Published on Monday, 14 January 2013 20:01 Written by Sonia Gable
It was great to see Hope Not Hate today upholding the No Platform principle in relation to Nick Griffin. The leader of the British National Party had received an invitation to take part in a debate on gay rights at the Oxford Union on Thursday 17 January on the motion: “This house would be glad to have gay parents”.
HNH contacted the Oxford Union earlier today to object. The Oxford Union rapidly withdrew the invitation, explaining that it had been sent in error by a new member of staff, and that although it had been sent in the Union President’s name it had not been cleared with the President or the committee.
In a press release the Union said: The Oxford Union does not wish to be associated with the BNP in any way whatsoever. We strongly disagree with their views. It is unfortunate and deeply regrettable that this miscommunication has occurred.”
So well done all concerned, though we do wonder why HNH did not take the same view about Kevin Scott’s invitation to debate at the Cambridge Union at the end of last November on the subject of free speech and hate speech. Scott is a former prominent BNP officer and is now one of the major players in the creation of the British Democratic Party, the new far-right party expected to be launched nationally next month by Andrew Brons, the former BNP MEP. Action by Searchlight and Aaron Kiely, the NUS Black Students’ officer, to get the invitation withdrawn, resulted in Scott bowing out of the event, blaming Searchlight for “drawing attention” to it.
HNH found out about the Oxford Union invitation to Griffin because Simon Darby, the BNP’s press spokesman and staunch Griffin loyalist, drew attention to it. Reproducing the letter of invitation, which was dated 3 December 2012, he wrote yesterday: “this event may or may not turn out to be rather interesting this coming Thursday”.
Now why would Darby do that? He must have known what the reaction would be, so I can only conclude that he wanted the invitation to be withdrawn so that he could afterwards say, as he did this afternoon: “Looks like Oxford University has been bullied and intimidated at the last minute from inviting Nick on Thursday night. …
“Just check out this embarrassingly funny press release together with its nauseating subservience to the doctrine of liberal multiculturalism. Free speech? - this is such an an [sic] appalling example of political invertebratism it almost leaves a slime trail.”
Agent provocateur or what?