Why should the Oxford Union give one of its coveted places to a man such as this or a man such as Nick Griffin, who spews hatred and racial prejudice? I am firm believer in free speech. In my country the much maligned First Amendment gives everyone a chance to make a complete “arse” of themselves. However, the right to free speech does not mean that everyone is deserving of a platform at the Oxford Union. If the Union wanted to debate the issue of free speech and laws against expressions of Holocaust denial and racism, there are many good people with severely opposing views who could have been invited to do so. Inviting these two men smacks of a stunt which gives them what they most need to survive: publicity.
The President of the Union has claimed that they are not being invited to spout their views. What then is there for them to say? That they have been denied the right to speak? Griffin has a platform anytime he wants it and David Irving used and abused your courts as a platform to spew his distortions of history.
Some of those who have defended the Oxford Union have called for open minds. The problem with people with open minds is that sometimes their minds are so open their brains fall out. And that is the best that can be said of the organizers of this evening’s debate
Monday, November 26, 2007
Oxford Union: My statement to pre-"debate" rally
At the request of the organizers , I wrote the following statement which was read to the pre-debate rally: