Scotland’s independent think tank
Scotland’s independent think tank

No-platforming versus Freedom of Speech

Event Date:

Online event – Tuesday 9 May 2023

Reform Scotland was delighted to host a discussion about the rise of no-platforming and the case for freedom of speech.

The Stand comedy club in Edinburgh has cancelled a planned event with the feminist MP Joanna Cherry after staff refused to work at it. A screening of the film Adult Human Female, which examines transgender issues, was called off by Edinburgh University due to the actions of pro-trans rights protesters.

These are only the latest examples of events being blocked because some people disagree with the content or the opinions of scheduled speakers.

Why has this situation arisen and how is it affecting the public space? What impact is it having on those involved? What are the consequences for freedom of speech? And can we learn to disagree in more constructive ways?

These and other issues were discussed by our panel:

Kate Forbes, SNP MP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch and former Finance and Economy Secretary

Joanna Cherry, SNP MP for Edinburgh South West

Jenny Lindsay, poet and writer

Adam Tomkins, John Millar Professor of Public Law at the University of Glasgow and former Conservative MSP

Ian Leslie, author of Conflicted – Why Arguments Are Tearing Us Apart and How They Can Bring Us Together

The discussion will be chaired by Chris Deerin, Director of Reform Scotland.

The event was held via Zoom on Tuesday 9 May. You can watch it back here: