THE malign cancel-culture continues to devour everything in its path, with very little resistance.
Two weeks ago, journalist Toby Young found himself unable to use his private, online Pay Pal banking account.
More seriously, the two organisations he has founded - the Free Speech Union and the Online Sceptic - were suspended, too, in an act of overt political censorship.
PayPal told Mr Young that he had breached its policy about the promotion of ‘hate, violence or racial intolerance’, that the closures were permanent and appeals in all three cases were unsuccessful.
The irony of an organisation like the Free Speech Union, which defends democracy, being closed down arbitrarily by an IT company in Silicon Valley for protecting the right to speak freely is inescapable.
The Online Sceptic, which publishes scientific papers, research and views on Covid and lockdown that challenge the general consensus, was deemed guilty of spreading ‘COVID-19 misinformation’.
After widespread condemnation, including a letter signed by 42 MPs, Pay Pal has reinstated the three accounts.
But it’s a pattern widely repeated elsewhere by other online Titans, including Meta, Twitter and Instagram.
‘Violation’ of community guidelines on anyone is rewarded by temporary, or permanent cancellation.
The rules are arbitrary, impossible to discern and with thousands now excluded from online platforms.
It’s hard not to suspect that identity politics and the pressure to conform to ‘woke’ ideas are being used to crush dissent.
Of course, some views are unacceptable and should not be encouraged or spread.
But we have laws for that - and more to come soon, in the Online Safety Bill.
I, for one, would like to ensure that free speech remains free.
No one has the right censor it.