Fortunately there has been little news of late concerning pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins, the pundit who was too toxic even for the Sun, as she has been reduced to online-only status at the Mail. That is, until Brunel University decided to invite her to participate in a debate as part of their 50th birthday celebrations, and rather a lot of students showed their displeasure by walking out on her.
Viewers may want to look away now
Ali Milani, from the Student Union, was clearly proud of the point that had been made, but also wanted to put the protest in context: “The inclusion of Ms Hopkins has been met with widespread outcry from the student body and the Students' Union … It is important to note that the conversation at no point has been about banning Ms Hopkins from speaking on campus, or denying her right to speak”. That is important.
Do go on. “It is instead about saying it is distasteful and incongruous for our University, as part of a 50th celebration event, to provide a platform to someone who adds nothing to the intellectual or academic discourse; and an individual who publicly utters such overtly bigoted views … In short, we have a far higher opinion of our institution than Katie Hopkins”. That, of course, cut no ice with a clearly sore Ms Hopkins.
So off she went on one today: “After what happened to me at Brunel University I wonder if we no longer teach students how to think but what to think … A terrifying number conform to one way of thinking. Not only do they demand that you comply with their view, but seek to deride and delegitimise anyone with an alternative opinion”. Christ on a bike, they walked out on you of their own accord. It was their choice, made freely.
But listen up people, she’s a victim, like … Tim Hunt! Seriously, she puts herself in the same category as a Nobel laureate. And she knows what’s to blame: “This generation of students raised on social media are fast to join crusades and shun traitors, and demand the head of the guilty served to them on a pike”. That would be the social media that has been effectively the sole means by which Katie Hopkins has advanced herself.
But on she whinges: “Students no longer debate. They label and slate … All because my views are different from theirs … I am so used to students trying to discredit me with labels, I even sent Brunel a list in advance, spelling them in the way those ill-educated by reality might choose to do”. She thought it would be a good idea to mis-spell something and thereby suggest her audience hadn’t been educated properly.
That worked well, then. Ms Hopkins can’t see that patronising her audience might have been part of her problem. For her, it is all about The Left: “Encouraged by Left-leaning tutors, students do not wish to open their minds to society. They want to hear what they have already decided is true”. And to that I call bullshit. Students are the most independent of thinkers. They are always prepared to listen to new and different views.
What Katie Hopkins doesn’t realise is that she adds so little to any debate that her audience is unlikely to miss anything important by walking out. That is her problem, and hers alone.
Poor old Katie plainly has a problem with free democratic expression. Any day now she's going to disappear up her own reactionary arse while having a hysterical fit.
What an utter, utter loony whopper.
Sadly, she still got paid and got enough material out of it for an article. It might be better if organisations simply did not engage in 'stunt' booking her in the first place.
As for 'lefty students' - what is this, the 1980s? I work for a university and can assure you that the old stereotype is well and truly gone. Everyone coming through our hallowed halls has one burning question on their lips - "Am I going to get value for money off my 9 grand?". By which they mean the most up to date resources and ideas, top of the line facilities and accommodation, excellent entertainment, fantastic results and a kick ass career at the end.
If you're a public figure, you open yourself to attack and opprobrium. It's part of the territory and I'm sure she's advised others in the past to suck it up when they were on the receiving end. She should do likewise.
There is a problem in some Universities with student unions no-platforming people whose views they disagree with, and a small but but vocal minority who indulge in calling for trigger warnings and safe spaces everywhere. But Katie Hopkins was not a victim of this. She was given a platform. No-one prevented her from speaking. They merely exercised their right to show their opprobation
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