The Department for Education’s counter-extremism unit has reportedly ordered Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys in Canterbury to cancel a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos, the flaxen-haired Trump-supporting Breitbart provocateur. Milo was due to give a talk at his old school, which 220 pupils had signed up to attend. The school says the decision to shut the talk down was made “following contact from the Department for Education’s counter-extremism unit, the threat of demonstrations at the school by organised groups and members of the public and overall concerns for the security of the school site and the safety of our community”. They add that the talk was backed by pupils, parents and teachers and say they are disappointed at the DfE’s decision. Milo says:
“My old high school has been bullied into cancelling my talk on Tuesday by the “counter-extremism” unit at the U.K. Department of Education. Who even knew the DoE had a counter-extremism unit? And that it wasn’t set up to combat terrorism but rather to punish gays with the wrong opinions?… Disgusted.”
The DfE’s counter-extremism unit was not set up to silence satirical stage acts like Milo, Guido cannot ever recall him advocating violence – banning him from speaking at his old school is bonkers. A school is having to no-platform speakers because of government intervention and the threat of demonstrations. Have Milo’s opponents learned nothing from the last few weeks?
UPDATE: A Department for Education spokesperson said:
“When concerns are raised by members of the public following media coverage in advance of an event, the department would contact the school as a matter of routine to check they had considered any potential issues. The decision to cancel the event was a matter for the school.”