Far-right group targets Glasgow University lecturer

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Credit: Adriana Iuliano

Sam Doak
Deputy News Editor

A number of posters were put up across the University of Glasgow campus this week by the far-right group “Generation Identity”. The target of these posters was Dr Samuel Tongue, a lecturer working in the Theology and Religious Studies department. The posters included an unsupported allegation that Tongue’s lack of opposition to western European demographic changes amounts to anti-white prejudice. In a message that was presumably directed to white European members of the student body, the posters read “your lecturers support your replacement”. This message was accompanied by a picture of Dr Tongue.

When asked why he believes that Generation Identity chose to target him specifically, Dr Tongue attributed this to comments made by him on social media in opposition to the group’s ideology. When asked for comment, Dr Tongue told The Glasgow Guardian:

“It’s an old narrative; the intellectual left or ‘cultural Marxists’ in the language of the far-right, have taken over universities and are brainwashing impressionable students. GI Scotland jumped on a remark I made on Twitter to their UK leaderand decided they could make a social media performance out of it by wandering around the campus on a Sunday night, amplifying their very minimal real-world activism. It was widely rebutted across social media and I’ve been very well supported by the University and my colleagues.”

Generation Identity Great Britain and The Republic of Ireland was formed in in 2017. The group defines itself as being a “branch of the pan-European Identitarian movement” and has been described as a racist organisation by Hope Not Hate. So-called “identitarians” are united in a shared belief that the wellbeing of white Europeans is directly threatened by changing demographics in European countries. In response to this fear, Generation Identity has consistently advocated for the separation of populations along racial and cultural lines.

This does not mark the first time that Generation Identity has distributed inflammatory material across campus. In December the group put up a number of posters both in and around University buildings that bore the slogan “patriots walk amongst you”. These posters urged readers to “join the patriotic revolution” and directed them to visit the group’s website. Around the same time, an unbranded poster was put up in front of the QMU building which simply read “IT IS OKAY TO BE WHITE”.

Hope Not Hate notes that, contrary to image of itself Generation Identity strives to promote, both the group’s presence and ability to organise in the UK are minimal. While members of the group are active in sharing extreme and racist anti-immigration rhetoric online, they have had little success in channeling their beliefs into any significant activism beyond this.

A spokesperson for the University of Glasgow said, “Free speech is an important and enduring feature of our campus. Whilst we support the rights of anyone to hold a position that others may find to be challenging or provocative, we are also clear that we will not tolerate harassment or abuse of any group or individual members of staff or of students, and that this includes verbal abuse, hate speech and inappropriate online posts and comments.”