Here is a good description of and news report on the rally which preceded the debacle at the Oxford Union. Some other coverage includes Independent and the Guardian.
So who were the winners and losers in Monday night's debacle?
In fact, I don't think there were any winners, except possibly for Griffin who can now say that the invitation, in the words of the Independent, "breached an unwritten agreement observed for years by the mainstream political parties – not to give the far right a public platform."
I don't think Irving was a winner. He apparently looked pretty pathetic and will now be linked not just with the term Holocaust denier but also fascist. Hollywood likes to say, "I don't care what you say about me as long as you spell my name right." In this case, I don't think this was good PR for David Irving. He is, as I describe him in History on Trial, the Court Jester.
I don't think the Oxford Union was a winner. It engaged in a big publicity stunt. It displayed really muddled thinking [inviting the two not to discuss their views but then saying their views have to be exposed to be defeated] and it caused tremendous pain and anger.
I don't think the students who stormed the Union looked very good or were winners. They engaged in the kind of strong arm tactics which people should eschew. [I differentiate them from the thousands of students who quietly protested before the event, but then dispersed.]
This did not have to be. One student, Luke Tyrl, the man of the open mind, created a maelstrom, left a lot of people feeling vulnerable and hurt, and showed that you can be smart enough to win entry into Oxford and dumb enough to engage in some terribly stupid behavior.
I will be in the UK next week and hope to meet with some of the Oxford students involved in this matter. More on that next week... Until then I hope we have heard the end of this affair.