Centre for Analysis ofthe Radical Right, responded to the organising committee’s invitation saying:“I refuse to appear on a stage with radical right activists, irrespective offorum. The speech, which was inopposition to the motion, included such statements as: “Now I’m basicallyMussolini, and I’m alright with that. I’m comfortable with who I am.” Smith was not aware ofHopkins’ invitation at the time, but told Cherwell that he supported the newboycott campaign. Cherwell also understandsthat a student protesting the event was arrested by police of cers and takeninto custody. One onlooker claimed that, “someone threw a milkshake at acounter- protester… and was arrested by the police.” Three of those who wereinvited to speak at the debate have publicly rejected the Union’s invitation,criticising Hopkins’ invitation and the nature of the motion. Students demonstratedoutside the Oxford Union on Thursday in response to far-right activist KatieHopkins’ invitation to speak that evening. Hopkins is the mostrecent in a series of controversies around speakers at the Oxford Union. MarionMarechal Le Pen and Steve Bannon attracted significant numbers of protesters aswell as condemnation from the CityCouncil. Speaking to Cherwell,Union President Genevieve Athis said: “I am very disappointed that Naz Shah MPhas dropped out of our No Platforming Debate at such a late stage. Hopkins was reported by those who attended to have made a notably controversial speech at the Union debate. “I hope this solecondition is acceptable to you and thank you again for the humbling offer todebate in your esteemed chamber.” “Until this happens, anduntil the institution ceases to appease fascists and openly enable the onlineradicalisation of far-right terrorists, we pledge to boycott all Oxford Unionevents.” She was also reported tohave said, “Boycott the Oxford Union’s aim was to get vegan and associatedunemployables to boycott this place” and “Jihadis are meant to blow themselvesup to get 72 virgins, which is more than exists in the whole of Oxford.” “I also call on bothUnion societies to stop peddling an infant’s idea of debate and free speech,and to start acting as mature institutions in academic contexts with a seriouscommitment to freedom of inquiry –which is meaningless if it is not combinedwith commitment to truth.” “I think it is a greatshame that instead of debating Ms Hopkins in our chamber Ms Shah has decided tonot participate altogether and I am sure that many of our members will also bedeeply disappointed by this. “Far from providingeither Ms Hopkins or Ms Shah with a platform, the format of our debates is suchthat any speaker can be held to account either through challenges from theaudience or points of rebuttal from other speakers. “Anyway, all of which isto say that I am now speaking in favour of the motion to boycott the OxfordUnion Soc until they re- consider the value of offering platforms for spoutingrank bigotry and extermination- discourse. I call on others to do so as well.This is not a game. The protest was organisedas part of the “Boycott the Oxford Union” campaign. The campaigners also wrotean open letter to the Union calling for them to stop inviting racist andfascist speakers. They wrote: “This is a woman whose hateful views, includingcomments di- rected at refugees, migrants, Jews, Muslims, the mentally ill andthe LGBTQ+ community have led to her being red from LBC Radio. Last year, shewas detained in South Africa on the charge of spreading racial hatred.” Although Shah has notpublicly stated the reason for her decision, according to an email sent toKatie Hopkins by The Guardian and shared by Hopkins on social media, the politicianwithdrew from the debate because of Hopkins’ participation. She was replaced bythe 12th elected Secretary’s Committee member from St Peter’s, Jack Solomon. Historian Evan Smith alsorejected an invitation to participate in this week’s de- bate, replying to theUnion: “Thank you for your email and the invitation to debate at the OxfordUnion. However, given the long history of previous invitations extended toracists and fascists by the Oxford Union, I must decline your invitation.” The Labour MP Naz Shahwas due to speak in support of the motion, but pulled out of the debate the daybefore the event. “One real problem withboth Union soci- eties historically is that they don’t seem to understand thatdebate isn’t a stupid mat- ter of being For or Against Something. This isn’tparty politics and it isn’t a school-boys game. “Ms Hopkins will bedelivering an eight- minute in speech in this debate as one of eight speakersincluding Ann Widdocombe [sic] MP and Chief Justice Robert French AC and anyonein the audience will, as is tradition, have the opportunity to challenge any ofour speakers on either side of the motion.” She continued: “Itwouldn’t matter what two silly little privileged university clubs did–butunfortunately, they are in fact a pipeline to Parliament & that asinineposh boy (and girl) braying that afflicts that mode of discussion, andtherefore national politics–which has consequence for us.” “We have been in contactsince the 11th March 2019 and although the speakers for this debate have beenpublic knowledge since the 24th April, she only expressed her unwillingness tospeak opposite Ms Hopkins yesterday. They continued: “In January2019, the Oxford Union played host to Marion Marechal Le Pen, former NationalAssembly representative for the far-right political party National Rally(formerly known as the Front National). She has accused the Muslim community inFrance of being aligned with terrorist groups and has repeatedly defended theclaim that Muslims are a ‘treach- erous third column’. She has also madefrequent hateful statements about France’s LGBTQ+ community and other oppressedgroups. After the Union’sdecision to invite Hopkins was revealed by Cherwell,Gopal wrote on Twitter: “Recently I turned down an invitation from the OxfordUnion Soc. They wanted me to speak for the inanely & tendentiously phrasedmotion, This House Believes in No Platforming. How silly. Now it turns outthey’ve invited hardcore racism-monger and bilious bigot, Katie Hopkins. “This is because Ibelieve, following Popper, that tolerating intolerance is an avoidable dangerfor liberal democracies – especially in a multicultural society – and givingracists a platform is not something I’m willing to countenance. Before the debate, anelderly woman was escorted off the Union premises for shouting at Hopkins. Shewas reported as saying “Fascism is not dead.” “Fascists kill. Racistskill. Misogynists kill. In addition to thesecomments, Hopkins also told one Oxford graduate student who questioned herviews: “Darling, you’re not hot.” “We call upon the OxfordUnion to immediately cease hosting fascists and racists and to remove videos ofthe following fascist and/or racist speakers from their YouTube channel: TommyRobinson, Steve Bannon, Marine Le Pen, Mahathir Bin Mohamad. “They militate againstany form of nuanced argument which, in any case, are always contextually made,not blanket injunctions.” Matthew Feldman, whodirects the Hopkins was speakingagainst the motion “This House supports no-platforming.” She was debatingalongside former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe and columnist Toby Young. Around 50 protesters andpolice gathered outside the entrance to the Oxford Union before the debate,chanting “Shame on you!” as people entered the building. There were also twopro- Hopkins counter-protesters present. Cambridge academicPriyamvada Gopal, who was also unaware of Hopkins’ invitation at the time,rejected the Oxford Union’s invitation, replying by email with a criticism ofthe motion: “Thank you very much for this. I am afraid I must decline: I don’tlike set piece debates on crude motions like this. Naz Shah and KatieHopkins have been contacted for comment.
Ray Macfarlane is Chairman of Museums Galleries Scotland which is the National Development Body for the Scottish museums sector. She took up this position after serving seven years as Chairman of the Recognition Committee, a Scottish Government initiative which formally recognises and invests in collections of national significance held in non- national museums and galleries throughout Scotland. Ray graduated MA, LLB, MBA from the University of Glasgow and began her career as a solicitor in private practice. A former Senior Director of HBOS plc and Managing Director of Scottish Enterprise, Ray is now Chairman of the Scottish Legal Aid Board. She has held a variety of non-executive posts in the public and private sectors and was formerly a Trustee and Deputy Chair of the National Galleries of Scotland, Chairman of Scottish Screen and Deputy Chairman of the Scottish Arts Council. Ray has just completed a term of office as Chair of Home Scotland and non-executive Director of Home Group. Ray is a Trustee of the National Galleries of Scotland Foundation and ofthe Hopetoun House Foundation.This role is remunerated at £20,749 per annum. This appointment has been made in accordance with the Cabinet Office’s Governance Code on Public Appointments. The process is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. The Government’s Governance Code requires that any significant political activity undertaken by an appointee in the last five years is declared. This is defined as including holding office, public speaking, making a recordable donation or candidature for election. Ray has made no such declaration. Ray has one other Public Appointment as Chair of the Scottish Legal Aid Board for which she is paid £320 per day for a time commitment of 2 days per week. read more