22 December 2020
What is Talking Points?
Cambridge News asks a representative of each local political party to answer a question on a local issue in just 300 words. The answers are then published in the physical copy of the Cambridge News every week. Here, we share our response to the question.
Today's question: What is your reaction to Cambridge University’s decision regarding the debate over respect vs tolerance? Do you think this will have wider implications for the community?
Note: the question refers to a recent debate over freedom of expression - see the news story here.
Freedom of speech is a concept worth supporting for discussion. As individuals we should have the right to say what we believe in. But what we say and what we do impacts on others – we live in an interdependent community. The freedom of speech can be supported by institutions like the Daily Mail, who also defend themselves from actions by others through the use of libel.
How we act together has been a great support in fighting COVID. Action is influenced by discussion – COVID can be denied but if we speak to people who work in hospital or care homes, or who know people who have died then reality can influence belief. Discussion is always there – we may not believe in vaccination but can we be persuaded that not having it can make things worse for others?
Unpopularity and reality do not always align. In the past climate change has been seen a minority view and where taking action would require people to change the way they live. But that has changed to an acceptance that “something must be done” - with the debate now on what that action must be taken. As Mark Carney, former Governor of the Bank of England said on the BBC Reith lecture 16th December on “how we get to what we value” that on climate change “the risk today is predicted by science to be the central scenario, tomorrow can only be addressed if we act in advance or in solidarity”.
Supporting each other can be more than simply supporting ourselves alone. And we can adjust what we do for others. As the Green Party we see the benefits Santa, of course in a non-oil powered vehicle!
Our response was written by Richard Potter. Richard has lived in Cambridge for the last 27 years. He has worked for Cambridgeshire County Council, the Office for National Statistics and the Civil Service in roles to provide information on which policy decisions can be made, work he still does. He has a commitment to fairness in a world we can live in.