of 60 million people does not deny the right of a political union to decide not to stock it. Is it really fair to suggest that a political organistaion should sell things because of their popularity? Kitkat is the second best selling choclate bar, but if a student union were strongly opposed to its production for political reasons and stopped stocking it (say child labour or something) no one would suggest that the union was denying students their basic rights.

    The editorial stance of The MAil is considerably worse than that of the Sun or Mirror. You suggest that Das Kapital is not mainstream. ARe you suggesting then that it’s OK to censor opinions that aren’t mainstream? It seems to be a very shallow line of argument you are taking: ‘The Daily Mail is popular so a union should be forced to stock it.’

    In any case it’s not censorship. I know news agents where many broadsheets are not stocked but I don’t scream at the guy behind the counter that he is ‘censoring’.

  63. Going strongly against public opinion…
    The Daily Mail is not aimed at a particularly politicised group of society. It is a wide ‘catch all’ paper which is most popular with ‘middle England’. If you tried to sketch the positions of the paper on a political spectrum graph it would look ridiculous. For instance they share similar views with the Guardian and Observer over GM crops and produce, as well as being the driving force behind the Stephen Lawrence inquiry.
    Unlike the Guardian or the Mirror it very rarely encourages any form of direct action (other than sending away for collectible plates). It encourages behaviour which abides by the rules and customs of this country and attacks those who break them. If you take offence at these issues perhaps this is not the right country for you.
    Censorship of any product which is representative of normative British culture should not be removed from sale without specific grounds. The Sun is not welcome in Liverpool as a result of a major incident (football riot). Unless Melanie Philips wrote a libellous article describing the leader of their guild as little more than an unreconstructed, overcompensating, Stalinist excuse of a man; then I see little reason to do the same.
    Furthermore can I point out that we are in a recession, as such ostracising a section of your customer base is not a particularly bright idea. Especially if, like me, you go into a shop to buy a paper and end up buying all the items which line the route between the paper rack and the till.

    AJ

  64. Well said Adam… although one must always take a detour to the spirit section on the way from the paper rack to the till… surely this merely slipped your mind? lol

  65. “Censorship of any product which is representative of normative British culture should not be removed from sale without specific grounds. ”

    Not only is that sentence incoherent but I have already explained why it is not censorship, and that post fails to suggest otherwise. When are people going to grow up and understand that deciding not to stock a particular paper is hardly censorship.

    The comments about direct action are particularly strange when one considers that student unions involve themselves heavily in direct action anyway.

    “If you take offence at these issues perhaps this is not the right country for you.” Now this is probably the weakest comment of the entire thread. It chooses an element of the Daily Mail that nobody has thus far taken issue with and suggested that people are offended by it. That is not the case. As I have spelt out in very clear terms, the problem is that the editorial stance of the Daily Mail is completely antithetical to many of the ideals of a student union. There have been arguments as to whether or not this applies to other tabloids. What people like Dan have failed to grasp is that it is up to the union itself to decide which papers they are strongly opposed to and therefore up to the union as to which papers they wish to stock.

    The student union does not have an obligation to stock every paper in the world, just as a book shop is not obliged to stock every book in the world. The fact that the Daily Mail is popular with a certain demographic changes this in no way at all.

    So not only are any arguments concerning GM crops unsound, but they are also invalid as it is not up to us to force an opinion of the Daily Mail onto a student union. (It is a matter for their student union council). Before anyone suggests that the union is forcing its opinion on students, I would have to express my pitty for those individuals: Anyone who sees a couple of student union shops ceasing to stock the Daily Mail as some form of censorship is obviously a very weak person. I mean how difficult is it to go to another shop?

    Infact the first two paragraphs of AJ’s comment were a complete irrelevance. His opinion of the Mail is irrelevant because he’s not the one who has to sell it. If a union democrattically decided not to sell the guardian I would have no problem with that at all. I may like the Guardian, I may think that it’s bad business practice, but that doesn’t make it censorship.

    The onus is actually on Dan et. al to argue why a student union should be obliged to sell that paper.

  66. Jack ‘Dan et al’ are bored of you now. The rational mind would look beyond what they are ‘allowed to do’ to what they ‘should do’. They have an obligation as a university guild to represent ALL of their students. There is nothing in the Mail remotely outrageous or worthy of removal from the Guild shelves. You may not agree with it all, indeed you may even take offence to it but the fact remains that I take offence to most of the crap in the Guardian and Independent including the Independents ‘End the Royal Farce’ campaign to rid the country of the monarchy.

    The monarchy remains very popular in this country and one could argue that such a campaign is an insult to our Head of State and should be removed on those grounds. However I, and most people, genuinely believe in freedom of speech and freedom of the press and would never dream of calling for it to be removed for precisely that reason. This type of decision is not a principled stand against all papers which contain material similar to the Mail, this is a campaign against the Mail in particular. Thus it is unfair discrimination of which I am equally sure there are laws against. The Mail contains content that differs little from any other tabloid publication, you cant ban one and not the other.

    The Guild is meant to represent the students of the university, they were not elected to remove the paper and shouldn’t manipulate their power to do so. Such a decision as I have already indicated previously, whilst it may be legal and within their rights, is to the rational mind an unacceptable discriminatory decision which will undoubtedly fail for precisely that reason. That is that now Jack. Weve heard your side, youve heard ours. This debate ended a long time ago.

  67. Dan you haven’t even read my comment. An obligation to represent all students cannot be equated with an obligation to stock all papers in a shop.

    “Thus it is unfair discrimination of which I am equally sure there are laws against. ”

    You probably are ‘equally sure’ as you are wrong on both counts.

    Again you haven’t responded to my main argument not because you won’t but because you can’t.

  68. Everything in politics is about interpretation Jack. Someone as smart as yourself can surely understand that? I personally feel that if an organisation such as the Guild is to represent all of its student body effectively then it should have no business in preventing students who wish to buy any given paper from doing so. That in my eyes IS discrimination because it discriminates against a paper and it discriminates against the people who purchase it. Why is their paper any worse than the other tabloids on the shelves? Why is their paper being singled out? The answer to both these questions will lead you to conclude that the decision to remove the paper is discriminatory and based on a personal vandetta rather than an acceptable standpoint such as the circulation figures were poor.

    No such justification has been used and thus the decision is unaceptable. What I am trying to get you to understand Jack is that, as always, we have a divergence of opinion. Eeven the Mail’s staunchest of critics have said that such an action is unccessary and unjust. However there are those whose personal distaste for the Mail clouds their judgement. If it was another paper that THEY like e.g The Guardian/Independent then I am sure that there would be a far greater backlash.

    The point is it is not for an organisation, not a business but organisation, such as the Guild to discriminate and exclude members of its electorate on illegitimate grounds. Now that really is the last thing I am going to say on the matter.

  69. “…it should have no business in preventing students who wish to buy any given paper from doing so.”

    It is not preventing anyone from reading the Mail. That is a fact.

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