I ONCE believed Oxford University was the educational envy of the country, if not the world.
But that view has changed, to it being an establishment that facilitates well-off, out of touch youngsters to live in a fantasy world with an expectation that the rest of the working population give them space for their ‘adolescence’.
There is no better example than when Magdalen College recently ‘voted’ to remove the portrait of the Queen from its Common Room because of colonial symbolism.
But as much as I think that Oxford has just lost its way, I have become increasingly concerned about a growing level of ‘cancel’ culture.
This could be ‘no-platforming’ people because you disagree, or calling someone a racist, simply to shut down an argument, and there are many other examples.
And more locally, I remember several years ago, a column by the last Vicar of Sherborne that questioned the ethics of ritually slaughtered meat without stunning.
He was subject to all sorts of accusations at the time, simply for asking the question and suggesting this meat should be labelled so we have the choice.
Farmers are painted as the enemy of the environment and that it’s more environmentally friendly to eat avocados flown here from 5,000 miles away than drink a pint of milk from the farm round the corner.
It’s high time that we stand up to this cancel culture and called it out because it is dangerous.
We need to be better informed, able to challenge and better understand the facts rather than assume everything we’re told is right.
Over the coming months, I will look to do this more and particularly with the non-stunned slaughter of animals.
On the subject of welcoming, I was delighted to welcome Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston to West Dorset last week.
The spell of near perfect weather we enjoyed around the middle of June helped showcase the very best our area has to offer – Sherborne Abbey, The Cerne Abbas Giant and our fantastic Dorset Museum to name just a few.
Many important issues were discussed during this visit with councillors and businesses.
Whilst visitor numbers in West Dorset go from strength to strength, I believe continual innovation is key to maximising value for visitors and businesses.
I asked the minister here because I want West Dorset to be recognised by government for the many great things we have here, and I think it was successful.
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Member of Parliament for West Dorset