Sussex University was on BBC News yesterday. And it was nothing to do with 1970s child abuse! In fact, we were also covered by ITV, The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Mail and even The Brighton Argus. Here’s what happened…
Mike Weatherley, the Conservative MP whose bill to criminalise squatting came into force in September, modestly named the resulting law after himself. And he very braveley came onto campus to discuss it. Big mistake.
The Facebook event page was immediately overtaken by a wave of hostile comments. Someone created a poll asking whether people supported the change in the law; unsurprisingly most people didn’t, but there was a third option which rapidly became popular too:
And people did indeed become tough on Mike Weatherley.
In fact, all the everyday University posters in the building in which he was due to speak were methodically replaced with anti-anti-squatting posters (Is this right? -Ed.), some of which tastefully depicted Weatherley dressed as an SS officer.
But just as he crossed the threshold in person, some protestors (rather predictably) started throwing rocks and, worse, rotten tomatoes, so he immediately turned round and fled, chased by an angry mob. He was then bundled into the back of a police van – just like a squatter in fact – and spirited away to safety.
Despite all his outraged press statements, I suspect that Weatherley is secretly pleased with how his brief visit to campus went. He was completely let off the hook, and saved from having to justify his ludicrous policy in front of a group of angry young people.
If only the talk had gone ahead it would not merely have been interesting, but highly likely to show him up for the nasty piece of work that he is. As things are, he got out of a ‘difficult gig’, managed to save face and even gets to play the sympathy card as well.
It’s a pity that various groups at Sussex support free speech only when it’s theirs, and it’s a pity that they don’t realise how much they undermine their own cause. And that goes particularly for the fool who tweeted about the brouhaha using hashtag #wewon
PCC candidates, they don’t know they’re Bourne
For the hard of hearing, Theresa May has kindly produced audio versions of the Police Commissioner election candidates’ manifesto statements, in a neutral and computerised voice of course. The powerful rhetoric that I heard was frankly so riveting and dramatic that I decided to add some action music, as befits the barrage of excitement that is British policing:
As part of Gabrielquotes’ longstanding commitment to providing neutral information to the public, we would like to remind our viewers (or the 18% of them expected to stand in for British democracy today) once more of the array of candidates in the Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner election.
- There’s Godfrey Daniel, Labour, a mental health worker, sitting magistrate, member of the Sussex Police Authority and former member of the Sussex Probation Board.
- There’s Katy Bourne, Conservative, who used to run a dance company.
- There’s David Rogers, Lib Dem, whose own party is urging people not to vote for him.
- There’s Ian Chisnall, independent, who admits that his scrutiny of the chief constable would be “lightweight.”
- And there’s Tony Armstrong, UKIP, who doesn’t like black people.
While this particular idea of Theresa May’s is so stupid it hardly bears thinking about, polls are open until 10o’clock tonight so please use your vote and use it sensibly. Because at the moment we’re faced with a choice of a racist PCC (Armstrong), a weak PCC (Chisnall), a lame duck PCC (Rogers), a tapdancing PCC (Katy Bourne) or a competent PCC (Godfrey Daniels).
Surrey for any confusion
Of course, my PCC back home in Surrey is also being elected today. One of the frontrunners is the Conservatives’ Julie iles, whose campaign literature spells her surname with a lowercase ‘i’ and whose website spells it with a capital ‘I’. That’s bizarre.
Anyway, her leaftlet featured a picture of someone lying dead drunk in a street, because she wants to crack down on that sort of terrorist-type behaviour.
Being a bit of a wag, my mum sent her this email:
(Now you see where I get my genes from!)
No more mister
Brighton Council are planning to abolish the titles ‘Mr’, ‘Mrs’ and ‘Ms’ from official forms and correspondence because it labels people in ways they may not appreciate, and because a woman’s marital status is not relevant to, say, reporting a broken street light.
A lot of irritating old-fashioned anti-PC types have taken to the Internet to complain about this latest outrageous concession to minority groups such as single women, and about how diversity is nothing but a waste of taxpayers’ money. But as well as the irritating old-fashioned anti-PC brigade, Sir (We said no titles -Ed.) George Campbell MP has also spoken out…