Author Topic: Oxford Union - Free Speech debate  (Read 9463 times)

Offline hoover

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Oxford Union - Free Speech debate
« on: Nov 26, 2007, 06:03:30 PM »
Oxford Union has invited 2 very controversial figures, Nick Griffin the BNP leader and David Irving a historian who denies the Holocaust took place, to appear as speakers at their debate tonight.  High profile figures have condemned the decision - Trevor Phillips Chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission has said they're reducing freedom of speech to a silly parlour game and others have resigned their lifetime membership of the Union in protest.

are they right to invite them in the name of free speech, or is it a disgrace that these figures are being given a platform to present their views?

Offline welsh

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Re: Oxford Union - Free Speech debate
« Reply #1 on: Nov 26, 2007, 06:06:17 PM »
Freedom of speech should mena just that.  A debate cannot be held if both sides of the argument, regardless of how tasteless or offensive the argument may be, are not able to put across their views.

kate b

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Re: Oxford Union - Free Speech debate
« Reply #2 on: Nov 26, 2007, 06:06:42 PM »
* throws herself on the floor and howls*

Offline hoover

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Re: Oxford Union - Free Speech debate
« Reply #3 on: Nov 26, 2007, 06:14:53 PM »
Freedom of speech should mena just that.  A debate cannot be held if both sides of the argument, regardless of how tasteless or offensive the argument may be, are not able to put across their views.

i think i agree.

i should clarify i think the topic of the debate is something like "the limits of free speech"  rather than their particular specialities of denying the Holocaust or nationalism and racism.

* throws herself on the floor and howls*

 ??? *waits patiently for howls to transform into coherent argument*  :D

Offline MRGİ

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Re: Oxford Union - Free Speech debate
« Reply #4 on: Nov 26, 2007, 06:20:49 PM »
My best friend is just leaving to go down and protest. Not that it will make a difference as its already been decided that these guys are coming.

I don't think they should be given a platform, not just because of the freedom of speach thing but because of the mentality of the people that associate with these guys.

How do you think the students in the lgbt soc, muslim soc, jewish soc, etc feel that these peoples and their followers are coming to town tonight?

 >:(



My world is an emotional rollercoaster and those who are not on the same ride are doomed to confusion....

Offline Elephant

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Re: Oxford Union - Free Speech debate
« Reply #5 on: Nov 26, 2007, 06:22:44 PM »
i should clarify i think the topic of the debate is something like "the limits of free speech"  rather than their particular specialities of denying the Holocaust or nationalism and racism.

Yes, it is.

It is very difficult to uninvite them (free speech), but Luke Tryl (the president of the Union) was an idiot to invite them in the first place. And just doing so to be sensational, after the Union was forced to withdraw invitations 6 years ago. The Union always aims to have sensational debates because the Presidents want their 'one term' term to be remembered...


A good friend of mine is one of the main people organising the protests. I find it very difficult to come down on one side or the other, myself. But I do find the Union a rather unpleasant organisation, by and large.

venus_orbiting

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Re: Oxford Union - Free Speech debate
« Reply #6 on: Nov 26, 2007, 06:23:00 PM »
I think these speakers' voices are missing from the general over-controlled mutterings of academia, along with the voices of illiterates, criminals and most women. Words cannot in themselves do harm except to the ears. I think the reaction of other speakers, threatening to cancel etc, are cowardly. They should face their demons over a table in a grown up way instead of letting it be fought on the streets later. These men are prepared to be imprisoned for their beliefs, I'm inclined to think they're at least worth a listen, if only to confront them with the evidence of their error of judgment. Some people live in constant fear, not just one evening.

Offline Elephant

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Re: Oxford Union - Free Speech debate
« Reply #7 on: Nov 26, 2007, 06:24:45 PM »
Some people live in constant fear, not just one evening.

Yes, but that includes those on the left who get put on redwatch as well as those on the right like Griffin.

Offline MRGİ

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Re: Oxford Union - Free Speech debate
« Reply #8 on: Nov 26, 2007, 06:31:26 PM »
. They should face their demons over a table in a grown up way instead of letting it be fought on the streets later. .

Which is also a real concern...that this could kick stuff off 'on the streets' later
My world is an emotional rollercoaster and those who are not on the same ride are doomed to confusion....

Offline hoover

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Re: Oxford Union - Free Speech debate
« Reply #9 on: Nov 26, 2007, 06:31:43 PM »
Words cannot in themselves do harm except to the ears.

i disagree, words can do untold damage to hearts and minds, lead to horrifying conviction on subjects, and set paths in action to all manner of horrendous things.....war, slavery...

but i do agree we should be able to face the challenges head on in debate instead of shirking away from them.

venus_orbiting

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Re: Oxford Union - Free Speech debate
« Reply #10 on: Nov 26, 2007, 06:34:13 PM »
I think, say what the hell you like, it won't heal the hungry, feed the sick, build infrastructure etc. They are just noises, a bunch of primates grunting. At the end, oo you got a lovely mortarboard & some nice political colours for your debating badge, but wtf do you know about real life mummy's boy, can you wrestle a wolf with your bare hands or sew on a button? Who a bunch of idle students invite to their dinner party is big news. I don't think Oxford town centre is going to turn into the Gaza strip overnight.

Offline lescot

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Re: Oxford Union - Free Speech debate
« Reply #11 on: Nov 26, 2007, 07:30:00 PM »
As a lesbian, it makes me sick that religious representatives who consider gay people to be perverts, hell-bound and unfit to bear, look after or adopt children are feted and respected in this country.  They are given seats in the house of Lords, they are included in every consultation going, they are given slots on 'Thought for the day' on numerous radio stations, they are allowed to take a leading role at every 'national' event.  Other gay people pay them money every week and allow their views to gain legitimacy, but that is their right.

If we tolertae this odious garbage at the highest levels in society I don't see why Griffin and Irving - miserable excuses for human beings that they are - shouldn't be allowed to exercise free speech.  Even within the confines of the debate they will be limited anyway; they will not be allowed to say anything that incites hatred.

Free speech is a basic tenet of democracy.  Griffin and Irvine silenced today, you or me tomorrow.

lippy

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Re: Oxford Union - Free Speech debate
« Reply #12 on: Nov 26, 2007, 07:45:08 PM »
Their messages may not be what we want to hear, but as there are people out there who believe what they do, their views should be in the public domain and not suppressed. If you ban something it gets a certain kudos. Let's have these views out in the open so they can be rebuffed in the public domain.

Offline Ms. F. Strawberry

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Re: Oxford Union - Free Speech debate
« Reply #13 on: Nov 26, 2007, 09:11:36 PM »

A good friend of mine is one of the main people organising the protests. I find it very difficult to come down on one side or the other, myself. But I do find the Union a rather unpleasant organisation, by and large.

Strange, so is one of mine - maybe they know each other!  :D

Shanti

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Re: Oxford Union - Free Speech debate
« Reply #14 on: Nov 26, 2007, 09:16:38 PM »
Some people live in constant fear, not just one evening.

Yes, but that includes those on the left who get put on redwatch as well as those on the right like Griffin.
There are leftist equivalents of Redwatch too.