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in being disgusted with Oxford SU inviting Marine Lepen???

(183 Posts)
granjura Sat 07-Feb-15 20:36:50

what were they thinking about??? She represents the extreme and racist right and should not be given a platform in the UK- should she?

thatbags Sat 07-Feb-15 20:41:52

They invite all sorts of controversial speakers. That's what the Union is for. To air controversial topics. Allowing her to speak is not an endorsement of her views. It may even be one of the best ways to defeat her politically.

Mishap Sat 07-Feb-15 20:43:11

Let her condemn herself out of her own mouth.

soontobe Sat 07-Feb-15 20:56:10

I dont know.
How far right?
How far left?
How loony?

I guess is depends on how much of a fuss is made against a speaker.

People will follow all sorts of people that others wouldnt dream of following.

soontobe Sat 07-Feb-15 21:00:20

I wouldnt like it either granjura but I dont know where they can draw the line.
Their stance seems to be, almost anyone can speak, as long as they speak within UK law.

Grannyknot Sat 07-Feb-15 21:00:48

What bags said. And of course - freedom of speech applies too.

grumppa Sat 07-Feb-15 22:04:34

On a point of clarification, it's not the Oxford SU. It's the Oxford Union Society, quite independent of the NUS and its branch in Oxford. It has a long tradition of inviting controversial speakers, and Marine Le Pen represents, sad but true, a significant political grouping in a leading EU country.

Soutra Sat 07-Feb-15 22:11:29

I imagine the standard of debate will be what you would expect and she will not have a docile audience of converts.

absent Sun 08-Feb-15 06:38:09

I would be more disgusted if she were not allowed to speak, however reprehensible I consider her views.

petallus Sun 08-Feb-15 08:43:39

She should definitely be allowed to speak

All this suppression of free speech and censorship is worrying.

Elegran Sun 08-Feb-15 09:08:20

She did speak (on the 5th Feb) and said that it was clear that the “first of all our freedoms, security, is now threatened by Islamist terrorism”.

Her speech was delayed for an hour by about 300 demonstrators.

One student said she was disgusted that Le Pen could “now go back to France and say she has been invited to speak at Oxford University. That is the kind of legitimacy that is allowing her and her abhorrent party to become acceptable.”

Another said: “I completely disagree with basically everything Marine Le Pen says. But freedom of speech and expression is essential in a democracy.”

Union officials have faced criticism for inviting Ms Le Pen to speak uninterrupted for five minutes, rather than insisting on a more traditional debate format where an opponent would have also been heard.

A statement released by Oxford Union, which describes itself as the world's most famous debating society, reads: 'This . . . 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.

soontobe Sun 08-Feb-15 09:59:45

Did they have the nazis speak?

This freedom of speech allows and encourages and stokes up everything.

Soutra Sun 08-Feb-15 10:01:36

I believe Oswald Mosley did speak at the Oxford Union, but even if not there have been no end of controversial speakers and motions proposed. Freedom of speech.

soontobe Sun 08-Feb-15 10:16:27

I find it strange that when we bring up children, we teach them to know and learn when to not speak, manners, hopefully good behaviour.
But as a society, a lot of people are happy to let their adult children be exposed to anything and everything.

To me, I have the same set of hopes and expectations and dreams for them, from birth to grave.

I think that it is vital, in this day and age, to watch over them.

People can be very persuasive.

Can I ask thatbags, absent, petallus and Soutra, are you happy for your children and grandchildren and others to go where the wind blows?
And presumably however far? Perhaps they do already?

Elegran Sun 08-Feb-15 10:21:11

This is not the Oxford Student Union, it is the Oxford Union - a separate debating society. You can't debate things unless you know what the other side is saying. Hearing them at first hand brings out their philosophy and exposes it to disagreement and criticism.


"At the Cutting Edge of Controversy

Unlike other student unions, the Oxford Union holds no political views. Instead, the Union is a forum for debate and the discussion of controversial issues. For example; in the 1960s, Malcolm X came to the Union and demanded black empowerment "by any means necessary". In the 1970s, Richard Nixon in his first public speech after Watergate admitted, "I screwed up - and I paid the price. In the 1980s, Gerry Adams, still under his television ban, addressed the Union's members. In Michaelmas 1996, O. J. Simpson made his only public speech in Britain after the controversial "not guilty" verdict in his criminal trial. The Oxford Union believes first and foremost in freedom of speech: nothing more, nothing less.

The Oxford Union has been at the centre of controversial debate throughout its history. As the most prominent debating platform outside Westminster it is no surprise debates have been unrivalled in their quality and impact. One of the most famous motions, "This House will under no circumstances fight for King and Country", was passed in 1933 by 275 votes to 153. The result sparked off a national outcry in the press, and Winston Churchill denounced it as "that abject, squalid, shameless avowal" and "this ever shameful motion"; some say that the result encouraged Hitler in his decision to invade Europe. In 1975, days before the referendum on EEC membership, the motion "This House would say 'Yes' to Europe" was carried by 493 votes to 92. This debate was arguably a considerable influence on the referendum result.

In the words of Michael Heseltine, the Union has "managed to absorb the greatest diversity, the wildest firebrands, the most outspoken and non-conformist people." Diversity and outspokeness, central to the Union's foundation, remain its guiding principles to this day."

Elegran Sun 08-Feb-15 10:24:14

I never wanted my children to go where the wind blows, soontobe I wanted them to look with open eyes at the different views and use their intelligence and compassion to choose the better course.

They don't do that by ignoring what you don't want them to hear - that way they are more likely to be swayed by rhetoric, because they don't know that they are being manipulated.

soontobe Sun 08-Feb-15 10:36:14

Sometimes they then choose the wrong route Elegran.

And if they werent exposed to it, might not have done it.

soontobe Sun 08-Feb-15 10:39:41

Do you think that they are safe? For 100% sure?

Or do you not mind how far they go if they get it wrong?

granjura Sun 08-Feb-15 10:44:46

Thanks all. First for correcting me about the Oxford Union. And then for your views. Yes, free speech is important- but where do you draw the line?
Would they invite the EDL to speak, or Abu Hamza? I suppose Marine is just before that line- so fair enough.

Elegran I agree it is best for our growing children to be exposed to all sorts of views, and come to their own conclusions- even if we don't always like the result. Soontobe, in a modern world, with tv and the internet + traveling- we just can't shield our children anyhow, can we?

Thank you for your comments.

Grannyknot Sun 08-Feb-15 10:45:44

My daughter has a friend. A more conservative person you could not find - she's so together, she frightens me. Successful businesswoman from a young age. I was completely surprised to learn from her recently that her mother is a "washed up hippy" - her words not mine.

I'm all for protecting children, but I think sometimes people learn from experiences how not to be.

soontobe Sun 08-Feb-15 10:53:29

That is true Grannyknot.

I am with granjura in where the line is.

Elegran Sun 08-Feb-15 11:08:10

My children are now grown-up. They each have different political and religious views, but none of them has espoused any that I would say are extreme, or which would deprive anyone else of using their commonsense and empathy to work out for themselves what is the better way to act personally or to run a country.

If we had kept from them the things we did not want them to follow, they would have come as a thrilling way to be different when they reached that rebel age that they all go through. Having been aware of the less desirable policies/dogma and the weaknesses of them, they were better able to avoid being taken in by them.

thatbags Sun 08-Feb-15 11:22:08

How about drawing the line where the law draws the line, jura? Is Marine Le Pen a criminal? If she is, presumably she can be charged with her crime and brought to account. Until then, she's as free as you or me to speak what she thinks. We have the choice to agree or not.

Freedom is about wanting for everyone else (that's everyone) the same as what you want for yourself, only limited by criminality.

soon, what elegran said re my grown up kids. The clue is in "grown up". If I had somehow prevented them from being able to think critically for themselves, I'd be ashamed of myself. They can think for themselves and they do. I'm not ashamed of them, nor of myself.

Elegran Sun 08-Feb-15 11:22:39

Actually, if newly grown-up children are still having their opinions being directed by a parent/guru, they never become adult themselves, and when they no longer have a parent to make their decisions, that is when they are blown about by the wind of someone else's strong convictions, because they are acustomed to being followers of someone else's decisions.

soontobe Sun 08-Feb-15 12:50:25

thatbags. You set a lot of store by the law.
But we all know that the law can get things wrong. Plus the law is never constant.