2014 looks set to be a year for landmark elections. India's having a really long one, Ukraine's looking at a fairly awkward one and Syria's going to have a predictable one. But come next month, all eyes will be on Egypt, as the country seeks closure to the Arab Spring in the form of its very own presidential elections.
It was a revelation this month to discover that calling for tougher curbs on smoking, made me a Nazi. Strike that, it was a surprise when my (admittedly provocative) Huffington Post article received a slew of 'she's a Nazi' comments, when my twitter account was inundated with trolls, when I received hate E-mail...
The debate over group rights is contested, but what shouldn't be, is the fact that calling for instant and somewhat arbitrary retributive action against a single MP candidate, who has exercised a right afforded to everyone else, just isn't a convincing way to invite this debate into the public domain. Neither is it just or democratic.
No-platform policies are not a form of Orewellian censorship - they are a reasonable concept encouraging self-regulation. Rather than 'banning' individuals outright, we as students must place significant pressure on the relevant authorities to withhold the right of certain individuals to speak at certain times on campus.
Anything that forces people to think twice before resorting to the laziest, least free form of 'free' speech that is the default knee-jerk Nazi comparison has to be a positive innovation. A properly-legislated version of Godwin's Law would only give more power to humanity's exercise of freedom of expression.
By signing so much dissent-strangling legislation, by playing to the most reactionary elements in Russian society, by crushing popular protest and by harassing civil society, Putin is dragging Russia away from its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to respect freedom of opinion and expression.
It should be noted that SU's have only 'banned' The Sun to the extent that their shops will no longer stock the newspaper. The world will not cave-in because a minuscule number of people have to find a local off-licence for their daily fix instead. But it is part of a wider trend: 2013 has seen a wave of trivial, but worrying, censorship encroach on student-life.