They believe, like Prince Harry, that the First Amendment – the right to free speech – is “bonkers”
I knew things were going too well.
At the moment, I’m on a six-week tour of the United States of America with a big grassroots conservative campaigning organisation called Freedom Works, criss-crossing the country to speak at events night after night. The aim of this exercise is to inspire disheartened conservatives with the story of how British Eurosceptics confronted the debacle that was Brexit under Theresa May and then saved it.
Having launched the Brexit Party in double-quick time and raised significant sums of money from everyday people in the space of a few weeks, there is little doubt that our resounding victory at the European elections in May 2019 was a grassroots rebellion of the most energizing kind. I learned so much from this experience and I am keen to share with US voters the sense of optimism that drove us to our success. It is no exaggeration to say that many in American conservative circles fear for the future of their country just now. Donald Trump secured 75 million votes at last year’s election and lost. The sense of discouragement is tangible as the Biden administration tries to make its mark.
When I began my tour a few weeks ago, the audiences that came to listen to me were about 250-strong. By last Friday in Kent County, Michigan over 750 people were present. Yet unsurprisingly, in an age when many so-called liberals go out of their way to stifle any opinion or shut down any debate which they do not like, we have been subjected to dirty tricks. As I understand it, over the last 24 hours, some 47,000 tickets have been booked for my next event in Pittsburgh. Many of these bookings are fake. They have been made by hard left agitators who are based in the United Kingdom. Frankly, I’m surprised they have found the time for this stunt given the number of pro- Palestinian demonstrations that have been going on.
This is a clear example of so-called cancel culture, which has taken root inside our education system and infected scores of universities in the western world. Now, it is now spreading its tentacles into the political and even the commercial sphere, too. The free society that we all took for granted for so long is under attack like never before.
Last year, I attended the opening rally of Trump’s campaign in Tulsa. Tickets were free. Trump’s campaign claimed that 1 million people were booked for the rally when in reality only about 6,000 people were there. The same sort of thing has happened to me today, no doubt thanks to young “liberals” with a TikTok account. A similar phenomenon has touched commercial media organisations as well.
In the wake of the appalling death of George Floyd last year, I was on LBC Radio where I dared to try to explain to British listeners that the Black Lives campaign is less concerned with seeking racial justice than it is with pushing its Marxist messages of defunding the police and trying to destabilise and possibly even collapse western capitalist society. Some firms that advertised with LBC were bombarded with tens of thousands of complaints. The clear aim of some of the complainants was to stamp out the opposing view. This is all part of an attempt to reorganise countries like Britain along lines which are far more regimented and utterly intolerant of free speech. It’s chilling stuff. Even Prince Harry seems to be at it, calling the First Amendment, which covers free speech, “bonkers”.
Thankfully, the Freedom Works organisation will be going through the IP addresses of every person who has applied for a ticket to attend my next rally. It won’t be very difficult to work out where the hoaxers are from. Those responsible have overplayed their hand. Ultimately, they have wasted their own time.
The more serious implications of this sort of behaviour did lead me to give half a cheer during the Queen’s Speech last week, however, when the government said it would take steps to stop cancel culture in universities. I hope this can be achieved. Otherwise, I worry that free speech, liberty and democracy will soon be in peril.
After Prince Harry’s latest comments about the parenting habits of the Queen, his recently departed grandfather, and his father, it has been reported that Palace aides want him and his wife to stop using their titles. I have a better idea. In view of his ludicrous remark about the First Amendment, I suggest he take a new title: the Prince of Cancel Culture. He’d better watch out, though. He may well soon find himself about as popular in North America as was King George III 250 years ago.