The outcry against his appearing has been pretty widespread including 2000 people who apparently signed a petition. In addition, Defence Secretary Des Browne and Television presenter June Sarpong withdrew from participating at other events at the Union to express their opposition to the invitation to Irving and Griffin.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams condemned the invites in an exclusive Jewish News interview. The President of the Union, Luke Tyrl, told the online paper, the Jewish News:
“I decided to invite Griffin and Irving to take part in a free speech forum to show that we are not afraid of taking on their views. I find both individuals to be odious, their ideas awful and abhorrent."Regarding the students who support Irving and Griffin coming he said: These are not people who are sympathetic to the far-right but students who believe in tackling extremism head on."
This is an example of really muddled thinking. No one at the Union seems to support either Irving's or Griffin's views.
By inviting them to a forum on free speech the students tied their own hands. They were presenting them as victims who have been silenced. More importantly, the students at the Union essentially support Irving and Griffin's right to express their opinions. Therefore the end result of the meeting would be a vote for them.
In the end probably neither will appear but they will have gotten more column inches in the press than many more newsworthy topics.