May 13 2023

Equerry of Arguments

I suspect that Kieran Healy may not be being entirely serious in this post:

The news that Arif Ahmed is to be appointed the UKs first Free Speech Tsar’ — a position that apparently comes with the power to investigate universities and student unions in England and Wales that wrongly restrict debate” and to advise the sector regulator on imposing fines for free speech breaches” — is disappointing for various reasons. […] To see this once-great country reach for a foreign title that not only originates with one second-rate empire trying to recall the glory of the Romans but that was first popularized as a job-title within the administrative apparatus of another is really quite sad, given that England has so many equally preposterous but largely home-grown (or at least Norman French) titles available right on its own doorstep. […]

I see from the linked Daily Telegraph article that Toby Young has spoken up in favour of Ahmed’s appointment, saying Ahmed has a proven track record as a fearless defender of free speech.” What more need be said?