Sunday, February 08, 2015

Attack on free speech at Oxford university

Hundreds of protesters wielding placards took to the streets to oppose an appearance by French far-right leader Marine Le Pen at Britain's prestigious Oxford Union debating society today.

The leader of Front National's speech was delayed by more than an hour as some protesters tried to scale the walls from the street outside and others chanted anti-fascist slogans.

They held up signs reading 'Le Pen never again' and 'Oxford Union is offering a platform for fascists', as the red brick university came under fire for inviting the controversial speaker.

Ms Le Pen took over the reins of the far-right party from her father Jean-Marie Le Pen in 2011 and is expected to make a bid for the French presidency in the 2017 elections. The party made gains in both local and European elections last year.

A statement released today by Oxford Union, which describes itself as the world's most famous debating society, reads: 'This term card continues the Oxford Union’s tradition of balancing information, education and entertainment.

'The Oxford Union is a politically-neutral institution. Our members have a variety of views as do our views as do our speakers, officers and staff. 'An invitation from the union is not an endorsement of any particular agenda.

'The union believes in the principle of freedom of speech and we would encourage all members who disagree with an invited speakers’ view to attend the event and question the speaker.

'We allow our members to meet people face-to-face and make up their own minds.  'We invite no speakers who do not accept the right of our members to question them. Marine Le Pen will be answering questions from the audience after her address.'


Anonymous said...

Liberals think free speech is only for those who agree with them.

Anonymous said...

The protesters don't seem to realize they are acting in a fascist way themselves by trying to aggressively stop a perfectly civilized debate.

Dean said...

They're just following the liberal doctrine of allowing free speech only to that speech of which they approve. And they don't approve truth being spoken.

John Mill said...

Do they realise that a debating society that only allowed people who agree with them to speak would be a pretty meaningless organisation?